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Strava cuts off Relive (dcrainmaker.com)
413 points by tomverhoeff 6 days ago | hide | past | web | favorite | 158 comments





I’ve personally suffered the same fate as Relive with Strava cutting off access to their API for a side project of mine [1]. They gave me twenty minutes notice via email before disabling access and effectively killing my app.

Ostensibly the reason was due to competing with a feature that Strava intend to build themselves (“thanks for proving the demand”). This was back in March, I’ve since been informed that access won’t ever be reinstated so have open sourced the code [2].

Lesson learnt, don’t depend entirely on third party APIs.

[1] https://segmentchallenge.com/

[2] https://github.com/slashdotdash/segment-challenge


I think it's a bit more nuanced than just "don't depend entirely on third party APIs," rather make sure that your API provider benefits from your use of their services expanding. [1] Issues only arise when your success comes at the expense of the API provider, whether thats by poaching a potential audience or otherwise.

[1] https://mkwng.substack.com/p/whose-problem-is-this


In over 3 decades of software development, every single app that I wrote which depends exclusively on a third party API or data set has eventually (and suddenly) died a horrible death when the vendor decided to (a) shut down external access (b) change their API significantly without warning, or (c - more commonly) build it within their app themselves after seeing the demand and traction my 3rd party apps were getting.

I still develop optional 3rd party add ons for other vendors, but I will never ever again rely on a single vendor 'lock in' with any of my apps.


And because you can never know what your API provider wants to expand into next, you effectively shouldn't rely on third party APIs. Strava could very well see that some product using their API is doing well and decide to fill the same niche themselves. Once Strava's product is up and running they can just kill off access to the other one.

Exactly. Just look at the numerous twitter apps that are no longer around but we’re very useful to twitter at the time.

Is providing the service to the API providers competitors not somewhat creating a bit of defense in this situation? If every app can do it through a partner which is focused on that feature, is there a real benefit to the app building their own solution?

I think this is Relive's misstep, though time will tell. They have all of the major apps as part of their API now, but they've also started directly competing with these app, giving the app creators an incentive to compete right back.

I do have a dog in this fight as the founder of https://ayvri.com which creates interactive 3D videos, used for sports and other domains.


It gives the API provider the opportunity to let others take the risk and build a market for a potential feature. Then if the market is there they just cut access to the API for the others and and build that feature into their own app. This way the API provider always reaps the benefits and pushes back any app before they start to compete directly.

And while less developers will be incentivized to use the API seeing this behavior, very few can actually afford to launch a proper competitor. So plenty will continue do develop with this philosophy in mind, knowing that if it's successful they will be cut off but hoping they make enough and then just pivot to the next thing.


It does give them the right to exclude them. The problem is that others will see that and be less willing to write software based on your API. If this is a pervasive thing in the industry then everyone will only want to roll their own services.

> Lesson learnt, don’t depend entirely on third party APIs.

What's funny is that Relive doesn't have to depend on Strava. When I knew about the service months ago I signed up expecting to be able to upload a GPX file and get a video back. But no, they want to get those files via Strava (or other cloud services) so I closed my account.

I understand that 1) it removes a lot of friction, 2) it's what the users of Strava are used to and 3) they can get all those juicy data instead of a few files. However it's risky and Strava eventually cut them off.

I wonder if they'll implement a file upload, just live with the other services, or close the business.


Relive actually does support GPX upload and touts it as a way to still integrate with Strava, albeit by manually downloading the gpx from strava and uploading to relive: https://support.relive.cc/article/18-import-old-activity

Good to know because I don't want to have an account on Strava or similar services. I didn't notice that import functionality when I created my account, only the prompts to connect to third-party services. I'll create a new account and check it out.

The "my data" vs "strava data" is probably the reason why they've left this bug in Apple Health syncing unresolved for years, despite there being good facilities for de-duping workouts in HealthKit.

https://support.strava.com/hc/en-us/articles/206393444-Dupli...

By de-prioritizing the use of Apple Health as a central store for all your personal fitness data, it makes Strava the one place for all your workouts and allows them to dictate how its used.

Now, I record all my Workout data in Apple Workouts with an Apple Watch, then sync them to other platforms using this fantastic little app to export the data in any way I want.

https://apps.apple.com/us/app/healthfit/id1202650514


+1 for healthfit. So glad I discovered it! I do exactly the same as you. I bar any other fitness apps from writing data directly to Apple Health (but allow them to read), with the exception of my Withings scales that are allowed to only write weight data.

Apple Health has really come into its own as of late, and I'm pleased for it to be my central health-oriented repo. It's so so pretty in iOS 13 too.


I have tried both RunGap and HealthFit. RunGap seems better with more integrations. Including a way to sync to iCloud.

Just looked both of them up, looks like HealthFit also has automatic iCloud uploads.

Also Healthfit is $3 one-time while RunGap is a yearly subscription of $8 per year.


That was my impression as well. Strava willfully ignored their buggy integration with HealthKit, blaming Apple etc. I received countless duplicate workouts in my HealthKit. I emailed them dozens of times...

Ended up cancelling my Pro subscription with Strava and just started using the Apple Watch workout app. It's awesome.


Wow, I never understood why this was so buggy. I regularly have to delete duplicates when using Strava. That is so annoying. I’m done with Strava.

Thanks for this! I usually just use the workout app but sometimes use runkeeper for some additional stats (mainly when biking/running with my gf). I was considering looking at Strava since all my bike friends use it...but you've told me what I need to know.

It's such a drag how far Strava has fallen. 7 years ago I thought they were a stellar example of how tech can be helpful and innovative in simple but meaningful ways. Now nothing of interest has happened in several years and what has been added almost takes away from what was good in some ways.

I think Strava was a passion project for some people working there a decade ago, but I suspect they're long gone and the people there now have much different objectives and leadership.

I think I'll delete my account. Does anyone know of an up and coming alternative? This space seems to be loaded with great apps that kinda lost steam and fell into decline.


Recommending an alternative is not so easy, it really depends on how you've been using Strava.

Have you been running, cycling, triathloning...? Did you use it for route creation and discovery? For data analysis to support your training? Just for keeping track of your own activities? For segment leaderboards and KOMs?

If you're talking about cycling: I'd say MapMyRide or Komoot for routes; TrainerRoad or TrainingPeaks for analysis and training support; Garmin Connect for tracking rides, and I myself just decided to give Velo Hero a try (I find Connect to be very confusing). Segments and KOMs was Strava's only real USP because of the network effect and the wealth of data they had.

(Look, I'm already talking about them in past tense...)

This is all made a bit harder since Tapiriik, the file syncing tool, was disconnected from both Strava and Garmin Connect, for reasons I do not know.

At least Strava provides a way to export all your data in bulk (which now also includes power data for cycling).


I've been doing a lot of route creation with Caltopo [0] these days, as it rivals Strava's own tool (except, sigh: for the Heatmap feature). If you want passion projects, that's it. Good import/export support as well. I can make an entire guidebook sans the narrative with it, basically (and do!) [1][2]

[0] https://caltopo.com/map.html

[1] https://justinsimoni.com/routes/backpacking-sawatch-14ers/

[2] https://justinsimoni.com/2018/11/10/how-to-access-every-14er...


I'm disappointed to hear Tapiriik isn't working with Garmin Connect! Is there somebody at Garmin I can yell at? I loved having my data backed up.

While I agree there have been no real features added for a long time, and there are significant gaps, it would be really difficult for me to leave Strava at this point. As a trail runner, all of my running friends are there and it is the only social network I use each day. I use it for daily motivation, route finding, comparison, running log and workout analysis. Most importantly, it has enabled me to connect with dozens of other runners in real life who I never would have met and run with.

Why does it need to have new things of interest? Strava works perfectly. I love that it hasn't significantly changed its model in constant search of squeezing out profits.

Strava is a horrible implementation that has done basically nothing for core functionality in several years. I'm tempted daily to make an alternative and just give it away for free, maybe ad supported. The cost to operate the features they currently have can't be bad -- there are dozens of videogame stats website that do essentially the same thing, with more data.

* It's pretty ridiculous that I can see others 12-week history, and even my own on the website or iOS, but I need Strava Premium to see my own on Android.

* No bulk updating

* Very unsatisfactory implementation of gear. Essentially nonexistent on mobile.

* Their postprocessing of routes for estimations are always way off

* I commute every day via bike, and track it on strava. I tag is as "Commute", and I expect that strava would do something to filter it so my friends don't see all those every day. They don't do anything with that extra metadata.

Hell, even Lance Armstrong abandon ship


The commute tag is totally bizarre. It's been there for ages and doesn't do the only thing it needs to do. I do not get what they are up to.

> Hell, even Lance Armstrong abandon ship

Well, to be far, I'm not sure if what Lance Armstrong does should be used to gauge what other people should do :)


The feed is terrible. No filtering, not ordered chronologically (which is incomprehensible to me, since instead of seeing activities as they happen, I see 5 of my buddy's activities all jammed into one batch). Challenges pollute the feed. Sponsored activities ("Tom ran with a Suunto!") are incredibly annoying. No way to disable "friend" recommendations, even people I've unfriended. And almost zero new features added since I joined. It's only marketing for Summit, at this point.

The activities on the feed are ordered by upload time rather than the activity time. Your friends are probably syncing several days of data from their watches in one drop.

It looks like they toned down the sponsored activities, rather than a brightly colored bar it's now a more subtle black on white (at least that's how it is on the website today).


I mean, one thing it could have is generating videos of your ride that integrate photos and video you take.

Strava is already contributing to the genre of pointless personalized videos, fortunately they limited themselves to end-of-year statistics so far.

I use ridewithgps.com. The managing & editing of tracks & routes has always suited my needs. I think they offer some of the more social-networky features too, but I don't use them and can't comment. I should also say, I've never used Strava so I don't know exactly what I'm comparing to.

If you like data and are a runner (or a cyclist.. I think they support cycling now) then I like https://runalyze.com/. To be honest, if anything it gives me too much data as I don't know what most of it means but it's free to use.

Last year with the new CEO they tried a big push to do all things health, like tracking your yoga, crossfit, etc. etc. I think the effort they've been putting in has been missed by the core community.

Not saying you should keep your account, but if features aren't getting traction, they don't get seen.

At the same time, there are features the community was asking for that didn't get built, so things probably started to feel stale.


For long distance travellers you can check out TravelMap (https://travelmap.net). I built it for my cycling and hiking trips and then opened it to the public ;)

Strava has been a hobby business since day one. It used to be a spreadsheet, and they made it into a web app. Neither of the founders are involved in the day to day anymore. The lead product designer responsible for ~2010 to 2016, Alex Mather, also left to do his own thing.

I had been one of their biggest fans for years and had an offer from them on the table in 2010. I turned it down for many reasons, the greatest of which was that they viewed Garmin as a partner and not a competitor, and lacked the hunger to dominate. Here we are in 2019 and it shows, with confusing pricing plans (pay for privacy?) and users paying to advertise for free with limited edition strava cycling kits etc.

I still use it because a) there is no better way to find great running routes than following strong runners in my area and b) i enjoy celebrating the successes of my friends when i log my data. But I agree that it has fallen so far and lacks a vision now.

Sorry to any strava folks reading this. It's not personal. But I imagine none of this would surprise you.


What's ironic in this whole situation is that Strava themselves are extremely dependent on a 3rd party API: workouts from Garmin. I don't think there are public numbers on the percentage of total workout data comes from Garmin, but looking at their own status page gives an idea: https://status.strava.com/

The graphs for "Uploads" and "Uploads from Garmin Connect" are virtually identical. Seeing that, I'd be surprised if Garmin was contributing less than 75% of total uploads.

If I was invested in Strava, I'd be somewhat concerned right now that Garmin could pull a Relive on Strava...


I think Garmin reasonably sees Strava as a boon to their business. Before it came out, most cyclists had simple odometer style bike computers rather than gps devices. GPS computers existed but there wasn't much you could do with the data. Strava should likewise see that services like Relive only increase customer satisfaction and engagement with Strava, especially given that Strava doesn't have the technical wherewithal to add new features, like, ever (my personal suspicion is that all engineers are constantly in a performance code red, trying to get hosting costs down).

Garmin sells hardware and Strava is at best a brand. 3rd parties could replace strava.

Social lock-in.

I've been using Strava since 2011... but garmins since 2005. Used RunningAhead.com for many years. Then MotionBased once I got Garmin. They got acquired by Garmin I believe and it became what is now My.Garmin. Strava has a social lead on them, but My Garmin has basically the same functionality as Strava. What gives Strava the nod is they pull info from many devices, not just Garmin. But if Garmin cut off Strava; most of us would just use My Garmin.

All that those graphs being the same tells you is that the percentage of uploads that come from Garmin Connect is fairly stable. That could be true regardless of if it's 10% or 90%.

The incident history lists a garmin connect outage on June 30. The GC uploads graph shows a corresponding dip and surge then, while the total uploads graph looks normal for the day. That suggests that a temporary GC outage didn't significantly change things.


>If I was invested in Strava, I'd be somewhat concerned right now that Garmin could pull a Relive on Strava...

you mean pull a Strava on Strava?


No, the other way makes sense. "Do to Strava what Strava did to Relive"

But Relive didn't "pull" anything on Strava, therefore saying that doesn't make sense.

Doesn't it work in the opposite direction, with Garmin pushing data to Strava? Also I value having Strava segments on my Garmin bike head unit, so I'm sure the value is going in both directions here.

Strava stopped innovating years ago and hasn't introduced any useful new features. Although I seldom use Relive, this user hostile move finally convinced me to cancel my paid Summit membership. It's my data, I should be able to use it for whatever I want.

Strava has been promising support for triathlons and other multi-sport activities literally for years but hasn't actually built anything. Right now if you compete in a triathlon it shows up as five separate disconnected activities. And the swim portion can't even be tagged as a race.

Segment leader boards have also become a joke with nothing to prevent cheating or accidental bad data uploads. They claim to have a feature that automatically flags bad activities but it doesn't work at all. It would be trivial to auto-flag activities faster than the world record but they don't even bother to do that. It seems like their engineering organization is just completely incompetent.


You have outlined my 3 biggest complaints with Strava. It is so comforting that I am not a "unique and demanding snowflake" for wondering why these features don't exist. Other people have the same problems with Strava as me!.

Strava's lack of multisport has been driving me insane for years. Getting 5 separate activities is stupid, and it seems like at the very least they could figure out how to handle transitions so they aren't their own activity. Surely that can't require a ton of development time. I always have to go through and delete my two transitions (I still have the data in Garmin Connect for training records). This is especially annoying when you consider that they have people (like I used to) who pay $60 per year for premium subscriptions. Meanwhile Garmin is offering it for free with Garmin Connect (after you buy a Garmin device).

Don't even get me started on Strava's lack of support for swimming. Even as a premium (now called "Summit") member, you get nearly no analytics from swimming. It basically shows up as an activity and that is where the functionality ends.

Finally segments are a complete joke. There are segments in my area that even Usain Bolt couldn't beat. There is a 0.8mile long category HC cycling climb by my house that has a "record" of 54 seconds. So I guess I am to believe that someone rode up a 8% grade hill at 60mph? That would be hard to do on a motorcycle, let alone a bicycle. Surely they could figure out how to filter those out.


I'm very interested in how little Strava seem to have got done in the last several years. Same thing happened to endomondo. Are they related? The inertia is surprising.

I dislike hardware based lockin but recently suunto have added features to their new app that have pushed it past the others for route planning for me (like you can do it on a phone then sync route), to my surprise.

When I first joined Strava it felt like they were doing cool stuff with segments but it stagnated.


Endomondo seemed to stop evolving around the time it was acquired by Under Armour. MyFitnessPal suffered a similar fate.

Every time Under Armour buys an app it completely stops growing or improving the app. Any fitness app developers out there need to know that selling to Under Armour means the end of your app.

Would you end your app for 500 million?

> Endomondo seemed to stop evolving around the time it was acquired by Under Armour.

I've noticed the same. Among my issues with it is that the accuracy of distance traveled has been way off for more than two years. Some releases it tracks optimistically high, other releases it tracks consistently low. This has been persistent over multiple phones and multiple Android releases. I've compared it to Google maps, mapmyrun, and my car odometer and it's always off.

I'm strongly tempted to write my own "anti-social fitness app" that just collects data and exports it.


That's pretty much what Google MyTracks was. Of course, it's been discontinued.

They hadn't released anything new for a long time when that happened either. There doesn't seem to be any pressure to innovate in the fitness tracker space.

I used to commute by train and bike, and would sometimes forget to turn strava off before getting on the train. I would have to go back and delete these myself because strava rarely caught them. How do they not have a filter for speeds in excess of 60mph? that should be pretty obviously not human powered. Not to even mention the rise of e-bikes...

> How do they not have a filter for speeds in excess of 60mph?

Pro cyclists can hit 80 mph downhill. I agree that they should do something, but whatever model Strava uses would need to be better than just filtering out anything >60mph.

https://www.cyclingweekly.com/news/racing/tour-de-france/122...


You can pretty easily crop your Strava activities when you leave your recording on longer than intended.

You can crop the ends of a ride, but not the middle. My guess is OP was cycling to the train station, took a 60mph train ride, then cycled the rest of the way. Wanting to clip out the middle bit. And I don't think Strava can do that. But to be fair, technically that would be two distinct rides .

You can split a ride, then crop. Strava's features in that area are actually excellent.

I kind of get the feeling they're a bit stale too.

Their app has not been working real well on my Android phone lately.

The only reason I have the 'pro' version is the "safety" feature that lets my wife know where I am, approximately.

Anyone got a good alternative for that?

Thinking of getting a Wahoo Elemnt Bolt... real time location update could integrate with that too.


"Share Live Location" on WhatsApp. Works better than the Strava locator.

I'm also going to cancel my Summit membership over this crap, plus the lack of compelling features. The only reason I left the subscription going this year was to show support for an app I use, but given that article, I no longer feel like doing that.


If you're on Android (maybe even if you're not?) you can use Google Maps to share your location with specific people for a specified time, or indefinitely.

It's pretty useful to have this tied to the actual ride; otherwise you're bound to forget it and leave it on, or off.

Also, you want some velocity information and/or history, so that someone can see that you've stopped moving and for how long.


Check out Glympse.

That requires allowing Google to retain your geolocation data.

Is Strava a more reliable partner in keeping this data safe than Google?

The iPhone Google Maps app has the feature, although I haven’t turned it on so can’t say how well it works.

> The only reason I have the 'pro' version is the "safety" feature that lets my wife know where I am, approximately.

>Anyone got a good alternative for that?

Take a look at Life360. You don't need the paid version to do what you're asking for.


Specialized ANGi is a Bluetooth hardware dongle that attaches to your helmet and will allow a contact to live track your ride (using Specialized’s app on your smartphone) and can also detect crashes and automatically send a text message to a contact. It’s available to purchase on its own or included with many Specialized helmets. I have one on a new MTB helmet after a recent crash on a trail.

https://www.specialized.com/us/en/angi


On IOS, go to the person in Contacts and choose Share My Location. Let’s you choose to share for 1 hour, 1 day, or indefinitely.

Garmin LiveTrack is the same as Strava Beacon. But it might not be a "good" alternative. Many users have reported that LiveTrack fails to start reliably, or cuts out in the middle of activities.

https://support.garmin.com/en-US/?faq=HbqxxbiBGA3mDhlLX4GUw8

I haven't tried Wahoo.


My family has tried Garmin LiveTrack and it RARELY works. We have 4 people with 4 different devices and all of them are Garmin's most premium devices (Garmin Forerunner 935) and it fails almost every time. We all just gave up and have turned it off at this point.

I've had the same thing happen with wahoo multiple times.

If you're on iOS there's location sharing/ find my friends?

There are built-in ways to do that#

Android: android.com/find

iPhone: find my iPhone, find my friends.

I think I trust Apple's implementation more.

Also, SnapChat has a similar platform-agnostic feature, if you're willing to give them your data.


The Wahoo Elemnt Bolt is great!

Same here. Back to free and it'll stay that way. They seem more interested in mining and selling the data than improving the user experience and features for the suppliers of the data.

> Right now if you compete in a triathlon it shows up as five separate disconnected activities

Five separate disconnected activities?


Yes, they are not associated with eachother at all. You will get an activity for:

1. Swimming 2. Transition #1 (Swim to Bike) 3. Cycling 4. Transition #2 (Bike to Run) 5. Run

They are completely disconnected. Not linked, or "related" to eachother in anyway. It just shows that you went for a swim, a run, a cycle, a run, and another run. (Transitions show up as runs). Worse yet, it has a hard time linking you together with other people because they are separate events. So you might have raced with someone else but you were starting a bike while they were finishing a swim, so Strava's algorithm gets confused and can't link you together like it does when you run marathons together and stuff like that.


I suspect GP had the same confusion I did, that your triathlon was five components, not that they were separately. But you have answered that, the transitions between activities counted too.

The network effect strikes again ...

Hey to be fair they just innovated a feature that looks exactly like Relive.

I don't see how that could possibly be connected to 86ing Relive though.


Using a throwaway account to not get ourselves cut off too..

I run a website in a different industry but the danger of being cut off from the api feeds we need to provide our product is a threat we fear every day. We work hard to comply with all regulations but this often means these other much larger companies can whenever they decide to change their minds force us to change things on our website else cut us off completely.

I guess it's the nature of the business when you build something as an extension to something else and do it so well that you become a threat, but still I feel for Relive. We're basically building and market testing a product for free for the "parent" company and if it does too good it's really in their best interest to kill the little guy off and make it their own sadly much of the time. :(

Edit: We can also confirm "ghosting" is a real thing. Typically the larger companies refuse to have conversations with us because they know they're being a bully and a human connection will make them feel bad.


So why use a third party API in the first place? For something like Strava, what makes their API so much better than say, OpenStreetMap (or any similar free dataset) that anything else would be unusable?

And if no free dataset exists, why not create one? Rally the competition and the community for a free dataset that benefits everyone, and sell the product on top of it.


Because it's not a public dataset, it's the specific user's data that only lives in Strava (or one of the other platforms that they integrate with).

Correct. I guess without giving more detail I can understand how my username or original post can be confusing. But I'm representing companies that use api feeds from larger companies to build products on top of them like Relive did, not using a third party api such as a map in our product if that make sense.

That's always a dangerous game though surely, you know from the outset that the API provider might come out with a first-party solutiom and all but kill your, what is essentially a, plugin.

The objective is typically to make it complex and advanced enough that it becomes difficult for the provider to reimplement it from scratch, or build features that the provider will probably never implement. See for example how Spotlight on macOS has not killed Alfred and probably never will, because Alfred can be very liberal with things like running scripts and plugins - whereas Apple cannot.

Strava has been stagnating for years at this point. I used to really love their site, and I've still been a pretty active user, but I can't even remember the last time they introduced a meaningful new feature or improvement.

And their paid subscription offers me, a non-racer, basically nothing. I checked it out once before, but cancelled after realizing there's no substance to it for a casual/enthusiast.

And now this recent dispute with Relive just indicates that they misunderstand their place as a platform. If they want to start acting like Oracle and be a bully rather than an innovator, then good riddance to them.

There is nothing special about Strava except inertia at this point. There are MANY competing services and platforms, and perhaps it is time for me to consider switching.


Strava is the only social network from which I derive any real value. I don't need them to constantly mutate the product.

They could at least improve it.

The graphs are tiny and noisy, there's no reason they can't use my whole screen and offer a filtered version.

The segments are made of poor GPS data from a single activity, and the leaderboards are filled with unrealistic times that could easily be filtered out automatically.

The maps are old and lack data that's been in OSM for years.

The heatmap combines MTB and road bikes, so when planning a ride you don't know if you're looking at tarmac or a single track filled with roots and rocks.

There's no support for multi sports like swimrun or triathlon.

No support for interval training.

On multiple occasions the Android app has stopped logging, even when the GPS has worked fine in other apps running concurrently.

The three top voted feature requests on their community discussion board are all 7 years old, number four is 6 years, then there's a couple more from 7 years ago.

https://support.strava.com/hc/en-us/community/topics/2005373...

And so on. It's fine not changing what works, but there are lots of room for improvement but nothing happens. If they had a single engineer working on new features or fixing broken existing ones they would have released improvements several times per year. When was the last time they did that?


Exactly!

I'm not saying that Strava needs to constantly reinvent itself and add groundbreaking new features and changes -- I'd prefer they don't! But there have been the same long list of bugs, quirks, and limitations for literally years. Plus the same handful of most-desired features by the community have gone largely unimplemented and ignored.

In addition to your list, I primarily use a Garmin device, but I do occasionally use the mobile and watch apps and they have some pretty huge limitations for seemingly no reason. Like why are there so few activity types that I can record on my Apple Watch? I can manually reclassify them later in the web app, but why do I have to do that?

And why is the mobile app lacking in features like equipment tracking, something pretty basic that has existed on the web app for years?

Also the Apple Watch app has corrupted multiple activities that simply refuse to upload (rejected by Strava's servers), and Strava Support has told me "tough, there's nothing we can do or look into". They don't even pretend to care or ask for details to investigate.

It's one thing to have a stable, mature product with great support but Strava has not proven to really be any of those things over time. They've built up a decent social network of athletes and enthusiasts, but the tech & product side has completely stagnated.


Around here it seems like runners use various different activity trackers, but among cyclist Strava is the de facto standard. If you meet another cyclist you can be pretty sure you'll find them later on Strava flyby (a neat feature, I'll have to give them that). It's mindblowing how they seem to squander such a huge market lead in what I assume is a pretty affluent market.

Besides improving their product they could easily add more monetization paths, like offering users to buy new equipment from affiliates, working together with race organizers and accommodation facilities, and there's probably other things as well. Instead they go into hibernation and do the old "more or less useless features behind a premium membership" business plan.


This is just another example of how frustrating it is to try and keep track of workout data! I personally have tried Nike+, Google Fit, now I have Fitbit... it is hard to keep track of all of this!

Companies try to keep users locked into their ecosystem but the companies come and go!


I am really starting to hate all the cloud stuff. Wherever you put your data there is a very good chance you will lose that in a few years. For my hikes I now store GPX files locally and I will do that with FiT files too.

I keep all my .fit files uploaded to Google Drive. So I do use the cloud stuff but it seems unlikely (barring a disaster) that it'll go away anytime soon. If it does I can simply upload them to another cloud file storage service.

When I joined Strava (8 years ago... wow time moves fast) I immediately realized it's not the best place to use as main storage of your fitness activities. Not just because it might just "go away" at any time (and back then they didn't have any clear monetization plan, not that it's much better now) but because it didn't seem to provide a mechanism to bulk upload/download the original .fit files. You uploaded a .fit file but then downloaded some other format (.gpx I believe?). That made it clear it's not a good place for archiving/storage. Since .fit files are really small, even using something like Google Drive's 5GB free tier should be plenty for many years of fitness activity storage.


Agreed, most "cloud" software slowly try to lock you in, only to lose it in a few years when they get sold, or shut shop, or don't get the next round of funding.

It's a pain, and I now wish we just have internet connected hard drives where we can save whatever we want.


“internet connected hard drives where we can save whatever we want.”

That’s how it should be. You have your data under your control and give companies access which you then can revoke whenever you wish.


And it’s always the story of the little guy creating his company amongst the big bullies and becoming the bully as soon as they gain size.

Have you tried Golden Cheetah? It's open source and takes data from a lot of different devices. It's aimed at cyclists/triathletes but can be used by other endurance athletes. https://www.goldencheetah.org/

Agreed, Golden Cheetah is incredible. I stopped using TrainingPeaks and SportTracks when I found it

My joy at having purchased a Garmin device is discovering I can't see that data in Google Fit.

At least... not without sharing the data even wider to jump from sync service to sync service until a magical path or co-operation emerges that connects the two services together!


I think of all the types of data, it’s workout data that’s freely moving between systems. I use Apple Watch, Garmin, Peloton, Zwift and Cyclemeter. I have various ways to move data between them. Of course there are gotchas but it mostly works. Apple health drops GPS data and heart rate when synced to. Strava is my primary hub and the bulk export feature neatly exports all the workouts as is. Zwift syncs to Garmin and Strava and Garmin syncs to health. Peloton syncs to health and Strava. And so on. I use strava as the hub. Primarily because of the bulk export feature and their ability to maintain the original Workout upload as is.

I've been using tapiriik.com to sync my activities from Strava to a folder on Dropbox. It's been working fine for years, but about two weeks ago I got an email from Strava saying they've temporarily deactivated the syncing to Tapiriik, and it's still offline.

I still recommend Tapiriik, it can sync between a lot of different services. I don't like the idea of having years worth of personal data on a proprietary platform, so I like the ability to keep them as GPX-files on Dropbox.

https://tapiriik.com/


If you're willing to commit to the Garmin ecosystem (fitness trackers, bike computers, sensors) then it can track (almost) all workout data across multiple devices. They've been around for years and probably aren't going anywhere. The down side is that their device firmware QA is rather weak and updates often introduce new defects.

> They've been around for years and probably aren't going anywhere.

Even if they don't go anywhere, all it takes is to not support certain devices, block some other services, maybe focus on a different market (They didn't use to be as into fitness trackers), etc.


Yes that's always a risk. The Garmin Connect cloud service has only ever supported their own devices, but after 15+ years they've never dropped support for any of those. Third party service integration is fairly good. If they do block another service you can still always download your original FIT files and manually upload them elsewhere.

Android's Syncmytracks has served me fine to keep all my runs in Endomondo. Worth a try.

Interesting to see everyone hating on strava for not changing much for a long time. It has thousands of apps and browser extensions built on top of it to give you power features you want or need for training purposes. Strava is not probably not going to "steal relive's feature", although they have had something similar for years https://labs.strava.com/flyby/. If you want something actually cool for unique routes use http://www.loopieroute.com/. AFAIK, Strava cut Relive off because they were unclear about showing data within privacy zones and because relive is trying to build a competing social network.

1 Year ago:

* Signed up to relive with my strava account

* Started getting a lot of spam from relive that they made a video for my commute twice a day.

* Couldn't find any settings to stop making videos after every single ride, filtered out their emails, marked as read.

2 days ago:

* Received 3 Emails from Relive that "[friend from strava] wants to be my relive friend".

* Remembered that I never could figure out how to turn off relive syncing, signed in, found a way to delete my account

1 day ago:

* Get email from strava saying relive has been banned

Today:

* HN users decide to make a better alternative in their free time because strava sux

Keep in mind that if you as a user want to keep using relive you still easily can, just upload your gpx files. If you want it to automatically make videos you can setup a zapier/iftt/many many more ways to pull your data after every activity and pipe it to another service. Strava is not user hostile, it is friendly to 3rd parties, offers an amazing api, allows you to pay them money instead of being the product. What more does HN want?


> What more does HN want?

Ease of use? Convenience? Perhaps fairness?

People seem to have an inmate strong reaction to apparent unfairness and hipocrasy


First time I've learned of Relive and it's really too bad - this looks like a fun integration to use alongside Strava. I was already thinking of how I could have used this with my dad and us share rides from states apart. Watch Strava copy Relive features in next 6 mo.

It’s just fun for a few weeks and then the novelty wears off. In particular if you train all the time around the same places.

Looks like it'd be fun for big rides in more unusual locales.

It'd look cool for this ride I bet:

https://www.strava.com/activities/1636893894


And you still export the gpx and upload it to relive. Relive constantly making these videos after every single ride was annoying to me, I would much rather make 1 or 2 a year, but it was all or nothing with strava syncing.

You can still use relive if you import the rides into relive

Those who can't innovate litigate.

Yeah. Funny how the actual "work hard with Relive to solve the issue" is actually ghosting - working hard to ignore I guess. (If the Relive account of the events is to be trusted)

Think the solution here for Relive is to raise more money and go right after Strava's core market. Strava doesn't really give them many other options at this point...

Simply amazing, I asked their support if they would consider reversing their decision and stating that I dislike that they claim to own my data.

They replied back with a generic response pointing to their update, so I replied with a request for my account to be deleted and have advised my friends and family to do the same.


Strava’s critical error is allowing users to sign up and sync devices and providers for free.

They should charge $1/month for each synced device beyond the first and for each connected third-party tool including the first, and offer monthly data exports for free. That way they get paid for maintaining your data connections, they only charge average users $0/mo, people using them as an M-device, N-way sync provider pay a reasonable fee of $M+N/mo for the hard work required to upkeep that, and if you just want to backup your data you can export it every month at no charge.

As a bonus, this would let them split the third-party linking fee 50/50 with each third party, so that the ecosystem can grow in a healthy and funded manner rather than decaying from refusal to charge - while still prioritizing their own on-site solutions for those who are satisfied with them.


Relive are completely dominating the social media game. Complete silence from Strava vs this https://twitter.com/relivecc/status/1149260549231915010

This is just a fantastic example of how one-sided APIs and TOSs are for the platform providing the data. Anyone paying for data should have a contractual agreement that prevents termination and protects IP. There is nothing stopping Strava from seeing what API integrators build, then shutting them down and copying them.

If someone made a desktop version of relive, will the situation be different? Like, I am running the software on my computer, downloading my data and making videos (or whatever else) with it - instead of relive's servers.

Given relive is presumably just parsing a list of GPS coordinates that originated in the GPX file from a Garmin or similar bicycle head unit, you can absolutely do the same thing locally using just the original GPX file from the rider. DC Rainmaker's linked article alludes to this too, in his big section on this being the rider's own personal data, not Strava's, precisely because the data is originally from the GPX and not Strava themselves.

Virtually all the data to build Relive's video comes from the device recording the GPX track, Strava's API was just a convenient way to get them rather than have the user upload their GPX track a second time.

Losing Strava integration is still a big deal though, as so many people use the service. Any time I've ever seen someone share a relive video it's always originated from their Strava ride log.

Oh and if into the intersection between technology and running/cycling/swimming, DC Rainmaker is a great read. I've been reading his site for a long time, his advice and reviews are incredibly detailed.

(Other gps logging formats than GPX exist and are supported by strava, but given the popularity of Garmin head units among cyclists it’s likely the most common format)


Reminds me of Twitter back in the day, with their terrible and inconsistent developer policies. It took them quite a while to recover from the impact those had, despite the fact that they're an enormous platform that can provide a ton of value to developers. Strava's not close to Twitter's level of utility/value, so if they keep this up it's tough to see how they'll ever maintain a developer ecosystem.

A little ridiculous considering Strava basically wouldn't exist were it not for companies like Garmin and polar for which it depends on for user data via APIs.

Strava API wars reminds me of the early Twitter API ecosystem "wars".

We might see a Strava feature similar to the Relive app coincidentally in the near future...


Adding useful features seems to be against Strava's core principles, so it seems unlikely that this will happen anytime soon, based on Strava's track record over the past 5 years

Perhaps, but in the past, like with the comparison feature, Strava has at least had the decency to buy out the third party (before shutting it down and making it premium).

Are there any actually privacy respecting fitness apps? All I really want to do is map my runs on a map with a timer.

Relive aren't the only ones in this game. We at https://ayvri.com create interactive 3d videos, and you can connect your Strava account.

Unlike most in this thread, I believe the argument from Strava is valid. Relive built their brand, app, and community of users on top of Strava, they now are usurping those users and have re-created a complete app ecosystem which mimics much of what Strava already provide.

In my personal opinion, the world doesn't need another fitness tracking app or community. There are so many out there already. What we, and to a lesser degree Relive, provide can be so much more.

Though we look like a sports tracking app, because that is a large volume of our usage, we also have business in commercial drone operations, wild life research, city planning and more.

I'm from Whistler, Canada, so I love outdoor sports, but that doesn't mean that every feature should become a fitness tracking app.


Most peoples data doesn't originate from Strava, right? At least not anyone I know (runners, MTB'ers, cyclists, triathletes). Nearly every single one I know uses a Garmin, Suunto, Polar or Wahoo device. Maybe a couple use a phone, but even then I don't think they record with Strava. Heck even my retired parents have a Garmin first...

Relive works with (at least) Garmin, so that's how I sync to it first, then I sync to Strava... so for me, and many many others, Strava is just a 3rd party app to Garmin. Garmin could play the strong hand and cut off Strava's access to the API and they'd suffer quite a bit too.

Disclosure: Strava member since 2011, Premium/Summit member since 2013. But, after 6 years of paying, this is turning me off. I won't be renewing Summit at the next renewal (especially since there haven't really been many useful features added over free)


Anecdotally, myself and nearly all my friends just use Strava phone app to record the rides. For me the benefits of using an external device are essentially zero, battery used to be an issue on long rides but even this now seems to have been solved by the app.

Strava has done this before. Citation needed, but I recall switching from Strava to a competitor (Runkeeper?) some years ago as minor protest.

ultimately it boils down to strava didn't like it so they found reasons to shut them down. it doesn't matter how bad the reasons are. this is how bully companies operate and it will not change unless users demand the right to control data they generate and push for laws to unlock their data from private silos.

Ghosting. hmmm.

I can see an Streisand effect coming on here...


TIL that a "Streisand effect" is a real thing. For everyone who wonders as I did: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Streisand_effect

[flagged]


That actually sounds more like a Slashdot starterpack.

HN starterpack is more like verticals, pg, acquihire, execution, and Bay Area.


Why wouldn't they just charge for API use?

They are themselves dependent on third-parties to ship data to them. Almost nobody uses Strava to log activities, they just sync up from Garmin and friends.

pretty clickbaity outrage in the article. It's user's data but Strava isn't obligated to serve an API to anyone. We already learned from the early FB era, the insane data privacy implications of having liberal APIs for personal data. Also if it wasn't completely obvious to Relive its not wise to build a product or business off of someone else's uncompensated API, especially when the entity you're piggybacking on depends on user engagement for its revenue.

> It's user's data but Strava isn't obligated to serve an API to anyone.

Arguably, it should be. Siloing data and controlling API access is the cornerstone of user-abusive business model.


HIPAA is siloed and controlled API access, is that user-abusive?

HIPAA requires providers to give you access to your data. Not perfect, but hardly a silo.

and you can't download your data from strava? https://support.strava.com/hc/en-us/articles/216918437-Expor...

Can you get your own data from the system?

you can download your data from strava, individually as flat files and in bulk. this has been the case for years, and its more recently a requirement of GDPR anyway.

you have the right to your data, that doesn't mean strava has to serve it to some random 3rd party in perpetuity.


When a random third party is acting on their (Strava's) user's behalf, it kind of means they should.

> But the problem is those workout files are actually your data.

I'm a long-time fan of DC Rainmaker, but here he is just wrong. Once you put that data into Strava, it's not yours anymore.

This is the fundamental conflict with all of these services: your data doesn't belong to you, it belongs to them.

You can argue all day that it shouldn't be that way, but Strava pays to host the data, to store it in perpetuity, to (theoretically) keep it secure, and to enable API integrations that cost bandwidth. And you don't pay for it. Not with cash money anyway. You pay by surrendering your right to use your data as you see fit.

Edit for my downvoters: I agree that this state of affairs is messed up. I'm just noting the reality of how these services operate.


You’re forgetting that most of Strava data comes from Garmin or similar devices.

Strava can’t pretend to be a hub and then claim they own the data. Hoping Garmin, Wahoo and others who actually produce this data clamp down on Strava too.


And Garmin is welcome to create an API to host your data and integrate with other services. Uploaded Garmin data isn't originated by Strava, but since they're hosting it they are setting the terms.

I am a former Strava user, emphasis on former. If they enforce terms of service that are unfriendly to their users, those users are free to leave. The lock-in is just not that strong.


Strava presents a derivation of data provided by Garmin. They don't just use it raw. It is snapped to roads and the elevation data is cleaned up and so forth.

In Europe, the law disagrees with you.

If I take a photo and upload it to Flickr, is it theirs?

I would argue that as an entity when communicating with other entities they may be able to refer to the data they store as "their data", but the data itself is still yours.

It's kinda the whole point of GDPR and stuff...


> your data doesn't belong to you, it belongs to them

Not according to the GDPR


the user data might not belong to them (GDPR etc), but I agree the certainly don't have to serve it to any other 3rd party business if they don't want to.



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