Strava Privacy Zones and how to set them up

strava

Strava is now, for many, part of cycling culture. From its launch in 2008 it has grown in popularity to such an extent that its 50 million users recorded over 1.1 billion activities in 2020. That is a lot of miles covered!

strava

We love recording and sharing our activities with others, taking a tilt at the QoMs and KoMs, completing challenges, and of course giving and receiving kudos from our followers. However, one or two of its features have attracted some concern. Most famously the "heatmap" facility hit the headlines and provoked questions about stalking and privacy. There are also reports that thieves monitor Strava to see what bikes riders own, and then they follow their ride maps to their house to steal the bikes. To combat this, Strava allows you to set up "Privacy Zones".

What is a Strava Privacy Zone?

strava privacy zone

A Strava Privacy Zone is a circle of privacy around an address, that you specify, to mask the starting and ending points of your activities on Strava. This Privacy Zone covers an area where your rides are hidden to everyone but you. So, if you have a Privacy Zone set for your house and you go for a ride from your front door no one else will be able to see where you started from. And assuming you return home, no one else will be able to see where you finished.

strava privacy zone

You can set up more than one privacy zone, so perhaps one for home and one for work. And you can choose how big your privacy zone will be by selecting one of the 5 sizes Strava offer.

There is a potential downside to setting up a privacy zone if you are unlucky enough to have a segment start or end within your zone - you efforts will not appear on the leaderboard for that segment. A minor inconvenience at most. Your times on the segment are still recorded and you can still see them, though others won't.

 

 

Setting up Strava Privacy Zones

Setting up privacy zones is dead easy - if you can find the right page to do it on. The guides below will step you through how to find the correct page both on a PC and using the mobile phone app, and how to set up your own zones.
 

Using Strava on the Web

strava on a laptop

1 - Open up Strava and log-in.
2 - Hover your cursor over your picture at the top right hand of the screen, and click on the Settings box from the drop down that appears. This opens up a new page titled My Profile.
3 - Select the 5th box down, called Privacy Controls, from the menu on the left of the page. This again brings up a new page. This time with all the available privacy settings that you can configure.
4 - Scroll down the page to the Additional Controls section, where the first is Privacy Zones.

5 - Enter the postcode of the address you want to create a privacy zone for. Then from the next box select a size you want the zone to be. I suggest you pick the biggest available, 5/8th of a mile (roughly 1km), though you may want to make it smaller if you have a segment starting or finishing close to the address.
6 - Hit the Create Privacy Zone button. The page will refresh and you will need to scroll back down to the Privacy Zone section where your newly created zone should be visible.

That is all there is to it, job done! Go ahead and create as many zones as you think you may need.
 

Using the Strava App

The Strava App is a wee bit more basic than the web version, but still allows you to set up your privacy zones.

strava on a laptop

1 - Open the App on your phone.
2 - Tap the Profile icon on the bottom right of the screen. This takes you to your profile page.
3 - Tap the little Gear icon ️ on the top right of the screen. This opens up your Settings page.
4 - Scroll down almost to the bottom of the page, and tap on Privacy Controls, 6th from the bottom. This opens a new page.
5 - Scroll down the page to the Additional Controls section, where the first is Privacy Zones. Tap on Privacy Zones.
6 - Tap the + icon on the top right of the screen. This prings up a new screen called Add a Privacy Zone.
7 - Enter the postcode of the address you want to create a privacy zone for. Use the slider to select the size of your zone. I suggest you pick the biggest available, 5/8th of a mile (roughly 1km), though you may want to make it smaller if you have a segment starting or finishing close to the address.

8 - Tap the Add button on the top right of the screen. The page will refresh showing you the zone you have just created.

That is all there is to it, job done! Go ahead and create as many zones as you think you may need.
 

The Science Part

When looking at the Privacy Zones you have set up you will see that the centre of the zone is unlikely to be exactly on the address you entered. Don't worry, that is intentional. Strava chooses a random point close to the address as the centre. If they chose the exact address as the centre then with some basic geometry and a couple of your activity maps then the address could be worked out.

 

 

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