Five important privacy tricks for Strava users

Do it for the trails you ride. Do it for yourself and your gear

Gear

The best way to preserve your privacy is to not use an app such as Strava, but that’s an argument we’ve already dedicated time to (Strava good, Strava bad). If you are a Strava user, here are five things you should be doing to help protect both your personal safety, and that of the illegal singletrack you would never ride. Ever. Because that would be wrong.

If you regularly ride from your home or office, it might not be a bad idea to set it up a privacy zone.

If you regularly ride from your home or office, it might not be a bad idea to set it up a privacy zone (click to enlarge).

1. Set up a privacy zone

If you’re lucky enough to have trails you can ride to from your front door, you could be giving criminals a digital map to your home or office if you don’t enable a privacy zone. This simple function will hide the portion of your activity that starts and ends in this zone from prying eyes.

It is important to note, that if your friends start their Strava ride within your privacy zone, that portion will NOT be hidden on their activity. So if you’re setting off for a group ride from your driveway, you should ask your friends to hold off for a few blocks.

Learn how to setup a Privacy Zone here.

Give your bikes generic names, no need to label your trail bike “carbon wonder with diamond encrusted wheels”.

Give your bikes generic names, no need to label your trail bike “carbon wonder with diamond encrusted wheels” (click to enlarge).

2. Don’t inventory your gear

Strava allows you to inventory your gear to see just how many miles you rack up on each of your bikes. Not only does the feature enable you to name each of your bikes, but you can even include the brand, model, weight, and other notes. If you’re worried about security, it’s probably best not to enter too many details about your ride.

The enhanced privacy feature on Strava offers many advantages.

The enhanced privacy feature on Strava offers many advantages (click to enlarge).

3. Manage your followers

Your followers on Strava can see both the start and end times of your riders, as well as your gear. Switching on the Enhanced Privacy mode will prevent non-followers from easily accessing that data by forcing them to request your approval before being able to follow you. This feature also prevents randoms from seeing your photos, activities, and more.

Please note that even if you are using the Enhanced Privacy Mode, you should still set up a Privacy Zone around your home.

Learn how to turn on the enhanced privacy setting here.

Enjoy sampling illegal trails? Make your rides private. Do it for the trails.

Enjoy sampling illegal trails? Make your rides private. Do it for the trails (click to enlarge).

4. Set your ride to private

I live in Santa Cruz, which is a world famous mountain biking destination, yet the vast majority of trails here are illegal. Land management officials in this area and neighboring regions are now using data provided by Strava to document this illegal trail use. If you frequently ride illegal trails and can’t be persuaded to turn your GPS off altogether, then we highly suggest uploading those rides as Private Activities. You can also set up Strava to upload your rides as private by default. Afterward, you should consider joining IMBA, STC, or your local trail advocacy group.

You can learn more about these privacy upload feature here. Strava also has a new Flyby Opt-out feature that allows you to hide certain portions of your route.

While the Strava Heatmap is great for learning which trails and routes are most popular when visiting a new city, it can also be used to learn the location of illegal or “secret” trails. Photo by Mtbr User Empty_Beer

While the Strava Heatmap is great for learning which trails and routes are most popular when visiting a new city, it can also be used to learn the location of illegal or “secret” trails (click to enlarge). Photo by Mtbr User Empty_Beer

5. Opt out of Strava Heatmap

The Strava heatmap is a feature that anonymously uploads all riding data onto a map. It allows you to see what areas are most frequently ridden, and if you dig a little deeper, is also an excellent way to find “secret trails.” I’ve used it for this purpose far more than I’ve ever used it to track my own rides. If you’re riding illegal trails or something that’s better kept a secret, you can opt out of having your data submitted to the Strava Heatmap by visiting here.

Did we miss any tips? Please let us know in the comments section below.

Photo Thumbnails (click to enlarge)

Related Articles


NOTE: There are two ways to comment on our articles: Facebook or Wordpress. Facebook uses your real name and can be posted on your wall while Wordpress uses our login system. Feel free to use either one.

Facebook Comments:



Wordpress Comments:

  • Shredchic says:

    Where I live, just locking your doors is not enough to protect from bike theft. Maybe if you live in a place that is not as much of a mountain biking destination that bike thieves aren’t actively casing on a daily basis, ignoring the privacy zone might be ok. Most of us even use locks *inside* our garages.

  • egear says:

    Strava is without a doubt a great app. A great addition to any cyclist who what’s to get better. No I am not a premium subscriber. I am not that a serious about my cycling. I give the developers credit for adding all the security features to the app at all. Costs money to code all that new functionality and like myself I bet most members aren’t paying members. So cudos to the Strava folks for their efforts. I am sure the female members of the app really appreciate their efforts even more than most.

  • Bill Hidalgo says:

    How is anyone going to show the world how awesome they are if they keep it private? That’s the entire purpose of Strava, for insecure people to try to impress other people with their prowess instead of themselves.

    • Francis Cebedo says:

      >>How is anyone going to show the world how awesome they are if they keep it private? That’s the entire …

      SO TRUE. I wrestled with this myself when was still on page 1 of the leaderboards. It’s the lookatme dilemna.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

*
*