The Soapbox: This Is Why I Hate Strava

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Words by Jared Rando | Images by Damian Breach

When Strava first came out, I thought it was the most incredible thing ever. It just seemed absolutely incredible what it could do and how it worked.  Now, I’m not so sure about the whole thing. Don’t get me wrong, I don’t hate Strava, so let me try to explain.

It’s not all hate but there is a time and a place for Strava.

As a training and statistical tool, Strava is absolutely fantastic and yes, I have a Strava account and do use it occasionally. For gauging improvements in your riding, there is no better tool- but here’s my problem with it; every time I go riding, I want to escape. I want to get in that zone where nothing else matters and my brain switches off. That right there is the best part of riding.

Competition changes that. The last thing I want in the back of my mind when I’m riding is where I’m going to rank on the next trail I hit, or how fast I can do a climb. And yet, I see it more and more; riders going out with the sole purpose of getting that KOM, or adding more metres climbed to their yearly total, or impressing their friends by being the #6 ranked rider in the 45 – 46 year old, 78kg – 81kg recumbent class…….

Whatever happened to riding for fun? If you’re going for a group ride with a bunch of friends to have a good time, does it really matter how far you rode, or where you ranked? Give me a break.

Don’t tell me how many metres you’ve climbed this year, or how far you’ve ridden. I absolutely don’t give a shit. If you want to race someone, go to a race and line up against everyone else. Don’t go out for a “ride” and hit the same trail three times because you’re trying to get a KOM. That’s not riding. And it’s also not racing. It’s just dumb.

Technology is changing our lives more and more every day, but I don’t want it to change how much I enjoy riding my bike. If you really do enjoy turning every ride into a race, then good for you. You’re probably the same guy who understands merging in traffic as a no holds barred race to the death.

I say, lets save racing for the races and enjoy riding our bikes. Please use Strava in moderation and don’t get too carried away. Let’s enjoy riding for what it’s supposed to be.

Get stoked (or upset) at the trails – not the small screen of your phone.

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