Privacy, online cycling sites, bike theft, and safety

Post date: Apr 27, 2015 1:04:57 PM

On a recent ride, I was talking to a fellow member who had had his bicycle stolen from his house last year. The thief only took his bike and related bike gear; everything else was untouched.

We got to talking about how someone would know such things and the idea of having rides to and from your house or your work location on rides that you post online on places like Strava, RideWithGPS, and MapMyRide. I do this all the time and it never occurred to me that that publicly visible rides would pose a potential threat.

Given 5 minutes of online research, I now see that this is a real issue for bike theft. There are loads of examples from the UK and I suspect in the US as well.

So what's a obsessively self-quantifying cyclist to do?

General privacy settings for Strava, RideWithGPS, and MapMyRide

I personally use Strava and RideWithGPS, but I will include information I have found about MapMyRide from some limited searching, as it might be a site that some members use.

Private rides and routes

Strava, RideWithGPS, and MapMyRide all allow you to make an individual activity private, so that it's not searchable or visible to users of the site. Strava and MapMyRide have more granular privacy settings that may be worth considering.


Strava, RideWithGPS, and MapMyRide all allow routes and rides to be seen publicly, only by "friends" that are following you, and private.

Strava and Privacy Zones

If you use Strava, I found that if you use Strava, you can actually create what they call "Privacy Zones", which are 500-1000 yard circles around locations you designate so that no one sees the parts of rides that start or finish in your privacy zone(s).

There is also enhanced privacy settings for how people can see your information in general.

And in the extreme, you can of course designate any and all activities to be private.

You can read about it here:

You can change your privacy settings here:


If you use MapMyRide, they have an their privacy settings here:

Neither MapMyRide nor RideWithGPS appear to have the ability to designate privacy zones that Strava has.

I'd welcome your experiences and thoughts on this issue, or with other online cycling sites.

David McCormick