One of the most requested Strava features has finally been added for Premium users — the ability to share your riding location in real time with your family and friends.
Strava Beacon lets you select up to three safety contacts within the record screen of the Strava app. They will then receive a text message with a unique URL when the activity begins. Once clicked, the URL sends your friends and family to an online map that shows your location in real time, as well as your remaining battery power.
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Strava Beacon vs. Garmin LiveTrack vs. MapMyRide
As with similar services like Garmin LiveTrack, your friends and family won’t need to be Strava users in order to use this safety feature, they'll just need a web browser. But unlike Garmin LiveTrack, they won’t be able to see your full ride data like speed, distance, elevation and any ANT+ sensor data like heart rate or power.
The bad news is that you’ll need to subscribe to Strava Premium to use the new Beacon feature, at a cost of £4/US$6 per month or £40/US$60 per year. For comparison, Garmin LiveTrack is available free to anyone using the Garmin Connect app, provided you’ve already bought a Garmin Edge or Forerunner device.
Another popular free app is MapMyRide, which also offers live tracking — but again, you’ll need to be a premium subscriber, costing US$6 per month or US$30 per year (UK and Australian pricing not available). And your selected safety contacts can’t see the full list of live data, like Garmin LiveTrack offers.
Safety features rank highest
Strava says the idea for the new Beacon feature came from its rider community. “We started by surveying our athletes to find out what types of features they would be most interested in and safety ranked highest,” said Rayleen Hsu, Director of Product Marketing.
A couple of important things to note: if an athlete using Strava Beacon enters an area with poor GPS or mobile coverage, location data might be delayed or inaccurate. The feature won’t work in airplane mode or if you don’t allow Strava to share your phone’s location. Finally, Strava says it does not guarantee Beacon accuracy — though the same can be said for all live tracking services.
Finally, the proliferation of live tracking services could curtail your ability to say, "I'm just popping out for a short spin." No longer will we be able to say we got "lost", "stuck in traffic" or any other excuses we may or may not use for staying out riding a little longer. You have been warned…
Beacon is available now for Strava Premium members with Strava v4.22.00 or later. Download Strava for iOS or Android and upgrade to Strava Premium. To learn more visit www.strava.com.