Strava: Where’s My Leaderboard?

By June 5, 2020June 7th, 2020Cycling Club News

There’s a lot of chatter about Strava this week. If you haven’t checked your standing on a segment this week … you might be surprised to learn all those segment leader boards are behind the paywall now. You can see the top 10, but little else.

The co-founders have posted about it. They explain their reasoning. The route builder is also behind the paywall now. You may not build your own routes online. You not use Strava for that. Many of use RideWithGPS for that.

I had not bought the premium version of Strava because I thought it was just for tracking my goals and plans. I have plenty of other apps for that … why did I need one more? Plus I thought it was $15/month. One. More. Paid. App.

It’s hard to take back what was once free.

I read the note from the Strava co-founders. Then I read an editorial by the Editor of CyclingTips … and you know, he had a point. I’ve worked in digital since 1998. Digital is hard. It’s long hours. It’s lots of trial and lots of error. It’s not just cool kids in black hoodies. You know why they are pasty white? Because they work 80 hours a week trying to figure out how to make that app work … every time you use it. Maybe trying something over and over, dozens of times with slight variations. They work in the dark. No lie … many of us prefer dark rooms, with our monitors and backlit keyboards.

Anyway … the free part of Strava was nice. But it didn’t pay the bills. Strava is not yet a profitable company.

If you want to break even or maybe in a glorious world – make a profit – you have a couple of options. You charge for your service, you sell ads, or you have stock holders. The first option means you answer to the users. The second two mean you answer to people who do not use your service or product. Strava has decided it’s better to answer to the users.

They have taken the time during this pandemic (when ad revenue dried up), to cross a whole bunch of items off the “to-do” list for software updates and upgrades. This is good. It’s better for us users.

Now they need to pay the bills. That’s only fair … and you know what? It’s cheap. When we all pitch in, it’s less for each of us.

$5/month

If you pay for the whole year, it’s $60 right now … only $5 each month. For better software. For a better experience. For a better company.

I paid my $60 today. I can afford that to see that my PR on “GMR Stop Sign to Baldy Village” is #5949 on the All-Time leaderboard.