Keep Your Bike Safe on Strava
Strava is a fantastic tool. It is great for tracking fitness progress, seeing how you compare against friends and measuring how far you have been. Although Strava also has a dark side. Thieves can locate your address and use this information to steal your bike. Here are a few tips to Keep Your Bike Safe on Strava.
*For the purpose of writing this Blog I have taken screen shots from my account on https://www.strava.com
What is the Risk ?
Using Strava for years and only hearing of a few bike thefts this way, I would say Strava is fairly safe. Unfortunately there are opportunistic thieves out there who will take a chance. I have not had anything stolen myself but have avoided using Strava often because of this risk. The last thing anybody wants is to have their beloved bike taken from them. With a few tips, I will show you how to reduce the risk even further. Due to an increasing number of people taking up mountain biking and cycling there is likely an increase in the number of bike thieves.
Bike thieves will attempt to track down your address via the location in your maps and listing what gear you have is like giving them a shopping list. With many bikes being well over £1000 in value there is a great incentive for bikes to be stolen. The best way to stop thieves is by making information unavailable or harder to get.
Strava Privacy Controls – Where you appear
Firstly, Privacy Controls are your best starting place to secure your account. You should see a number of different settings when opening this section. Each section contains permissions for where your activity can be viewed. I like to set all my settings to “Followers”. In turn this means someone must follow me to be able to view my activities and personal data. Limiting the number of people who can view your information is the first step towards securing your account.
You will also see settings for Activities and Group Activities. I also set these to “Followers”. Local Legends and Flyby are slightly different. These will only make your time on a particular section visible to everyone when left open. The main risk is someone being able to track your home address. This leads nicely into the next section…
Strava Privacy Controls – Additional Controls
Second on the list is Additional Controls. Although most importantly these controls can prevent your address being shown altogether. Map Visibility is the key section where you can keep your home address hidden. In my settings I like to hide all activity within 1/4 mile of my home address and other addresses I commonly ride from. If you often ride from a friend’s house it is worth adding their address to. Although a better outcome for you, you don’t want to be the reason they are targeted. Furthermore to improve safety I also Hide the start and end points of every ride by 1/8 mile. Meaning a fellow riders address is hidden by default when starting there. Also your car/van is not shown if you drive somewhere to ride.
Now that you have limited activities only to followers and hidden the start and end points of your rides there is one more important piece of information. The shopping list…
Strava My Gear
Finally, it is every mountain biker and cyclists god given right to boast about how awesome their bike is. Tell your friends in the car park, the coffee shop, the pub and remind them every time whilst your riding. Do try and avoid telling potential bike thieves.
If you are a runner, the likelihood of your running shoes being stolen is minimal. I don’t think many thieves target used footwear. To itemise all of your expensive cycling gear and make it public knowledge is not a great move. Don’t give thieves a reason to target you. For this reason, put your running shoes on there, not your bike. Advertising an ultimate spec, high end bike on here is going to make you very attractive to thieves.
Keep Your Bike Safe on Strava – Checklist
To summarise and keep it short:
- Limit who can see you to Followers.
- Be selective about your Followers.
- Hide your home address
- Add your friends, families or other addresses you often ride from
- Conceal your start and end points.
- Don’t publish a shopping list !
In conclusion, follow these steps and make sure your bike stays safe. Keep your insurance provider happy. Every so often I see posts about bike theft. Above all else, nobody wants their bike stealing so make sure you aren’t next. For fear of somebody coming along, tracking you, invading your privacy, keep your data and your bike safe on Strava.
In the meantime, if you found this helpful – check out my other posts. Follow me on instagram to stay up to date. Lastly, support me on my mission by buying some of my sustainable clothing. There will be more mountain biking/cycling/sportswear coming soon !