A break up letter to... Strava

It's not you, it's me. But, some of it is you.

Cyclist looks at phone in front of lovely view
(Image credit: Getty Images)

This article is part of a series called ‘A love letter to…’ where Cycling Weekly writers (usually) pour praise on their favourite cycling items and share the personal connection they have with them. In this case, our editor decided to take a more cynical stance, though if we're being pedantic, this is 'A breakup letter to ride sharing on Strava', as opposed to Strava in its entirety. 

It's not you, it's me.

It's that swapping 10 hour 'recovery weeks' and thrice weekly racing with pre-dawn Crossfit workouts and snatched hours pedalling indoors has shifted the goalposts of my fitness expectations, somewhat.

It's that the rides I do squeeze in are rare as hen's teeth and as jagged in their profile whilst I seek quiet, unthreatening roads and mental recovery from the never-ending to-do of 'the juggle'. It's that, even before we grew the former, I knew my capacity stopped at two out of three in the trinity of family, work, and bike racing.

It's that I'm within the 73% of female journalists who have experienced violence on the internet - so - why would I choose to share the intricate patterns of my whereabouts with that same internet, all for the dopamine hit of a tango coloured thumbs up from a stranger?

It's not you, it's them.

It's the 'endurance paced' social rides, where the reward of old - memories made with friends and a bowl of chips at a hostel - has been replaced by average speed chasing 'bun runs' and the crown of a segment race only three people present are competing for and only five are aware actually exists. It's the voice in the back of my head that says 'you only care because you won't win', whilst the voice I want to hear peers wordlessly into the distance and admires the view I never stop to truly appreciate. 

It's a marshal standing on the corner of a popular segment, warning of traffic, for a one person race against a computer game; it's thinking that at least that one person race is taking place outside. 

It's the 'Zone Two Ride with the Missus', apparently impossible to upload without stamping the slower party's presence on the title, because heaven forbid you make public an activity below the accepted threshold of performance. It's that I know I am equally guilty. 

It's not me, it's you. 

It's the Heatmap, the Flyby, the Direct Messages: the stream of new features which, whilst all adjustable in privacy settings, all require me to opt out, until I finally hit the 'make all rides, past and present, private' button. 

It's the 'Suffer Score', where the recollection I'd like to hang on to is of the sight of the clouds below at the highest point, the hilarity of exhaustion shared with friends and the feeling of accomplishment, not some first world, type two battle to hurt more, when the reality is that not many of us on our multi thousand pound bikes transferring data to a mobile phone app can claim a Suffer Score above the 'fortunate' line in the sand of prosperity. 

It's not you, it's me. 

It's that I want rides with friends to be opportunities for connection, not fodder to be shared with 'connections'. 

It's that the social media world is far too bloated with opportunity to curate an imagined past and future, that on my bike, I only want to live in the present. 

It's that I'm ready to exit the constant obsession with 'faster'.

It's that my world view isn't what it used to be. It's that when I ride, I want to truly absorb my view of the world. 

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