Police forces are warning cyclists who use ride-sharing sites and apps – such as Strava – that thieves are now searching them to identify houses with expensive bikes to steal.
It is a phenomenon sweeping the UK and Ireland, and there is mounting evidence that it is becoming a problem in North America too. In Ireland, the rate of bikes being stolen is now higher than ever and is increasing faster than any other type of crime. Police in the UK are now convinced that ride sharing sites are being used by thieves to identify the exact locations of the homes of riders who have logged lots of miles.
RELATED: Track your bicycle
According to police, there is a relatively simple solution. “Changing your privacy settings on an app will make it hard for would-be thieves to pinpoint where the bike is stored. It takes seconds to do, but can save a lot of money, hours of frustration as well as deny criminals of a quick thrill and a sale.”
Strava.com offers a privacy zone feature. This creates an area around your home which will not show your home address (usually a starting point of your rides). It is under settings, privacy, your hidden location section on the Strava website.
Listing make and model of your bicycles or posting photos (Strava profile may be linked to your Instagram account) can also offer thieves “unnecessary” information.
There is no question that Strava and similar GPS sharing sites have value for cyclists. But the message is loud and clear; you are being watched, so use caution.