It was strange year for all of us. Of course, the most because of a pandemic, but it was strange also in other areas. This year changes my perception of many things: I lost focus on sport competition, I focus on personal development and my own plans, it was great. One of the most important things – for me – was to say “goodbye” to Strava. Yes, I decided to remove my Strava account, all activities data, all my KOMs, comments, pictures etc. and do not back anymore. Why? This post is about the reasons for this decision. Some of them may be strange to you, but I strongly encourage you to read – it may give some food for thought.
To be completely honest, I have to write, that I’ve already deleted my Strava account on July 2019… but I came back after about two weeks. I downloaded full backup before removal, and it was possible to “recreate” the most important things. Maybe not very comfortable (I have to upload max. 25 files once), but it was possible. This time it was different. I deleted my account without downloading any backup during the night after the last small accident. I rode in the beginning of December, everything was fine for about 44 kilometers, and about one kilometer from my house… skid, and a little fall. Well, “shit happens”. It was nothing special, nothing important, but also “the last puzzle” to end my journey with Strava. No, I did not remove my account under the influence of emotions. I thought about that for many months.
The most important thing was pressure generated by Strava. Yes, of course, it’s only app and it’s for people. But it has a very strong motivational factor: segments. We can ride the same path many times, but every time better, faster… Each activity has information about our personal records, about achieved KOMs. There are also challenges. With other users, with our previous results. To gain elevations, to spend time on bike, to ride more and more distance. But… for what? It isn’t real competition. Real competition is a race, and this year, a lot of them have been canceled. Strava does not include data like wind, conditions are always different. Also, there are many people who “cheat” and use for example e-bikes without select suitable activity type. It was not important for me, for a long time I checked only my personal records but… It was also stupid. I’m not a “PRO” cyclist. I’m amateur, with some nice achievements, but only amateur.
Additional thing – without that pressure, I do not have to think about drivetain. I do not need very fast bike (it’s stupid to say that bike is fast… we can be fast, but not bike without cyclist!). Only 46/30T is more that enough, because I do not plan to race anymore. Maybe I will go to 1x because… I do not need superb-precise differences between cogs. For what if I just want to visit some places? Everything will be easier, simpler. Last years I made a lot of changes because… maybe will start this, maybe will start that… It was real nonsense, many times generated by Strava and its pressure.
I was tired. So tired because of all of this data. Because of average speed, yearly statistics, feed with many, many other activities. Sometimes wanted to ride calmly, but “it was not possible” because I remembered many segments in my area and tried to improve my results… For what? I really do not know. Of course, I know, many people are able to just ignore segments and use Strava, but… it’s not for me. I’m too ambitious person and I like to create challenges, compare to others etc. Sorry, it’s not possible to just say “ok, I will ignore all of it from now”. No. I had to remove my account to remove this pressure, to ride without any strange thoughts, without monitor my speed, elevations etc. I want to be active and to be healthy, not to be first all the time. I do not have time for such trainings, because I have many other, more interesting things to do in my life that ride and ride and ride all the time. Last year I trained yoga regularly. It was, and it’s amazing, because it’s something new, something better. I want more new things and I have to give up on others, because I have only one life.
Too much data, sensors
The Other thing was too much data. Nowadays, we monitor almost everything: position using GPS, current speed, average speed, cadence, heart rate, power, sleep quality, we also have step counters and many, many other things. For what? Why?! To be better? Of course, sellers tell us, that we need all of these monitors to improve ourselves. But… why we want to still improve and improve? We are good, good enough for our needs, and we DO NOT NEED all of these data! In reality, we collect many data, but usually do not have time to analyze that data. It’s road without end, because we do not have and real goal – there is ALWAYS place to improve something. But is it really need?
No. The most important part is 20%, rest, 80% is wasting of time and energy. So, why we want to buy new gadgets, work to earn money and then spend this money to buy new sensors, new apps etc.? I decided to stop that and just spend more time to ride without any big goals. Here I can recommend an interesting book: The Wellness Syndrome by Cederstrom Carl and Spicer Andre. It’s about all these monitors, “fit style”, the pursuit of happiness and… a feeling of emptiness and nonsense.
Social aspect – waste of time
I liked social aspects of Strava. Thanks to them, I could find many cyclist or runners in my area, we can compete, write comments, add kudos etc. But for several months, I’m tired by any social media. I avoid Facebook and use almost only Messenger, I do not use Twitter, I removed my Disqus account and do not comment any internet content… Really, I thought about that aspect many times and now think, that it doesn’t provide me any real benefits. It can steal my time, sometimes it can cause jealousy, but do not anything for me. It’s possible to contact other people without any social media – we can still ride together, but we do not have to see all the activities of others. For what? For inspiration? It’s a vicious circle, because with such amount of external inspiration, we lose our internal creativity. We can do only things similar to other people, not do something new, something interesting and something “totally free”. Also, we have a completely different life, so compare to others is stupid. Yes I wrote I like this, but I’m in good way to stop it. And privacy… do I really want to share all my activities? No. Do don’t need to know where I was and what I saw. Really.
What after Stava?
Nothing, really. I still use my Polar Vantage M clock with Polar Flow platform, but I’m thinking of giving it up also. For some time, I use this watch without information about average speed, current speed etc. I browse only summaries, but not always… and I disabled sleep monitor. Results? Do I make anything worse? No. But I’m… happier. Why? Because now I can ride without goals like “elevations” or “distance”. I choose places to visit and start. Average speed is not important, it isn’t race. I do not want to race anymore, so it isn’t also any training. I want to speed my energy to be a better person, not to be a better cyclist or better runner anymore. I write my first book, and it was an amazing time to think about many aspects of life – and come to the conclusion, that I spend too much time for nonsense and something that isn’t fun. It was like a responsibility, duty… I have a lot of important duties, cycling should be fun. Now want to “make cycling great again”. What if I will lose my willingness and motivation? Well, this will mean that it’s high time to find other hobbies as I am bored by cycling. And it’s ok.
BTW. Removing Strava is not my first step to something like “freedom”, but the first so big and significant. The next step is to remove Facebook account completely. Not only deactivate but remove everything and quit Messenger.