Private Strava activities are public on CS?

I think I’ve screwed something up! I discovered CityStrides last week and have been merriily uploading years worth of GPS tracks. It’s excellent fun finding the areas I haven’t been to in a place I thought I’d pretty much exhausted exploring.

All my walks on Strava are “followers only” and after syncing all of these I had an empty LifeMap if I looked while logged out. I’ve set my privacy to “Each activity will default to the privacy setting in your tracking service.”. So that was correct.

I then went and linked to Runkeeper where I had older walks, but these were all public and I realised I didn’t really like having so much info on a public LifeMap. And I decided I’d rather have everything in one place in Strava anyhow. So I unlinked Runkeeper which deleted all my Runkeeper activities from CityStrides. All good so far.

But now I’ve been and uploaded lots of the old Runkeeper data to Strava and even though the maps are “followers only” on Strava they seem to be appearing as public on CityStrides. I haven’t been through and checked all of them but as an example this Strava walk matches with this CityStrides walk. Feels like I’ve triggered a bug by having the same tracks sync from a different service with different privacy settings?

However I’ve also noticed that my latest actitvities which have definitely only ever been on Strava as followers only are also syncing to CityStrides as public, e.g. Strava, CityStrides. I’ve checked while logged out on several browsers and don’t think it’s just a caching thing.

Any ideas how I can fix this? I thought of unlinking Strava, deleting my account and starting again but I think I’ve used up enough of your API calls this last week and there’s probably a simpler solution!

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This is VERY interesting and frustrating. None of it is your fault.

Strava has a field on each activity named private which can be true or false.
All of your activities (I spot-checked 100) have private set to false.

I just learned a moment ago that Strava has another field named visibility which - from what I’ve seen so far - can be “followers_only” or “everyone” (maybe another version that identifies the activity as being completely private?).
You have a lot of activities that are “followers_only”.

I don’t have any code that looks to that visibility field because it isn’t present in their API documentation. I’m just learning that this can be a thing right now.

If you want to make these activities private, I would recommend changing your CityStrides account privacy to either “Just Me” or “Friends” (there isn’t a friends feature yet so those would be private until I release that). You can do that in the Privacy section of your Settings page: Sign In - CityStrides

I’m going to have to look into how I’m going to support two competing privacy settings in Strava…

Additional clarifying info: I’ve looked further based on some of your notes, and I’m not seeing any potential bug around privacy. You mentioned connecting different services and worrying that some action caused an issue where privacy wasn’t set correctly. That’s not the case. This is completely and entirely caused by Strava’s visibility field potentially being set to a value that conflicts with the private field and them not documenting that this can be a possibility.

  • New signups are automatically private
  • Connecting new services does not touch the existing privacy on the CityStrides account
  • Disconnecting services does not touch the existing privacy on the CityStrides account
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Thanks James, good to know I haven’t broken anything. How come the initial activities that synced over from Strava are private on CityStrides even though they have the same “followers only” setting on Strava as the newer ones though? Or is that what you meant by “New signups are automatically private”?

I don’t have a huge problem with the maps being public, they were public on Runkeeper to start with, I was just going to curate the ones that appeared on the public map a bit more carefully and mostly confused over why they became public. Yes, ideally I’d want them to all be visible to CityStrides friends when/if that’s a thing.


Strava must have those set with their private field to true.