Strava users? Bike thieves are laughing at you. You’re making it easy for them by posting too much info online. Find out how to secure your data.
This story seems to resurface every few months. I first blogged about Strava security way back in 2012, and the issue is still around, sadly.
Here’s a very recent one from Dyfed-Powys police here in Wales.
How you could be making it easier for someone to steal your bike.
If you use any of the online networks like Strava, MapMyRide, or Garmin Connect for sharing information about your bike riding activity, you could be putting yourself at greater risk of theft and not even know it.
Check your security settings. Do it now.
The biggest, stupidest Strava security mistakes you might be making.
Here’s a quick run down of the various ways you could be leaving yourself open on Strava.
They are all fixable.
#1 Tell everyone exactly where you live. (Don’t do it)
By its very nature, when you record a ride on Strava, you’re recording detailed GPS data which will lead straight to and from your house.
And then you’re sharing it all over the internet.
Tip: Use the privacy zone feature in Strava. This creates an area around your home which will not show your ride data.
There’s a slight problem with this – the exclusion zone creates a circle around your postcode, so you may well find that it’s quite easy for people to deduce where the centre of the circle is, and therefore where you live.
#2 List the exact make and model of every bike you own. (Don’t do it)
Bike thieves aren’t daft. At least the clever ones aren’t. They know that a Pinarello is going to be worth more than a Carrera.
So resist the urge to show off how much money you’ve got, and don’t list the make and model. Likewise if you’ve got several bikes and you list them all.
“Hello bike thief – fancy grabbing 5 bikes in one go?”
Tip: List your bikes by a generic name like “bike 1”, or “winter bike”
#3 Post photos of your bike. (Don’t do it)
In case you didn’t know, you can link your Strava account with your Instagram account so that any photos posted during your ride will be geo tagged and included in your ride data.
Tip: Take photos of the scenery, not your pride and joy.
#4 Tell everyone on Facebook every time you’ve been for a ride. (Don’t do it)
Seriously, nobody cares and you’re just annoying them anyway. Everybody should stop this particular form of facebragging.
As well as being irritating, it’s also publicising information about your habits. Do you want the world to know that your house is empty every Sunday morning for two hours? It’s not just about the security of your bike, there’s a lot more at stake.
Tip: Turn off those auto-post to facebook features.
#5 Let thieves know you’re on holiday. (Don’t do it)
The classic cycling facebrag. We’ve all seen this kind of post:
Hard morning climbing up the [insert iconic mountain here] in searing sunshine. Now enjoying a cold one… ;-)
If you’ve got mates who do this, call them out on it now, because a) it’s almost as irritating as Vaguebooking, and b) they’re putting their home and possessions at risk.
Tip: Mark your rides as private when you upload them, until you get back home. Don’t tell facebook about what a lovely time you’re having (unless you’re happy with your fb privacy settings and know and trust everyone in your friends list.)