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 Maybe you think, that AW1 is outdated device?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.



  • I absolutely go for a run and leave my phone behind. It's the only reason I upgraded to series 2 and the only reason I started using strava. The last thing I want is to be interrupted when I'm out for a run. 



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  • Andrew Stirling, you could use Do Not Disturb mode in your iPhone if you want to avoid all distractions while you run. And using iPhone for GPS-tracking is more reliable (with A-GPS technology) than using Apple Watch. But I understood you, and yes, someone, especially runners, can find ‘independent’ AW app useful.

    But what about cyclers? We mostly don’t need to leave our phones at home, ‘cause phone is more reliable, and more convenient than the watch. When you have both of your hands on a handlebar and your eyes on a road, to remove one hand from a bar and to be distracted from the road for long enough to see numbers on a small screen on your wrist is simply dangerous and could lead to an accident, especially when you ride in a big city. And if we don’t want such a danger, only option we have: don’t use watch at all, no matter, if we have first or second AW. And it’s not about just loosing heart rate data. It’s about making expensive high-tech device useless, when Strava promotes their app to be useful and fully compatible with AW.

    What I say is: Strava simply discarded features, crucial for some people, to provide this doubtful ‘update’. They provide no alternative, no choice. It’s not even matter if I have free or premium account. ‘Eat what you have and be happy we gave you at least something’. Not the position you want from a service like this. They released unfinished product, and clearly take their time to finish it. And what makes me sad most of all: there’s no alternative to Strava. All other apps lack of features (Endomondo, for example, doesn’t support any cadence or speed sensors) or worldwide popularity and support.

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  • I agree using the phone mounted to the bike is like a dashboard. That is what I need. Guess I might have to go to Map my Ride?  Unless this is going to change soon.

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  • I just started using Strava again this spring, and thought mine was broken until I found this thread. Strava, there needs to be an on/off switch for the new mode of operation so that users have the choice between the two. I almost always have my phone and my watch on me at the same time when I ride. Also, I have an Apple Watch 1 and it does not have GPS. As such, the new operation mode is somewhat useless when all it has is the watch accelerometer and gyroscope to track distance by. Are you telling me I require a AW 2 to use Strava now?

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  • Jason Evans, you can still use AW1 with Strava. But, as I said, if you use Strava on AW1, you will need to take your iPhone with you, and all it’s functionality with Strava is reduced to being GPS-module for AW1. And if you run Strava on your iPhone, AW becomes absolutely useless.

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  • Hi Oleg,

    Thanks for replying. I'm not seeking explanation of how to use my Strava here, but simply wish to add my voice to the many who are experiencing pain. I know I need my iPhone during a workout, and I understand the iPhone's role in the AW 1 hardware topology.

    My issue is that my AW records an independent Strava workout from what my phone does. I.e. I can simultaneously record two separate workouts from each device instead of them working together to record one workout with data from both devices. The workout from the AW has the heart rate info, but has inaccurate run distance and GPS route. The workout recorded on the phone has accurate GPS data, but no heart rate info. This was working on the previous version of Strava, but now it does not.

    Further, the technical explanation proffered in other threads does not make a ton of sense. The changes to the app are motivated by factors other than the AW software APIs. Strava is trying to do something like convert more free users to paid, I'm sure.

    From my standpoint this issue really makes Strava only viable on AW 2+. Unfortunately, I'll be looking into alternatives to this service since I don't think I would ever dish out a monthly payment for Strava unless it was on the order of $1.

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  • John Broad, tried to use Map My Ride. Well, in fact I had to use Map My RUN (‘cause now it’s the only app of Map My Whatever series, that supports Apple watch), and it’s a great app, it has all functions Strava discarded, including ‘remote control’ from AW, heart rate from AW and Bluetooth cadence sensor data. Despite it’s a ‘running’ app, it has cycling workout, and works perfect. I’ll keep Strava on my phone for some time, still hope they fix their mess. But Map My Run is the best choice for now. And their premium is cheaper (in Russia at least).

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  • Hey Oleg,

    thanks for your nice words. I feel exactly the same: I used Strava first on my iPhone to record every single ride on my bike. I loved it but I also wanted to see my heart rate. So I bought myself an Apple Watch 2 and tried Strava on it and I was disappointed. I googled and I found out, that there are no live segments, no tracks, no nothing. I want to see my premium features also on my watch and not only on my phone. And as you mentioned, the apps are from now on separated, which is super odd. 

    So what's going on with Strava? 
    It feels like the guys behind it are not listening to their community any more, we got a strange new feed, nobody asked for, the black theme is gone forever, there is this new blog feature for pro athletes, which has also nothing to do with a workout app.

    Sad to see :-( 
    Maybe I need to find something else. MapMyRun looks pretty good so far, they got now segments which is a bummer but the Apple Watch App works great with my phone which is, as you said, for emergency reasons, always with me. 



    I just tried the Nike+ Running App to check how they managed it. It's pretty simple: When you start your workout from your watch, the app on my iPhone does nothing. It just shows a message, that I'm recording a workout on my Apple Watch, but it also tells me, that if I want to use my phone and my watch at the same time, I just need to start a workout from my phone. So I tried to do so and it worked perfect. 

    Strava, what's going on?



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  • This isn't a new issue. They have known about this for almost a year with almost no response other than to ignore the user base. I switched to runkeeper. I have my events synced between the two so I can still use the social aspect but Runkeeper is where I pay for premium to get the live tracking. Check out this thread....



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