The numbers are in: Triathletes ride faster than everyone else.
Unless you’ve been living under a rock (or some area where Strava’s invisible digital tentacles don’t reach), you’ve at least heard of the online service that collects your fastest times over specific courses and parses them into either a personal or global high scoreboard. Sort of like Pac-Man for endurance nerds—where instead of eating ghosts and Pac-Dots, you’re gobbling up elevation and/or watts. As they’ve done in recent years, Strava has released a stat nerd’s treasure trove of facts and figures telling us how much (or how little) riding, running, and (now) other stuff we record into their virtual repository. Let’s see how 2019 Strava stats turned out:
How Many Users Used Strava in 2019?
Strava says that they’ve collected data in 195 countries for 33 sports and are growing at a rate of 1 million users per month. Strava also claims to have 48 million users and half of the Tour de France peloton. For perspective, popular virtual training environment Zwift claimed 1 million users in December of last year (though that figure could have easily grown by nearly double since then) and one-third of the TdF peloton. In other words, we may like to ride inside, but we LOVE to measure ourselves.
Indoor Riding is On the Rise
While we’re on virtual training, Strava’s numbers (Zwift notoriously doesn’t like to release a ton of info) show a humongous spike in indoor training. Bear in mind, this also can account for the rise in popularity of indoor cycling behemoth Peloton and other outdoor-negative activities:
Indoor training activities on Strava have tripled in three years, with roughly 15 percent of Strava cycling activities happening inside in the month of January. Even more surprisingly, nearly 5 percent of rides inside happen in July, up from almost nothing in 2015. Bear in mind, we should also account for the fact that more people are now recording their indoor Strava activities than in years past.
More Athletes are Doing More than One Sport
While Strava hasn’t presented any data on triathletes specifically, the future looks good for multisporters in general, as the amount of Strava athletes who upload over 95-percent of their activities in only one sport has been in the decline. In other words, single-sporters are becoming more and more rare!
Polar and Garmin Computers Reign Supreme
Strava collects data on how their data is uploaded (which is arguably more accurate than the above data on gear, which is user-submitted), and they’ve found that the fastest growing smartwatch for their users is one of our favorites, the Polar Vantage M. Strava cyclists seem to love the Garmin Edge 530, while Strava users overall seems to prefer the workout app Aaptiv—with both making the biggest gains over last year.
Triathletes Are the Fastest Riders
Triathletes should feel super proud about who rides fastest, as Strava found that the user-inputted bikes with the fastest average rides were ALL tri-focused bikes. (Yeah, a few speedy time trialists could have snuck in there, but let’s be real here.) Canyon’s Speedmax topped the list, followed by the Cervelo P5, and the Giant Trinity.
Carbon Shoes are King
Strava collects info on user-inputted gear, and has found that Hoka’s new Carbon X is one of the fastest growing pairs of user-submitted running shoes, while (as we pretty much knew) Nike’s Zoom Vaporfly 4% was the most popular shoe inputted by Strava users at the 2019 Boston Marathon.
It’s no surprise that the rise in carbon-soled shoes from Nike produced the top two fastest types of shoes, with the Nike ZoomX Vaporfly Next% and the Zoom Vaporfly 4% taking the two top speedy spots, respectively.
Athletes are Early Birds
Strava’s been collecting some very interesting data about when we trained in 2019:
The majority of group rides and runs (yes, Strava has figured out when you’re riding in a group) start at 5 a.m. local time. The majority of individual rides begin at 8 a.m., while runners like to get up earlier and start at 6 a.m.
We Like to Celebrate New Year’s
Strava has also presented info on what makes us not want to train. Both runners and cyclists will start an hour or two later on Jan. 1 than normal (about the amount of time it takes to defog that head, approximately), and this year’s “polar vortex” in North America in January and February made people stay inside roughly between 45-77 percent more for running and 53-77 percent more for cycling.
All statistics and infographics courtesy of Strava.