Stalking with Strava

OK, it’s a bit of a provocative title but what is Strava for if not to find out how other people are getting on?  The ability to ‘follow’ an athlete (or amateur) has always been there and I use it to see what my friends are up to – although I wouldn’t follow a stranger as that’s a bit wierd.  I have checked out a few of the people (usually guys but not always) who have performed really well on segments I followed, then checked through their other rides to see they basically ride all the time.  That makes me feel better; yeah I may be minute slower going up that little hill but I don’t spend my entire life in Lycra.

Anyway, after a lovely evening ride last night when I bumped into a load of other cyclists I wondered just how many of them were uploading rides to Strava too?  Once my ride was uploaded and processed I noticed the ‘Go to flybys’ button.  Quite why I hadn’t noticed it before is a mystery but I was amazed at the results and have posted the video below.

In it you can see how to select the athletes you are interested in (sounding creepy already) then press the play button to see where you passed them.  Out of the dozen riders I passed or glimpsed I was surprised to see 5 of them on Strava.  The best one is Alex.  I saw him just about to go up one of the bigger hills and tried to catch his back wheel – with no success (although I beat his segment by 3 seconds).  It took another couple of miles before we met up and had a good chat – mainly about his new bike.  I joked ‘see you on Strava’ as we left without realising how easy it was to find him.

This is the problem though: It was really easy.  And after meeting up I knew he had a new bike and could see where he lived.  That’s scary!  Sharing data is great and most people won’t go to far with it but there’s the potential for you to be left vulnerable to unwanted attention (randoms following you and giving kudos for every ride) or worse; being the subject of crime.

Last year police warned Strava users that there had been a series of thefts that could be related to the use of GPS tracks so make sure you create a privacy zone so potential thieves don’t know where you live.