Activity sharing website Strava allows users to track and upload their rides (and runs) using GPS data, either from Strava’s dedicated app on a smartphone or via a third-party GPS bike computer, such as those from Garmin.

Strava’s service allows millions of cyclists to connect with each other, with the facility to comment on each others’ rides and give ‘kudos’ where you think the effort deserves it.

One of the most attractive aspects to the more competitive rider of Strava’s service is the use of ‘segments’. These user-generated sections of a route are used to create a leaderboard of the fastest riders, with a King of the Mountain (KOM) or Queen of the Mountain (QOM) crown symbol awarded to those with the fastest times. Chasing KOMs/QOMs can become addictive.

Currently, Strava can be used to log a wide range of ride data including GPS tracked route displayed on a map, speed, distance, power output and heart rate.

The various aspects of Strava allow it to be used as a form of social media (including the uploading of photos taken during a ride), as a serious training tool and as a way of comparing your riding to others from all around the world.

Strava users can sign up for a variety of motivational challenges, such as those which set a distance or climbing target to meet. Progress is tracked after each ride is logged, and a ‘badge’ awarded when the challenge is complete.

In many ways, Strava has revolutionised the way in which cyclists can communicate and compare their efforts.

External link: Strava

Cobbles of Wallers-Arenberg. Photo: Graham Watson

It’s hard to know what would have bothered Niki Terpstra more in 2015 – failing to defend his Paris-Roubaix title, or seeing six of his Strava KOMs on the pavé…