While the ability to build a route and export it into your GPS computer has been available for some time, Strava now harnesses data collected from more than three billion activities contributed by more than 50 million users, to allow for easy, customizable route creation.
The new tool can automatically suggest routes based on specified parameters such as distance, road surface, elevation, and location.
To use this new feature on a mobile device, select Explore from the icon set at the bottom of the screen. A map screen is then displayed with several pre-selected routes below it. You can update this list of routes by tapping the options at the top of the map screen: starting/ending point, activity type, distance, elevation, and surface. Additional options are available on this screen when you press-hold-swipe left across the row of buttons.
While it’s not clear what the threshold is for elevation changes — other than avoiding/adding hills when possible — Strava has indicated that it will continue to update this feature set, and improve maps and routes based on currently available data.
If you want more control of planning your route, you can opt to draw your own route by tapping the pencil icon, just below the list of routes. This tools allows you to easily draw a route, and combine any specified segments into a single route. As you do this, route distance and elevation are updated, so you’ll know what you’re getting yourself into before you try to ride your newly created route. Strava uses map matching from popular waypoints on roads and trails, mined from billions of activities, so that planned routes will be optimized for cycling and running activities, not vehicular traffic.
Once created, you can access this route directly from Strava on your phone or upload it to your GPS enabled bike computer by selecting the share option at the top right of the screen, saving the file, and then uploading this saved file. Once loaded into your bike computer, you can opt for turn-by-turn route guidance, with a cue sheet displayed.