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Use Strava? It’s Not Perfect — Some Solutions To 3 Common Problems

Aaron Couch 15-06-2014

Are you an active outdoors person who loves technology and tracking your cycling, running, or hiking routes? If so, you’ve probably heard of Strava or some of the its alternatives to track your route Robots On Wheels: 5 Top Cycling Apps For Android Riding a bicycle is a great way to get exercise, as well as train your body to be physically fit. A key component of training is tracking your progress, and that can be difficult to... Read More . And if you use Strava, you’ve likely experienced a few glitches.


No app is perfect, and while Strava certainly has its quirks, I wouldn’t love recommending it Track, Compete, Socialize, Explore With Strava Running & Cycling For Android Telling someone you rode your bike 80 miles is one thing, but showing them what you did and the route you took is a complete different story. Read More if there weren’t solutions and if I didn’t have a great experience with it every day. Of course, there’s a customer support forum and a support team that is very helpful and quick to respond with solutions, but sometimes forum answers can be unclear and need a more in-depth explanation. There are three common issues I’ve run into that you may be able to relate to: route stats not completely accurate during the activity, app crashes, and GPS going completely wacky.

IMPORTANT: This article is for Android phones only. Should you have a problem on iOS, these solutions may work, but there’s no guarantee (I have no experience with using Strava on that mobile platform). Also, this article is just for reference and is not for on-going Strava support. I’m more than willing to try and help you find a solution to any additional problems, but your best option, should the problem persist, would be to contact Strava support.

Route Data Not Accurate During Activity

This is not a big deal, though it is frustrating, especially if you’re relying on the app for route pace, distance, etc. Even if the route data isn’t exact, it’s close (though I just went on a hike where it said I went 13 miles instead of 11).

SOLUTION: The key words to this problem are during activity. Once posted, the data is crosschecked and corrected. That said, all GPS apps are notorious for being different each time.

App Crashes Inconsistently

This has probably happened to every Strava Android user. It’s happened to me on different phones ( multiple Motorola Defy XTs and the Samsung Galaxy S3), and there doesn’t seem to be any one specific operation that triggers it. Sometimes it has crashed when I’ve interacted with it (which is mostly the case, in my experience), but other times using another app has triggered it to fail. The most common cause for this (again, in my experience) is when I’ve accessed the map. In fact, it happened just after I accessed the map to take a screenshot of a ride for this article.This could partly be due to how a certain phone handles processes.


SOLUTION: There isn’t any way to prevent apps from crashing. My best advice is to interact with them as little as possible, which shouldn’t be a problem because you’re exercising first and foremost.

When you do interact with your phone, check to make sure that Strava is still recording. Below is a screenshot of a recent route I biked. I must have done something with my phone at one point that caused Strava to crash. Later on, I accessed the app to review the data and noticed it hadn’t the recording the past several miles.

1 Strava Route with split

So, if the app does crash, will you lose your activity? Short answer: No. Strava will prompt you to save and post your activity next time you want to record a new activity. However, it will get split up in two different activities. See how it happened to me below.


2 Strava - App Crash - Multiple rides

WHAT YOU CAN DO: You can manually merge these, though if you received any kudos or comments prior to the merge, those will be lost. The ride information, achievements, Instagram photos synced, and everything else will all be kept.

1. Post both activities to Strava (it will appear similarly as it does in the image above)

2. Download both GPX files from the Strava website


3 Strava - Export GPX File

3. Download the first part twice in order to have a back up in case something goes wrong

4 Strava - Save first GPX file twice

4. Open both files in a notepad program


5 Strava - Open GPX file in notepad

5. In GPX file #2 copy all the lines from the first trackpoint (<trkpt…) to the last trackpoint of the file (</trkpt>) and paste them at the end of GPX file #1

6 Strava - GPX file #1 demonstration

6. Save GPX file #1 (Don’t do “Save As…”)
7. Return to the Strava website and delete both activities

7 Strava - delete activity

8. Upload GPX file #1 to Strava

8.1 Strava - upload button

8.2 Strava - upload file part 1

9. Name the file and save it

9 strava - upload file part 2

This method also would come in handy if your phone died and you added a spare battery to continue recording, but the activities would of course be initially separated until merged through the method above.

GPS Goes Completely Wacky

The symptom of this is if your posted route shows lines all over, clearly not following the way you took. Your distance traveled can also be off, way off — often times far more than what you did. Unfortunately, I didn’t think to save a screenshot of what the GPS looked like before deleting the route, but that’s not nearly as important as how to prevent it. When I contacted Strava support, they provided a solution and since then I haven’t had the issue once.

SOLUTION: Wait until the GPS has full signal. Below is what it looks like when it’s starting. Notice that in the second image some of the bars are green, but not all five. Simply wait for all five to turn green before hitting the record button and your route will be accurate.

10 Strava - GPS signal

The Most Important Tip Of All

If you’re like me, it can be easy to forget why you’re outside working out and exploring. Instead of getting taken up with “that dumb app that doesn’t work”, try to remind yourself: What is your real purpose for biking, running, hiking and exploring? You may discover the answer is not “So I can post it to Strava.” Get out there. Enjoy the fresh air. If Strava works, great! If not, just enjoy the fresh air and scenery!

Did I miss an issue you have had? If so, what was it and is there a solution you have discovered to fix it? Please share in the comments!

Image Credits: Richard Masoner Via Flickr

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  1. meredith baily
    November 13, 2016 at 4:47 am

    when I use strava for cycling. it gives a straight line instead of my MTB track. Have logged out of strava turned off phone etc. nothing seems to work!!! Very frustrating. have even taken all my photos etc and emptied my menu and cards still no better???? plse help

  2. Grant Brown
    November 13, 2016 at 1:07 am

    Is it possible le to change from pace to speed? Would prefer MPH.

  3. Aqil
    October 4, 2016 at 7:19 am

    Hello, nice article.. little bit more help me on my researches. Actually, i really need ur help because now im doing my theses or dissertation for my final year in degree. My title of my theses is analyse strava for cycling track, you think what should i do for this?

  4. bill snyder
    August 10, 2016 at 12:27 pm

    Help ! I am having internet connection problems ,shows login failed , But all my other aps are connecting to internet , I have an Samsung android ph Galaxy note 5 , just got the ph ,I had a Iph 6 before had no problems

  5. joe
    June 17, 2016 at 10:08 pm

    What about when the GPS signal appears to come and go even though you are in a clear area with good line of sight upward at all times! This is happening to me more and more as time goes by.

    There is power saving app in Android 6 that has been identified as a problem, but I have turned this OFF for both MMR and Strava and I continue to see GPS dropouts randomly.....

  6. Karen
    May 10, 2016 at 1:11 pm

    Thanks for the article! I think I experienced the wacky GPS issue, with a half-mile discrepancy on a 10k run. The map looks crazy.

  7. JanetS
    April 13, 2016 at 3:20 am

    As mentioned in the first comments, my Strava has always worked perfectly but now suddenly the tracking doesn't stay on once started. It may coincide with an update that just recently happened to my phone (Samsung Galaxy S6) but I'm not sure. It now appears that as soon as the screen goes off, the tracking stops. I can't find anything under the location settings that would cause this. I have restarted the phone, updated Strava, and turned "location" off and back on. So far nothing works. Any suggestions?

    • JanetS
      April 13, 2016 at 9:54 pm

      Update: this problem coincides exactly with the Samsung update applied on 4/6/2016. When the lock screen comes on, Strava tracking stops. I thought I had found where you could change a setting to block the lock screen from coming on, but now I can't find it again. At least that would make Strava usable until someone corrects this software glitch.

  8. Anonymous
    August 19, 2015 at 5:42 pm

    I'm having a problem when I ride. I start strava up and goes for 10 sec then it would auto pause and never start back up. So I turned the auto pause function off. This helped for when I was running. When I ride though it just has time on it but doesn't record any miles at all. I've turned my GPS on and off, uninstalled and reinstalled strava, updated my phone, restarted my phone. Nothing works. Help! I really like seeing my times do I can push myself to do better. Please and thank you!

    • Anonymous
      September 1, 2015 at 10:06 pm

      This is the exact same thing happening to me and has only been happening for the last two weeks, before it was perfect. Would like to know if anyone has any answers.

    • Nate
      May 11, 2016 at 3:23 pm

      I have had the exact problem over the past week. First the 10 second limit thing, then I turned off autopause for my my next ride and saw the time was correct, but didn't track distance. When I tried to save it just said, "Not moving yet? Strava needs a longer activity to upload and analyze. Please continue or start over", and left me with only two options to click: Discard or Resume. That was after 50 minutes of biking..

  9. Bosse Desko
    June 21, 2014 at 6:39 pm

    I use LocaToWeb when I'm out riding. Its main purpose is real time tracking, so it updates to web server as I move along. It's a great safety aspect to know that my wife can follow me live. Anyway, it has been very reliable and stable. I've had no problems with GPS going all over the place and I have used in on my iphone, my HTC One and now Nokia Lumia 1020. Also, I have seen people tracking everything from walks to air plane flights. Check it out at

  10. BobD
    June 16, 2014 at 12:03 pm

    I use the Strava Android app to record my rides, it has never crashed on me (Galaxy S3). Of course I start the recording and stick it in the back of my jersey never to touch it again until the ride is over. That might change now that Routes are available on the app.
    The app works for me in that it gets me to go all out on segments I choose and I find new routes to ride based on where other made segments. I just wish they had more options for HRM tie-in to the app.

    • Aaron C
      July 14, 2014 at 1:27 am


      As another commenter pointed out, I think it does have to do with the phone more than the app. Though with apps, bugs can creep in and cause odd malfunctions. I think you're right though in that it also may be to you not interacting with the app -- that's good!

      I have yet to really tinker around much with Routes. Have you yet?

  11. Andy
    June 16, 2014 at 8:33 am

    The last paragraph is the best part of the article.

    • Aaron C
      July 14, 2014 at 1:26 am

      I have to constantly remind myself of it still, though.

  12. David M
    June 15, 2014 at 11:36 pm

    Not really sure why you are telling us about an app that is apparently a piece of crap and then telling us how to fix its problems. Why not tell us about a good app like you usually do. Map My Walk does a good job. I also have a Delorme GPS that has outstanding features that I can import into my PC if I wish. I don't know where to start with all the features it has. I own the PN-60 and a bicycle mount from Mount Guys.

    • Aaron C
      June 16, 2014 at 12:39 am

      Hi David,

      Strava is no "piece of crap". It's awesome! If it wasn't, I wouldn't use it or have recommended it with an in-depth article.

      No app is perfect and all have glitches and bugs. To use your example, MapMyFitness has a support page and forum for that very reason:

      I think using a standalone GPS is a great way to get accurate data and not worry about issues as much. To me, it's ideal, but for those who are on a budget or want to minimize the amount of electronics they carry with them, smartphone apps are much more feasible. But as with anything, they also have their trade-offs.

    • pceasies
      June 18, 2014 at 10:00 pm

      I use MapMyRun, which is essentially the same thing and it works great. Occassionally I have GPS problems, but that's more of a phone problem than app problem since it affects Google Maps too. Toggling GPS off and on always fixes it. I've never had any crashes, except once my phone froze while mapping (probably some modification, not the app) and MapMyRun offered to recover the previous route.

      I don't think there's anything really different between any of the Map My family except branding.