A household insurer has seen an almost 50 per cent increase in bike thefts since the start of the coronavirus pandemic.
Cycling retailers have seen a significant jump in the number of people buying bikes, as they look for new ways of staying fit and travelling to work.
But in turn criminals have been taking advantage of cycling’s growing popularity, resulting in an increase in bike thefts over the last seven weeks, despite burglaries falling because people are staying at home
Insurer Admiral has seen a 45 per cent increase in bicycle thefts over the last two months, prompting the company to warn cyclists to protect their bikes.
Head of household underwriting at Admiral, David Fowkes, said: “One of the effects of the lockdown has been so many more people buying bikes for exercise or just to get around. Several cycle retailers have reported that they’ve sold out of many models, and while this is good news for the nation’s fitness, our data suggests it’s also resulted in an increase in bicycle theft.”
“Unfortunately, this probably means that thieves are looking for easier targets and the rise of budding cycling enthusiasts around the country might be the opportunity they’re looking for.”
Bike shop Sigma Sports, located in Kingston upon Thames in Surrey, has seen a huge increase in the number of people taking up cycling, with sales of entry-level and mid-tier bikes up by 677 per cent and 130 per cent during the lockdown.
The retailer has shipped a record number of bikes, with an increase of 62 per cent on last year, with huge demand for hybrids, mountain bikes and gravel bikes.
Fowkes added: “We’re warning all cyclists, whether they’ve been cycling for years or have just bought their first bike, to be vigilant, keep an eye out for thieves and step up their bike security. With people being encouraged to avoid public transport where they can as lockdown restrictions ease, we could see a second surge in bike purchases, and consequently, bike thefts.”
Admiral recommends buying a strong lock that meets Sold Secure’s Gold Standard, always use a bike lock when leaving a bike unattended, lock your bike to a solid, immovable object, leave it in a well-lit, busy area, preferably covered by CCTV, and never leave your bike unsecured, even outside your home.
You should also lock your bike away when its not being used, register your bike with a national scheme, and take photographs of your bike, including any distinctive marks or features.
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Alex Ballinger is editor of BikeBiz magazine, the leading publication for the UK cycle industry, and is the former digital news editor for CyclingWeekly.com. After gaining experience in local newsrooms, national newspapers and in digital journalism, Alex found his calling in cycling, first as a reporter, then as news editor responsible for Cycling Weekly's online news output, and now as the editor of BikeBiz. Since pro cycling first captured his heart during the 2010 Tour de France (specifically the Contador-Schleck battle) Alex covered three Tours de France, multiple editions of the Tour of Britain, and the World Championships, while both writing and video presenting for Cycling Weekly. He also specialises in fitness writing, often throwing himself into the deep end to help readers improve their own power numbers. Away from the desk, Alex can be found racing time trials, riding BMX and mountain bikes, or exploring off-road on his gravel bike. He’s also an avid gamer, and can usually be found buried in an eclectic selection of books.
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