We are still a few months away before the hockey season starts up, both professionally and recreational. These past few months, for some, have been filled with preparation for the upcoming season. Myself included, this year I purchased a road bicycle to build up my leg muscle and better my endurance. While training, I’ve used two applications for my iPhone to keep track of my rides. Here is my review of Map My Ride (MMR) and Strava.
I first heard about the Map My Ride application after watching the Tour de France. A part sponsor, MMR offered a competition throughout the Tour to peak the interests of amateur bicyclists. Offering varying distances of the Tour itself, it was a great way to utilize the application.
Similarly, Strava paid for commercial spotlights throughout the Tour, one memorable one being the Four Flats and a Snowball commercial. Intrigued, a quick Google search prompted me to visit the site and eventually download the application.
It may not seem important when using an application, but visual aesthetics is important. No, I’m not speaking about the application’s logo, but the interface.
Map My Ride looks closer to a message board while Strava takes a much different approach; simplicity.
The dashboard of MMR takes some getting used to. OK, a lot of getting used to. Three separate click bars to choose from, some with similar key words, left me rather confused. For example, and I’ve still yet to figure this out entirely, when you click on your recent ride, if you click on the map, some data shows; but when you click on the recent workout other data shows. Why not one click to get all information on your last ride? The confusion continues throughout the site, with adds placed in random spots throughout. It really does take some getting used to.
Strava on the other hand has done their homework by creating a much simpler interface. A whole lot of white area, one major click bar at the top, three tabs below relating to your ride to choose from, and one click to find data on your most recent ride. Simpler the better, Strava has it right.
When you launch MMR you are given 9 choices to choose from, varying from the settings, nutrition, past workout, etc… The record button is larger than the rest, notifying you rather easily of what to do. Rather easy, but still a bit cluttered.
Strava again takes the simplistic approach, with 5 small tabs at the bottom to choose from (new ride, feed, explore, profile, settings). The home screen, the new ride tab, has a large play button in the center. Hit play and you are all set to go on your ride while the application collects your data.
One major feature that Map My Ride has that Strava does not is the voice feedback. Seems a bit minor, but having a robotic woman notifying you of your choices of total distance, total time, average pace, current pace, average speed and current speed is something to look forward too. You are able to choose your increments of when she speaks to you, so pedal away with confidence and get notified when you are a quarter, half, three-fourths and finished with your goals.
Strava, if it has not been noticed already, has simplicity working for it. Some may question if simpler is better, and in this case I would argue yes. It has nearly all the features of MMR except the voice feedback, and includes King/Queen of the Mountain competitions. Partake in local rides that others have ridden and see how your time stacks up. Definitely motivational. Further, you can break up your route into segments, allowing you to dissect your ride even further to see your improvement.
When it comes down to it, like so many things in life, you like parts of each and dislike parts of each. Strava has the better interface by far, allowing users to easily obtain the information they are looking for as well as segmenting. Map My Ride on the other hand lacks that interface, but offers voice feedback that really is quite nice and motivational.
All and all, Map My Ride will soon be departing my application usage, utilizing Strava exclusively with the addition of a bike computer to reference for distance and speed throughout my rides, replacing the voice recognition.