Preventing Strava Bike Theft


20.11.16 at 5:15 pm

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It may be something you’ve never thought of but there are people out there using Strava to target cyclists with expensive bikes and rid them of their pride and joy.

Just check out these examples:

While these may seem like undue panic, there does appear to be some real evidence out there, and why take the risk anyway?

Here are some simple tips to help you prevent Strava bike theft

1. Set Up A Privacy Zone

Setting up a privacy zone is a great place to start to keep your location secret. This allows you to set up zones in which your movement is not tracked by Strava. This should then prevent potential thieves being able to locate your exact location. This is easily found under the settings menu and scrolling down to privacy.

You have the option to set the sphere at anything from 200m-1000m giving you flexibility depending on the number of houses in the area. You can set up multiple privacy zones which is ideal if you cycle to work and want to hide both locations. The only downside? You won’t be able to rank for any segments that start or finish in the sphere you set up. A small price to pay!


There is some worry from Strava users that if you just use one privacy zone centred on your house then after enough rides coming in from different angles it will be easy to work out where the centre of that circle is. There are two suggestions to fix this:

  1. The first is to centre the circle on someone else’s postcode (though on your conscience be it if they get burgled)
  2. The second, better solution is to set up two or three zones on roads beside your house. This will create more of a bubble rather than just a single circle. This will make it much harder to figure out where the centre is.

2. Choose A Nickname For Your Bike

It’s in our nature as cyclists to show off our hardware. It’s great to make the other guys jealous of your new carbon fibre steed. One place to reign in those natural instincts is Strava. If a thief can find out where you live and also knows exactly what you’re riding it could make you the perfect target.

When setting up your new bikes on Strava choose a nickname rather than the exact make and model of the bike. Whilst there are lots of fields that Strava asks you for the only two that are needed are the name and the weight. Leave the rest blank. It also allows you to be creative and give your bike that nickname it deserves!

3. Unlink Instagram

It’s easy to link your social media such as Instagram or Facebook to your account. However, Strava is going to start linking those photos to your ride. So the thief now has your route and then a lovely picture of your bike. Ideal. Switch off the link to Instagram and then your photos will stay where they should be. If you have mates that want to see your cycling photos, then just give them your Insta handle and you’re away!

4. Don’t Use Your Real Name

This is a really simple one, just change your name! This makes it hard for a potential thief to track you down to an address by cross referencing your details against listings like the electoral roll.

5. Use the ‘Enhanced Privacy Mode’

Strava are clearly concerned about people’s privacy on their site and to help with this they have an ‘enhanced privacy mode’. This can also be found under settings in the privacy menu. This mode really hides your information away meaning you have to approve every follower and non followers cannot see or download your activity. It also changes your name to just a first name and initial for anyone not logged into Strava. This should make it much easier for you to keep away people you don’t want looking at your rides.

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