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Strava extends footprint with indoor training expansion

Strava’s march toward digital cycling domination continued on Thursday as the San Francisco-based company announced an expansion into the world of indoor cycling.

The company’s most recent news, and its latest expansion, takes the form of a partnership with indoor training video brand The Sufferfest. With the move, Strava broadens its market even further. The partnership makes good sense, as Strava is already partnered with training device company Wahoo Fitness, maker of a Bluetooth-enabled heart rate monitor, and iPhone bike mounts. The motive is clear: to become a one-stop shop for all riding, inside and out.

Strava Premium members now have free access to three Sufferfest training videos on the service’s mobile apps, which normally cost anywhere from $6 to $15, through mobile devices. IOS users with Apple TV can stream the videos through their phones on larger screens, rather than being stuck staring little screens on their stems, à la Chris Froome. The videos, which we’ve reviewed in the past, are fantastically popular for both their entertainment value and difficulty.

It seems that an updated version of Strava is hitting the app stores every few weeks, and each new feature extends the brand’s tendrils further into the territory of its competition — or into areas few expected Strava to go at all.

Strava’s members can now create routes, choking off a primary advantage of competitors like Garmin Connect and MapMyFitness. The Route Builder is focused more on the journey than the destination, giving riders and runners the ability to search rides in an area based on the popularity of roads in a given area — a feature that Garmin and MapMyFitness can’t touch.

Premium users can evaluate and analyze their training, too, including power and heart rate data, digging into the data market dominated by TrainingPeaks, though Strava’s platform remains more simplistic and is likely to appeal to a slightly less data-driven crowd.

Where Strava is a bit behind other application powerhouses, most notably Nike, is in real time segment alerts. Strava Real Time Segment feature — again, available only to premium users —alerts users of their times on segments immediately after finishing, but running app Nike+ is capable of alerting runners when they are approaching personal records for specific distances, or even routes that the athlete frequents, providing the athlete with a bit more interaction and encouragement. It’s one of the few areas where Strava falls short of a direct competitor.