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(Pocket-lint) - Strava has been back and forth with the features it offers free or with a subscription in recent years. But it has now made one of its useful features free for all app users.

That feature is Beacon, the live tracking option that will let others follow your route and check up on where you've got to. For those heading out on long rides or runs, it offers peace of mind to family who can just check where you've got to.

Previously, this was bundled up into Strava's subscription offering, but now anyone can use it - as long as you're using the Strava app on your smartphone.

That's an important thing to note, because this doesn't extend to other iterations of the service - if you use Apple Watch or a Garmin device to auto-start Beacon, that won't apply (however there are other services such as Garmin's own live tracking through Garmin Connect which you could use free instead).

The main beneficiaries will be those who track their rides, runs or other activities and take their smartphone with them.

Strava has recently gone through a comprehensive redesign of the app and it hugely popular with active people for keeping track of all their activities, regardless of the platform they use to monitor those activities.

While the smartphone app is a great first port of call, there's easy syncing from Apple Watch, Polar, Garmin and many other sports devices, allowing you to use Strava as your one platform for tracking all your efforts, rather than a different platform for each device.

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Strava's Summit subscription service offers a lot more insight into performance, allows a much greater range of functions of the service and is recommended for anyone wanting to keep track of their active lifestyle.

The Gear Loop

If you love tracking stats and crunching the numbers on your latest outdoor activity, you'll love The Gear Loop. Our new sister site is here to bring you the freshest news, the most honest reviews, informative guides and inspirational travel features that cover all outdoor active lifestyle pursuits, from sea to summit. Whether that's running or cycling, winter sports or water sports, The Gear Loop has got it covered.

Writing by Chris Hall. Originally published on 1 September 2021.