What happened to the good old Strava?
These are mostly emotions, and I understand that nobody will change this New Great Course For Athletes Who Are Too Weak To Carry Their Phone With Them. But still I need to write this. And to be heard. So…
I’m a cyclist. Not a professional athlete, but a big fan of endurance cycling itself. In my opinion Strava is the best worldwide cycling service. No, the only adequate cycling app in AppStore. It has (or had) all the needed features, from basic GPS tracking to connection to the third party sensors. And it was mostly oriented for cyclers, not runners, who have many of their own runner-specific apps and services: Endomondo, Runkeeper, NRC etc. etc. So, in summer 2016 I bought Apple Watch and a cadence sensor for my bike. Specially for use with Strava, ‘cause it supported heart rate from AW and cadence sensor data. And Strava for Apple Watch was a convenient ‘remote control’ for the iPhone app. That was before 2016 cycling season is over, and I put my bike away for a winter. Just to discover unpleasant changes in Strava app this spring.
Okay, guys, you decided to bring ‘independent’ app for Apple Watch. I personally don’t understand people, who will go for a run or a ride and leave their cellphone at home, risking to miss important calls, lose all the praised social features of the app, or simply don’t have any connection in case of emergency. But okay. Maybe some people is up for this. But what do you think about people who use Apple Watch 1, which DON’T have built in GPS-module? They STILL need to bring their iPhone with them. So why all this 'you can now leave your phone at home' fuss? Maybe you think, that AW1 is outdated device? I can assure you that there’s more than enough AW1 users in the world, and will be for 2-5 years more at least. So, AW1 users STILL need to carry their phones with them. But why do they need Apple Watch Strava app if they can run it on iPhone? Now anyone, who uses Strava with AW1, has one of the two devices mostly useless. I can run Strava on iPhone, but my Apple Watch becomes just an expensive toy on my wrist, suitable for nothing, even for heart rate data. Okay. I can run Strava on my Apple Watch. And my phone becomes just an oversized GPS-module to support my watch.
But about cycling. As I said before, in my opinion Strava was always more towards cyclists than runners. Most of the cyclists use their phones, mounted on a bike, as bike computer and/or map tracker. That’s how you can see all the data, without major distraction. Just one glance to the phone screen, and you see where you are, what speed you have, what distance you rode. So the phone becomes something like a dashboard in a car. Last year I could add cadence sensor data and heart rate data from my AW for more accurate measurement of my training efforts. Now… now I can run Strava on my Apple Watch, and can’t see map or my data without too much distraction. I also can’t use my cadence sensor anymore, cause it’s NOT possible to connect it to the AW app. This way I have a significant data accuracy decrease, and the sensor itself becomes useless. Or I can use Strava on my phone, and… well… it seems like I can left my Apple Watch (and not my iPhone) at home, ‘cause it becomes absolutely purposeless, I can’t even get heart rate data! Not to mention, that start/pause training from AW was more convenient. So from now on I need to choose between heart rate data and making use of my watch at some way at least, or cadence sensor data, map, and looking at all my data in a glance! That’s not a choice I want to make. I want all the data like it was before this ‘glorious’ update.
So, dear Strava Team, how can you create such a drawback for every cyclist using your app, and advertise it like some benefit or step forward? I CAN NOT leave my phone at home, I DON'T WANT to leave my phone at home, and I DON'T NEED to leave my phone at home. Most of the cyclist don’t. So why? Why do you sacrifice crucial features to create some ‘independent’ app? Why didn’t you give us a chance to use features we really need? And why do you disregard cyclists, who was loyal to your app? Just to create another app ‘mostly for runners’?
I am totally disappointed, Strava. You can do better. And you should do better.