Richmond Met Police have asked us to share the following with cyclists of the borough who may use GPS computers on their bikes. Note there is an option in Strava which allows you to delete any ride detail a certain distance around your home post code to prevent this happening. We would add also that many thieves rely on simpler methods, namely following cyclists home. Read our previous posting which contains cycle theft prevention advice:
“I have been working on TW borough investigating bikes that have been stolen over the past couple of months or so. As there have been quite a lot of very high value and sometimes specialist custom built bikes being stolen, I have been trying to find a common denominator between them all. Last week I was speaking to one of my friends who is a very serious cyclist and also has several high value bikes himself.
We were talking about the security of bikes and he mentioned that he had previously used a couple of websites www.strava.com and www.garminconnect.com which record the journeys made. As cyclists are quite a competitive bunch they routinely boast online about what type of bikes they have and what that have done to them. The worrying part is that he said the websites log the start and finish points of the routes taken and website users can zoom into the start and finish points which routinely are home addresses for the cyclists. It doesn’t take much to then use google earth and zoom into the house to see if they have a garden shed or garage which is likely to contain the bikes.
My friend is a retired PC so soon saw the risks and deleted his profile from the websites, but I am wondering how many of the high value bikes stolen may have appeared on one of these websites. I have started asking victims if they use these websites as I fear there must be some sort of satellite device used to pinpoint the addresses as it is often only the one house burgled in the street. I would appreciate your opinions as we have recently had a couple of successes getting bikes back to owners and want to try to stop them getting stolen in the first place if possible”
Some extra tips from a local cyclist on things to avoid:
- Using the same nickname on the map sharing route sites as you do on any forums, social networking sites, blogs, ebay etc
- Having your social networking and route mapping accounts open to people other than your friends. The best way to check what information you are showing is to copy your website address from the account and ask a friend to check it. They’ll probably look for different details than you.
- Posting advertisement with give away clues when selling old bikes ie ‘now have a great new bike so don’t need this one’
- Having any pages online that show your full name and user ID. It just makes it that much easier to track where you live, especially if you have an unusual name.
- Bragging about your kit and new bling bike on bike threads on forums, and posting pics.
- Listing the details of your bikes on Strava. Just use road1, 2 etc or log bike mileage elsewhere if you need to do it.
- Starting maps or your Garmin near your house. Mapmyrun, Garmin connect etc don’t allow you to hide the start and end points on maps.
- Posting your times, race numbers etc on threads just makes it that bit easier to find out who you are in ‘real life.’
- Publishing rides on map sharing sites while you are away.
- Using pics of your new bike bling as your avatar.
- Having bike club and triathlon stickers on your car bumper