The short answer is no, not unless you happen to be using a smartwatch or exporting data from certain bike models. Strava is great for tracking outdoor cycling and running because it uses GPS data. If you’re using a stationary bike or treadmill, however, then there is simply no GPS data to use and your workout can’t be tracked without manually putting your statistics into their website later.
What is Strava?
Strava is a free app designed to track and analyze cycling and running activity while also focusing on creating a motivational community of athletes. They utilize leaderboards and chat features to talk to and train with other athletes. Available for iOS, Android, and web browsers, Strava already has over fifty million users and continues to grow by the day.
Strava works with smart devices and tracks athletic performance statistics to give users a better picture of their athleticism. Users can then review data and compare athletic goals and previous accomplishments.
While Strava can read performance statistics from smartphones (Android and iOS,) GPS watches, heart rate monitors, head units, and power meters once the data is uploaded, the Strava app can only connect and display statistics from Bluetooth heart rate monitors.
Why Can’t Strava Track Indoor Cycling?
The short answer is simply because Strava tracks outdoor cycling and running using GPS data or a third-party GPS computer. If someone is running or cycling indoors, they will be in the same position for an entire workout, making the GPS tracking system useless in this case.
When cyclists ride outdoors, GPS reports their positioning, current speed, and ride time using a GPS satellite constellation. Using this collected information, Strava tracks a cyclist’s pace, distance, elevation gain, moving time, heart rate, calories, run splits, and heart rate. How wonderful, right? This tracking is easy enough to do on an outdoor ride, but Strava can’t track these statistics when the stationary bike shows no movement on the GPS.
While you won’t have your cycling statistics available immediately after a run, you could pull out the old pen and paper, write down your stats from the bike you were on, and later import those into the Strava website. Yes, recording an indoor ride with Strava requires that users manually record activity through the Strava website.
Compatible Devices for Strava and Indoor Workouts
If you are lucky enough to go to a gym where they use the following stationary bikes, or if you happen to own one of these stationary bikes yourself, then there is an easier way to track your indoor bike rides.
Exporting Data From a Compatible Device
Depending on the stationary bicycle you are riding, you may be able to export data directly to Strava. Stationary bikes that are compatible with Strava include:
- Peloton Bike
- Echelon Smart Cycle
Exporting data from a compatible device can sometimes be tedious because of the steps required to set up a connection between the compatible device and Strava. In most instances, however, setting up a device connection is simply a matter of signing into and linking two accounts and approving data sharing.
Limitations of Data Exporting
There are limitations to data exporting even when using bikes and apps compatible with Strava. A Strava compatible app or compatible device can only export data that it records. For example, an app that records pace, distance, heart rate, calories, and heart rate, but does not record elevation gain, moving time, or run splits obviously will not transfer that information into Strava.
Cadence Can Track Indoor Cycling!
Imagine, you’ve just finished your indoor cycling workout. There’s a towel drenched with sweat hanging from your handlebars. You open Strava on your phone, and you realize that none of your workout was tracked. Oh no! You’re devastated. All that hard work, and nothing to show for it! Why is this you think to yourself? Have you been cursed by some supernatural being? No, you indeed have not been cursed. You simply realize that while Strava can track your outdoor workouts, it has let your indoor-cyclist-self down.
Have no fear though! You’ve heard of a similar app, Cadence. Cadence doesn’t just specialize in outdoor workouts; it was built with indoor cyclists and runners in mind from the start.
Now, while not having your cycling statistics tracked isn’t quite as dramatic as the previous scenario makes it seem, many people want to record their workouts. Whether this is because they want to see improvement over time, or because they just feel good about themselves after accomplishing a certain statistic, cyclists want this; And there’s a whole segment of the population that prefers to cycle indoors. Why should they be left out?
Cadence is here and ready to track BOTH your indoor and outdoor bike rides and runs. Cadence is a free, thoughtfully designed, fully-featured, and completely customizable running and cycling app for iPhone, Apple Watch, and Android. Cadence is easy enough for someone on their first run and powerful enough for professional cyclists. No account or purchase is required, just launch and record your activity. Get all the features of a dedicated device for free!
Not only is Cadence free, but Cadence is also a great alternative to the Strava running and cycling app, especially if you’re an indoor runner or cyclist. Cadence allows users to choose from over 100 data points, including speed, ascent, cadence, heart rate, power, zones, calories, averages, lap averages, heading, sunset, and so many more. Cadence also offers users full feature access without paying premium subscription fees and is compatible with iOS, Apple Watch, and Android.
How does Cadence manage to do this? The Cadence app uses Bluetooth sensors to track cadence, distance, and speed and is better suited to indoor cyclists and allows users to create custom statistic layouts for easier tracking while cycling. Cadence supports connecting to all standard Bluetooth BLE heart rate, speed, cadence, and power meter sensors.
While Strava is well-suited for outdoor cyclists and cyclists motivated by connecting with their community, Cadence seems to be the best app for tracking both outdoor and indoor cycling. Indoor athletes are showing an increased interest in apps like Cadence that support both outdoor and indoor athletics without the need for manual data input or purchasing expensive exercise equipment. With simply a gym membership or any access to a stationary bike, you can have all the features of a dedicated tracking device for free.