Love it or hate it, Strava is well and truly a part of the cycling community. In fact, many of us struggle to remember a time before the world of the addictive orange tinted social media site.
Strava records a wide range of metrics – from timing riders over segments and listing them on a leader board, to totting up weekly mileage and time spent training. The different available ways of tracking training mean that riders can tailor their stat geekery to their own individual needs. And as a result, we tend to see a selection of clear Strava Personalities emerge in the users of this addictive platform.
Here are some of the most prevalent Strava using personalities, and their identifying traits...
The coached rider
To the coached rider, Strava is not the competition. They’re training for a larger goal – be it a major sportive, a time trial PB or a placing at a race they’ve got in mind. With that goal in mind, they're carrying out specific training sessions.
However, the coached rider can’t help but remember that everyone is still going to see their rides, so they label every excursion with a title that reflects the aim of the session. For example ‘Zone 1 easy spin’ translates to ‘please don’t judge me for being so slow’ and ‘Zone 2 with Zone 5 sprints’ means ‘slow average speed – but check out the max!’.
As well as rides, there will probably be manually uploaded sessions, too – called ‘cross training’ or ‘gym work’. It's best to refrain from the temptation to ask this person if they have started working at the gym.
The average speed merchant
This rider detests the thought of recording a ride with an average speed below a self-appointed figure.
As a result, you’ll mostly spot them with their head cocked slightly to the left or right, leaning low over the handlebars, with a look of determined concentration on their face as they eagerly try to keep the overall speed of their ride within acceptable range.
Effectively, every single ride is a time trial. You may find this rider is lacking in ride motivation on windy days, and they may not be keen to ride across hilly terrain.
A key symptom of an average speed merchant is a habit of starting and finishing rides several miles from home, to allow for a warm up and cool down, or even to ensure that the effects of a certain hill aren’t allowed to make their mark upon the mph...
The QOM scout
This rider is less concerned with their overall speed, and more interested in nabbing the honours over set segments. You can spot a QOM scout because they’re likely to spin out to well-known segments, before suddenly surging from the start to the bottom of the recorded section.
When riding with this personality, you may notice constant bleeping from their handlebars if they’re using a Garmin that alerts them of approaching segments. They may also be keen to stop for a break not far from the base of a well-known climb, often dispensing of any unnecessary weight by emptying water bottles.
The best way to annoy this rider? Sit on their wheel right before a hotly contested sprint section, before unleashing all hell at the virtual start line. Then wait for the cry of anguish if they receive an ‘Uh-Oh!’ email.
The mile muncher
On the other end of the scale, this rider just isn’t interested in speed – over the entire ride, or over small sections. Often training towards a ride of epic proportions, they just want to record as many miles as humanly possible.
This rider will head out at crazy-o-clock in the morning just to log some extra miles before the club ride, they’ll commute to work a whole three counties away every day, circle entire islands before breakfast, and call a 50-mile-ride a ‘leg loosener’.
The best way to spot this rider? They’ll upload EVERYTHING. Ride to the shops. A mile and a half to the hairdressers. Even miles ridden on the turbo trainer are recorded thanks to the use of Zwift.
The challenge accepter
Most of us set our challenges outside of Strava, and track our training via the platform to help us meet them. Not this user.
The challenge accepter wants to take part in every single Strava challenge that's on offer. Distance? Yep! Climbing? Yep! Most pictures taken in one day on a single ride? Of course!
The number one challenge on their bucket list is probably an Everest attempt - and one day, they will do it!
The resolute commuter
‘Morning ride’. ‘Evening ride’. ‘Morning ride’. ‘Evening ride’. ‘Morning ride’. ‘Evening ride’.
This cyclist rides like clockwork, in fact you could probably set your watch by their upload. They never miss a journey to or from work, and you’ll only get edited titles when there has been an event of note (‘double puncture in poor light and p*ssing rain’, ‘first day without leg warmers!’)
The good news for most of us is that the more riders like this keep recording their routes, the more data town and city planners will have to help them transform our urban areas into more cyclist friendly Utopia’s (Utopi?).
The Kudos seeker
You can’t miss this rider – because they’ll give you kudos on every single one of your rides. It’d be lovely to think this was purely selfless appreciation of your efforts, but more than likely they want you to give them a thumb-up back.
Rides will probably be listed with particularly creative titles, that your friend probably spent 98% of their ride time dreaming up. There will probably be pictures, too.
This cyclist just wants to be loved. Go on, make their day with the click of a button!
Not sure if your Strava addiction is healthy or not? Check out our symptom checker...