Strava Year in Sport 2021 report | 38% increase in activities with 1.8 billion uploads

Strava sees 20 billion miles covered and 2 million new users join per month

The end of the year is often a time of reflection, and for Strava this means delving into its masses of data, revealing the habits of many of the world’s cyclists, runners, swimmers and yogis.

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Strava’s Year in Sport reveals there were 1.8  billion activities uploaded to the cycling app in 2021, marking a 38 per cent increase when compared to 2020.

This confirms what many suspected: that Strava would only grow in popularity following its spike in use in 2020, where the number of uploaded activities nearly doubled compared to 2019.

95 million users

Group of cyclists riding in winter
Strava now boasts 95 million users worldwide.
Robert Smith / Immediate Media

The increase in activities, which saw 37 million uploads per week, can be in part explained by an increased number of users.

Last year, it was reported Strava had 72 million users, but this figure has now increased to 95 million across 195 countries, with 17 per cent of the UK population using the app.

Strava says it welcomed 2 million new people per month to its user base, which collectively logged more than 20 billion miles – or just over 32 billion kilometres – this year.

Strava’s Year in Sport 2020 report revealed women drove the uptick in Strava’s usage. Activities by women aged between 18 and 29 increased by 45 per cent globally, and 108 per cent in the UK.

Unfortunately, this year’s report omits statistics on whether this trend has continued. However, it does focus on how users who record multiple activity types persist in using the app, which can be read against Strava pushing different activity types earlier this year.

Strava Year in Sport 2021 key statistics 

  • Over 95 million total athletes
  • About 2 million new athletes join every month
  • 1.8 billion activity uploads in the last 12 months
  • 20 billion miles covered
  • 189,000 new clubs started 
  • 9.6 billion kudos given 

Increase in walking and cycling

The report states cyclists and runners who use the app to record walks are 16 per cent more likely to be active in six months.

Overall, 17 per cent of cyclists use Strava to record walks. This is broken down into 32 per cent of female athletes and 14 per cent of male athletes.

According to Strava, outdoor walking has increased 2.0x this year. For comparison, outdoor cycling has increased 1.2x.

Indoor activities recorded on the app have increased too, with Strava saying there has been a huge spike in yoga.

Strava’s co-founder Michael Horvath says the app’s improved interface, privacy and free Strava Beacon for non-subscribers also led to increased usage of the app.

Clubs and challenges

Strava says how people are engaging with the app has changed, with club membership growing by 37 per cent and 189,000 new clubs starting.

There is four times the amount of challenge participation compared to 2019, with 26.1 million British athletes joining challenges over the last year.

Strava can be seen to have become a more social and sharing platform, too. It saw 9.6 billion units of kudos given on activities, and the number of activities with photographs increased by 58 per cent. That’s 604.2 million photos uploaded.

Strava Year in Sport 2021 cycling statistics

  • Total distance cycled globally: 16 billion km
  • Total distance cycled in the UK: 1.4 billion km
  • Total elevation in the UK: 13.1 billion m
  • Average distance per ride in the UK: 20.9km 
  • Average ride duration in the UK: 1:00:14

How do British cyclists compare to the rest of the world?

Strava has reported a total distance cycled globally of 16 billion kilometres, of which cyclists in the UK have cycled 1.4 billion kilometres.

The average ride distance globally was 1:17:59, but the UK lagged behind, clocking an average ride duration of 1:00:14.

Cyclists in the UK also clocked an average ride distance of 20.9km compared to the global average of 26.3km.

Change in the weather

Man using his indoor bike turbo trainer at home
Indoor training, perhaps unsurprisingly, saw an increase in popularity during adverse weather.
Justin Paget / Immediate Media

Strava has also used its data to reveal how climate change has affected athletes, focusing on how the activity has changed in the face of extreme weather patterns.

Flooding in Nagano, Japan, in August, led to a 61 per cent decrease in outdoor activity and heavy snow from Storm Filomena led to a 69 per cent decrease in outdoor activity in Madrid, Spain.

The flipside to this is an increase in other forms of workout, with Strava stating indoor activity increased by 55 per cent in Nagano and Madrid during these weather events.

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In the UK, Storm Christoph in January led to a 32 per cent decrease in outdoor activity.