Strava now has an off-road interface, trail routes & 3D activity feed

The latest Strava update offers trail specific insights and introduces Gravel Ride, Mountain Bike, and e-Mountain Bike activity options in addition to 3D activities.

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With almost 40 different activity types and a heavy focus on cycling, it’s pretty surprising that Strava has never offered gravel or mountain biking specific activity options. Cyclists could choose between just a “ride”, an e-bike ride, a virtual ride or even a Velomobile ride, but not gravel or mountain biking, two of the most popular disciplines within the sport. Until now.

As of today, Strava’s latest update enables users to select gravel rides, mountain bike rides, and e-mountain bike rides (also trail running) as specific activity types on a new off-road interface within the existing Strava app.

While the e-bike and Velomobile ride options presumably exist to maintain segment and KOM integrity, the new off-road interface will offer much more than simply a new activity type to reflect your surface or bike choice. Rather, Strava’s trail sports update offers an enhanced suite of routing features designed to help athletes explore and plan their off-road-specific activities.

Strava’s new Trail Routes and Trail Route Recommendation features provide activity-specific off-road insights including the obvious data such as distance and elevation but also community completion times, terrain previews, and historical activity insights detailing times of the year and day when the selected route is most popular. While the example provided specifically looks at hiking options, presumably the new update will offer an identical look and feel when searching for gravel or mountain biking off-road routes.

Strava says user activities uploaded over the past two years suggest trail sports, including mountain biking, hiking and trail running, are growing twice as quickly as those on tarmac, such as road cycling. As more of us move off-road and on-trail, Strava has now created an off-road specific platform to meet the needs of an adventurous community.

Strava hopes these new updates will empower athletes with the confidence to explore confidently. As such, the new Trail Routes feature will highlight popular trail networks and starting points for those new to the off-road world or trying out a new location.

Meanwhile, Strava’s new activity-specific Trail Route Recommendations feature, open to subscribers only, provides fully adjustable off-road routes based on distance and elevation.

Search, select, and download trail routes.

The route recommendations feature is powered by trends collected from the Strava user uploaded activity base. This historical and activity-specific data makes a host of insights and route details possible including route difficulty, community completion times, historical activity trends by month and time of day, and data visualizations of gradient and difficulty. Meaning athletes can now not only plan the best route for their planned activity but also the best time of the day or week for a quieter or livelier route.

According to Strava user activities, just after 9 am and 6 pm are busy times on this route.

Strava subscribers can also download any trail routes for use while offline or out of cell coverage providing added peace of mind for the athlete exploring beyond the grid.

3D activities

Heading off the beaten track can sometimes throw up the odd nasty surprise in the shape of a huge mountain or cliff face. Strava’s 3D map update back in March helped users anticipate such surprises when creating routes and, frankly, just looked pretty cool. Strava has now added that 3-D mapping style to activity uploads to appear in athlete activity feeds. While the option to choose a 3D map for your activity is only available to subscribers, all athletes on the platform will see the new map style in their feed when it is selected by subscriber athletes they follow.

Speaking of subscribers, Strava is also offering students in high school and college a 50% discount on its single-tier annual subscription.

Another look at Trail Route Recommendations.
Further trail details include elevation data, completion times, terrain previews, and the most popular time of year for a specific route. No activities in February, March, and April? There’s probably a good reason why, most likely weather and safety-related.

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