Garmin Is Down – How to Upload Your Bike Rides to Strava

I’m not retracting my recent rave review about my Garmin Vivoactive 3 Music smart watch. On tonight’s 26-mile ride, it told me how far away I was from home, mere seconds after I was asking myself that very question. How cool is that? Maybe a little spooky, too. However, Garmin.com and Garmin Connect, the app that syncs with your phone and uploads your activities to Strava the bike and fitness tracker, are down. The word is Garmin were the target of a ransomware attack on Thursday. It’s now early Saturday. If you’re like A Dude, whose goals are tied to tracking data points (especially miles), it’s a big deal. Assuming Garmin fixes things, those activities will be uploaded then. But if you don’t want to wait for Garmin to get its act together, Strava has come to the rescue with an easy way to get your data transferred. Courtesy of A Dude Abikes. You’re most welcome.

Gone Ice Fishin’?

At first I thought the title was “Garmin outRage,” but it just said outage. I’m sure millions of users like me are not thrilled. But never fear, the activities are still are here, or there, just stored on your device. Here’s Garmin’s screen saver message. It’s meant to be comforting, but I have questions. Who is this camped out? Are there aware of the outage? Do they have a signal to upload their skiing, or snowboarding, or elk mating ritual researching or what have you to Garmin? Maybe it’s the Garmin IT guy or gal who’s been banished to the hinterlands after allowing the attack to take place. They’re literally ice fishing. Who knows? Again, a little spooky.

Source: Garmin.com

Why It’s a Big Deal

OK, I’ll be the first to admit that a bunch of overweight Americans (or insert whatever nationality you like) not being to record their huffing and puffing is privileged and trivial. But what about the people who use Garmin Live Track? This is a feature that allows specified contacts to determine where you are. If the Garmin IT guy or gal got lost on the way to their campsite, or passed out of something, who would know? Nobody. Then you’ve got dead IT guy or gal. That would be no bueno, as we say in Spanish.

I actually tested this feature just the other day. I don’t have anyone linked in Garmin, but I do in Strava. So I asked a buddy to be an emergency contact to try out Strava’s Beacon, which I connected to my Garmin watch and thus Live Track. Not only did it send him a text when I left, with the URL so he could follow my ride, every time I turned on my data or had wi-fi, like at a rest stop, he could tell exactly where I was. (When I had data off as normal, my route was just straight lines — not very helpful. Someday, after I publish my bike memoir and am a successful author, I’ll have the funds for unlimited data. A Dude can dream.)

The next day, I got a flat tire, and almost needed him to come pick me up. Fortunately I replaced the tube and made it home. If I had blown the tube and crashed and was laying there unconscious, theoretically eventually the person following me would have noticed, called, and not reaching me, been able to tell emergency services where to go to find me. So Garmin’s Live Track could literally be a lifesaver. That it’s not working is a big safety issue. Instead, you can use Strava Beacon but that means turning data on your phone.

Also, Garmin has a whole aviation system. Pilots use it to upload navigation. This is down, too. Not crashing airplanes seems pretty important. So is I suppose their customer service. It’s a real headache all around, and I wish back-up Garmin’s IT folks luck figuring it out and getting everyone up and running (or biking or kiteboarding or flying or golfing etc.) as soon as possible.

Screen shot of what’s down at Garmin.com

Here’s What to Do

These are the directions from Strava Support, with some edits by me:

  • Connect your watch or bike computer with its power cable to your computer.
  • Open Strava.com, sign in and click on the + symbol at the top right.
  • Select “Upload Activity” and then “Choose Files”
  • Navigate to /Garmin/garmin/activities or /Garmin/Activity
  • Select the file (it will end in .fit or .tcx).
  • Press “Open”. The file (one at a time) will magically appear in Strava.

Note: If you have Garmin Express installed, be sure and close that before proceeding. They will block any duplicate files when activity sync resumes so you won’t have to worry about uploading two of the same activity. Strava also has other steps for devices with music, but mine has that capability and didn’t need the extra seps.


So, there you go. Your activities are still safely stored on your device, but now they’re uploaded onto Strava. Life goes on. Now get out there and pedal your butt off! I know I am. A Dude Abikes OUT(side)! Feel free to share your experience and thoughts below.


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