After reading Rivers’ stance against using Strava, I wanted to fight for the other side of the coin for a bit, as I am pretty heavy into Strava and believe it is a tool that can be used to improve your performance and enjoyment of the bike trail.
I’ve heard the argument against Strava mirrored on other forms of social media addiction, namely Facebook. The way I’ve seen some become so unhealthily addicted to Facebook/Twitter ect. that the only way they can curb their usage is by deleting it altogether is sort of like forcing an alcoholic to quit cold turkey. They have an illness and the only solution is abstinence. No glass of wine at dinner, no celebratory beer at the end of a big job. They can’t have it around them. By no means am I putting social media addicts on the same plane as drug addicts, but it’s the best analogy I’ve got.
As someone who often rides alone, I find it difficult to challenge and push myself to sprint harder, climb faster and attack unfamiliar lines with gusto. I tend to ride everyday (when weather permits) and I have an erratic schedule so most of my riding buddies are at work, or simply not around. Riding alone can be a great time to reflect and meditate, but not having that friend on your wheel really tends to slow me down. No one to impress, no one to drop. That’s MY problem.
With Strava, I get to race people. I get to race myself. I don’t always need to have friends with as much free time as I do in order to max out on the trails. Every little segment can be time trial’d, so to speak and this helps me push myself to reach those goals. Sure, I like just rolling around and having a ball, but I like to stay in shape too. Bikes aren’t just a toy for me, they’re a tool. It’s my weight room. My treadmill. I like to feel like I earned that slice (or 4) of pizza and that Sierra Nevada. Otherwise, I feel like a lump o’ lard.
Unfamiliar with your surroundings? Search out new routes with the app. Other riders in the area are always mapping out new segments, new loops and new ways to enjoy your trails. Places you never thought were rideable. When you have time to ride everyday, you tend to ride the same segments over and over again. I’ve got to do everything I can to keep this fresh, because as soon as I become bored on the bike, thats when I start spending money on new bikes in hopes that it will be fun again. Spending money is a no no on my income.
Strava Challenges are great, but I like to set my own goals. Knowing that I’m just 30-40 miles away from my March mileage total, I know I’m going to crush it on April 30th. The simple things.
As a mostly solitary rider, I love Strava. It’s my riding partner, my coach and my motivation. It stinks that I need these things sometimes to get out and push myself, but that’s what I get for riding alone most of the time. It ain’t always easy to coordinate schedules with the few friends I have that like to really ride hard, so before I head out the door I always make sure that little red button is pressed before I clip in.