in Cycling, Ride 999, Sport

Making Strava last on a long bike ride

Strava is a fantastic service that seems to be ubiquitous in the cycling world for tracking your speed and route as you go along on your bike ride. I’ve been using Strava ever since I started cycling again and it has been great to look at how I’ve progressed. I have a Drybag strapped to the front of my bike to keep my iPhone safe and happy as it tracks my rides.

One problem with using Strava is the pathetic iPhone battery. It would be very disappointing to finish an epic ride only to find that your phone switched itself off some hours before. I’ve found a couple of things that you can do in order to make your phone last:

  • Switch off Wifi and Bluetooth. From the home screen, swipe up from the bottom to view the Control Center. You need to press the two icons shown below to make sure they are off. Your iPhone or the Strava app may moan at you that GPS accuracy may be reduced without Wifi being on but in practice I’ve found that this makes very little difference. One thing you do need to think about is if you use any other Bluetooth devices with your iPhone (e.g. cadence sensors or heart rate monitors), in which case leave Bluetooth on.

  • Turn off mobile data. To find this go to Settings > Mobile. Turning off mobile data effectively takes you off of the data grid when you are out and about. Your phone will still be able to send and receive calls and SMS messages but not iMessage or WhatsApp messages etc. In practice I find that this makes the biggest difference to my battery as my phone isn’t constantly searching for a data signal as I pootle along country lanes.
Once I have done both of these things I find that I can tackle a 5-hour bike ride, starting with 100% battery in my year-old iPhone 5s, and end up with over 70% battery at the end.
Remember that once you have finished your ride you will need to turn on an appropriate data connection again (mobile data or wifi) before trying to upload your data to Strava. You can switch to the settings app (double-click the home button to fast-switch between apps), turn on mobile data and then switch back to Strava before clicking the chequered-flag ‘finish’ button.

Leave a comment

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.