Strava has added major updates focused on the growing segment of off-road riders available to all of their users. Users can now select ‘Gravel Ride’, ‘Mountain Bike Ride’ and ‘E-Mountain Bike Ride’ as an activity type to segment their activity specifically to the terrain and bike they’re riding. Previously, Strava only supported ‘Ride’ and ‘E-Bike Ride’ as their main cycling activities. It’s a sign Strava has been paying attention to the growing popularity of gravel riding and the wider adoption of the app from mountain bikers over the last few years.
Much of the update appeals to hikers as well. The addition of the Trail Run activity type allows for segmented activity results for those on two feet.
“When you get a trail route from Strava, not only do you get recommendations powered by our community, you also get all the insights you need to make your time exploring as joyful as possible. Know things like how long it will take you, how crowded it might be, and what’s the best route for you before you go so you can explore with confidence. All powered by the community who have been there before,” says Michael Horvath, CEO and co-founder of Strava. “We have been seeing off-the-charts growth of trail sports over the past several years, outpacing even growth of road running and riding. Our teams are thrilled to be meeting athletes where they are with this release to fuel their joy of exploration.”
STRAVA TRAIL ROUTES
The Trail Routes feature is only available for Strava Premium users. It’s the largest update for the paid user base since the Route Building features added last year. The Route Building features don’t translate well to actual on-bike navigation (due to the lack of turn-by-turn directions) and didn’t add much value in our opinion. The latest trail routes bring a new way for users to find off-road routes which is a major hurdle for many new gravel riders.
We tried to find a local gravel route for a quick ride. The El Prieto Trailhead had a handful of route options but this was the top-recommended Route.
Stava’s 3D Route tab shows elevation along the ride with the Terrain tab detailing the surface type of the paved and dirt portions of road and trail.
Users can judge the difficulty of the route based on the previous finish times of other riders. The Historical Activity tab uses more community insights to determine the best time of the year to ride the route.
Active Time indicates potential trail traffic based on Strava’s user base history. Popular cycling segments along the route are included to review too.
One thing that stands out is that there is no indication of how technical the route is, which can get some riders in trouble. In our experience, the El Prieto trail is moderately technical and generally reserved for mountain bikes. This is one place where Strava could leverage their community even further with a live comments section or a community-drive route review system.
It’s nice to see Strava making improvements and adding value for its premium user base but as we’ve always said the best aspect of Strava, its community, is free.