If you do a lot of cycling and ride the same rides regularly, chances are that you’ve probably compared your average speed to some of your previous rides. And you’ve probably wondered how your speed compares to everyone else who rides that same stretch.
Well, wonder no more! Because when you sign up for an account with Strava.com and upload data from your Garmin device, or use the Strava app on your iphone or Android phone, you can record your ride and upload it to their site, and then see how you compare to every other Strava user who has ridden the same place.
It’s completely awesome and addictive. And even better, the basic account is free, so you don’t even have to pay anything to try it. I’ll warn you though, that I had my credit card out in the first 20 minutes to pay for the premium service. (It’s only $6 a month, or $59 for a full year.)
Here’s an example of what it looks like when you’re looking at all of your rides that you’ve uploaded. This is a series of my rides around Whiterock Lake. You can see that along certain stretches that week, I had some of my own fastest personal recorded times.
If you click through on that information, you can see how you rank compared to everyone else who has ever ridden those stretches.
It might tell you, for example, that you rode it the 17th fastest overall out of 90 people who have ridden that stretch 600 times.
But it gets even cooler than that. You can also “follow” other riders who have ridden the same rides as you. There are also pro riders who use Strava that you can follow too — it’s sort of like Twitter. It will even show you other Strava users who were riding with you that same day. So you might be able to look up that dude you were riding with for 10 miles until you blew up and fell off his wheel!
I found riders that I had ridden with when I was down in Austin. How cool is that to be able to potentially get in contact with someone you rode with?
If you’re worried about privacy, you can hide your real name and use a nickname. You can also make it so that no one can “follow” your profile without your approval.
I still upload my rides to the Garmin Connect site, and I think that service is a good way to keep track of your own personal riding data. But Strava does all of that and then adds the social aspect, which makes it so much better that it’s hard to describe until you start using it.
If you have a Garmin, or an iphone or an Android phone and you are a cyclist, you should immediately go to Strava and sign up for a free account and try it for yourself.
But don’t blame me when you lose hours of your life clicking through all of the data. Or when you start killing yourself on certain stretches of road, because you are trying to set a new personal record or get into the Leaderboard position. Because I warned you from the beginning that this site is addictive.