I hate that I’m having to write this but unfortunately, it doesn’t matter where you are, you’re never far away from thieves. There are other words to describe them but I’ll let you come up with your own. I’m sure the thought of these disgusting people taking our stuff makes you just as angry as it does me. And if, like me, you’ve been the victim of a crime, you’re probably as paranoid as I am about security. If you haven’t, you might not be, but that doesn’t mean you don’t need to be vigilant. The reason I’m banging on about this is because I keep seeing people making the same mistake as too many of my friends. A mistake you only make once…
There’s nothing more exciting than prepping your bike for a trackday, or a race meeting. That last nut and bolt check before loading it into the van. Getting all your tools sorted out. Making sure all your kit is stowed safely in the van ready to hit the road first thing tomorrow. In fact you might be so excited about it, you decide to take a photo of all your kit loaded in the van. And why not share your excitement with all your friends and acquaintances by posting a picture of your van, all loaded up and ready to go on Facebook?
Well I can think of a big fat reason NOT to do that. Because it’s a bit like going public with a picture of the contents of your safe, and announcing which portrait it’s hidden behind. I’m sure all your Facebook friends are honourable, honest people. But when your photo gets ‘shared’, ‘retweeted’ and whatever else happens to photographs on the internet, can you be sure of the intentions of the people that are now looking at that picture of your pride and joy? Of course you can’t.
And it’s not just your bike that they’re eyeing up. It’s everything you need to go racing. All your tools, all your kit. A ready made package. To a thief, that’s a big juicy advert and a big dollop of cash/crack.
And what’s that in the background of the photo? The front elevation of your house, complete with front door and house number? Armed with only a very rough idea where you’re from, a house number and a couple of hours roaming around on Google Street View, you’d be surprised how easy it is for thieves to find out exactly where that van’s parked.
We all want to show off our kit, I understand that. In fact, I’m one of the world’s biggest show-offs myself, so I totally get it. But when you live in the world we do, you’ve got to be so careful. Because there are people out there that think they ought to have the stuff you’ve worked hard to get. And plenty of them will do what ever it takes to get it. And if that means an hour’s worth of Facebook stalking to find out where you live, they’ll do it.
I’m not saying posting pictures of your bike loaded up in a van is asking to have it nicked. It’s not. Just like a fit bird going out on a Friday night wearing a short skirt isn’t asking to be touched. But unfortunately there’s wronguns in every walk of life. And if we want to keep our motorbikes (and our daughters) safe, we’ve got to be careful.
If everyone was as honest as me and you, we wouldn’t need to bother locking our houses and our garages up. We could leave our bikes in the van and tell all and sundry about it. But they’re not.
If it was up to me, bike thieves would be shot where they stand. But again, that’s not going to happen any time soon. So keep your bike safe. Lock your garage up. And please, please, please don’t advertise your bikes to thieves, when they’re stashed in your van and at their most vulnerable.