Whilst many people are switching from driving to cycling in order to save money and get fit, there are also an increasing amount of cyclists sharing their pride and joy on social media and cycling apps, not realizing that this could make it even easier for thieves to steal their bikes.
Data from Bikmo Plus, an ‘innovative and data focused cycle insurance brand’, in the UK, shows that cycle enthusiasts will buy a bike worth on average, £2,160. To secure their bikes at home, cycling enthusiasts will often store their bikes in a garage.
With an estimated 533,000 bikes stolen every year, and with forecasts showing that bicycle sales are set to rise 22% to reach £909 million by 2018, Bikmo notes there has never been a better time for UK cyclists to sharpen up their online profiles, to protect them and their two wheels.
This is something which UK police are quickly recognizing also, as highlighted by Dorset Police who have issued a warning to cyclists using online ride sharing websites to keep their home location private, after a recent increase in the number of expensive bikes being stolen in the area.
Choosing which cyclist to target is made easy for bike thieves by riders posting pictures of new high-end bikes on social media, sharing their locations, home addresses and frequency of rides through social media and GPS systems.
The nation’s most popular cycling apps document the route users ride, which, if privacy settings are not in place, can set out the exact start and finish point. Bikmo adds that if social sharing is not managed carefully, it could have negative implications.
With this in mind, the team at Bikmo has used come up with a number of methods to deter bike thieves:
- Set all social media settings to private
- Resist temptation to post rare bikes online
- Don’t record rides from home address (This can be done on Strava by securing postcodes in the ‘Privacy Zone’ of an account)
- Leave the social sharing of holiday until back home to avoid advertising an empty house
- Update cycling app settings to ensure that rides are only shared with other riders you’re connected to, and know
- Get your bike marked with a security tag, and register it at Bike Register.
- Remove bike racks when car is in view at home
- Use high quality bike locks
Commenting on the results, David George, CEO of Bikmo Plus, said “It’s worrying to see how many expensive bikes are stolen every year thanks to social media and cycling apps. Cyclists need to be careful when it comes to sharing their location, routes or pictures of their bikes online.”
Bikmo Plus data shows that the average bike value of its customers is £2,160 and customer’s average garage value is £4,745. This was collected from a sample size of 1,700.
Bikmo Plus is positioned as an easy to use cycle insurance. Bikmo Plus’ aim is to ‘use technology and a love for cycling to understand and protect riders, enabling them to spend more time doing the sport that they love.’