How to protect your bike
January 5, 2016
Did you know that nearly 400,000 bicycles are stolen every year in the UK? That means that once every 90 seconds, a bike is taken from an unsecured shed, a front garden or from a public location.
There is no ‘might’ about it – if you don’t properly secure your bike, it will get stolen sooner or later. Here is what you can do to deter the thieves and stop your bike from becoming an easy target.
Buy a decent lock (or two)
The key thing to remember about any thief is that they need to work quickly. They want to get in and get out fast, as it reduces the chance of them being caught. A weak, cheap padlock will break within seconds; if you invest in a stronger lock, though, it will take them much longer to remove it from your bike. This will make them more likely to abandon your bike and try another.
Two different locks, however, will always be better than one. A thief is bound to be put off when they see they have to use two different sets of tools to break through both locks – it’s going to take them too much time.
Be prepared to spend at least £40 on each padlock – the cheap ones won’t do a thing to deter or stop thieves. Make sure that every lock you buy is Sold Secure-certified too.
Make it trackable
If your bike does get stolen, you’ll need to be able to prove it’s yours. That’s why it’s important to sign your cycle up to the BikeRegister. It’s a police-approved scheme, and registering is easy. Police forces often have a presence at local events where you can sign up. Alternatively, you can register online and purchase one of three marking kits, which you’ll need to apply to the bike yourself.
The marking makes it clear that your cycle is on the BikeRegister, which will again deter thieves as they know it will be harder to sell on and there’s a greater chance they will be caught.
Get it insured
Just because you have home contents insurance doesn’t mean your bike is covered from theft when it’s outside your home. In fact, only five per cent of policies cover cycles outside of the house as standard. Check your policy – if it isn’t covered, consider buying separate insurance for your bike. Specialist insurance will likely provide better cover than your home contents policy anyway.
Locking your bike in a public place
When locking up your bike, pick your location carefully. Make sure the area is well-lit and there are lots of people nearby. Check the stand you’re locking it to, too. If it feels at all loose, avoid using it.
When you’re locking your bike, you need to secure both wheels and the frame to the stand. This will prevent desperate thieves taking just your bike’s frame or the wheels. Make sure your lock(s) don’t touch the ground, though; otherwise criminals can easily take a sledgehammer to them.
Take all the removable parts of your bike with you if you can. A bike without its lights, saddle and basket suddenly isn’t going to look all that attractive to a thief. Plus, it means someone can’t steal your accessories separately.
Securing your bike at home
You may think your bike is safer at home than it is out in the streets, but the reality is that more than half of all cycle thefts occur in and around the owner’s property. It is therefore of the utmost importance that you store your bike securely whenever you’re not sat on it.
Never leave your bike outside in your front or back garden, no matter how secure you think it is. Some owners choose to store their bikes in the shed, but these are often fitted with flimsy locks.
Instead, it is better to invest in a purpose-built bike shed. These are much more secure and are bound to put would-be thieves off from trying to break in. It’s a much better solution that keeping your bike indoors and clogging up the hallway.
With bike theft all too common in the UK, it’s vital that you take the time and spend some money to protect your precious possession. After all, you wouldn’t leave your car unlocked, or park it in a dodgy area. You have a car alarm fitted and store the vehicle in a garage; if all bikes were treated in this way too, we bet those statistics would fall quite dramatically.