It’s that time of year when, as the rain drips down outdoors, you get messages from Strava in your email inbox urging you to “finish strong”. But according to Strava’s own stats, we already have, with over 1.1 billion activities uploaded in 2020 – nearly double the number recorded in 2019.
Much of the increase is down to women recording more active time on Strava, with a doubling of cycling activities logged by women in the UK and Ireland.
Talking to The Guardian, Simon Klima, director of international marketing at Strava said: “We’ve seen a real boost from women in terms of overall activity levels during the pandemic year.
“There could be several reasons for that but in the past, our research has found that one of the biggest blocks for women to cycling is a perceived safety risk. But during the pandemic women perhaps felt safer to take to their bicycles, thanks to some temporary infrastructure improvements and quieter roads”.
Key 2020 Strava stats
- Total distance cycled globally: 13-billion kilometres
- Total distance cycled UK/IRL: 1.5-billion kilometres
- Total elevation UK/IRL: 13.6-billion metres
- Average distance per ride UK/IRL: 20.2 kilometres
- Average ride duration UK: 1:00:36
- UK/IRL Strava users: 9-million
Total activity duration has increased in line with the increase in numbers of activities logged, with Strava finding a 14 per cent increase in time logged in 2020.
Klima told The Guardian that working from home might be a big driver of this, with people having more time for activity and spending less time commuting during the year.
- Activities recorded globally by women aged 18-29: ＋45%
- Activities recorded in the UK by women aged 18-29: ＋108%
- Activities recorded globally by women in other age categories: ＋25%
- Activities recorded in the UK by women in other age categories: ＋52% to ＋65%
- All activities recorded by men: ＋10%
- Activities recorded in the UK by men aged 18-29: ＋92%
- Average activity duration: ＋14.7%
- Number of QOMs changing hands: ＋36%
- Number of KOMs changing hands: ＋32%
Strava users in the UK were also more active during the coronavirus lockdown in the spring than those in other countries. That’s probably down to people in the UK being allowed to exercise outdoors, whereas users in France, Spain and Italy were under strict stay at home orders between March and May.
There was an 80 per cent increase in outdoor rides and a 70 per cent increase in indoor rides recorded globally on Strava between April and June 2020 relative to the same period in 2019.
There was a big increase in Everesting rides in 2020 and Strava found an increase in QOMs and KOMs changing hands this year too. And many cyclists took to other activities such as running, working out indoors or just a good walk during the same period.
Will the trend continue in 2021? With predictions that the pandemic has kick-started a big shift away from offices to working from home, it’s likely that people will continue to have extra time for exercise and the desire to get out of the front door, regardless of the weather.