Last week, Strava announced the addition of routes to their latest mobile application update, a feature I wish I would have had for my Germany trip last week. Now you can import routes from the website to your phone app for easy navigation during running and biking activities, particularly useful when exploring new places or you become bored with your regular routine.
With this new feature, Strava appears to be taking Garmin, Magellan, and other bike computer makers head-on by offering route following functionality. The only thing missing in Strava at the moment is turn-by-turn directions, but I can see them getting there eventually.
Online in Strava, you can either create your own route, search for routes by place, or simply star a route from someone you follow to ride later. The Route Builder uses real athlete data to recommend the best roads and trails in a particular area, ones ridden often by other Strava members.
Once out on the course, if you happen to be hit with bad weather or simply had enough, Strava will calculate the quickest route back to your starting point.
The routes feature will be extremely useful for group, charity, or vacation rides going forward. A couple of friends did a charity ride in Napa over the weekend and completely got lost, as they were only handed paper directions. I am sure everyone on the ride was recording it on Strava, so could easily have followed the route from their phone.
Next time I travel somewhere, I look forward to finding the best routes in the area and following along from my phone. Judging by the amount of times I got lost on my mountain bike in Germany, this new feature will be extremely helpful.