Three runners sprinting outdoors.
oneinchpunch/Shutterstock

Strava is the biggest name in running and bike-ride tracking. However, it occasionally gets in trouble for revealing secret U.S. military bases or enabling doxing. If you use it, you might be wondering who exactly can see your tracked activities. Well, the answer is pretty much everyone.

Everyone (By Default)

Strava’s handling of privacy issues is a major cause for concern. The worst issue is its default settings. If you join Strava and don’t lock down your account immediately, your tracked activities are visible to anyone with an internet connection. They even show up in Google searches.

Push notifications from Strava on a cell phone.
Strava started telling me about the activities of the friends of some of my friends.

Here are some of the ways people might stumble across (or deliberately track down) your ride info:

  • They follow you on Strava and you share it with them.
  • You post your activity from Strava to another social media site and they click through.
  • Their run or ride overlapped with yours by 30 percent, so Strava assumes you did it together.
  • You passed each other, and they use the Flyby feature.
  • You made it onto a segment leaderboard and they tapped through.
  • You made it onto a daily, age or weight category, or other leaderboard, and they tapped through.
  • They did a segment at a similar pace as you, so you show up in the same place on a leaderboard.
  • Strava sends them a push notification and suggests they check you out.
A list of top run times in Strava.
I can view the runs of everyone on this list because we’ve run the same segment, and they either have a top time or ran a time similar to mine.

And those were just the instances we could remember. By default, your activities on Strava are truly public, which you likely find terrifying.

What You Can Do About It

Maybe you’re okay with everyone being able to see your runs and rides. Strava is a social network, so the fact that everyone can see these things by default is very much a feature, not a bug. If you want to hold a spot on a segment leaderboard (and get the bragging rights that come with it), then that activity needs to be public.

If, however, you’re a bit uncomfortable, you might want to follow the instructions in the sections below.

Lock Down Your Profile and Hide Your Home

The last thing you want is the entire internet to know where you live. First, check out our guide on preventing Strava from revealing your information. You can change the settings so that all your activities will only be visible to you or your followers. You can also create Privacy Zones that hide the exact location of your home and/or workplace.

RELATED: How to Stop Strava From Making Your Home Address Public

Make Activities Public on an Individual Basis

All of your activities don’t have to have the same privacy settings on Strava. If you run a blazing fast 5K and want to feature on a segment leaderboard, just make that run private.

To do so, find that activity on Strava, and then click the Pencil icon.

Click the Pencil icon in Strava.

Under “Privacy Controls,” change “Who Can See” to “Everyone.”

The "Privacy Controls" menu in Strava.

Now, this activity will be public while everything else remains private. If you’ve set a Privacy Zone around your home, people won’t be able to see where you live or triangulate things from multiple activities based on information from one specific run.

Harry Guinness Harry Guinness
Harry Guinness is a photography expert and writer with nearly a decade of experience. His work has been published in newspapers like The New York Times and on a variety of other websites, from Lifehacker to Popular Science and Medium's OneZero.
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