January 29, 2015

Lose a Mile, Keep a Bike

Warning to anyone who uses route tracking apps like MapMyRide and Strava: You may be leading thieves right to your bike(s)!

Many rides start and end at the cyclist's home, and the GPS data recorded and shared by tracking apps is accurate enough that nefarious characters can use it to pinpoint particular houses. And riders avid enough to track their speed and elevation gain likely own fancier-than-average bikes, the sort thieves might be willing to, say, break into a garage to steal.

"We have noticed an increase in the number of high-value cycles being stolen from sheds and outbuildings across the south of the county," police sergeant Dave Morris of Staffordshire, England, told Adventure Journal's Steve Casimiro. "Our investigations have shown that some of the victims had been using websites and mobile phone apps to log their routes—these sites allow users to view each other’s routes and track their rides."

In a Hully Daily Mail story on the subject, Wayne Preston of Cliff Pratt Cycles offers app users some advice: "If you are going to use apps make sure you switch it off a good distance from your house. Personally, I would much rather lose a mile off my Strava record than have my house or garage burgled and my bikes stolen."

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