Strava Beacon Review – “This is where I'm at”
Let’s face it, whenever we go out on a ride (or run), our number one goal is to make it home in one piece.
Sports tracker giant, Strava, has just released Strava Beacon, a real-time activity tracker that allows family or friends to know where you are at all times. Whilst only available for Premium users, you can share your location with someone who doesn’t even have Strava on their phone, this being the biggest difference between Strava Beacon and Garmin LiveTrack, which requires you to have a Garmin Connect account and to follow the other person.
I took it out this morning for a little test and to see how this feature works, its user-friendliness and what your family/friends can see.
1 – Requirements: For you to use Strava Beacon, you first need to be a Premium user on Strava. The Beacon service only works on your mobile device, so if you use a Garmin cycle computer or any other GPS tracking device, you either power up Strava on your mobile or you can’t use the feature.
2 – Set up: It’s incredibly easy to set up who your emergency contacts are and whom to share the activity with. When you go into the Record activity page, you’ll see the Strava Beacon icon on the left, just above the “record” button. When you click on that, it will ask you to turn Strava Beacon on and access your contacts. You can then search for your family/friends and add them as an emergency contact. Back to the main screen, you’ll see a new button, “Send Text”, that will text the people you selected a standard text with a link to your activity.
3 – What they can see: When you click on the link, a map displays showing you where you started, where you’ve been and where you are currently. Simple, easy to use and understand, clean out of sport related data as Time, Speed, Distance and all the other metrics Strava users love. Just a plain and simple “this is where I am now”.
Refresh rate on your location seems to be very accurate from the short testing so far. My friend following the activity reported an updated location every 30 seconds.
4 – In case of emergency: Despite not having a SOS button like some other apps out there, I reckon it would be fairly simple to send a distress signal and get your family/friends to rush to your location. A simple “Help” text would have them click on the link you previously shared with them, see your location and head your way.
5 - Limitations: If you’re not a Premium member and want this feature, there’s only one way to go about it, become a premium member at a cost of $60 AUD a year. If you’re like me and have a GPS tracking device, in my case a Garmin Edge 520, you might find yourself reluctant to start using your phone instead of your Garmin, as it shows less information and has shorter battery life.
Strava Beacon is no more than a peace of mind feature for a Sports Tracker. I for one know that my partner will be very happy with this feature as she always worries when I go out in the morning for a 100km bike ride and has no idea where I’ll be.
What about you, will you use Strava Beacon on your next ride? Leave your feedback or questions on the comment section below and join Bicycles Online Strava Community.
Does it require cellular data?28 February 2017Hi, does it require your phone to have Internet connection to work?
The app does require data (4G, 3G, or GPRS) to update the location. If you're riding in a location with no data coverage, your last known position will be the position your emergency contact will see on their phones. Once you resurface and are able to connect data, the position will update. If you plan on riding alone in deserted areas, I would probably recommend a Personal Locator Beacon (PLB), as this device does not require data or phone coverage. It will send a distress signal to emergency services and someone will show up to rescue you.