back to article IT bloke: Crooks stole my bikes after cycling app blabbed my address

An IT manager in Manchester, England, says thieves stole his bikes after a smartphone cycling app pinpointed the location of his garage. Mark Leigh, 54, of Failsworth, said his two bicycles – worth £500 ($750) and £1,000 ($1,500) – were nicked shortly after he made his address and details of his bikes public on the popular …

  1. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Common sense

    Which is why I don't start the computer running until I'm half a mile from home, and stop it half a mile from home on the way back.

    1. Graham Marsden
      Thumb Down

      Re: Common sense

      Common sense *should be* designing an app with security *first* in mind, not 27th after all the bells and whistles and pretty bits...

      1. Adam 52 Silver badge

        Re: Common sense

        In fairness to Strava it is built into their app and the new user messaging does remind you to set it up.

        1. Johan Bastiaansen

          Re: Common sense

          It should have been the default setting!

          In all fairness to Strava, that's just bs, giving their lawyer some legal ammunition.

          Bad design.

          1. Infernoz Bronze badge

            Re: Common sense

            He and the other victims need to sue Stava for a negligent, default security fail!

            GPS cloud tracking apps must have a minimum radius around detected start/end points where tracking data is always hidden from the public to avoid this kind of security fail.

            Publishing any movements you make is a security risk anyway and could get you directly hurt or otherwise compromised.

            1. BebopWeBop

              Re: Common sense

              While I appreciate concerns over Strava - as an IT 'professional' didn't he even think of the downsides of detailing his possessions and using an application that identified his start point? The article was a little unclear, and I presume that Strava does not reveal the actuall adress rather than GPS source location, but still.

              Another example of security and privacy being last on the list of a number of 'professionals' in the business. Depressing to think how this extends into toehr walks of life (the 'rob my home' warner being an amusing attempt to highlight the problems).

              Little sympathy for professional stupidity though. Will his insurance company pay up given he advertised location and details of his valuables?

          2. chris 17 Silver badge

            Re: Common sense


            You have to tell it your address so it knows to block out anything within a certain distance from your home. Else it'll block a certain radius from your start point which is a pain if you drive to an event or otherwise don't want the start blocked.

            1. Adam 52 Silver badge

              Re: Common sense

              Quite. And for all those saying it should block automatically, all that does is give you a nice circle centred on your house.

              1. Anonymous Coward
                Anonymous Coward

                Re: Common sense

                I don't think enabling a feature like this it will produce a circle centred on the house since people leave their house along one or two routes, unless they live in a featureless desert, rather than travel out in a random direction each time.

                The circle needs to be big enough, though, say a few hundred metres, to encompass many houses. It also needs to be big enough so you don't have to give the exact location anyway, since a copy of the database may be sold on when it is eventually stolen.

                1. BebopWeBop

                  Re: Common sense

                  I do hope that circle is randomly assigned a centre/radius. Of course if the app writers decided that to be smart, they would re-centre every time the location was looked at, or very time a new ride was displayed, some enterprising thief might get the idea that they could collect enough data from a keen rider to better identify the real start location.

                  1. John Robson Silver badge

                    Re: Common sense

                    You define the circles yourself - so I have several covering my local estate - there are only three paths out, but all it says it what estate I am on.

                    Same around my office.

                    Not that any of my local rides are publically shared, nor do I record them any more...

                    1. Lee D Silver badge

                      Re: Common sense

                      Is it really just me?

                      Why the hell are you sharing rides on your bike with the world in the first place? I mean... why? Isn't that like the old slide-projector enthusiasts who just show you every detail of their trip when you go around their house? Why?

                      Just... WHY?


                      1. Stuart 22

                        Re: Common sense

                        "Why the hell are you sharing rides on your bike with the world in the first place?"

                        We use a similar app and publish our club rides every week so people on the ride can know where they have been and newcomers have an idea of the type of rides we do.

                        Thankfully if any naughty people try and use it to track the start/finish they will end up at a telephone box in South Croydon. No bikes inside and very rarely a handset. Guess that was all they could find.

                      2. AdamWill

                        Re: Common sense

                        It's exactly like that. You get to be part of a 'community' where everyone pretends to be wildly interested in where and how fast everyone else is riding their bike, the payoff being that other people will pretend to be wildly interested in where and how fast you're riding *your* bike. Doesn't that sound fun?

                2. BebopWeBop

                  Re: Common sense

                  Although of course, something of a 100 metres of so and a rider who regularly shares their rides, might get some lowlife loitering one morning to identify the actual house - and bingo. Sometimes this urge to share/brag goes a little too far.

              2. 's water music

                Re: Common sense

                all that does is give you a nice circle centred on your house.

                Only if you centre a privacy zone on your house and then only if you cycle enough different routes to and from your house to enable the zone's centre to be triangulated.

          3. John Robson Silver badge

            Re: Common sense

            Ok - so where do you conceal by default?

            The number of people who drive to the start of a bike ride is quite high, and there is no benefit to "concealing" the start of that ride.

            The setup takes you through setting up privacy zones, and you then have to make each ride public.

          4. paulc

            Re: Common sense

            bit difficult to be the default setting... how on earth can the app possibly know where your home base is, you might have installed it and activated it someplace else from home...

            1) I've set up several privacy zones, home, work, and normal destinations for some of my rides.

            2) Even having the garage door locked is not enough, you need a decent ground anchor and to lock the bikes through the frame to that ground anchor, then they need to use noisy power tools to cut them loose.

            My insurance insists on me having them secured with a ground anchor when at home and not leaving them locked up overnight either.

            1. BebopWeBop

              Re: Common sense

              My insurance insists on me having them secured with a ground anchor when at home and not leaving them locked up overnight either.

              Doesn't this requirement not to leave them locked up reduce the need for a ground anchor?

              1. paulc

                Re: Common sense

                forgot to type 'outside' ... as in not to leave them locked up outside overnight...

                anyway, my expensive bikes are in my storage unit... ride my cheapo to it and back when I go out for a training ride.

          5. 's water music

            Re: Common sense

            It should have been the default setting!

            Strava doesn't know your address by default. Would it be better for them to gather further data for them to lose. In any case, who is to say where you want or need a privacy zone? I need several that aren't at my house. As has been noted, you do get prompted to set up a zone and you have to enable ride sharing

      2. kiwimuso

        Re: Common sense

        Why the hell would anyone possibly need an app to go for a bike ride, fer fuck's sake!!!!

        Deserves all he got.

        Poor security despite my remark.

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Common sense

      I used to do that, then I was spotted entering my house. I now beam myself home from half a mile away. That way no one will see where I live.

      1. DrGoon

        Re: Common sense

        My solution is to attach cell phones to all the stray cats in the area and have then all share the same cycling app account. This does of course mean that for the decoy to work effectively one has to cycle at night, but it's a small price to pay.

    3. TeacherMARK

      Re: Common sense

      I don't believe you do that.

      1. RubberJohnny

        Re: Common sense

        Make your start point and finish point a mile or so away from home. Use the travelling to the start point as a warm up and travelling home from it as a warm down. Don't record the warm up / warm down.

        A few years ago I bought a new bike, it was stolen the same night. Quite a lot of it was happening, people were being followed home from the shop.

    4. John Sanders

      Re: Common sense

      Common sense should be not to tell the entire world what are you up to the minute, applications or not.

      Privacy has been eroded dramatically already, no need to also publish your every move.

  2. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Social - adjective used to be associated with diseases

    Till recently social and disease used to be a very good fit. It looks like they still are.

    Social support in an app - no thanks. Share? No thanks either. I grew up in a place where "sharing" was taught in schools as a virtue. If you were more observant to notice what was behind the high fences of the Politburo dachas you were quick to comprehend that sharing is for the plebs. The ones that benefited from it did not share a dime. Or a kopeika to be more exact.

    Share my location? Share my data? Sorry, I know what "sharing" proposed within the context of social by a "business" really means - I had 20+ years of childhood training on that. It means you are screwed and some f***head gets to be a billioner.

    Nope, you cannot make me into a sharing sort of person for the life of god. Share? Some other time. Pay me, and you may get stuff.

    1. P. Lee

      Re: Social - adjective used to be associated with diseases

      >I grew up in a place where "sharing" was taught in schools as a virtue.

      It still is. However, we still have semantic errors which mislead people. I don't "have the internet on my iphone," I do allow random people on the internet to send stuff to a computer I neither really control nor understand but to which I trust an awful lot of personal information. I do not "have" this app, I HAVE installed a random bit of code, from people I don't know, with whom I have no discernible relationship, on a computer with lots of personal data on it.

      Its good that people share these stories. The more publicity this sort of thing gets, the more people understand that the more (even transient) information (such as whereabouts) is stored and shared with code of unknown origin, strangers, government, corporations, cloud storage organisations, the more dangerous it is to you personally. Stop contributing to these infrastructures.

      My take on the matter is simply don't do it. Don't bother trying to secure a zillion and one apps, just stop sharing where you run, cycle, walk, what you had for lunch and where it was. No-one needs to know that. My weather app doesn't need my location. I can use privacy mode in the browser and give it a postcode of a major town nearby - it doesn't need to know I'm down at the bottom of my garden. That URL gets stored in the local history, not synced up to some cloud, not even for Firefox.

      Give me rsync over ssh over a vpn to my machine at home for "cloud," and I'll be happy. OneDrive I do not want even if it did have unlimited free storage. Application-level clouds are even worse. Per-application storage protocols? No thanks.

      If I want to socialise and share with friends, I'll schedule some time to be with them. "You're my friend, but I'm only going to broadcast my information to you, not spend time listening to you" doesn't cut it, not even if the broadcast is two-way. Why have have something as inhuman as a computer mediate social activity? Go back to the clubhouse or pub or invite people home and regale them of stories of the close calls you had with a bus on your bike ride. That is how you build friendships - not by clicking "like" or sending them GPS coordinates of where you ride or where you had lunch.

      Stop sharing with corporates, software and devices and start sharing directly with people you know. That is how you develop appropriate trust boundaries.

      1. chris 17 Silver badge

        Re: Social - adjective used to be associated with diseases


        You'll not want or like IPv6 then without nat, which encourages anything to connect to anything everywhere and discourages hiding your multiple devices behind an obfuscation device like nat!

        Privacy is constantly being eroded on the net, opportunities to enhance privacy are often deliberately engineered out, I.e tracking cookies.

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: Social - adjective used to be associated with diseases

          I'm already on IPv6 and I've natted off all the devices on my home network. Does not matter if the support IPv6 already, they are natted off the Internet.

          My Internet Point of presence was in London E17 but something seems to have (and despite all my best efforts) found my home location. I'm going to move ISP's in January and hope that I can keep my real location obscured from the unwashed masses who would steal it in a flash.

          Yes I know that keeping your real ID off the interwebs is getting harder and harder but at least I'm trying unlike a good many of the population who seem to be Social Media Addicts and get their kicks from telling the world what they had for brekkie, how the got to work, where they work etc etc etc

          1. Peter2 Silver badge

            Re: Social - adjective used to be associated with diseases

            More over, if your broadcasting this information your also telling people where your house is and what your schedule is, so a thief can identify when your not in your house and when a convenient time to rob your house is.

            Call me old fashioned, but if somebody was checking my house out every day when I went to work who didn't live in the area then i'd be getting alarmed by it. Simply posting all of this information online alarms me to a similar extent.

            Maybe i'm just paranoid (or an introvert...)

          2. Voland's right hand Silver badge

            Re: Social - adjective used to be associated with diseases

            but something seems to have (and despite all my best efforts) found my home location

            Most likely Android - Google correlates between your WiFi SSID, your visible IP address and various other (a)GPS data. The WiFi vs location is well known and publicized, the IP to other data not so much. It is there and it is being done even if you did not provide them with exact address by associating a payment method to your google play account. It also works if the payment method is registered to a different address. Long live conditional probability and statistics.

            Granted, so far there has been only a couple of cases where a person in the google staff has abused their position to access data inappropriately. As it grows the probability for this increases. It is further increased by adding M2M, IoT, etc. It is only a matter of time until it is compromised for use in burglaries. It is not a question of if, it is a question of when and how many.

      2. PeteA
        Thumb Up

        Re: Social - adjective used to be associated with diseases

        Well said, sir.

  3. Jay 2

    From reading the headline I had a sneaky feeling it was Strava. I feel sorry for the guy having his bike nicked, but surely as an IT bod he should have been all over the settings for a location/social-based website?

    1. Johan Bastiaansen

      it was bad design

      I'm so old, I remember when cars came without safety belts. But hey, you could add them yourself.

      Kids pyjamas would be so inflammable, they would turn your offspring in a burned crisp in seconds. But hey, a parent should keep them away from open fires right?

      It is bad design. And the only way it will be corrected is to enforce it by making them pay for the damages caused by their stupidity.

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Not the guy you would employ for setting up things like secure networks or in deed any form of security in an IT setting.

    3. js1592

      He's an IT Manager; clearly he has no time for security.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        >He's an IT Manager

        So what do you all think an IT Manager is?

        Personally I'm rather tired of the overuse of the IT tag for anything from retail store PC sales droids, call centre first line support, virtually anything under the sun that involves using Windows to real professionals.

        For anyone to descibre themselves as an IT manager means they are not an expert in anything IT otherwise they would be more specific.

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          "or anyone to descibre themselves as an IT manager means they are not an expert in anything IT otherwise they would be more specific."

          I think you're thinking of an IT consultant.

          1. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            Ah, seems like I touched a nerve with self proclaimed IT managers. So fess up, WTF do you manage? I'd bet the shirt off my back you couldn't manage security at Mothercare.

  4. nsld

    over sharing

    Sometimes its just TMI thats the issue.

    That and a lack of decent security and its adios to the wheels.

    Alarms, CCTV, embedded locking post and a baseball bat all help.

    1. YetAnotherLocksmith Silver badge

      Re: over sharing

      Get a couple of layers of security, spend some money on Sold Secure Gold rated kit, & add some sort of alarm/CCTV/pager that'll tip *you* off about something happening, as well as the neighbours.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: over sharing

        And people wonder why my bikes live in my kitchen. Or perhaps now they don't wonder so much anymore. :^\

      2. John Tserkezis

        Re: over sharing

        "Get a couple of layers of security, spend some money on Sold Secure Gold rated kit"

        No, you would be better off growing a brain and NOT publically sharing your name, address, portable goods, and the fucking convenience of a GPS track leading to your front door.

        CCTV was never designed to cover morons.

        Back when I used to ride, I was the tight-arse of the group, my bike barely made the AU$4K mark. There were others in the group who topped AU$12K. And we had multiple bikes to boot, and we would never share last names with unknowns, and certainly never addresses.

        Obvously $1500 shows a different class of customer. Share everything, complain later. He isn't going to get any sympathy from me.

        And no, if you're thinking of going shopping, I sold the bikes years ago since my hips completely wore out. The best I can offer now is a limp.

        1. Lamont Cranston

          @John Tserkezis

          A limp what?

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: over sharing

      "Sharing". The lie that keeps on giving.

      The people who use these apps aren't "sharing"; "sharing" is the neu-tek term for "narcissism". I'm not seeking attention nor am I seeking affirmation, I'm really just "sharing"!

      There is no reason for these "sharing" apps to share details like precise speed, personal diet, maintain a leaderboard (Strava), power, cadence, personal activity logs and even heart rate...except for the goal that, in "sharing" these personal tidbits, you'll get attention for something you've done. If these apps were about sharing a road map for others to enjoy, then your personal, intimate details wouldn't matter.

      Did you "share" your precise minute-by-minute GPS road track data with your co-workers from your last weekend out on a drive, plus include your last health exam data as well? No, you didn't. We, don't. But you just HAVE to post all your sordid details about your little runs and bike rides, and everything about yourself as you did them, in the hopes that your friends, using the same apps, will give you all the lovely attentions that you've always asked for. They'll call you out for just how good a job you did. Give you a cheer because you are just so special. These apps are the Twitter / Facebook for the self-assigned "athletes", the people who make sure that everything they do is realized as...something important.

      So you posted stupid personal details about your stupid, inconsequential personal activity...and you got nipped for it. Good for you.


      1. LaeMing

        Re: over sharing

        The funniest thing is that these 'friends' will be too busy 'sharing' their own 'achievements' to be really interested in yours. The big test is to look at how much you care about what others do (not in comparison to yourself, however). There is a good chance those others care just as much about you (not in relation to themselves).

      2. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: over sharing

        Dammit. That sounds like trolling...... but I agree with it anyway. AC because confused.

      3. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: over sharing

        The "look at me" irony is strong with this one - especially now it has over 30 upvotes

  5. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Similar issue with MapMyRun app

    I think women especially should be cautious about these apps - particularly if they have them sharing on Facebook - because even if they 'fuzzed' your home address a few blocks if they show your running route and you have regular routes you run at regular times it is pretty easy for someone to find you. I mentioned this to a few female friends when I saw it pop up on Facebook and they dialed down the sharing...

    I guess it seems kind of nifty to be able to share the route you took on a long run or bike ride with your running/biking buddies, but if you share it with everyone you are "friends" with on Facebook (and due to default privacy settings, often wider than that) you might be sharing it with people you wouldn't if you stopped to think about it.

    It is only a matter of time before we read about some sort of tragedy related to this sort of thing. Not that the apps are bad per se, but they should pay a lot more attention to what information is shared with who and default to very limited sharing. Unfortunately that's not the way to popularize your app, you want it in everyone's Facebook feeds so they think "hey that's cool I should download that myself"

    1. a_yank_lurker

      Re: Similar issue with MapMyRun app

      @DougS. - Not just women should be concerned about these apps. If you think about your weekly routine, you probably follow similar patterns every week to the office, shopping, etc.that someone could get a good idea of where you are at a given time. If they intend harm, they have your pattern.

      One should be wary about sharing one's personal details publicly - men or women.

      1. LaeMing

        Re: Similar issue with MapMyRun app

        We need an app that will generate random routes and explicitly NOT share them!

        1. BebopWeBop

          Re: Similar issue with MapMyRun app

          Why a joke?

          1. sabroni Silver badge

            Re: Why a joke?

            Yeah, dial down the humour! A bit more sanctimonious moaning would go down much better!!

            1. Vinyl-Junkie

              Re: Why a joke?

              I read that as "why is a random route generator a joke?" rather than "why make a joke about this topic?". A random route generator, if you're cycling for pleasure, would be a very useful thing I would have thought. Just tell it how far or how long you want your ride to be, and let the cycling app generate a suitable route.

              As a motorcyclist who enjoys riding back roads for pleasure I have often made up rides as I've gone along, particularly when making my way home from work on a warm, sunny, summer's evening. One way of doing this is to use an electronic die stuck to the left bar -on approaching a junction press the button and turn according to the result, always using lowest values to mark off roads from the left (so for example approaching a T junction and "rolling" 1-3 would result in a left turn, 4-6 in a right; at a crossroads, 1-2 left, 3-4 straight on, and 5-6 right, and so forth,)

          2. LaeMing

            Re: Why a joke?

            I was long ago, but I assume it was the 'not-sharing-them' bit that I thought amusing!

            I know (worthwhile) security companies do exactly this for patrol beats and secure van routes.

  6. ma1010

    I've often wondered how clever all this stuff was...

    As a ham radio operator, I know about a system called APRS. It's a system many hams use in their vehicles that couples with a GPS and transmits their location (and sometimes other things, like ambient temperature, etc.) It's useful for emergency communications situations, search and rescue, and such. But many leave it on all the time. And outside the "ham" world there's a lot of other GPS smartphone type apps like the victim's here. I've often wondered if thieves wouldn't harvest this sort of information and use it for nefarious purposes.

    Thanks, El Reg, for answering my question. I'll be leaving GPS OFF unless I need it.

    1. Terry 6 Silver badge

      Re: I've often wondered how clever all this stuff was...

      Not really different from in-car and mobile phone SatNav.

      Don't have the "home" button on the satnav set to the correct address- it's just telling car thieves that you aren't at home.

      And if your phone is going to show where you live that's one big extra reason to make sure that you have set passwords for the phone and SIM.

  7. ozor

    Common sense version 1.0 though.

    Had this enabled since day 1 of using Strava, even set privacy zones around any friends I may visit and cycle with, was one of my first thoughts :/

    1. BebopWeBop

      You are obviously not cut out to be an IT manager. Go to the Dunces corner and contemplate your failings before repenting, disavowing security and privacy and then reapplying.

      But you might like to think that unless Strava, and their suppliers are being much smarter than the average puppy, for whom development and management costs are to be minimised, those 'secret places' might not be secret too much longer.

  8. Danny 2


    I think it was pre-searchable web but I recall a report that visible burglar-alarms when they first started being sold that they did not have a deterrence value, quite the reverse. They simply advertised your house contained something of value compared to your neighbouring homes.

    The trick is to to have the protection but not to broadcast it, to fit into the herd better. In the Netherlands I spraypainted my expensive bike black and removed the Raleigh ensign, so it didn't stand out from the mass of other bikes available. Only an expert could identify it, and most theives know nothing.

    A neighbour took an alternate approach and welded metal antlers onto the front of their bike so it would be easily recognisable and a hassle to resell.

    1. definingsound

      Re: 'Worthwhile'

      Would love to see those antlers! Myself I'd be too nervous about goring myself to go that hardcore in an effort to prevent theft.

      1. Danny 2

        Re: 'Worthwhile'

        The metal antlers were frankly terrifying! As a pedestrian, as a cyclist, hell, they'd even scare a stag. The bike was never stolen though, and in Dutch law the cyclist is never at fault.

        I had a bike stolen there, and was told by my Dutch fiancee to rush to 'Junkie Bridge' to buy it back before someone else bought it. "But pay no more than 25 guilders or else you'll raise the price for the rest of us". Seemingly buying back your own bike is the Dutch method of charity for heroin addicts.

        A boss there told me a sure-fire method to get a free bike. Shout out "Hey, that's my bike" and some passing cyclist will get off guiltily and give you their bike.

        At Dutch v German football matches the Dutch sing, "Give us back our bikes", a reference to when the occupying Nazis melted down Dutch bikes for the war effort.

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: 'Worthwhile'

      I have a very bright pink Brompton. They are expensive and nickable. I returned to the bike, locked to a rather solid object one day after 5 minutes in an office to overhear a conversation from two chavs that went on along the lines of

      "lets do it"

      "nah well never get rid of a pink bike and anyway it would be embarrassing"

      True story, unbelievable as even I find it in retrospect

      1. Danny 2

        Re: 'Worthwhile'

        In the Netherlands it is considered bad-form to speed past anyone. It's kind of the point everywhere else. But Holland is as flat as a 1970s Doctor Who set, and most 90 year olds cycle, so although it's a fairly macho culture, not so on bikes. You are frowned upon if you go too fast.

  9. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Peak Social

    Just one more sign that we're approaching peak social networking. You share it online, you share it with unelected bureaucrats with the power to victimise you and you share it with criminals with the power to victimise you.

    Don't be a victim. Don't do Social Networking. Or something. Anyway it sucks.

    1. allthecoolshortnamesweretaken

      Re: Peak Social

      It's a sign all right - but I severely doubt it's a sign that we are nearing peak 'social networking', whatever the definition of that may be. Why? Too many people acting stupid. Some of them actually are stupid, most of them just act stupid, usually because it's more convenient. ("Give Me Convenience Or Give Me Death") Safety belts in cars are a good example.

      Also, some people seem to assume that thinking hurts, or something like that. Homo sapiens, my ass...

      No, this sort of thing - can we call it Computer Aided Burglary? - is going to increase dramatically with the IoT. All your(*) shiny things will broadcast both the fact that you have them and their exact location. Including your CCTV/alarm system that you've left on default settings - enabling anyone to check when it's convenient for him to nick all your stuff.

      (*) "You" used as a figure of speech here, of course. I trust my fellow commentards actually know what their brains are for.

      1. Doctor_Wibble

        Re: Peak Social

        > (*) "You" used as a figure of speech here, of course. I trust my fellow commentards actually know what their brains are for.

        Mine is for thinking, other people's are for eating, as any fule kno.

        You might own the IoT thingy but you will never own the soft/firmware that's on it and this will get harder and harder to block from beaming its data back to the manufacturer via broadband-over-powerline, wi-fi, 5G, or even morse code to the CCTV on the traffic lights outside. Dear customer, your lightbulb has been switched on in an unknown socket in a different room, please confirm this was intentional...

        And for practical security, it turns out that electrified barbed wire is illegal. WTF?

        1. chivo243 Silver badge

          Re: Peak Social

          "And for practical security, it turns out that electrified barbed wire is illegal. WTF?"

          Put a few cattle inside your electric fence, I think that would sidestep the practical security aspect. I encountered many in Illinois farm country.

  10. ssharwood

    Sorry but this chap FAILs

    Strava has a privacy bubble - it won't publish data bout rides in a 500m radius from whichever location you choose. If he turned it on, the crims would have been clueless.

    1. Just Enough

      Re: Sorry but this chap FAILs

      Except if you look for the centre of the bubble; that's a big clue to the precise location that you don't want the crims to see.

      1. Fat Bob

        Re: Sorry but this chap FAILs

        From memory Strava doesn't actually show an actual bubble on the map, the displayed routes just stop at the border of the privacy zone. You also don't have to centre the privacy bubble on your house, you just have to make sure your house is covered.

  11. Simple Si

    Catch the culprits

    It would be great if this story could be turned from 'boo technology assisted crime' to 'you - technology catches theives' if these recent thefts were reported back to Strava - surely a little bit of cross referencing details of accounts that have viewed rides of similar users in the area who have had thefts could potentially pinpoint some culprits for these crimes.

    I guess it's just a theory though - the dirty theives could have simply just followed the cyclist home and observed the bikes storage & security measures whilst being put away.

  12. Your alien overlord - fear me

    a. who the f%^& cares about your cycling you narcissistic twonk?

    b. ask Strava who accessed the data (IP address and so on) and give it to the police - returning of stolen goods 101

    1. Pedigree-Pete


      "narcissistic twonk". You Sir may have one of these and a +1. PP

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: NT

        Will Strava be interested?

        Will the Police be interested?

        If the answer to one of these is at least "that's a blue moon coming up and I can smell bacon on the wind" you might want to try.

        While I have no sympathy with for example, rapists who target women and use the excuse that "they were wearing a shirt skirt" arguments, I'm still not going to give the world and his thief directions of where to go and instructions on what to take.

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: I can smell bacon on the wind

          Well just wander down the police station to report it if it's that close!!

          I'm here all week! Try the fish!!!

  13. tdiegow

    This person should be fired by his employer because he is obviously a. Idiot when it comes to IT.

  14. joed

    what's going on on the other side of the pond

    Stealing cheap (sort of) bikes from locked garage (I hope did not mean locking the bike in locked garage). They only shoot on this but nobody cares for a bike - it's a hard work to use it.

    1. sabroni Silver badge

      Re: what's going on on the other side of the pond

      amanfrommars!!! We've missed you!!!

  15. Quortney Fortensplibe

    Share in the Community

    I've stopped being amazed at the things otherwise intelligent people share online, which they'd never let become public knowledge in The Real World©. A friend who I've always thought of as pretty smart posted pictures on Twitter last August, of himself and his family waiting at the airport for their summer holiday flight to the sun.

    When he got back, I asked him if he'd also thought of putting a note on his front door, for the benefit of less social media savvy burglars, saying "House empty for two weeks"

    1. BebopWeBop

      Re: Share in the Community

      I refer you to and Remember, it's not just you who is advertising your lack of presence and kickable stuff, but all those "friends" who share your experiences and link to you.

  16. John Geek

    my local cycling friends call strava users 'stravatards', as they are always racing GPS benchmarks and treating it like it actually means someting.

  17. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    I went social online once....

    ....nobody noticed.

    But then, I know I'm a saddo.

  18. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward



  19. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    I'm sorry but I'm not believing this and here's why,

    1. What sort of thief would use an app to confirm someone has a bicycle and how would they know it was worth any money?

    2. Most thieves are opportunists, why would you go to some street or area you don't know in the off chance the bikes are not securely stored?

    3. Failsworth is next to Moston and Newton Heath, both are scrote area's with a high percentage of thieves anyway.

    4. Who in their right mind shares their location publicly?

    Can we please keep the sensationalism to the daily fail please?

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward


      No ones mentioned this as yet but......

      There is a strava flyby mode that lets you see who you may have passed on your ride. If people set their privacy as shown to all you can see their pic, and profile including details they enter about their kit and I think what gps device they where using.

      Strava robbing does seem to be an issue in Manchester.

      I know people in Manc who will only transport their bikes in the car and not on the roof or boot in case people see their bikes at their house. I've left pairs of £3k+ bikes on my car outside my house for hours on end and never had a problem here in the south. I do live by a busy road which may put thieves off vs a nice quiet cul de sac where the thieves won't be disturbed.

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      burgler doesn't care if its a £500 or £5000 bike

      he will still sell it for £75 at the pub

      1. BebopWeBop

        Re: burgler doesn't care if its a £500 or £5000 bike

        he will still sell it for £75 at the pub

        Yeh, funnily enough both of my road bikes were remarkable bargains at a pub (not my local you understand, I was buying and not renting from the seller).

    3. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward


      I know Moston, went to school ( decades ago) there. Yeah, plenty of the usual low life types around, like anywhere else. But there are crooks who specialise, like checking FB to see which idiots advertise they are away ( as above). And bikes that cost thousands of quid are probably a pretty tempting target. Which are the kinds that someone who has posh satnav and broadcasts their location is likely to own.

      Point 3 contradicts point 2 rather..

  20. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    No difference really...

    ... between this and State-Sponsored assassins using your mobile phones' A-GPS metadata.

  21. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Have you googled yourself recently?

    What did you find?

    Your Address?

    Where you work?

    Family relationships?

    Where and when you went on holiday?



    If you found ANY of the above then I am sure that it won't be long before your insurers will fail to pay up in the likely event that your house gets done over when you are at work, out shopping, on holiday simply because you told the world about your plans.

    Anyone who answered yes to the above needs to come off social media NOW. A good new years resolution would be to stop using it alltogether.

    I google myself every 2-3 months just to make sure that others have not posted details about me.

    You won't find my life revealed for all those scumbag thieves to find.

    Go on. do it.

    Real Life (As opposed to social media version of reality) is not just for Christmas.

  22. allthecoolshortnamesweretaken

    I wonder

    how the insurance companies will react to this sort of thing, it is bound to happen more frequently.

    (Yey, yes, I know - by not paying out...) But seriously, anyone here with a background in insurance math? (PONS just told me that would be actuarial math, somehow that doesn't sound right, but then again I'm not a native speaker...)

  23. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    I use a tracker

    Not Strava, as it happens. I set it so that only I see my data since it occurred to me, q) who would be interested in when I'm out training? a) burglar? Easy to do.

  24. Anonymous Coward

    Wow I'm stunned....

    ..sharing your routes exposes where you live.

    Publishing you birthdays, pets names and mothers details on Social media means many people can hack in to your accounts.

    Telling your 97,000 "friends" that you are going away for two weeks and could someone pop round from time to time to check on it, may lead to an increased chance of it being broken into.

    A little less attention whoring and you may be a little safer.

  25. Adam 1

    > – were nicked shortly after he made his address and details of his bikes public on the popular biking app Strava,


    Because it is obviously impossible that some guy saw him arrive home from a ride then came back later...

  26. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    There are loads of these apps out there

    And many people have been in the news for the same reason.

    Dont forget that the user name is also likely to be shared, and link to the GPS tagged photos of your cat and your facebook page telling all about your upcoming 3 week holiday.

    Simply turning off running, cycling, walking, driving location tracking is not necessarily enough.

  27. Archie Woodnuts

    User error

    Application has privacy features.

    User doesn't bother with them as they're too busy quantifying their pub ride and waxing their legs for that Cat3 they'll never enter.

    Inevitable happens.


    Do me a favour.

    1. Vinyl-Junkie

      Re: User error uninterest in....


      1. Archie Woodnuts

        Re: User error

        By replacing a word that means an absence of interest with a word that means a lack of interest?

        Thanks, Captain Minor Stylistic-Change, you've saved the day once again.

  28. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    News just in...

    The Internet is not private.

  29. Huw D

    Apparently this is old news?

    Just forwarded this article to one of the Directors here who has some pretty expensive cycles and he said the tales of bikes being stolen (possibly because of Strava) has been all over the cycling press for months.

  30. Tim 11

    The good old days

    When I go out for a walk or cycle, I'm pretty sure nobody gives a shit where I've been or how fast I was going, and I certainly don't want to be fiddling with gadgets all the way round. I thought the point was to get out and enjoy the countryside and have a rest from technology?

  31. nedge2k


    Well, serves him right for a) being one of those fucking annoying condom, tour de france wannabe, MAMIL's and b) being stupid enough to think anyone gives a shit about his cycling habits.

  32. andypowe11


    What is the story here... a pair of cheap bikes get stolen "shortly after he made his address and details of his bikes public"? Where is the evidence to link these two events? It was also presumably "shortly after he'd been seen putting his bikes away in the garage", "shortly after dark" and "shortly after umpteen other things"!

  33. lukewarmdog

    Not his fault

    I think what we're all missing here is this important line:

    "The following morning my garage had been cleverly broken into and they were gone."

    It wasn't stupidly broken into, it was cleverly broken into, he probably didn't stand a chance.

    As far as insurance goes, when you have a phone stolen at a pub, the police will ask if you had it in sight at all times, did you put it down on a table, did you wave it round the pub. Same here, the insurers will start asking "did you advertise it in an app" and refuse to pay up.

    I suspect that you cycle round on your £1k bike but that all the work is being done on your phone or watch. Surely a better solution would be to have the bike be connected, that way when it's stolen, like your phone, you can remotely track it and / or disable it. It would be hard to remotely kill your phone and also the thief as phones are rather small devices and it's probably not a good idea to fill them with nitro-glycerine but a bike frame would surely be a different matter. I'm just saying.

  34. Vince

    The worst thing about this article is that the guy is an 'IT Manager' s should know better and should instinctively check and review privacy of everything.

    Of course he could have the title because he just knew the most rather than was actively an IT Manager type. That happens a lot.

  35. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    It's the online equivalent of sitting in a dodgy pub and boasting about the pile of cash you have in your back pocket, you stand a damn good chance of being mugged on the way home.

    It really shouldn't take much intelligence to realise that advertising the whereabouts of your expensive bikes online is a stupid thing to do and that it might be a good idea to either look for the off button or find an app that doesn't do that?

    Or, alternatively, just use an offline tracker and stop trying to show all the other pedal monkeys how big your willy is...

  36. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Can we have an app that automatically reports pedal monkeys when they mount the pavement or run a red light?

    Or, better still, anyone up for an e-petition to make it a requirement for them to have visible identification on their contraptions so we can report them when they ride badly?

    1. Dominion

      Sure, but one for cars would be more use as they tend to cause more deaths when jumping red lights and mounting pavements.

  37. chivo243 Silver badge

    Only one thing to say

    A fool and his money go cycling? In separate directions.... Seriously? A cycling app that wants your home address etc? This is as bad as the Out-of-Office auto reply with too many details. Might as well turn on the neon light above the front door that says "On Vacation - Burglars Welcome!"

  38. TeeCee Gold badge

    Odd really.

    Nobody anywhere seems to have ever implemented the right use for this sort of tech.

    The ability to look up exactly where your bike currently is[1], courtesy of the electronics embedded in the frame and remotely detonate the 1/2 lb of C4 adjacent to same.

    [1] In case the scrote who nicked it is currently using it in a place where there are innocent bystanders of course. Bonus points for finding it's in "Honest Dave's Dodgy Bikes" and claiming the jackpot.

    1. Stoneshop

      Re: Odd really.

      I think you need way less than half a pound to demolish only the saddle, leaving a bare saddle pin.

      Then suggest to the constabulary to inquire with proctologists in the area the bike was in at that moment.

  39. g00se


    a. you elect to carry an electronic tag

    b. you elect to publish details of your tag

    What could possibly go wrong?

  40. Named coward

    additional fail:

    "where there were lots of other valuable items in the garage"...

  41. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    A neighbour is a serious bike rider. Recently he discovered the side bolt locks' loops had been cut through - by a bolt cutter - on his lock-up garage's door. For some reason the thieves had failed to open the central door lock. It is possible that they thought the side locks indicated the main lock was no longer functional.

    An infra-red CCTV camera showed that four people had come up the road in the middle of the night and made a bee-line for his garage amongst 16 others. They were there for no more than 2 minutes. The garage now has a ground block for the door - plus side locks with fully enclosed loops. Ground anchors have been installed in the garage itself - but his most expensive bike is no longer stored there.

    Local council street lighting economics mean that the street itself is pitch black from midnight to dawn. Failed forecourt security lighting has been upgraded to LED with PIR sensors - although there are rumours this actually makes the thieves' task easier.

    I will bring the El Reg article to his attention. He had assumed he had been followed home after a training run.

  42. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Any proof that the thieves do use strava, rather than random assertions from victims and police that they might do so? Most of the break and enter and thefts that I know of turn out to be crimes of opportunity, usually by very IT-illiterate drug & alcohol affected individuals, or sadly, from an individual known to the victim.

  43. David Roberts

    Only the bad about Strava et al?

    I know that any popular app which you don't use is a waste of space and only used by idiots, but still...

    There is an obvious use case for Strada which no doubt explains the popularity.

    If you are serious about improving your fitness you need to set yourself targets. This is why runners time themselves and keep a record of run times. As an average at best cyclist I use a cycle computer to show me my average speed and total trip time so I have some indication if I am improving or just cruising at my current fitness level. Interesting how what seems like a slow ride is actually quite fast, and vice versa.

    Technology has advanced, and now your smart phone with GPS can record your ride minute by minute and software can compare rides later. Possibly too much information but it does give you the opportunity to understand which bits of the ride you need to work on. This asumes that you ride for fitness as well as pleasure.

    Logically, unless you ride often with a mixed group of riders then you have no idea how your fitness compars to others. Seeing how others perform over a similar course can give that bit of extra motivation. Most cyclists will admit that they instinctively push a bit harder if they see another cyclist in the distance or if they are overtaken by another cyclist. A bit of competitive instinct cutting through the complacency. So there is a benefit to Strada.

    Anyone who publishes the start and end of their regular ride is at least naive, if not a bit of a dick.

    However, there is a brand of spurious logic which goes " I know of a dick who uses Strada. So all users of Strada are dicks." Or "A lot of idiots post stupid stuff on Social Media so all users of Social Media are idiots.". This is not logic but just prejudice.

    Disclaimer: I cycle and own a mobile phone but don't use Strada (yet).

    TL;DR calling someone else a dick doesn't make you any less of one.

    Icon --> me after a cycle ride.

    1. ecofeco Silver badge

      Re: Only the bad about Strava et al?

      How did we ever manage with just stopwatches and paper?

      1. David Roberts

        Re: Only the bad about Strava et al?

        Mobile phones?

        Bah, just send a postcard.

  44. Philip Bune

    So he didnt have the home dead spot enabled

  45. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    its clear that everyone declaring how bad this is has never used it. It's free to setup an account and takes just 2 minutes to verify that this twat deliberately clicked past and ignored the privacy notification urging him to set a privacy bubble around his postcode. He actively chose not to use the built in safeguards and then moaned when something bad happened.

  46. ecofeco Silver badge

    No it's a reminder that...


    IT guy and he doesn't know any better? How does he even have a job?

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