Nine things you wish you'd known before you joined Strava
If only someone had told you all of these a few years ago, you might not have joined in the first place
1. 95 per cent of KOMs are impossible to beat
Back in the day most half-decent riders could head out on a fast training ride and pick up a handful of KOMs in the process, but now any KOM attempt has to be carefully planned, and will probably end in failure.
Especially if you're looking at the KOMs for big local climbs or are unlucky enough to live in an area with lots of other pesky cyclists, those best times will normally be at speeds that you could only match in a car.
Perhaps the only way to send an "Uh oh" email these days is to employ one of our underhand tricks...
2 . There's no such thing as an easy ride
It's a Sunday morning group ride, most people rode yesterday, and everyone decides to take it easy and have a gentle spin to the café.
At least that was the idea, until Pete remembers that he was only two seconds off the KOM on "Steep Hill Lane" on his last ride, shooting out of the pack and disappearing up the road.
>>> The nine types of ride we all upload to Strava
Of course this was meant to be a gentle spin, but Jeff can't stand being dropped under any circumstances, and ups the pace to bridge the gap.
Before you know it the café stop has been forgotten, and you've knocked out three lung-busting hours at heart rates that simply shouldn't be possible for riders of your age.
3. You'll spend far too much time coming up with a witty name for your ride
If you're really going to make your ride stand out then you're going to need to give it a decent name, meaning you should bring in some kudos for the name as well as the ride.
The last 20 minutes on the way home will be spent conjuring up a suitable name, but for some reason once you got around to uploading it, that name no longer seemed quite as funny.
Maybe you should just leave it as Morning Ride instead. Just like all your other rides.
4. Challenges and distance goals will ruin your family/social life
At the start of the year you might have thought that that 12,oookm goal would be a good idea to motivate you to rack up the miles throughout the year.
The bad news is that four months in, and 200km behind the pace, it has become like a millstone around your neck, forcing you out of the door to knock out 50km in the rain when you swore blind that you'd spend some time with the kids this weekend.
>>> Eight ways your cycling changes when you have kids
Add in to the mix those pesky monthly challenges that will mean you have no choice but to turn down those Friday night drinks as you've got to get out early on Saturday morning to knock out nine hill reps to hit that 5,000m elevation goal.
5. You can fall out with your mates when they take your KOM
If there's anything worse than losing a KOM, it's losing a KOM to someone you know.
Of course, when you see them at the club run at the weekend no one will mention anything (or if they do then you'll laugh it off and you were "just on a recovery ride" when you took it in the first place).
But you both know that this is no laughing matter. That KOM was one of the most prestigious in the area, and you won't be able to look your mate into the eye until it is yours once again.
6. There's always someone who's ridden further/faster than you on any given day
You've got it all planned out. The route's planned, your kit's ready, your bike's prepped, and you're going to go for a mega ride tomorrow before uploading it to Strava and watching the kudoses roll in.
The bad news is that although your 170km ride would usually be very impressive, a bunch of your mates have had the same plan but bigger, and have uploaded their 250km group ride at the same time.
All of a sudden your effort pales in comparison, and what's more they were faster than you too. Of course you did it on your own which should make your ride look a bit more impressive, but instead just makes your look like a loner.
7. Strava and Garmin will always disagree
Power data and all that is all very impressive, but at the end of the day the only stats that can really impress your fellow cyclists are distance and speed.
Now, nobody's going to bat an eyelid over whether you rode 180 or 181km, but there's a world of difference between doing a ride at 29.9kmh and doing it at 30.1kmh.
>>> 12 neat features you didn't know your Garmin had up its sleeve
Of course you've got a computer to tell you your average speed, but you can bet your bottom dollar that Strava and Garmin will disagree somewhere along the line and you'll find that your ride becomes 0.4kmh slower once you put it online.
So play it safe, shun your warm down, and hammer it all the way to the front door just to make sure.
8. You have to pay to get the best features
When Strava was first launched way back in 2009 every part of it was free, but as it's grown over the years the American company has introduced a number of features that are only available to those willing to stump up $6 (£4.70) per month.
For that money you can turn Strava into a proper training tool with training plans and data analysis, and also lets you into the world of Strava Live, meaning that you can see your segment progress on your cycling computer.
But perhaps best of all, it lets you create segment leaderboards filtered by gender, age, and weight, so if you can't get any KOMs outright, you can at least see how you stack up against other similar riders to yourself.
9. You're definitely going to get addicted
When you first signed up to Strava you were probably just a bit curious, and created an account just to see what all the fuss was about.
Four years later and you're in way to deep. You've got all your favourite segments saved on your Garmin, you upload every 0.8km ride to the shops, and you can't stop now because you need to hit that 12,000km annual goal and you're only two seconds away from claiming back that KOM that "John P." took off you last summer.
To outsiders that may sound like an unhealthy addiction, but frankly we wouldn't have it any other way.
Thank you for reading 10 articles this month* Join now for unlimited access
Enjoy your first month for just £1 / $1 / €1
*Read 5 free articles per month without a subscription
Join now for unlimited access
Try first month for just £1 / $1 / €1
Henry Robertshaw began his time at Cycling Weekly working with the tech team, writing reviews, buying guides and appearing in videos advising on how to dress for the seasons. He later moved over to the news team, where his work focused on the professional peloton as well as legislation and provision for cycling. He's since moved his career in a new direction, with a role at the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs.
Specialized releases pro-race winning Roval Rapide Cockpit
Integrated rated Roval bar and stem has already seen multiple wins on bikes of Demi Vollering and Fabio Jakobsen this season
By Joe Baker • Published
Tour de France: Unchained episode by episode guide
The Cycling Weekly guide to all eight episodes of the Netflix show, from Copenhagen to Paris
By Adam Becket • Published
Hackers can find your home on Strava even if you use privacy settings, researchers find
Belgian study shows "protected zones" can still be accessed by hackers 85% of the time
By Adam Becket • Published
Tadej Pogačar claims Kwaremont-Paterberg Strava KOM in Tour of Flanders romp
The two-time Tour de France winner took a host of Strava trophies in Flanders on Sunday
By Tom Davidson • Published
American cyclist aims to break Strava record with a 950-mile cross spanning three states
The Guinness World Record attempt will traverse three state lines and is expected to take seven days to finish
By Anne-Marije Rook • Published
Strava recognises French velociraptor as largest GPS drawing ever made by bike
Velociraptor measuring 1,024.72 kilometres took more than 43 hours to complete
By Tom Thewlis • Published
Strava insists new pricing structure is legal
The company is varying its subscription prices depending on the user's country of residence
By Tom Davidson • Published
Strava apologises for 'confusing' subscription price hike
Fitness tracking app has sought to clarify changes to pricing after initial "very confusing" messaging
By Tom Thewlis • Published
'Strava inflation' takes on new meaning with price rise above 25%
'Strava inflation' could previously be applied to the growth in user numbers and subsequent increase in segment speeds, now it signifies a notable price rise
By Jack Elton-Walters • Published
The Strava community has spoken… here are the changes they want to see made to the app in 2023
One request cropped up more than anything else
By Adam Hart • Published