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How to create a Strava route without a subscription

We all know how convenient it is to use Strava to follow a route with a smartphone and record the activity at the same time. However, Strava’s route builder is not included in the free plan anymore. In this short guide, we’ll see how users with a free account can create a Strava route anyway.

There are two cases: either you want to run or ride the same route as a past activity, or you want to explore new terrain.

From a past activity

This is extremely simple since this feature is available to all Strava users. Here are the steps to do it:

  1. In the list of past activities, find and click on the one you’d like to do again.
  2. Scroll down to the map and click on Create Route.
  3. Click on Save to My Routes.
  4. Your new Strava route is ready!
Creating a Strava route from a past activity.

Since recently, you can do exactly the same with any other athlete’s activity.

From a GPX file

Most of the time, you want to use your smartphone to follow a route that you have never done before. The most common way to create and share an itinerary is through a GPX file. GPX stands for GPS eXchange format and it simply contains a collection of GPS coordinates.

There are countless ways to do get a GPX file:

Optionally, you can edit existing GPX files with gpx.studio to make the route start from your home, avoid a steep hill, etc.

Faking a recorded activity

As explained for the first case, Strava allows you to create a route from any of your past activities, even without subscription.

So the trick is to upload your GPX file to Strava like it was a real activity you had recorded.

To do so, the only thing your GPX file is missing is timestamps. Here’s how we can fix this:

  1. Head to gpx.studio.
  2. Import your GPX file by clicking on Load GPX or drag-and-drop it.
  3. Click on the stopwatch icon to open the Edit time tool.
  4. Set any average speed and click on Ok.
  5. Export the file by clicking on Export and then Download.
Adding timestamps to a GPX file with gpx.studio.

Uploading it to Strava

Now that your “fake activity” is ready, you can upload it to Strava and convert it as a route as we did in the first scenario. Here is the full process:

  1. Upload the GPX file with timestamps on Strava with the file upload tool.
  2. When the activity is loaded, click on Save & View.
  3. Scroll down to the map and click on Create Route.
  4. Click on Save to My Routes.
  5. Your new Strava route is ready!
Uploading to Strava and creating a route from the activity.

When you’re done, don’t forget to delete the “fake activity”.

Enjoy the ride!

(in case you don’t know, here’s how to follow a route from the Strava app)

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Vianney Coppé

Vianney Coppé

Loves programming, sports, arts and everything in between.

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