App of the Week: Strava Cycling

This week’s App allows cyclists to track their progress in terms of distance, speed—even against other users!

Strava Cycling’s GPS Biking and Riding App comes free of charge from iTunes (there is a premium upgrade option) and allows users a comprehensive overview of their rides—and the rides of their peers.

The App’s main feature is the GPS tracking, which allows users to track their distance, speed and time elapsed during each ride. The “Profile” option records your rides cumulatively and tracks your week, year-to-date and “all-time” stats in distance, longest ride, highest climb and other categories.

Perhaps the most interesting feature is the ability to follow other Strava users. You can track your progress against friends, potential competitors, even professional users. This feature is particularly useful in the “Challenges” feature, where the App generates different tasks for users to complete in a given amount of time.

For example, one current challenge is the Eddy Merckx World Championship Challenge. Between September 21 and October 13, Strava challenges users to bike 963 kilometers (approximately 600 miles)—which is the cumulative distance the legendary Merckx cycled in winning his four World road Championships.

A quick glance at the leaderboard allows you to see the cyclists who’ve come closest to reaching the coveted number, while a separate tab allows you to track your progress against that of your in-App friends who are also taking the challenge.

The “Explore” tab suggests local routes, paths or other popular cycling spots in your area. For example, the Philly LIVESTRONG 2012 route—encompassing 100 miles—is featured. Users can complete these challenges in a quest to become King (or Queen) of the Mountain—the top finisher in each gender. Or they can see how they stack up against riders in their age category.   

If you have used a fitness or health-related smartphone app you’d like to see featured, e-mail

Read more Sports Doc for Sports Medicine and Fitness.