Riders urged to consider Strava privacy settings after thieves target Manchester cyclist

Cyclist Mark Leigh of Greater Manchester had two bikes stolen and believes thieves tracked his address through the Strava app

Cyclists are once again being warned to consider their privacy settings on ride tracking services including Strava, as another rider falls victim to thieves potentially tracking his location through the app.

Mark Leigh, 54, of Failsworth, Greater Manchester believes thieves targeted his house after he revealed not only his location, but the models of his bikes publicly on Strava.

>> Subscribe to Cycling Weekly this Autumn and save 35%. Enjoy the luxury of home delivery and never miss an issue <<

>>> 20 pro riders to follow on Strava

Thieves broke into his garage and stole two bikes worth £500 and £1000. With no other robberies reported around the same time, Mr Leigh believes the culprits identified him online.

“I’d come back from a ride around the Saddleworth hills, which I tracked on Strava,” he told the Manchester Evening News.

“I locked my bike in the garage next to another one. The following morning my garage had been cleverly broken into and they were gone.

“My garage is not highly visible. I live on a narrow cul-de-sac – the only explanation I can think of is Strava, as my route ended at my home address.”

Mr Leigh said he wasn’t aware of the security settings available on Strava known as ‘home zone’, which allows users to stop GPS tracking when they are nearby their house.

“I was not aware of security settings,” he added. “The other option is to start your route a couple of hundred yards from your house so you aren’t advertising where you are.

“People want to build up as many miles as possible, but you need to be safe.

“Strava is a great tool, but be mindful of the security protection in the app and be careful about publishing things publicly.”

It’s far from the first time warnings have gone out over riders protecting their privacy on the cycling social site, with Dorset Police urging riders to safeguard their data earlier this year after a number of bike thefts in the area.

Simon Klima, UK manager at Strava, told the MEN on the issue: “We believe it is important that our members have the tools to protect themselves and control the detail of information they share.

“While we have not been able to confirm any cases of theft related to Strava activity uploads, we do offer a rich set of easy-to-use privacy controls for all our members.

“As a leading social network for athletes, Strava gives members the tools to manage the information they share with friends and followers.

“They can set privacy zones around any address such as home or office addresses, so that start and end locations of their activities aren’t shared publicly.”