BICYCLE theft has increased by nearly 10% since 2001, with thieves now riding off with £113m worth of bikes a year, it was revealed today.
About half a million bicycles are stolen annually in the UK, figures from Halifax General Insurance showed.
The company said Kingston upon Thames in south west London was the top spot for bike thefts last year.
Other bad areas for thefts included Cambridge, Bristol and Oxford.
More than half (52%) of total thefts take place directly outside the home, with bikes typically being stolen from garages or garden sheds. As many as 14% of thefts are from inside homes.
Vicky Emmott of Halifax General Insurance said: "Pressure to take up greener methods of transport and to get fit, combined with the terrorist attacks on public transport in July 2005, has led to a resurgence in the number of people taking to their bicycles, all of which provides even greater opportunities for thieves.
"To stand a better chance of deterring a thief, cyclists should ensure that their bikes are postcoded, securely locked and out of view hidden inside a locked garage, shed or outhouse - or even in the house.
"Given the amount of warnings and the relatively low cost of purchasing a good lock it is surprising that so many people still leave their bicycle unsecured."