Recently a Zwifter contacted me, confused because they had ridden a route but couldn’t find themselves on the segment leaderboard in Strava. Since Zwift Insider is (oddly enough) the keeper of Zwift’s Strava segment library and the VeloViewer Route Hunter Leaderboards, they came to me.
After doing a bit of digging, I discovered that this particular Zwifter had enabled a privacy setting in Strava which effectively hid their activity on the segment in question.
Since this rider probably isn’t the only one in the world encountering this issue, I’m sharing the details of how Strava’s Privacy Controls work with Zwift segments and activities. Let’s dive in!
Accessing Your Strava Privacy Controls
Strava has a pile of Privacy Controls which can be accessed via their app or the web version by going to Settings>Privacy Controls.
Under “Additional Controls” you’ll see “Map Visibility” – this is the setting which can affect Zwift segment matching/leaderboards. In the web version of Strava it looks like this:
The first option, “Hide the start and end points of activities that happen at a specific address,” is a sensible one if you don’t want people to see where you live.
The second option, “Hide the start and end points of activities no matter where they happen”, is the one that affects Zwift segments.
Click “Edit” for this setting and you can customize how many meters are hidden from the start/end of your activity:
A Thorough Test
I did some testing to confirm that Strava’s “Hide the start and end points of activities no matter where they happen” works the way we thought. I set it to hide 800 meters of the start/end of our activities, then sent our bot out to ride a lap of Watopia’s Hilly Route.
The game spawns you approximately 250m from the start line, which means my bot account’s Strava privacy setting would chop off the first ~550 meters of the route. I also ended the bot’s ride just after crossing the finish line, which means the last ~800 meters of the route would be chopped off.
You can see this in the Strava map of the activity, which uses a grey line to indicate “hidden” portions of the activity and a red line for visible portions:
When I (the account owner) viewed the activity, the Hilly Route segment showed up. But if someone else viewed the activity, that segment wasn’t shown at all.
When viewing it as the account owner, the segment included this note:
This effort doesn’t appear on leaderboards because the segment is within an area you have hidden using your Map Visibility controls.
Adjusting Map Visibility for Individual Activities
When I went back in and removed the privacy setting (setting it from 800 meters to “Off”), nothing changed on the existing activity. I tried clicking “Refresh Activity Achievements,” but that didn’t change anything, either.
Fortunately, Strava has built a tool to make the hidden portions of your activity visible (or alter the map visibility of your activity in any other way). The text below is from their support page…
On either the Strava mobile app or website, open the activity you wish to adjust and select the ellipses icon (from the upper right-hand corner of the app and left-hand side on the website).
- Select Edit Map Visibility.
- Use the sliders to specify the portion you want to hide or enable the option to Hide the Entire Map.
Editing the map visibility on an individual activity will override any default map visibility preferences. In other words, you can hide more or less of your map than was automatically hidden by your default preferences.
Enabled for All
After doing a bit of poking around online, it appears that Strava enabled “Hide the start and end points of activities no matter where they happen” for everyone around June of 2022. So even if you think this setting isn’t enabled on your account, it may be.
This page from Strava says, “Once you’ve had a Strava account for at least seven days and uploaded one activity, the first and last 200 meters of your activity maps will be hidden by default.”
A Request for Strava
I’m sure the “Hide the start and end points of activities no matter where they happen” is useful for athletes who want to keep their start/end points private. But it seems silly to apply this to virtual rides, right? What’s the use of hiding the first and last X meters of a virtual ride? We’d love to see Strava have this setting only apply to outdoor activities.
Questions or Comments?