As a cyclist you’ll always have to think about the best way to protect your bike from thieves…
Biking is not just a great form of exercise. It’s an environmentally friendly way to get from point A to B while avoiding traffic jams. Nothing like whizzing past stationary cars on the way to the office in the morning!
But once you get to work, what to do with your bicycle? If you’re lucky, you can safely store your bike inside your office. But if not…you’re taking your chances with locking it up on the street. Bike theft is one of the most galling things that can happen to you as a cyclist. That’s why we’ve put together a list of ways to protect your bike from thieves—it’s more than just buying a fancy lock!
Location, Location, Location
Where you keep your bike can make a big difference. Inside your home is the best place to keep your bike overnight. Both single-family garages and apartment block lockers are prime targets for bike thieves. It’s also not unheard of for thieves to climb on balconies to make off with your wheels.
When you’re out on the town, don’t fall into the false sense of security of leaving it unlocked ‘for just a few seconds’. Bike theft is a crime of opportunity and a nice, light-weight bike that’s left leaning outside a shop is a prime target.
Always lock your bike to a solid, immovable object like a bike rack, bench or road sign. Make sure to give the object a lift to make sure it’s secured, as some thieves may compromise a bike rack in advance to return later.
It’s advised to choose a place where other bikes are already locked up, in a heavy trafficked and CCTV covered area. Once you find a group of bikes, aim to park yours in the middle rather than the end. There are bound to be other badly-locked bikes that will be a bigger temptation to a thief, but that’s not the only reason. As discussed in the next tip, lots of bikes crammed together will give a thief less room to manoeuvre and use their tools effectively. Also, while unfortunately many passers-by may walk on past a thief at work, a fellow cyclist is more likely to notice something sketchy going on!
Protect your bike from thieves – Double up
Locking your bike is a no-brainer, and there’s plenty written about the very best bike locks available. (We like a Kryptonite or Abus—they’re sturdy, and a bit of GT85 in a sticky locking mechanism means it’ll work faithfully for years.) But one and done isn’t going to cut it.
But you’ll probably want to double up. A sturdy U-lock can be used around your back wheel, seat tube and your chosen immovable object. Try to make sure that the U-lock is ‘filled’ with as many bike parts as you can to make it difficult to break with leverage.
A secondary heavy chain lock can be around the front wheel, frame, and ideally the bike rack as well. For both locks, try to place them in an inconvenient spot for someone to get tools at, but also keep them up off the ground. If placed too close to the ground, a thief might be able to use their tools to smash the lock against the ground! This method should help you protect your bike from thieves.
Keep a piece with you
It’s not the most elegant solution, but some swear by taking the front wheel or bike seat with them when they have to leave their bike out for a long period of time. It can certainly discourage thieves (especially ones that planned on taking just your seat). But it does require having quick release bolts and a lot of patience for time and mess. You’ll have to reset your seat height every time you go to ride your bike and both parts of your bicycle can be dirty and greasy.
Leave a mark
This advice is more geared toward retrieving your bike if it is stolen. Firstly, always take note of any serial numbers and have clear pictures saved in case you need to file a police report. You’ll want to hide a distinctive mark somewhere on the bike as well for identification. If you want to be high tech about it, why not try a GPS tracker? They come in a few different styles which you can check out here.
There’s no such thing as ‘Too much’
You may feel silly doing things like making your bike look ugly. Or keeping your bike in your eye line while you enjoy a patio brunch. There’s no such thing as too much security. On the other hand, remember that your personal safety is always more important than your bike. If protecting your bike would endanger your life, just let it go. That’s what insurance is for anyway!