Finding Love on Strava
Sure, Tinder and Match.com are great. But, for athletes, the fitness app is even better.
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It all began when cyclist Jen Lorenzana commented on a Strava ride tilted “I Like Big Gears and I Cannot Lie” posted by Vancouver-based rider Shane Yorke. The two started bantering back and forth on the social fitness platform, responding with lines from the song, with cycling twists. “There was an immediate connection. The comments and the Kudos started pouring in from each of us,” says Yorke.
Jen started following Shane in 2013, when 1,100 miles separated the pair. Soon, the two became Facebook friends and started texting. “Before I knew it, I had a ticket booked from YVR to LAX in March 2014,” he says. “I landed in LAX and was greeted by the most beautiful cyclist I had ever met. It was like we had known each other for as long as I could remember.” After 14 weekly visits, most of which involved bikes, Shane posted a new ride to Strava in 2014 year: “Jen, will you marry me?”
It’s not the first love story to begin on Strava. After all, the platform is basically a social network for like-minded people. “Since it was founded, Strava has connected cyclists, runners, and other athletes in myriad ways,” says marketing manager Larissa Rivers.
Sometimes they fall in love. While the company doesn't keep official tabs on how many people meet their significant other through the app, its press teams get notifications of at least one to two new couples per year. “Personally, I hear about people meeting on Strava quite a bit. In fact, I’ve also met a lot of friends on Strava,” says Rivers.
Take Dave and Liisa Bauns. During the summer of 2014, Dave, who lives in Pennsylvania, was surprised to receive a follower request from a cyclist living in Australia. After sending kudos and commenting on each other's rides, the two connected on Facebook and Skype. “The first time we spoke to each other over Facebook phone, it was about three and a half, four hours. I started having these feelings, and after a month I began thinking, 'I can't say anything. I want to go there!” says Dave.
Liisa felt the connection too, and so Dave planned a visit to Australia for November 2015. Before flying across the world, Dave used the GPS tracking on Strava to sketch out a marriage proposal. They got hitched later that month.
Then there's AJ Sura, who met her boyfriend, and now business partner, Ted Willard, on Strava. Willard reached out to Sura about a mountain biking date after repeatedly seeing her name as QOM for trail segments in their area.
“Naturally, I was talking to some baggy-short boy mountain bikers, when out of the corner of my eye I spotted this rather tall, fair skinned, racer thin person sharking around in Spandex,” Sura says. That particular ride ended with Willard having an allergic reaction to cactus, but the relationship continued. Four years and many rides later, Willard and Sura now own G2 Bike in Aliso Viejo, California. “We are a small local bike shop with a big heart,” says Sura.
As for the Yorke’s, they now have a 10-month-old daughter—named Caydence. “We felt Strava was a boy's name,” says Shane.