Saying no to the little orange square: Why I’ve stopped using Strava

As I mentioned in a previous post, I’ve been a wee bit injured of late. Sadly, this has led to less riding than I would have hoped for over the summer months. And when I did get back on the bike, I wasn’t able to push myself as hard as I normally would.

To help with the healing process, I decided not to turn on Strava for my first few post-injury rides. You might question what Strava has to do with the healing process, but in my mind it’s simple: when I use Strava I put extra, often subconscious, pressure on myself to ride ‘better’ than I did last time. And by better, naturally I mean faster, despite that not really being my style! While I’m not a competitive person when it comes to comparing my performance with other people, I absolutely am competitive with myself. Or maybe it’s more that I’m judgemental of myself. Either way, that extra pressure was something I could do without when I was attempting my first tentative pedal strokes and careful descents over rocks and roots. The last thing I wanted was to go out too hard, fall off and put myself back at square one.

So on my first mountain bike ride after a couple of months off, I didn’t take out my phone and press the little orange square that, to me, symbolises competition and judgement. Instead I tucked my phone away, laced up my shoes and just started riding. And you know what? I blooming loved it! I loved enjoying the ride for what it was – an opportunity to be out in the fresh air, working my body (not too hard, I promise!) and really seeing this wonderful planet that we live on.

And when I got home, I didn’t rush to take a look at the stats on my phone, but simply hopped in the shower and enjoyed the feeling of the warm water soothing my aching muscles. It was a revelation! There was no post-ride analysis, no wishing that I had just put a little bit more effort in on that climb, or taken a better line in that corner. There was just the beautiful happiness that comes from knowing I’d enjoyed a brilliant ride.

So, for now at least, I have decided to delete the app from my phone and to just get out there and ride. I am not a racer, it doesn’t matter how fast or slow I ride, I just want to be on my bike, enjoying the rush of endorphins each and every ride gives me. 

Stopping to enjoy the view and ‘just be’ in the Pyrenees


2 thoughts on “Saying no to the little orange square: Why I’ve stopped using Strava

  1. Allysse Riordan says:

    Yay for turning off Strava =D

    I used to have an odometre on my bike and it made me obsess with my speed. When it broke I had the exact same feeling as you describe. It was a revelation not to worry about speed and numbers. I have not bought any new odometre or anything like that since and I probably never will. There is more freedom and enjoyment to be had when you are just riding rather than racing (unless racing is something you love obviously).

  2. Karen @ CycleSprog says:

    Hi Emma – I used to do Triathlons and when I started I really enjoyed them. I then found I was focusing so much on trying to get an improved PB, or performing better against my training partners that they were no longer fun and I wasn’t enjoying the training any more. I decided about 5 years ago to give them up, and now I cycle purely for pleasure and I’m loving it. I’ve avoided using Strava thus far as a result. That said I’m finally starting to long for a bit of a challenge again, so will be interesting to see what happens if I venture back into that world! I’m wiser now and will try to make sure I’m enjoying what ever I do. Great blog, thanks for sharing Karen

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