As a relatively slow cyclist, I use Strava for two reasons: as a social platform to share the pain I subject myself to, and to get motivated by what others are doing to create personal suffering for themselves. If I were faster, or more focused, or more competitive (that’s a lie, I’m competitive, just not “competitive”, because relatively slow) maybe I’d be willing to pay to see how slow I am in comparison to everyone else that rode the same roads that I did. And, frankly, it’s not even that bad where I live. It’s completely realistic for someone with the necessary motivation, and wind conditions, to get on a leaderboard for most segments. But, if I lived somewhere, like the center of the cycling universe (aka Boulder, CO), where the leaderboards are dominated by pros. There’s no way I’d end up in the top 10 on any given day; unless only nine cyclists went out that day.
All that said, I do like the segments. They are a nice bit of fun that makes Strava more engaging as a platform. Back when group rides were a thing, it was cool to see who won the sprint that day. But segments aren’t really that special, a special sauce. Unless they have a patent, or other nonsense, around segments Strava doesn’t really offer anything that anyone with access to Github and OpenMaps couldn’t build themselves given the motivation and time. Until now, there really wasn’t any reason to do that, but now that it’s a monetizable thing, it’s a glowing opportunity. Personally, I think the right price is probably around $20/year. Not the $60 that Strava will be extorting soon.
Segments are Strava’s differentiating feature. While many fitness trackers allow users to upload GPS files of their workouts, and offer various basic analytics, Strava has long had a competitive element where users are ranked by time on Segments, sections of road or trail demarcated by users.
The Segment Leaderboards showcase every user’s time for each Segment, and can be broken down by gender, age, and weight.
As of today, May 18, competing on Segments and analyzing them with Segment Leaderboards require a $5 monthly subscription.