Strava != Unfiltered?

August 23, 2017

Today I came across a (new?) marketing campaign video from Strava. You can watch the video below this post. Now, I didn’t write this blog to tell you about Strava’s marketing, but because it made me stop and think for a little bit. I have just gone for a ride, and as a matter of fact I’m writing this still wearing my cycling bibs and enjoying my post-ride electrolytes.

So if you haven’t watched the video, or don’t want to, here’s the short version: the video shows how Strava is ‘unfiltered’. How it is ‘the most honest version of you’ that people can find on the internet. Your Strava profile includes victories, PRs, KOMs, but also failures, growth, and lack thereof. No filters, no curators, no egos, no regrets, blah blah.

But is it true?

That’s the big question. Honestly, I’ve seen some pretty neatly cultivated Strava profiles, complete with high quality pictures from each ride, and if we are to believe those Strava profiles, we are looking at some pretty badass cyclists, who never have a bad day or a flat tyre. Even days with less than stellar weather are rare. Obviously those profiles aren’t that unfiltered.

So what about my Strava profile then? Well, my activities (all of them!) automatically upload whenever I finish them (Zwift) or whenever I get home (all the other rides). I never ride outside without my Wahoo ELEMNT, and I never care to terminate my WiFi before I get home, so even if I were to consider not uploading a very shitty ride, it is going to be on Strava before I can stop it. And really, I don’t care. I use Strava to track my progress (or lack thereof), so not uploading shitty rides because I’m ashamed of them only means I’m cheating myself. And that would be stupid, for many reasons.

I don’t care if people can see that today wasn’t my best ride ever (only 30km and I got some nasty cramps halfway). I do care that my Strava data is honest. In fact, it was my Strava data that brought some health issues to my attention in the beginning of this year, even before I noticed any issues myself. Being able to share that (realistic, unfiltered) data with my general practitioner made it a bit easier to get to the bottom of my health issues. Fortunately, I’m feeling a lot better now, and I have the Strava data to prove it ;-)

So, to put it in the words of Strava’s marketing campaign: my Strava profile is the most honest version of me you’ll find online. Kind of.