Last year I heard a lot of talk about Strava, and had no idea what it was. I admit, I am a little slow on some of the technical gear associated with cycling, however, my interest in recording and tracking my ride results is definitely on a rise, with some help and thanks to the Renaissance Man. When he first taught me about Cyclemeter and how he tracks all his rides, I honestly thought to myself “what’s the big deal about that?” Well the more I learn about it, the more I embrace technology, and cycling is no exception.
So to answer the question at hand, Strava is an exercise tracking application that allows members to not only view their results on runs and rides, but also how they stack up against others. When you set up your membership, you can opt for the basic (which is free), or upgrade to premium. I’m a basic member, so I’m not sure what the fees are for premium, but I know the stats that can be tracked are significantly more. For now, I’m fine with basic. To see how you compare against others while not actually riding with them, you can view the segments section. I discovered this after my first ride. Of coarse, you can search and locate segments in your area, and go out and try for the podium or leaderboard, or you can just work on your own personal records, it’s totally up to you. That’s the beauty of Strava, it can be as competitive as you want it to be, without any road rage.
The Strava app and membership can be downloaded to smart phones (Androids and Iphones, I know for sure), and you can rocrd your rides using your phone as the GPS device, or you can use another GPS device to record your activity, then upload the information to you account on the internet at your log-in/ home page. I simply love the Strava membership, I feel that it has helped me to improve my fitness on the bike, by me challenging myself to perform on segments, plus the fact that I know others who are following me will also see my results. And they may not mention it, but if I slack, they will know it.
After completing a ride of around 60 miles, I realized that my phone would not have enough battery life to record a century ride, and still be charged for an emergency call if necessary. That’s when I started doing some research on alternative devices to record my rides. At first, I thought I should keep it simple, and get the cheapest unit I could that would carry out the mission. But as I mentioned earlier, I am beginning to embrace technology more and more, therefor I decided to upgrade a little and get a Garmin Edge 500. I thought it would have everything to satisfy my needs and/or wants for now and well into the future. Then I decided to make the purchase from my local bike shop, Pedal Power, in downtown Lexington and when I went in to make the buy, Josh talked me into the new version that was getting ready to be released. The Garmin Edge 510, he said would be available mid February, and as I do with any technical idea in question, I referred to the expert, Renaissance Man. He confirmed that the upgrades on the 510 model were probably worth the extra cash. So as soon as Pedal Power got the new devices in, I made my purchase.
I am still early in the learning process of what all I can do with my Garmin Edge 510 GPS device, but I have recorded all of my rides on it since I bought it. I have also successfully uploaded all of those activities to my Strava account, where I can view and track my training progress. The Edge 510 is very user friendly, comes with multiple charging connections, and thus far most importantly for me, has a very strong battery life. Now I can probably record multiple century (100 miles) rides and not run any programs on my phone that drain it’s battery life.
I am very excited with the bulk of the 2013 cycling season already arriving to view some of the very challenging segments and the tough grades on some of the upcoming hilly rides I have planned on my schedule. I can easily do this with the friendly help of Strava, Garmin Edge 510, and even my smart phone. And I would highly recommend both Strava and the Garmin Edge 510 to anyone who is considering using them.