As with this and future reviews, I’ll never go by a star-rating system, as I find them too subjective and people tend to pay attention to the # of stars as opposed to the content of the review. My basic format: brief write-up/opinion/how it relates to my needs; followed by pros and cons.
This review relates to the Strava app used in conjunction with iPhone & Android.
I’m with a huge segment of the “mobile community” that’s addicted to gadgets and they stats they produce. I typically run and ride alone, therefore the main person I’m competing with is myself. Although I enjoy being part of an online-community whose stats can be compared in friendly competition, I’m going to start this review with the biggest cons coming out of the Strava-sphere:
– PEOPLE CHEAT! I’ve run and ridden in Central Park countless times. People in the Strava community have times clocked at over 60MPH. It’s just not possible – not even in a car. I don’t want to know how it’s done. I don’t care. I just choose to bypass the whole “competing with the online community” aspect of the app.
– People ride a little too reckless in order to beat their stats. Personally, I’m OK with this, as I myself am extremely alert and usually ride at similar speeds. But most pedestrians just don’t pay attention. NYC in particular is a bad place for this: 1st level of obliviousness to their surroundings goes to American tourists. 2nd (higher) level goes to foreign tourists. God bless them, but they have NO idea what’s going on around them, let alone the awareness to notice a bike coming at them at 20-30MPH.
– This isn’t a con for me, but I’ve heard many accuse [apps of this nature] of taking the soul/enjoyment out of riding. To be fair, I can see how this applies. Going back to Con#2, when all your focused on is building stats/beating records, it can easily take the enjoyment out of the ride. I’ve fallen victim to this, but I’m OK with it since my major reason behind cycling is to improve fitness. However to keep the fun aspect in tact, I try to separate the two; allowing for riding segments where I just sit back and take it easy.
– Can be used for either running or riding. I do both, however I have so much time & mileage invested in my Nike+ app, I only use Strava for riding.
– The web interface is very well-done; easy to navigate. I love seeing my stats. Love competing with myself.
– Works great with iPhone and Android. I just throw a simple device-mount on my handlebars and it’s smooth sailing from there. GPS links up right away in both city and the burbs. Interface on mobile apps is equally impressive. Interactive maps, achievement trophies, etc
– I love this aspect: as you pass certain segments during your ride, it automatically places you in the running with others who’ve ridden that segment. You get to see where you place in comparison – and you always have the opportunity to move into that #1 position.
It’s definitely worth using if the above appeals to you. The good FAR outweighs the bad. And motivation to improve your stats will always result in better fitness; better health — as long as you ride carefully.