Strava has opted to make its Beacon feature free, when used as part of its mobile app.
The Beacon feature will continue to be a paid for service for those using it with a connected device, such as a Garmin bike computer, Strava says this is "due to the added complexity of supporting those integrations."
This means that if you're recording your ride using the mobile app, Strava will allow you to share your live location with up to three people, so they know where you are and are alerted in the case of a sudden decrease in velocity (usually bad news for bike riders).
Offering a free service for mobile app users means that the cost of integrations and SMS chargers is shouldered by the brand.
However, if you record your rides on a cycling computer, you'll have to be a subscriber to enjoy the feature.
That said, Garmin itself offers a Live Track Feature which works with most GPS computers (when connected to the app) and Wahoo offers the same on Elemnt, Bolt, Roam and Mini GPS computers.
Strava said that it made this decision because it "believes everyone should be able to use this feature in the app, whether or not they subscribe," adding "Beacon was built to give athletes more control over their own safety, and to keep them connected to their community when they need it most."
Beacon was released in 2016. In May 2020 Strava did away with its short-lived "Summit" payment scheme, where users could sign up to specific features, replacing it with a simple single subscription of £4/$5 a month.
Commenting on the decision to make Beacon free to mobile app users, Strava CEO, Michael Horvath, said: “Strava is a place for anyone who sweats and we want to help every athlete feel safe doing their sport. To better support athletes’ safety and peace of mind, we’ve decided to make our live-location sharing feature Beacon accessible to everyone in our community, whether they subscribe to Strava or not. Starting today, any athlete in the world can use Beacon for free when they record an activity with our mobile app.”
Cycling Weekly's Tech Editor Michelle Arthurs-Brennan is a traditional journalist by trade, having begun her career working for a local newspaper before spending a few years at Evans Cycles, then combining the two with a career in cycling journalism.
When not typing or testing, Michelle is a road racer who also enjoys track riding and the occasional time trial, though dabbles in off-road riding too (either on a mountain bike, or a 'gravel bike'). She is passionate about supporting grassroots women's racing and founded the women's road race team 1904rt.
Favourite bikes include a custom carbon Werking road bike as well as the Specialized Tarmac SL6.
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