Strava Turns Off Flyby Feature For All Users, Have to Opt Back In


Strava has somewhat quietly turned off, for all users, the Flyby feature, after a tweet went viral during the last few days, based on privacy concerns. Users can re-enable it, but only if they knew it was disabled in the first place. With some 70 million users being disabled with the flick of a switch, the feature essentially becomes useless overnight. However, as always, there’s a bit more to this story.

Strava Flyby Changes:

First though, a quick explainer on what Strava Flyby is. It’s a feature that’s been around for at least 5 years now, allowing you to see other people that ‘flew by’ you on your activities, overlaid atop a map after the fact. There were many cool uses for it, such as seeing how a race was won as the little icons moved about, or see if that pro that blew past you on your training ride was really a pro.

I wrote a little bit about it five years ago, showing how it worked on a random Sunday morning ride. And here’s a quick video snippet (without audio), showing the feature working live on a ride from last summer:

You could then zoom-in to areas as well, and see the larger routes of the people that went nearby you. On the left side of the feature it showed which people were legit close, and which people were further away.


And to be clear, you can still do all this. The only catch? Nobody else is there now.

A month ago (yes, back in September), a Twitter user had a case where the ‘Ran With’ feature showed a person that they ran past or with for some time period. However, that case actually has nothing to do with Strava Flyby. That’s the Strava Group Activities privacy feature, seen below on the left side.


That feature basically will auto-tag your friends (usually) when you go on group rides/runs/etc, and shows them with you on the activity. While the Flyby and Group activities features are shown directly on top of each other, they are actually entirely different features, with entirely different privacy settings. But, thou shall not let factual accuracy get in the way of viral internet furor over something that’s been around half a decade.


Over the last few days, that original tweet from a month ago went viral, and as a result, Strava took immediate action to toggle this feature to ‘No One’ for the entire Strava platform.


In doing so, they basically killed Flyby in one go. To re-enable it, you go into your privacy controls and re-toggle that option back to ‘Everyone’ if you want people to see it. Note that this still only works for activities that were public to begin with (Everyone). So activities marked private were/are never visible (despite the Twitter user’s statement to the contrary).


So here’s the thing: I don’t actually disagree with Strava’s disabling it per se. Sure, I do think it’s knee-jerk without much thought, merely to put out a fire before it became another ‘Soldiers publish secret location data on social network and are surprised it’s public’ incident of a few years ago.

It’s really Strava’s handling here, like then, that leaves much to be desired. Strava quickly disabled the 5+ year old feature, but hasn’t really communicated that well in any way. The only communication they’ve done to date is putting a notification at the top of your desktop/website feed. That notification doesn’t explain what Flyby is, or why people might want it on or off. Sure, there’s a learn-more button, but most people will ignore it.


More importantly, the notification isn’t even shown on the Strava app at all. Like most people, I don’t use the Strava desktop site daily. I use it when I need it. And until I went to grab these screenshots, I hadn’t used the Strava desktop app this entire week. Strava’s response here seems bumbling and half-baked at best.

I asked Strava yesterday what the deal was, and here’s their official statement:

“As part of our ongoing commitment to privacy and safety, Flyby sharing will be default off unless athletes choose to change it. As always, private activities stay private and we offer multiple privacy controls to ensure that athletes can have their intended experience.” -Strava spokesperson

Yet, there’s still no e-mail to users, still no explanation of the different privacy settings as it relates to Flyby, still no mobile app notification, and the ‘Learn More’ link doesn’t allow you to learn more about why they made the change (or, why almost the entire Tweet that started it was incorrect), but just puts you on the general privacy controls settings page.

Of course, this is hardly the first time concerns around Strava Flyby and privacy were brought up. In fact, five years ago an article on Forbes brought up some of the same concerns. Certainly, aspects of Strava privacy controls have changed since then. And the core of some of these concerns around privacy are valid. For example, seeing another individual on your ride and then wondering later who they were and finding their information relatively easily using Flyby could be a concern.

However, that does/did require that users have both their activity set to ‘Public’. Private activities were/are not shown in Flyby.

Thoughts Going Forward:

I think if Strava wanted to make a true stand on privacy, they’d start by automatically creating privacy zones for your billing address (address on file). Or, they’d prompt you in the app each year as a reminder to create/update those zones. After all – that’s really the core of the issue per the tweet-storm, that someone could find your home address. But that initial tweet assertion isn’t even true either – as that other user may have had a privacy zone set, so the end-point of that workout as seen by a potential stalker isn’t actually the end point – it just picks a semi-random point on the route near the privacy zone edge and calls it done.


Alternatively, Strava could always just obscure the first/last 200-400m of any ride/run, no matter the location using an always changing value. That’d help for cases where you might start at a friend’s house, etc… Of course, if you live in the middle of nowhere with nobody around for miles, then privacy zones are less useful. But as always, don’t post on a social platform if you don’t want social data shared on said social platform.

So, here’s some quick insight on what I do in terms of privacy and Strava:

A) All my activities are private by default, then I manually enable them to public: The reason for this is more DCR-specific than normal, in that I’m often testing devices and don’t want people’s feeds flooded with half a dozen test files in an hour…all day long. But more practically, this allows me to decide when and where I share my location. If I’m on vacation at a cabin near the beach, I don’t necessarily want people knowing that exact cabin. In my case, I virtually always start my rides/runs a block or three away. I *NEVER* start/end them at my door (anywhere I go, even at hotels in cities).


B) I simply don’t make public things I don’t want public: For example, you won’t find on my Strava feed my bike route each day from home to dropping off kids at their schools, to then going to the office. Nor the reverse on the way back home. I rarely ever even record that, but I’m certainly not going to show my kids’ school locations on Strava.


C) I create privacy zones around my home, office, and friends/families’ houses: I also create privacy zones around any vacation spots where I’m there more than a few days (such as for a week or two). I suspect again, creating vacation privacy zones is more of a me problem. I’ll sometimes delete these older vacation zones down the road after I’ve left, if it’s a spot I’m not going back to.


D) I leave Group Activities enabled: I’m good with this, and it’s fun to see who I’m riding/running with when looking back.


E) My close friends that I might ride/run with, we don’t start at my front doors either. They all know this, and some of them even have privacy zones setup around my home/office. The reason I do this is that if they don’t have a privacy zone setup, then people could look at their run (since the ‘Group Activity’ feature is enabled), and find our start/end locations.


F) I’ve re-enabled Flyby’s: All of the other privacy controls more than cover my privacy concerns, and I enjoy seeing the Flyby bits out there.

So, there ya go – a complete look at the rise…and now fall, of Flyby.

It was a cool feature, even if perpetually in Strava Labs Beta, and I’m hoping Strava can find a way to communicate about it more, to get more people re-enabled. After yesterday’s ghost-town of users in Flyby, I am seeing some people re-enabling it now – so those older activities are coming back again.

With that, thanks for reading!


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  1. Graham

    Another day, more lost functionality I liked. Maybe the clock is ticking for Strava. On the basis that segments are expensive I’ve deleted a butt load, but that’s a drop in the ocean.

    Wonder what will be next to go?

    • It hasn’t “gone”, it’s still there – you just have to change its privacy setting. And “expensive segments”? What’s that all about?

    • Kendall

      The feature still exists, but for all practical purposes its utility has been completely eliminated. Flybys are only useful/fun if a significant number of users have the feature enabled. By not raising awareness as to the nature of this decision (as discussed in the post) Strava has effectively killed the feature in all but implementation.

      The “segments are expensive” remark is in reference to Strava severely limiting the functionality of segments for free users a few months back. To get full segment functionality you have to be a paid subscriber.

    • ekutter

      I agree with Kendall. I’ve made a lot of “Strava Friends” with fly-by. When I’m doing a long solo mountain run and only see one or two other runners, it makes for a nice connection to be able to see what other crazy sole was out there. I find it gives me a boost when they comment, and vis-versa. If few people have this enabled, that benefit just disappears. And I bet less than 10% of Strava users will even know to enable it.

      A big part of Strava is the social aspect. Removing features like this kind of kills that. So do the recent changes pushing more people to become paying members, reduces the total number of people using Strava. That also makes the product less interesting.

    • Tanner

      I am in wait and see on how many people open this back up if the flybys will be useful anymore . I followed suit on segments. I deleted close to 140 segments i had made since they are no longer of use to me. I am sure someone else will just redo them in the future. But no sense in giving all that work away for free to Strava.

      I still wish rather than a paid subscription they would just sell more ads. I would much rather just scroll through ads and get the segments back for free.

      It is just pushing me to create segments on Garmin connect now. I just wish more people didnt keep everything so locked down on garmin. Most people keep strava super open and the garmin locked down. Kind of a weird observation.

    • inSyt

      Garmin is locked down by default?

    • Graham

      To expand… It’s a common tactic in tech companies to decide they want to stop doing something, so they make it hard to use, and then use declining usage as a reason to kill the feature. So IMO the clock is now ticking for FlyBys.

      For segments, Strava say that calculating all those leaderboards takes a lot of compute which is expensive and cannot be justified for free accounts. So I thought I’d try to be part of the solution by deleting nearly all my created segments.

    • Don Fabiano

      Garmin has nothing to do with it. This is a Strava issue. Garmin is a different company.

    • Tanner

      Re: “Garmin has nothing to do with it.” I think he was replying to my comment. To clarify, since strava is only allowing to use segment history on paid accounts, I am creating segments on Garmin Connect.

      The problem is, the segments populate with much fewer individuals than strava, I believe for the exact reason the individual mentioned above. It is locked down by default and unless you “open” your account by changing privacy settings, you dont see many other riders/runners on your segments.

      Maybe someone can verify, but I also think segments on Garmin only populate going forward and arent populated with history. I think Garmin adds history on new segments. Any experience on individuals using Segments on Garmin?

    • Antony Woodford

      I would have to disagree and say expensive is relative.
      Garmin give you all the same features for free for life. Strava subscription would pay for a Garmin in 4 years. To be remotely price competitive to Garmin Strava would need to include a GPS device ever 4 years. I’m currently a subscriber but I will likely cancel Strava as it’s becoming pretty bad deal. I really liked the flyby

    • Steve Tucker

      It may still be there, but unless most people enable it, it is useless.

  2. Romain

    I mean, during a run, my friend I bumped into a couple having *fun* in the wood. After checking the FlyBy to see where my friend was during the workout, it happens that the dude was recording his track on shared it on Strava, so it happened I knew his name… Not very cool for him, loads of fun though.

  3. Andy

    Flybys was an amazing feature. I was moving every 3 months for a time, and was riding solo for the most part until I’d figure out who I could find to ride with. If I passed someone and we chatted for a minute, there’s little chance we’d stop to exchange details. But sometimes after the ride I could see their activity, check out past rides, and see what groups they rode with. It’s a shame that’s going to silently stop being useful.

    • Colin Callanan

      Same here, only for running. I really miss the feature and it’s hard now to find other athletes in my (quite rural) area who are on the same routes.

    • jk

      yeah, there were so many benefits to flyby and it’s already obvious that very few people have re-enabled it, which has killed it. I subscribed to strava after their groveling earlier in the year, but they keep doing retarded things like this. They won’t be getting money from me next year.

  4. Rouleur

    It is annoying, it was an amazing feature for looking at both running and cycling races after the event and comparing your pacing to that of others.

  5. Tom B

    Its a shame they can’t / won’t implement a middle ground where flybys work for followers / people you are following

  6. Mike

    What Strava have always failed to do in my mind, is have everything work on my ‘Followers” list, this I believe is pretty much what most people want, show me Flyby but only my followers, same with Group Activities.

    I’m the same as you Ray, I make everything Private by default an change it, which is another bug bear, the location of the Private setting in the App is poor, right above the Delete Activity button, the number of times I’ve hit delete by mistake !!!

    • Clark

      This is pretty much the exact opposite of how I used Fly By. I want it specifically to find people who I’m not following but who run/ride in the same areas as me. If Fly By was only followers it would be pointless.

  7. Martin

    I did notice lately that some athletes showed up in the fly-by list of who their activity should have not been visible to me. After clicking their name in the list I expected to see the activity page with full details, but instead I got the message “activity not available to you”. In the mean time I could see their track on the fly-by page without any problem.

    This gives me the idea that Strava does have some security issues since the activities which were not visible from the activity page were actual visible on the fly-by page. I doubt of your statement in the article (“Private activities were/are not shown in Flyby.”) is 100% true.

    • Greg

      You can set you profile page to “followers only” and still have all activities public.

    • Mark

      This! I think this was the biggest privacy issue with flyby, that you could see where and athletes on your flyby list started and finished their activities. So even though you couldn’t open their activities details, you still could gather a lot of information about people who don’t want you to see their activities, only they didn’t know about this feature enough to turn it off.

  8. Kevin Morice

    Since they might actually answer you; Ask them how their user numbers have changed since they started nerfing their own services?

    I left when they made segments a pay feature. And I know several others who have also left since.

    • Nah, they won’t answer that – at least not paid subscribers. We have to wait for someone to run the numbers externally. Which…people do occasionally.

      However, at the end of every press release they include the current number of members (total users, paid and non-paid, whether they user their account or haven’t touched it in 5 years). The last press release was September 20th.

      Sept 20th: 68 million
      July 20th: 60 million
      Feb 18th: 50 million
      Dec 10th: 48 million

      Those are the press released listed on their site here: link to blog.strava.com

  9. NC_190

    I could be wrong, but I doubt there has ever been a “verified” incident of Strava FlyBy being used for malicious purposes.

    I re-enabled it, but I doubt most will, so it is effectively now useless.

    I think we are all just getting a bit too paranoid these days.

    • GLT

      It depends on what an individual considers to be malicious. It has been mentioned a few times in a regional FB cycling group I belong to as a means to target specific cyclists for allegedly risking public safety. Since I’m not supportive of that kind of FB, Strava, or GC use I have ignored the rest of the postings in those threads. This would have been in the early stages of the pandemic when many people wanted to deeply debate mask usage.

      While I enjoyed re-living Pac Man memories watching the demo video, I don’t understand how it was unleashed on the world without better controls to begin with.

      Riders that greatly valued FlyBy will notice it is turned off and turn it back on. The riders that never knew about it deserve their anonymity IMHO.

    • John Airey

      I agree with you, if people wanted to find where you live they could just follow you anyway. In the case of the flyby feature you’d have to be near where they are running/cycling anyway. I’ve made friends because of this feature.

    • Bruce Burkhalter

      Talk to some women on Strava and see what they think about Flyby. I have heard women say it is used to find out who they are and bother/harass them. The only option is to go private. At least with the new option, you can be public but people can’t use Flyby to identify you.

    • To be clear, the Flyby privacy settings has been there at least nearly three years, based on this post I found from Feb 2018 by one other than the Army: link to facebook.com

    • John Airey

      I don’t doubt that it’s been abused but there are still laws against harassment. Equally there might even have been romances that started with a Strava flyby. I think it’s far more likely that this change has been brought about because of GDPR, a breach of which would cost Strava in fines.

    • NC_190

      I have never heard a woman (or man) express any concern about FlyBy.

      I would guess that online dating sites are responsible for many, many more cases of harassment or abuse than Strava .. yet women and men willingly sign up for those. I am sure there are many more creepy characters on those sites than there are on Strava.

      They just should have left it alone, and if they needed to do something, they simply could have posted a reminder on their site alerting everyone that they needed to change the setting to “No One” if they didn’t want to show in FlyBy.

      What they did was basically ruin it for everyone based on what is likely nothing more than hearsay about supposed Strava FlyBy stalking.

    • ah

      Had a local case in DC where a cyclist assaulted some walkers who were posting BLM posters/flyers. Some folks using flyby seem to have identified (along with some other info) the wrong person, who was then harassed by people upset by (not) his conduct.

      On the other hand, on another local trail it was used to identify someone who was actually punching cyclists going the other direction – the right person.

    • Carel

      The French police have used Strava during lockdown to check on rides and especially on group rides, as well as on whether people exceeded the max. distance away from home.

  10. Sander

    The FlyBy feature is basically dead now. Most people won’t bother going into settings to turn it on.

  11. Dave

    Maybe they could have made the default option that it shares the activity to Flyby only if you’ve marked the activity as a Race. Tbf using it in any other circumstance than that does seem a bit stalker-y to me.

    • Reuben

      Definitely should be enabled by default for anything tagged as “Race”. I love looking at long gravel races and seeing how far back I was when the winners finished, and it’s a great accountability tool for seeing if people cut the course.

  12. Yonah

    Interesting. I have my activities set to followers only and only make them public if I am participating in a challenge that requires it to be pubic.

    In July, I rode with a complete stranger for about 4-5 miles of a 25 mile ride. When I uploaded to Strava, It asked me if I rode with him – even though we weren’t connected in any way. It freaked me out a little, but then I realized that his profile was public. Not going to lie, it was a little creepy.

    In pandemic era, it’s been helpful in identifying masks friends who I couldn’t recognize that flew by me in opposite directions.

  13. John Alderson

    The absolute richest part of this is that the Twitter warrior works for Experian. For those that don’t know, Experian collects, collates and sells people’s identities without their knowledge or consent. Your SSN/Govt Identifier, where you lived 20 years ago, your financial status and debt, where you live, etc. This information is sold and traded, combined and embellished throughout the digital marketing and social media industry. Experian’s irresponsible management of that data (link to krebsonsecurity.com) has affected millions of people’s privacy and real lives and resulted in billions of $ of loss. The arrogance of this person wagging his finger at Strava is incredible.

  14. Rik

    I often used this feature to find new routes by looking at other people rides. I guess by disabling this they try to force more people onto their paid plans.

  15. Loi

    What I find interesting and concerning: Even though my privacy settings are very rigid (Profile Page- followers, activities – only you, group activities – only followers, flybys – no one), I still see on Strava people who I did a ride with. Even if they are not followers and I am not following them. Just recently was riding with a work colleague and that fact was indicated on the activity summary (“with …“). Shouldn’t that be impossible?

    Now, while I don’t care about a work colleague being able to see my ride and where it started, suppose some stranger just followed me for long enough. That person would be able to see my ride…


  16. JM

    I used this to see how many people used a cycle path near me. I created a fake activity where I appeared to be very very slowly walking backwards and forwards for 18 hours, I tried faking being stationary but that didn’t work.

    After that I used flyby to see every person that went past the virtual me, was very useful.

    • Chaos215bar2


      It’s amazing seeing the blazé attitude towards privacy in a lot of the comments here. Gotta have those social features, implications be damned!

    • Chaos215bar2

      Er… blasé.

      Anyway, see also the below comment as well. These aren’t just hypothetical scenarios.

    • Philip

      This is a quite complicated way to achieve this, when you could just create a segment there… same effect, and even nice statistics ;)

  17. Tom B

    You will be able to see that you rode with them, but it won’t show on theirs that they rode with you

  18. Dave Lusty

    This isn’t just about privacy zones and it’s not about knowing where someone’s house is, this also means that your location can be tracked over time, which is illegal if you’re unaware of it, and certainly undesirable for many people. I love this feature, and think it’s a shame, but it’s the right thing to do.
    The way the feature previously worked was not compliant with GDPR and similar regulations worldwide, including some states in the US these days I believe (didn’t California effectively copy most of it?). Personally identifiable information should specifically be not shared with anyone by default, and the user should be explicitely aware of every use-case where there data is shared, and give explicit consent. I think the way they did this sucks, but that’s just Strava, we all knew they suck at both business and user interaction but like Facebook it is what it is.
    I’m just amazed this took 5 years, it’s pretty much always been illegal in the UK!

    • Dave Lusty

      Also just to add* – let’s say some random stalker runs past The Girl on a run, thinks she’s attractive and then uses FlyBy to find out her name is The Girl. Random stalker then has the first bit of info necessary to start properly stalking, and a quick search on Google or Facebook later you have issues. In the past they’d have needed to follow her home probably resulting in a swift call to the police.
      Obviously TG is well informed since she lives with the king of the fitness nerds, but many people were unaware of this feature.

      *I should mention I work in IT security/governance/data so my brain is wired to dream up these scenarios for customers, I’m not just paranoid :)

    • John Airey

      Equally you can take a picture of “The Girl” or “The Boy” and search for their image on Google! It’s very hard to be secret in public these days.

    • Dave Lusty

      Picture search is nowhere near as reliable as you think it is. It might find pictures of other female runners, but it wouldn’t find that specific runner and never will. Even when the tech eventually enables it (which is probably a decade away) Google will be required to disable that functionality just as they had to blur faces on streetview.
      Strava, meanwhile, was giving you the names of people along your route. Without them consenting and sometimes without them knowing. It’s illegal in the EU for very good reason, and GDPR has been debated by world experts in privacy to ensure the right balance between making data available and keeping people safe and most importantly so that joe public doesn’t have to become an expert to stay safe.

    • inSyt

      You could see an attractive person at McDonalds (or any store that uses name badges), and search for them on Facebook. Or you could ask someone for their name. This is not a problem limited to Strava.

      Being attractive has it’s pros and cons like most other things in life. The con in this case is you have to up your privacy settings on social networks. You don’t find people complaining about the pros of being attractive, so they should just suck up the con and up their privacy settings.

    • Dave Lusty

      Name badges at McDonald’s don’t include a full name and neither do they give you a good idea of where someone lives. Knowing that “Dave” served you is not useful since “Dave” might live 50 miles away. Knowing that “Ray Maker” runs every day near Schipol narrows the search enough that you’ll almost certainly only find one person matching that search. Asking someone their name requires their knowledge and consent, Strava previously set this up such that neither was needed from the athlete in question. They’ve now rectified that so you can only see people who are aware of the feature, and have consented (in line with the law in many jurisdictions).
      This is a completely different thing to IRL meetings, and Strava provides a very real way to gain extra information about someone. Ask anyone with a background in privacy issues. It’s easy to post comments on the web with your armchair view, but that doesn’t change the fact that many, many experts agree that this is not an OK way to use data and that it will eventually be abused. The example I gave is a very small scale easy to understand one. Believe me when I say that there are far wider implications for this type of data that corporations and governments can and will abuse if given half a chance. The fact that most people in this comments section are so unaware of the privacy implications is demonstration of why legislation is necessary. As nations we need to protect the weak among us. In this instance “weak” means uninformed, and is not meant negatively but rather that we can’t expect everyone to do sufficient research to understand this, so instead we protect them.

  19. Robin White

    Here’s the thing. I set all my activities to private and adjust them based on what I am doing and if I want to share. Why can’t flybys be covered by the same ruling. It seems pretty daft to me not to do that.

    • Dave Lusty

      In a word, discoverability is why they can’t have the same rule. Your public activity is one in a billion which nobody has any reason or method to find. Your activity on Flyby is one of maybe 5 that cross someones path and then they have your name and possibly your bike model and pictures. They also have the advantage that they know when they saw you and have their own track recorded so from a privacy perspective FlyBy is considerably worse than just a public activity.

      The more useful the feature, the less likely it is to be good for privacy. Always the case with data.

    • Philip

      But riding a segment leads to the same discoverability: you can filter for rides of a given day, and you do not even have to have ridden that segment that day (in contrast to flyby), to discover these activities.
      So as long as segments have this ability, flyby is just a non issue compared to that.
      P.S.: And I love that feature of segments, since that is the way how I discover new MTB trails in my area: see who’s fastest on my favorites that week, and see where else they rode… and no need for FlyBy there…

  20. Barrie Gibson

    Where do you see (or not) the Flyby activity ? When I look for it in my Strava Desktop I cannot see where it is. I have got the subscription. Do I need to enable any extra functionality ? You mention Strava Labs – is that something I should have ?

    • Christophe Stahl

      That happened to me yesterday. I could not find the Flyby link anymore. You have to go the the privacy settings and switch Flyby (bottom right) to Everyone. Strava made it No One for everybody.

  21. Ben-Zion Caspi

    if a private zone is created now, does it affect rides/run done before?

  22. Roberto Holy

    I didn’t noticed that until reading your article… probably my strava browser plugin blocking all advertisement from feed :D lol

    Thanks for pinning that out. Damn I have used that feature a lot to connect/identify various riders I met on the way, afterwards. Weather checking their route or finding new possible ride colleagues, analysing their rides. Now … off just like that.. Lately there a lot more private activities. Which was quite often a bummer but now the feature is really useless.

  23. Babak

    I used it extensively to find new people to follow and connect with. I found out accidentally when I checked mine is not showing anyone then googled and found out that they turned it off. I still can’t see anything from the past. I was expecting it be turned off moving forward but i have lost all of it unless I guess people go and turn it back on manually which I think most people won’t or won’t care to do. I would still want to have to be able to see friends see flyby by default.

  24. Chaos215bar2

    Did Strava ever get opt-in consent to enable this feature? If not, they did the right thing. It’s pretty simple. It’s too bad they didn’t give better notice, and it’s too bad they effectively broke something people were using, but they still did the right thing.

    I’m also curious how privacy zones actually work. (Don’t use Strava. No interest, precisely because of repeated privacy concerns like this.) Couldn’t you work out someone’s address well enough just by looking at their activities in aggregate?

    • Andy

      Privacy zones are a radius around a point that won’t be shown in activities. You can choose from a few radius sizes, however you could look at a handful of rides and figure out the center of that radius. To complicate this more, you can set a few privacy zones with different size radii with none of them exactly at your home. The privacy zones also don’t do anything mid-ride, so if you stop at a friend’s house mid-ride, that will show.

    • Actually, privacy zones haven’t been perfect radius around a point for a while. All of my are offset/slightly wonky. You can check this in your privacy zone settings, and even press the regenerate button to spin out a new circle.

      I’d prefer Strava quietly regenerate these circles every month for fun, but they don’t do that to my understanding.

      That said, they aren’t perfect as noted if you live in a place far from others. Also, you can simply start/stop your ride/run offset from your actual location like I do.

    • Dave Lusty

      random resizing or reshaping would be completely ineffective since the centre would, on average, still be your house. All you’d achieve is a slightly larger circle, given enough activities. This sits in the “seems like a good idea, but isn’t” category of security protections unfortunately.

    • Philip

      nobody forces you to put the center of the privacy zone over your house! mine isn’t!
      (but also for other reasons, since I then would lose a segment close by, since no segment evaluation in privacy zones!)

    • Again, if you press the ‘regenerate’ button on Strava’s Privacy zones, you’ll notice it doesn’t actually center on your house (and it hasn’t for years). Seriously, go try it.

    • Dave Lusty

      Ray, you misunderstood what I said. It doesn’t matter that the privacy zone today isn’t centred on your house. The algorithm must have a random radius for both the centre and the size of the zone. If you draw one or two privacy zones this way it’s effective, if you draw 100 then very quickly the real centre will begin to show because the random fake centre must by definition revolve around the real centre, otherwise it might occasionally put your house outside of the zone. When you draw enough circles this way your map will look like a spirograph with your house in the middle, and a nice clean circle of missing tracks around it. Hence, your idea of constant regeneration seems a good one but is, in fact, reducing security.

    • Dave Lusty

      The more I think about it the worse it gets. Moving the centre of the privacy zone will, in all instances, reduce the area where your house might be. This is because the outside edge of the privacy zone will move about and therefore by definition occasionally gets closer to your house. Since you’re looking for somewhere inside the area where no plots appear over time, the more this moves the better because plots will appear in that area as it moves, but will never actually be next to your house.

    • Gotchya. Yup, that’s fair.

    • Though, not necessarily. That would simply be solved by the obvious: The house could sit at the center if randomness determined it.

      In any case, I think the bigger issue is Strava not simply defining these automatically. Or, applying a filter for any activities to hide a randomly changing portion of the first part of the activity (such as 200-400m worth). As always, with enough math someone could figure this out. But I think the point here is to add a layer of privacy, and not mitigate to perfection. Perfection is usually the enemy of progress.

      Plus, I’d argue if a person is that determined to sit by their computer for years waiting for privacy zones to update to triangulate the exact spot of someone within that few hundred meter radius, it would seem a heck of a lot better option to simply just go sit outside the routes they ran/biked and see where they ended up.

    • Dave Lusty

      Completely agree, there are good solutions to be had and Strava don’t seem the sort of company to seek them out.
      And of course, stalking in the real world is still the biggest issue. We just shouldn’t blindly add to it if we can help it, and we can definitely help it!

  25. AC

    If only Strava would respond to bugs and feature requests with that sense of urgency!

  26. Dan G

    I really liked this feature. Though I knew it was inevitable that it would happen sometime, its demise has still made me sad.

    Tbh Strava is becoming more and more irrelevant. Segments gone unless you pay, Flyby and Run With gone completely. Garmin Connect provides better mapping, routing, and workout analysis. So what’s the point of Strava?

    • Dan G

      Also have to say — if races were still a thing, there’d be a much bigger outcry about this. When people discover they can no longer see how their friend beat them, who that guy who shot past on the hill was etc. etc., they will be very disappointed.

  27. Thanks for posting this. I just submitted a ticket to Strava last night showing that somehow the switch to No One under Flyby privacy was made without my knowledge. I usually use flybys to send kudos and follow runners to build a platform for the brands I am an ambassador for. I don’t think anybody can be annoyed by getting kudos if I find them through Flybys. Also as you mentioned in your article I happened to watch ends of races using the flyby feature, which is pretty fun.

    In regards to the issue of not communicating the change, I wish they had done it instead of me learning about it in an article days after. I’ve been a subscriber for more than 3 years and feel that I should get updates more quickly from them. Communication can be somewhat difficult like the time they sent me an email saying that my charge would be $2.99 on 9/4/20, but it ended up being $7.99…. slight mistake. I knew about the price increase already, so it was obvious to me that this was an error in their email.

    Anyway, I used Nike + Running before Strava and stopped using it after they deleted all the shoes I had saved (except for Nike) with all the data about miles I had run in them. I am again pretty disappointed in the app I use for tracking. I wish I didn’t have to worry about the constant changes that get in my way.

    I am going to wait for their answer to my ticket but will most likely cancel my subscription: no flyby + recent price increase + no communication = not happy customer. I will try to live without the features that come with the paid membership.

    Thanks again for your article, very useful as always!

  28. Chris

    Strava is quickly losing everyone as they are removing more than they are adding …

  29. Richard

    I always take a look at the flybys and I noticed it gone yesterday. Checked my settings and found that it was disabled. I thought it was something I’d done, but it turns out not. I assume most Strava Users don’t read D C Rainmaker and aren’t going to check the settings. So now Flybys will be virtually useless. Strava has removed so many features this year it’s hardly worth using it anymore. Nobody needs Strava for the Analytics all that information and more is available in Garmin connect. The really good thing about Strava was the social aspect. Not worth paying for that though it’d be like paying for Facebook.

  30. Matt Haigh

    Not only is Flyby still beta and unsupported by Strava, it doesn’t work for me on Chrome I have to change to Edge if I want to use it. Strava really know how to p*** off their users.

  31. Dr. Gonzo

    I’ve been using Strava for a number of years because they had a really nice app and supper features. Recently I did the paid subscription after they took away the free segment data, and got I that back. . . . NOW they take away the prime feature “flyby”? It was nice to see who was going past, made a lot of friends that way. Now, I’ve had more than enough of their crap. There is no reason to use them anymore. Period. I’m unsubscribing Strava and going to Garmin. Way to self destruct yourself Strava. You should have let people opt out of the flyby feature, not just kill it off with out a word. ….Yeah you can turn it back on, but almost no one will know about that so flyby is effectively dead.

  32. Tim Ojesky

    Another way to handle this would be to anonymize the “flybys” so you could not see the name of the rider/runner. Combined with privacy zones, it would protect everyone’s safety for the most part. And if a rider/runner decided to “Open” their activity to “Everyone”, it would be their choice.

    • Richard M

      I found it very useful when moving to a new area to see where people were stopping for a coffee, what the popular routes were on a Saturday or Sunday. All could be found out from after a 2 hr ride to gather some data and then I could plan a better route for next time out. (or if a club went by I could findout what the club was and see that they were worth joining or not)

  33. OrsonX

    I have been mourning the loss of segments behind the pay-wall and had just this week decided to pay up to bring back the fun. This evening I went to look at FlyBy to see who I’d been racing against on my commute…, only to discover another one of my favourite features has gone! This is just painful! I have turned it back on, but what’s the point if the people you are blasting past have it turned off? Answer, none! So another fun feature is all but dead.

    I decided I’d go and post my disappointment on the Strava Community forum, uh-uh, think again, turns out that only Strava approved discussion topics are allowed, FFS!

    I’m now seriously re-considering whether I want to pay for this after all.

  34. Bruce Burkhalter

    I think this is the right move but executed poorly and years too late. Automatically opting people in to features like this is a bad idea. While a ride may be “public”, it is relatively difficult to identify a random person you see on a ride without Flyby.

    “However, that does/did require that users have both their activity set to ‘Public’. Private activities were/are not shown in Flyby.”

    While this is true, Strava did have one big privacy hole. If you only allow followers that you approve (“Request to Follow”), only those people can see your non-private rides. But that ride is still visible on Flyby. Anyone who “flew by” can view the ride, kudo, and comment on it. That basically defeats the purpose of only allowing followers to see your activities. As others have mentioned, Strava should support only allowing followers to see you in Flyby.

    • Philip

      I believe that these rides are also visible in segments and can be found like that.
      If your activities are public, they can be opened by anyone, if they have a link! Flyby was only one way to do that! A lot easier is just to look at a segment statistic of a given day to get these links.

      If you do only want your activities to be seen by followers, you can explicitly select that option in the privacy options, even per activity.

      So I do not see it as a privacy hole, if other people can open your public activities, after all, you set them to *public*…

  35. Dr. Gonzo

    From the Starva site – “If you signed up on Strava.com, you may cancel your Summit membership by visiting your “Account” page and selecting “Downgrade” or by contacting us at https://support.strava.com.” . . . . BUT you don’t get a refund for the remaining paid months . . .

    It takes a number of steps to find your account, which they don’t tell you. To get there you have to bring up the drop down box on the top right of the page (lap top) and select “Settings”. On the next page, click on “My Account” (on the left side). Next, under “Membership” scroll down to “Downgrade to the free plan” and click that. Next . . . at the bottom right click on “Downgrade to the free plan”. I stopped right there because underneath it says I will still be active until next May when my annual enrollment began . . . so I sent a message to support asking for a refund. They said I can not get a refund for the remaining 7 months. — Strava removed a feature I paid for and now is refusing to refund me. I would have never done the paid subscription if it did not include flyby. They broke the contract, not me.

    • Dr. Gonzo

      I submitted a request for refund through the link above and got this email back from them:

      “Thanks for your message. We’re currently experiencing a much higher than anticipated number of support requests and responses may be delayed. We appreciate your patience and understanding.”

      Go figure, a lot of their customers are not happy? So, I’m pretty sure I won’t be getting my money back from this California company who cancelled a service I paid for. My bad, lesson learned. I should know better than deal with any company based in The Peoples Republic of Commiefornia.

    • Gord

      fly by was a free service – you didn’t need a paid membership for it….

    • Dr. Gonzo

      Gord – “fly by was a free service – you didn’t need a paid membership for it….”

      Uh, yeah. I got the paid membership in May to get back the segment results they removed from the free product. Now they remove a prime feature, flyby, which I used at least once a week for years. I was able to find a lot of nice routes others were using, some of them 50 miles long with only 1,500′ of climb. I also made a lot of friends through flyby. This is all gone. I cancelled my membership. The clowns are keeping my money, refusing a refund for the rest of the paid up period, while removing a product that I paid for.

    • Tim

      Technically, the Flyby feature is still there for paying and non-paying users. But I agree, with the way Strava implemented the security, in effect it is gone.

  36. Chris Capoccia

    There goes my Covid fun. This year I have been giving kudos to every one of my flybys

  37. Adam

    Whilst I fully get the creepy factor that mostly women suffer from this and sadly the default must consider this. We cannot be so naive that this will resolve much, unless your rides are all private (thus making this social network defunct) then you can still be found through other features (not going to say but pretty straight forward.)

    We know the saying if you aren’t paying for something, then you are the product. Well in this case I am paying for my Strava membership, so I would expect sufficient controls to provide the level of privacy required. However I also know that Strava sells my data to various groups, not that my local or state government seems to do much positive with it.

    And the tweet linked, if what John Alderson says is right, check the guy’s employer. Perhaps “takes one to know one” is relevant here.

  38. BillT

    Maybe they could implement by anonymizing the flyby data and if you want to contact that person you just need to request it through the flybuy portal?

  39. TK

    Committed to privacy yet have not implemented ability to hide activity start times for years even though people have been asking. Honestly don’t understand the decisions strava makes sometimes.

  40. Gord

    when the flybys first appeared you had to opt in to them on stravelabs and you could see all your flybys, it was probably over 6months before Strava turned the option on for everybody.
    It would appear now that you can only see other people that have turned it back on – which is none up to now for me, my only flyby is myself. It doesn’t appear to be a premium only option.

  41. David

    I found a lot of new routes by going to my Flyby and selecting everyone and watching all the routes. Too bad there isn’t a way they could at least anonymize the data.
    link to youtu.be

  42. Mikey

    Does anyone know, aside from the Privacy setting, if there is a pre-condition which enables the “Flyby” link to appear again in an activity?

    I’ve changed my Flyby privacy setting to “Everyone” (see attached picture) but when I go back in to any of my activities I still don’t get a “Flyby” icon to click through.

    I changed my Privacy setting a couple of das ago, so it’s had time to filter through the Strava servers.

    Does it require someone else, who would feature in my Flyby, to change their privacy setting away from the default too?

    Do at least 2 people participating in a Flyby need to have their private setting set to “Everyone”?

    Would the “Flyby” feature still present itself in my activity if I’m the only person currently showing in it?

    Am I doing anything wrong?

    p.s. I’ve checked in a couple of different browsers.

    • CT Rider

      Mikey- it looks like you’ve done everything correctly. I did the same on mine and the View Flybys link re-appeared on all my previous rides (on the website only it’s not in their App). I’ve re-viewed some of them and as expected I’m the only one in them (when previously there were many). It should be there for you albeit empty.

    • Mikey

      Hi CT Rider – thanks for your reply. I read it over a morning cuppa just after 6am and it spurred me on to have another look at my privacy settings.

      I noticed in the Flyby explanation it says “Only your ACTIVITIES marked as visible to ‘EVERYONE’ will be displayed in Flybys.”

      I toggled the ‘ACTIVIVITES’ setting to ‘EVERYONE’ and then refreshed all my past activities to pull through the update.

      Hey presto! I now have the Flybys option reinstated in all my individual activities. And yes, you’re right, even if nobody else in my activity has turned Flyby back on, I can still see myself riding solo in through the Flyby.

      I’m fairly certain I never had my ‘ACTIVITES’ public in the past and was still able to use Flyby, but I’ve been fiddling around with my settings so much over the last couple of days – trying to get Flyby to work again – that I can’t be sure.

      In any case, it’s all working again.

      Strava really has the most crap customer service and public engagement. I’ve never paid for subscription and, after this, never will.

      Thanks again for your reply CR Rider.

      All the best,


    • JP

      Glad I found this. I didn’t get the link to see flyby’s back either after I enabled flyby again. I only got the link back after changing the visiblity of the activity to everyone. They must have changed this too, because I did have the link before even while the default visibility for all my activities is and always was ‘followers only’.

  43. Monkswhiskers

    Always thought it was a bit ‘stalky’

  44. TrevS

    ” So activities marked private were/are never visible (despite the Twitter user’s statement to the contrary).”

    This is not entirely true in my experience.
    An activity marked as private used would still show up in flybys (i’ve seen that plenty of times).
    Plus a while back you could select the users activity within the flybys & it would open up their actual activity (that seemed to have corrected a little while back though).
    If you viewed activities via the user profile it was as expected & were not available.
    So yep, there was a hole in the privacy settings.

    • Onno

      I think you’ve seen the difference between non-public profiles and non-public activities.

      When a profile isn’t public, you can’t see a list of activities on the profile page, but you can still find and view the athlete’s public activities if they’re shown in segments, grouped activities, or flyby’s.

  45. David George

    Interestingly the brutal murder of French woman Alexia Duval was partly solved by Strava. Her husband claimed she’d gone out for a job on Saturday morning in her home town. The town is very popular with young, sporty couples and you can see it from space on Strava heatmaps in a sea of darkness. Surely someone had spotted the pretty young blond on her run? Well using flybys Web sleuths set about contacting virtual witnesses but found no-one. The husband’s story fell apart and he confessed to killing his wife.

  46. Tad

    I’ve used the FlyBys feature to make new friends, and sometimes just thank a stranger for letting me follow their wheel for a bit. I’m pretty disappointed by Strava’s handling of this. They definitely should have and still be making a lot of noise about it, maybe even nagging everyone that it’s on, with an easy option to turn it off, rather than just assuming 100% of their users wanted it off.

    We’ll see how they make up for this in the news days and weeks, but at this point, it’s looking like I’ll not be renewing my Strava subscription.

  47. Michael

    Let’s face it, Strava is dead.

    They’re clueless about what is and isn’t a good feature. Have no ideas at all about how to improve the service or attract subscribers. They’re clueless how to or lack the minerals to monitise the service.

    One second they remove features, the next they add them back. The next moment they split their service into different tariffs and shortly after make it a single price. Just proof they are inept, clueless buffoons.

    Why let them waste more VC? Put them out their misery, sell off the assets.

    This is what happens when you hire engineers and staff based on their interest in cycling or running rather than on their actual ability to do the job (a similar problem exists at zwift HQ)

    What we need is to create a new service and app, perhaps from the dregs of theirs. Monitise in the obvious way that a bunch of other big tech companies are already doing and then tell people it’s free. Job done.

    We know the basic idea is sound and popular it just needs better management.

    • Eric Tiffany

      OMG, this!! And, as you say, same for Zwift (which I left a long time ago).

      I don’t know about “dead”, but I think they are treading water looking for an exit strategy. Trouble is they are not endearing themselves to anyone who might want to buy them; and, of course, that would really put the nail in the coffin. Been there, done that (with several companies).

  48. John Beevers

    Since this update, my wife and I have been unable to see leaderboards on our Andriod tablet Apps. Deleting the app, and replacing with an older version (October 2nd) has solved the issue.

  49. brian m hennessey

    This is a social medium! People want to meet people. People who don’t, won’t use Strava or will make all their rides private (which shouldn’t show on flyby). But it does get to the larger problem of Strava not interacting with their users, like asking their opinions.

    • Andrew

      Deleting all previous Strava Community forums and not allowing users to create topics indicates to me that Strava are now not even pretending to be interested in the users opinion anymore?

    • CT Rider

      yes this what Brian H says ^^^ 100% correct. If a user doesn’t want their activities (including Flybys) seen by the public then they can set their Activities setting to Private (followers/only you).

    • Bob

      I don’t want to meet people on Strava. My friend list on Strava is made up of people I know in real life and want to share my training with. Just because I run/cycle, and you run/cycle, doesn’t mean we have anything in common. This excitability seems to be an attribute of new, enthusiastic individuals who just discovered exercise and want to share it with the world.

      My friend list on Strava is made up of people I know in real life and want to share my training with.

    • Andy

      That’s a pretty closed-minded view. I run and bike with groups of people and don’t always know all of them. Flybys were a perfect way to find out who else was around and because of mutual friends, I’ve made new ones to be active with.

  50. Patrick Devitt


  51. Cant believe Strava turned off Flybys without any coverage. Virtually every local rider on my Strava friends came about from Flybys.
    Unusual that Strava made a change / decision that wasn’t based on subscription fees

  52. Grant

    I checked my settings and it was still set as everyone. So I haven’t been affected.
    Is it possible they’re only doing it for some regions?

  53. CT Rider

    What Strava should have done is merge the Privacy Settings for “Flyby” and “Activity” to be the same. If a user does not want the public to see anything about their activity they could toggle this setting from “Everyone” (default) to either “Followers” or “Just You”. What they’ve done is basically remove one of their best features. And their lack of any communication or warning on this switch was the final straw for me I went in and cancelled my Summit membership today (or as they say “downgraded” it).

  54. Jim Z Williamson

    The feature is basically useless now. This is a monumental error by Strava. Heads should roll.

  55. Luca

    I think it would also be a good idea to re-enable it by default on all activities marked as “Race”

    • inSyt

      This is a really good compromise! They might as well scrap the feature if they going to persist with the current defaults.

  56. Griff

    That’s too bad. That was an awesome feature to look at after a race.

  57. Niels

    Well this sucks, I really liked flyby. I don’t get how this fixes the whole stalking issue, as you can still go to the segment you saw someone ride on and find them there…

  58. Marc

    I did not even get any notification in my desktop feed. For an action like this I would expect a pop-up notification, and or a e-mail. It is not like they can’t do that. Get them nagging for a subscription all the time.

  59. Russell

    Yes, it’s a completely useless feature now. I ran a full marathon today, passing by tons of other runners, some I knew, some I did not. Result: ZERO flybys. Strava killed it dead.

    • jk

      yup I’ve observed very similar. and there’s no way that they’d go back on themselves and have it as opt-out again like it used to be, so that’s it, it’s dead…

  60. Gin C.

    Honestly, Flyby has been part of why I didn’t bother with Strava. Mostly I don’t have it because I don’t need another Fitness tracking platform giving me data on the same workout I send to map my whatever and Garmin Connect, but more than because it is so focused on the social aspect and I find that useless since I end up setting everything to private anyway. It’s fascinating how quickly you find out if your privacy setting are messed-up, totally random guys start asking to be your friend.
    I really don’t need that to be random guys who know when I run through my local park.
    I’d like to make some friends who run in my area, but not with random guys on the Internet, and the fact that they live near me and run the same routes isn’t really that comforting. This year I joined the local running club. Ha, such timing.
    Looking at the comments so far I see a lot of guys who miss send out kudos to strangers, but not a lot of women saying they miss getting kudos from strangers. Zwift ride ons are the only feedback from strangers that doesn’t send me to privacy settings to see what went wrong.

    • Bob

      Bingo. It seemed to appeal to new runners who are just so darn excited about their new hobby and want to tell everyone about it. It’s the internet equivalent to a high five while running…

  61. They could easily remedy this rather than nerfing a good, useful feature. Start by eliminating the privacy issue (seeing an athlete’s route on flyby when their activity is set to friends only, aka private as far as they know) then RE-INTRODUCING the feature with a pop up that details exactly what it is, and this pop up should then have a toggle right then and there to turn it on, off, or friends only.

  62. I’m saddened as Flyby was often useful if you’d run a race (remember them?) with someone and a nice way to catch up afterwards by pinging quick kudos. I can understand it from the POV of privacy but when it ostensibly will kill the feature, Strava have shot themselves in the foot rather.

    If they’d communicated it to people widely and made it easy to re-enable with a single click from an email it would’ve mitigated the fallout somewhat. But as it stands it’s a Tory government style SNAFU.

  63. Brian Dinsley

    I got home after my ride and reached for my smart phone to check out how competitive I had been on the segments contained within the ride. However, the feature showing ‘Today’s’ segment performance has disappeared. For me, this was one of the most useful features of Strava. I pay my annual subscription, but I’m wondering whether there’s sufficient value to do so in future. Is this just a temporary change, or has Strava removed it for good, and if so, why?

    • Niels

      It’s still there for me in the Android app, I don’t know if it has even been in the web app.

    • Brian Dinsley

      I eventually found it. Click on the KOM crown an then scroll right. ‘Today’ is listed along with ‘all time’ and ‘this year’.

  64. WB

    So the ‘Chick-Check’ feature is gone… What a shame…

  65. Neal Johnson

    This move has effectively killed Fly Bys because most users aren’t even aware of it. So most users wounldn’t know to switch it back on…

  66. Alexandria Biker

    This was a true Strava fail. If they wanted to properly alert users to the privacy issue of FlyBys Strava could have given every user a pop-up window to opt in/out when they visit the site. Heck they could do that monthly and pester users to keep privacy in mind. Instead they took it upon themselves to decide what users want.

    • ah

      Yeah – it’s really a bungled change.

      I get the privacy concern. Totally legit, and something people should be aware of.

      But really pretty simple to say “We have this thing called flyby. If your activities are public you’ll be seen on this. But you can opt out by either setting activities to private/friends or opting out spcifically from flybys”

  67. Bob

    I’m kind of shocked people are upset about the changing of the Fly-Bys default privacy settings. Having it “on” by default was the stupidest thing ever. Most people only the app and are not even aware of the feature. It seemed like a law suit waiting to happen…

    • Tad Marko

      But it’s the way it was for five years, and in that five years, many people became very used to it.

    • jk

      Why was it the “stupidest thing ever”? Why is it up to strava to babysit their users? Features like this are what makes (nay, made) strava unique. It made sense that it was enabled by default. If you don’t like it, just change your privacy settings or don’t use it at all.

  68. Jason

    I’ve never felt so lonely, a whole week of running and not one flyby!

    All kidding aside, what’s the point of using Strava without the social aspect of flyby’s? Almost none for me. Why Strava doesn’t send out an email informing us about their new flyby-policy is baffling.

    On the other hand, most people who use flyby should have noticed that something’s amiss. My fear is that they don’t care enough..

  69. Jacob Varekamp

    This was by far my favorite Strava feature; if I’d known I wouldn’t have renewed for another year…
    Hope they fix it or I’ll be gone

  70. dani

    Thanks! I had just noticed Flybys was gone and didn´t have any idea why.

  71. Julian Hemsted

    This is a real shame, I used Fly-bys to look at other competitors routes in MTB orienteering events

    But my buddy just had a much better use-case – we were mountain biking in a remote area of north England just 4 weeks ago and he dropped and lost his camera when he answered the call of nature! Later I (privacy public activities but Friends only to follow) had a comment on my Strava activity saying had I lost a camera! A local farmer (obv a Strava user too) must have used Fly-by to see who had been past this remote area and publicly-spirited messaged us.

    So a great shame to lose the feature. Turning it on for Races would be a good idea for my main use but it wouldn’t reunite cameras and owners!

  72. Brian S McCloskey

    Is it just me or does Strava seem hellbent on annoying, irritating and downright p*ssing off their customer base?? I can’t fathom the rationale behind disabling one of Strava’s most unique and enjoyable features? Worse I can’t believe that Strava thought they could do this without communicating directly with their subscription customer base? Is it any wonder serious riders and runners are “looking” hard for ways to find some other service so they can tell Strava to pound sand??

    • Andy

      I would have to assume they have some knowledge and just hope that few enough people cared. They should obviously know how many of their users click through the FlyBys – I know I look at it for every activity I post. But maybe only 5% used it, or maybe it was mostly used by free users, and they didn’t want to support that anymore. Either way, I think it’s a terrible decision and terrible to just turn it off with no/little notice. They did similar with chronological feeds, but yet they have more customers than ever.

  73. mathew

    Seems that all Strava can muster these days is removing functionality. How many people “work” at that ghost ship?

  74. Roy Partington

    I have being on strava since early 2014 and always paid.
    Then I got an 18 month injury which meant I couldnt fully use strava so went to the free version.
    While using the free vers they decided to force everyone too pay for segment rankings etc.

    After getting over the injury I was trying to use the new limited free version but was struggling, as not able to see the rankings was a huge benefit, so was toying with the idea of going back to premium.
    What made me pay yesterday was I noticed the FlyBy function was missing and I incorrectly assumed that they had made this part of the premium package.
    So I paid for the full year rather than the monthly, and then annoyingly found FlyBys still missing under premium, and then found Dcrainmakers article here.
    Rather annoying.
    Like others have said, I have turned my flybys back on as I know how to look after my security settings on strava and I dont have any security concerns.
    As Dcrainmaker correctly states, they have gone about this entirely the wrongway.

    • Roy Partington

      >>>as not able to see the rankings which was a huge loss.

    • Tad Marko

      Rankings and full stats for my rides were interesting for a while, but I’ll never be anywhere near #1 on any segment, and now I have a pretty decent idea how I’m riding. I’m certainly not renewing and am about to explore the possibility of a cancellation and refund.

  75. Rob

    Yep, the lack of communication about their actions is a discredit – very amateur behaviour?

  76. Bob Martin

    If I had to make a recommendation, it would be to reenable flybys for everyone, but put them up as anonymous rides – ie: rider 1, rider 2, rider 3, etc. UNLESS, you opted in to have your user name shown. That would make it absolutely useful, and wouldn’t violate anyone’s privacy. Of course, provide an opt-out-entirely option. Seems like this should have been the way they dealt with it.

  77. Christophe Stahl

    I got a response to the ticket I submitted to Strava before seeing this article. Pretty much cut and dry, no apologize for any inconvenience. Reactive communication is not much better than proactive communication.

    Anyway, I decided to cancel after paying this wonderful service for 3 years. Luckily enough I was paying monthly. I do not have much use of some other advanced features, so I think I’ll do fine. I was willing to help them with paying because it was useful to me and also they are still not making a profit as a company, but bad communication just makes me not want to help them anymore. Some companies just stab you in the back; difficult to trust anymore.

    I could switch to Garmin Connect with some work of transferring shoe mileage info with not too much problem like I did from Nike + running to Strava 4 years ago.

  78. This doesn’t fix anything.

    Now, if you want to see who someone was, just use “Segment Explore” to find a segment where you saw them, limit the leaderboard to “Today”, and browse the list of rides to see who was there then.

  79. HH

    I mainly used this feature to find cool tracks other users ride…

    if they would at least turn it on anonymized again…

    w/o this feature STRAVA as a whole becomes useless to me…

  80. Dean Liu


    Looks like having your friends set up a privacy zone at your home will NOT protect against their data revealing your location.

    link to support.strava.com

    Near the bottom:
    – If you stop within or pass through a privacy zone during the middle of an activity, this portion will not be hidden.

    Thus example…
    My friend starts data recording of her ride from HER home 3 miles away, swings by my home to pick me up since it’s on the way. We proceed on our route and return back to my home. She then continues to her own home, and stops her data recording. Via Strava Group Activities and Flyby, my home location is now revealed on her activity data… despite her setting an additional privacy zone around MY home… since privacy zone only applies to beginning and end of an activity, not the middle. Doh!

    • True, but at that point you basically just need to set that to private – or, simply meet a block away.

      I think there are always edge cases, but Strava has been pretty clear it doesn’t apply to anything other than the start/end.

      I’m super familiar however with that use case, as there’s many times on a ride where I might start at home, and then swing by the office to grab something, or vice versa. Ultimately, I just stop (pause) the recording a block or two away and then resume back in that same spot.

    • Dean Liu

      “Ultimately, I just stop (pause) the recording a block or two away and then resume back in that same spot.”

      Yeah, I’m going to have to start asking my friends to do the same then…

  81. Ogre

    Hey, thank you for posting this detail! I have always loved the Flyby feature. I’ve used it to find lots of like-minded runners and have made friendships from connecting with it. I noticed it was gone all of a sudden, but didn’t know why. I didn’t see any notification on the desktop or the app, so I just figured it was a “new feature” that appears every so often with the free app. It is nice to know the history of it, but I am sad it disappeared.

  82. Mark Kanzler

    Nice of the to (not) tell anyone.
    I was trying to find flybys for yesterday’s activity… couldn’t find anything until I hit google searches.

  83. Ronald

    Booo Strava.

  84. john l

    Strava has taken away most of the features that made it great.

  85. Jay

    “Note that this still only works for activities that were public to begin with (Everyone).”

    This is not entirely accurate. Previously I had nearly all activities’ visibility set to “Followers Only.” Even then, I could still see the Flybys link on the activity and could view the flybys on my activity and see the routes of others on the flyby map. But if I clicked on cerrtain people from the flyby screen I would get an error that I did not have access to the activity (I don’t remember the exact error).

    Now, even after reenabling the Flyby feature, unless I set the activity visibility to Everyone the flyby link is completely absent on the activity. So, this was a bigger change that simply setting eveyone’s flyby privacy to Off.

  86. Andrew MacLachlan

    Really useful article. I have been off Strava for a while, due to an operation, and had my first ride yesterday and couldn’t work out where Flyby had gone! Now I know!!

  87. K. Moore

    Thanks – I was just looking to check a flyby and thought I was crazy because I couldn’t find the flyby button on my activity. I had no idea they turned it off. DC Rainmaker saves the day again.

  88. Ojo Pike

    Very disappointing … they could have made everyone’s default “anonymous” by not showing their name or their avatars .

    As it is now, it is completely useless and pointless..

    they could have also prompted users to the change and gave them 3 options
    1 turn it off
    2 be anonymous
    3 turn on like it used to be

  89. BCR

    Thanks for the complete update. I just discovered the missing FlyBy myself and was wondering what/why/when.

    Like you, I was comfortable with my privacy settings and a public FlyBy. But now, being so quietly turned off, no one knows its gone, so it becomes kind of useless. Yeah, so I tell my friends to turn it back on…not the same – as we already know when we pass each other. This is essentially the same as removing the feature. Disappointing.

  90. I don’t think Strava has any discretion. Flyby was created in a bygone era, at least with respect to privacy laws.

    We now have the GDPR, and companies – at least any that operate within arms reach of an EU state – have to be _very_ diligent about protecting privacy, or risk very large fines. (And I think that’s mostly a good thing).

    Strava are acting as they should and must.


      They could still have issued a statement though.

      GDPR is of course merely another tax on business. Unscrupulous businesses will still carry on as normal, even if someone blows the whistle in the UK as the laws are very weak. But even before that personal data was protected, has been since 1998. I struggle to see how flyby gave away personal data. Granted someone could have used it to follow a runner or cyclist home, but that’s a lot of effort when you could just follow them home! (I’m not condoning this but you see my point). Companies seem to be terrified of even the slightest breach.

      Fun fact, whilst she was still Prime Minister I could look at Margaret Thatcher’s medical records – weren’t very exciting (although Dennis being her “dependant” was pretty hilarious). Wasn’t illegal back then.

    • HH

      I agree – no information at all is counter-productive.

      personally I would be happy with an anoymized flyby feature!
      As said above, for me it is more about finding new tracks to ride…

  91. Biff Bird

    They took away the ability to use sensors so I switched to ridewithgps but still synced my rides to Strava. Now they took away flybys which was the only reason I still checked the site at all. Totally useless now.

  92. Pod

    It seems like this was announced well below the radar but I found out much later than when it happened and how I found out is someone was talking about it in a bike shop I frequented and the conversation I overheard is too many single guys were hitting on the “gorgeous ladies of Strava” resulting in unwanted requests for dates or the like. Not sure if that’s true or not and I get wanting privacy controls but one of the most fun features of the platform has been scuttled more or less.

    • John Airey

      I don’t believe this is the case at all. Sorry but the “gorgeous women of Strava” still have to run on the public roads and actually people are creatures of habit and tend to use the same routes.

      Strava is no more help at finding the same woman as waiting in the same street at the same time on the same day of the week. You can just as easily search random names and message them that way. Or even follow them from a running club! The possibilities to stalk in the real world are endless, but obviously I’m suggesting it.

    • John Airey

      I’m not suggesting it I mean!

  93. Carrie Molsey

    I wish once you have blocked an athlete that the kudos for another athlete would be blocked from view from the blocked athlete and vice versa. If an athlete is blocked it’s for a good reason.