Strava Slides Into the Travel Business

The popular fitness-tracking app has launched local city guides to give runners and cyclists more reasons to explore new terrain.

July 22 2015, 11:30 AM

—Image courtesy of Strava

There’s more to a great ride or run than so many lefts and rights. Our favorite circuits swing by that fabulous coffee shop, or the park with inspiring mountain views (and convenient public bathrooms). But this local knowledge often makes us stick with fallback routes rather than striking off into uncharted territory—so Strava, a fitness app that records your activities and allows you to track your progress, decided to fill in the blanks.

The company’s new “Strava Local” city guides flush out popular routes with the rest of the story. Along with info on circuits’ mileage and elevation gain, you can flip through Instagram photos that users have shot along the way to get a sense of the scenes you’ll pass. Maps also flag popular pit stops, such as bike shops, cafés, bakeries, and bookstores. Denver/Boulder is one of three U.S. areas (along with San Francisco and New York City) that has received Strava’s “Local” treatment. Others include Amsterdam, Barcelona, Berlin, London, Melbourne, Milan, Paris, São Paulo, and Sydney.

"The response to Strava Local we've received has been overwhelmingly positive, from athletes who are proud to see their local stomping grounds featured to business travelers looking for predictable, quality running routes on the road,” says Aaron Forth, Strava’s chief product officer.

(Check out 7 essential training tips for cyclists)

The recommendations, of course, come from Strava’s vast user base (the Denver/Boulder guide was based on more than 1.7 million activity uploads). Then, looking at the most popular routes and mid-activity stops, local experts develop content for runners’ and riders’ best options.

Routes can be printed or downloaded to your smartphone. For now, the Denver cycling guide looks far more flushed-out than the running routes (which currently lack photos and stop-off suggestions). Nevertheless, they’ve already become plenty popular. “Since launching in mid-May, Local has seen more than 1 million users access the city guides and, based in part on the adoption, we'll be expanding the platform soon in the U.S.,” says Forth.

(Want more running recommendations? Check out these 5 epic trail runs near Denver