Strava fitness app's 'Beacon' lets people track your location while you run, bike

Strava already tracks your distance, calories burned, and speed, so why not have it track you in real time? It may sound a little creepy, but it’s a new safety feature Strava is implementing for its Premium users.

Strava is a cycling and running fitness app with a social aspect — it has a solid community that encourages people to compete with friends during activities. The company’s new feature, Beacon, lets you trigger the app to begin recording your location when you start an activity. You’ll then be able to share a link with specific contacts, and they can check in continuously to see where you are without needing to install or log in to Strava.

“We designed it so you can send a secure and randomized URL that works on any web browser, desktop, or mobile,” the company writes in a blog post. “That way, your Beacon safety contact doesn’t need to be on Strava to check in on your adventure.”

Beacon Screen Shots

Don’t worry, Strava isn’t automatically tracking you. You first have to allow the app to share your phone’s location. Once that’s done, open the app and start a run or ride, then click on the Beacon icon in the lower right, and you’ll be able to choose up to three people who can track you. They’ll then get a text message with a link to view your GPS location. They’ll be able to see if you aren’t back by the time your activity ends, and they will have your location in the case of an emergency.

Note that the tracking stops after every activity, so if you’re going to start a new one, remember to send out the Beacon again.

The new feature is available through an update to the Android and iOS Strava app. It’s only available to Strava Premium members.

Download for iOS   Download for Android