Strava already has a lot of social features built in, so you can share your cycles, runs and walks with friends and family, but it's now adding a major new feature to make contacting fellow users even easier: direct messaging.
As per the official blog post (via Velo), the Strava apps for Android and iOS are being updated now with messaging capabilities. Both one-to-one and group chats are supported, as well as options to share activities and routes in conversations, and you don't need to pay for a subscription to use the feature.
When it comes to group chats, you're able to set specific names for them, and message reactions, GIFs, and replies to individual messages are all supported. What doesn't seem to be live yet, according to 9to5Mac, is photo sharing – but that's due in early 2024.
Perhaps the easiest way to start messaging someone you're connected to on Strava is to head to their profile and then tap the new Message button. You can also find your conversation list by tapping the speech bubble on the Home or Groups tabs.
Safety and privacy
Strava says that it's adding direct messages after so long because “athletes perform better together”, while the press release talks about messaging “enabling seamless coordination, connectivity, and celebration of accomplishments and progress”.
In other words, you can cheer your friends on, brag about your accomplishments, and meet up for activities more easily without having to resort to another messaging app. That said, if you've already got a group chat established somewhere else, this new feature might not have enough about it to tempt you to switch over.
There is a safety and privacy aspect to this, too: you need to have entered your date of birth in the app to use messaging, so Strava can monitor for “suspicious, underage, or unsafe activity” through the new chatting mechanism.
And you can limit who is able to message you, if you're worried about people sliding into your DMs. Via messaging settings (the cog icon on the conversation list), you can choose from Following (people who follow you), Mutuals (people who follow you that you also follow back), and No one (no one can message you first, but you can still start chats).