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How To Add Friends To a Ride in Strava

Posted by Jamie on July 4, 2019

The social aspects of Strava are almost as powerful as the data tracking. The competition, the one-upmanship, the bragging rights whenever you get a PR or exceed a century ride all contribute to the mostly good natured vibe that the app has. If you ride with others but they aren’t automatically included in your ride, you can add friends to a ride in Strava. This tutorial will show you how.

I’ll also show you how to follow someone else’s ride as that’s a very neat feature too. I use it a lot. I’ll look for a route someone else has done of the mileage and in the area I want to ride and will then follow their route. It’s a good way of riding in new places without spending hours looking at maps and gradients. As it’s such a powerful way to learn new routes, it would be a shame to not include it here.

I tend to use a desktop browser to perform any editing on Strava so this tutorial reflects that. The process is similar on the app but differs slightly too.

Better with friends

Strava actually does a pretty good job of automatically identifying people who were on the same ride without you doing a thing. If the algorithm identifies riders on the same route at the same time it will usually add them to your ride automatically. They will appear underneath the title when you select a particular ride to see the details. You will see their profile image underneath and their name when you hover over it.

If Strava doesn’t pick up your ride buddies, you can manually add them in the app or on the website. You cannot add friends to manual activities, only those tracked by the app.

  1. Log into Strava.
  2. Open the specific ride within the app.
  3. Select the orange Add Others button underneath the ride name.
  4. Add friends or search for riders you don’t follow in the popup window.

If you follow the person on Strava, they will automatically be added to your ride. If you don’t follow them and used search, you need to confirm them to add them. You can also add someone who doesn’t use Strava at the bottom of the popup window if you want to.

When you do this, your friend will receive a notification from Strava telling them you added them to the ride. They can refuse if they like. If the person doesn’t follow you, they will see a button to follow. If the person doesn’t use Strava, they will receive a web link showing them the ride which will also include a Get Started link which will have them join.

If you see such an invitation, select the orange Accept button at the top of the window and the ride will be added to your feed.

Follow a friend’s route in Strava

If a friend on Strava has a route you would like to try, you can have them share it with you so you can follow it on your phone. The friend needs to manually share the route, you cannot view it on their routes page and copy it.

Your friend will need to select their route in My Routes and select Share Route. You will then see it appear in your own My Routes window. Select the gray star next to it to save it as a route on your own page. You can use it as a route on your phone or download it as a GPX file for your cycle computer.

Find new routes on Strava

If that all sounds a little clunky or you want to explore further afield, you can discover new routes from elsewhere in Strava. It isn’t the most intuitive process in the world but it gets the job done.

  1. Navigate to the New Routes page on Strava.
  2. Make sure Manual Mode is turned off.
  3. Select the gear icon on the left and turn Global Heatmap on.
  4. Select your start point on the map.
  5. Build your route using the most popular routes, places of interest or segments until you have a ride ready.
  6. Select the orange Save button in the top right.
  7. Download as a GPX file or use on your phone.

The mileage and elevation of your new route is shown in the gray box at the bottom. You can adjust the route on the fly to include or exclude main roads, places of interest, KOMs or QOMs or whatever the map throws at you. It isn’t quite as intuitive as the Garmin route creator where you can copy someone else’s route in its entirety but it does get the job done.

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