Did you know that every year upwards of 4 million bicycles are stolen every year in Europe? That’s an average of one stolen bike every 7 minutes. You probably know someone who has been a victim of bike theft or indeed you may have been a victim yourself. Though we’re unlikely to ever see the day bikes are never stolen, we can help you safeguard yourself against would-be thieves. Here’s how.
Lock your bike
Having just invested in a new bike, your first thought is likely to be how you keep it safe when you’re on your travels. You could be on your road bike at a cafe stop, running errands on your hybrid bike in town or on your way to work on your commuter bike, but whatever your reason for riding, we want your bike to be secure.
If you’re out and about on your bike, the best advice is to take a good bike lock with you so that your pride and joy can be secured. A basic rule of thumb is that the more you spend on a bike lock, the better it will be at keeping your bike safe.
With rampant bicycle theft, leaving your bike is rarely an easy decision. A quick dash around the supermarket is enough time for seasoned thieves to cut through a lock. Not all locks were created equally so it’s important you get the best bike lock for your most prized possession.
Choose the right lock
There’s a huge choice of locks out there and they range from thin, lightweight cafe locks to thick chains and cables. Choosing the right bike lock involves finding the perfect balance between high security, weight and price. In many cases, the most secure bike locks are the heaviest and most expensive. However, with technology improving every day, there are now some lightweight and secure locks that won’t break the bank.
Abus provides some of the best bike locks on the market using their experience over almost 100 years to build the toughest security systems in the world. Many of their locks fold away neatly for easy storage either on the bike or in your bag. The Abus Bordo is also the highest security folding lock available.
U-Locks are also highly regarded as tough locks for thieves to break. Their hardened metal and often patented design make them really tricky to cut even with angle grinders and bolt cutters.
When shopping for a bike lock, look for Gold-standard locks that have been rigorously tested against lock picking, cutting and drilling.
Where to lock your bike
When leaving your bicycle for any amount of time, look for fixed, immovable bike racks or railings that are anchored to the ground or building. These fixtures are not easily broken or dismantled therefore increasing the security of your bike. Be sure to avoid wooden poles or trees, scaffolding and street furniture such as sign posts.
Busier areas are better for your bike as it’s harder for thieves to find their moment of opportunity away from onlookers. With other people around, the thief is unlikely to take a chance knowing full well they may be challenged at any moment. Parking your bike in the presence of other bikes and people gives thieves less room for movement when scrambling around with their tools.
In busier areas of towns and cities, CCTV is more likely to be in operation adding to the number of eyes on your bike and importantly the thief. If you are unlucky and your bike is stolen, CCTV footage could identify the criminal leading to the arrest and recovery of your bike.
If you’re visiting the cinema, gym or other building in which you’ll be for an extended amount of time, a useful tip is to park your bike a few streets away. Think about it: if a would-be thief sees you walking into the cinema just minutes after parking your bike, they will know they have a good couple of hours until you return again.
How to lock your bike
The first and most obvious rule is to actually use your lock even if it’s just for a few seconds outside a shop. You never know who’s watching. When securing your bicycle, lock the frame to the immovable object preferably down by the seat tube, bottom bracket and cranks to reduce the amount of space within the lock. Wheels are easily removed so double check your frame is locked before going about your day.
Keep the lock above the ground where possible: thieves can use the ground as they grind through the metal. Pointing the keyhole towards the ground is also a good idea to further deter lock pickers from having a go.
If you use a cable lock, ensure the cable is taut before walking away. This again will make it harder for thieves with bolt cutters and angle grinders.
Some people prefer to remove the front wheel of the bike and place it next to the rear wheel before using the lock around them and the rear triangle of the bike. This method is a really secure way of locking your bike but it does mean your front forks will likely scratch against ground and it’s a bit cumbersome to take the wheels in and out.
What else can I do to secure my bike?
In addition to locking your bike safely and securely, it’s wise to look into bike insurance. Remember to check the fine print to ensure your policy is valid with the lock you use. Some policies require you lock your bike with a gold-standard lock at all times it is unattended.
Take an extra lock
If you’re worried about your bike being locked in the streets, you can always take an extra lock with you that provides a further deterrent to thieves. Instead of getting through one lock, they will have to get through two before they can run off with your bike.
Take pictures and record the frame number
When you receive your new bike, take detailed pictures of it for your records. Record any parts numbers including the frame number as soon as it arrives. In the event your bicycle goes missing, you’ll be able to fall back on these pictures and use them for help or insurance claims.
What should I do if my bike gets stolen?
Unfortunately no lock is 100% indestructible and despite your best efforts there’s no guarantee your bike won’t get stolen. If you are unlucky and your bike is stolen you need to take some important steps to increase the chances of your bicycle’s safe return.
Report it stolen to police. They will issue you a reference number so that you can claim on your insurance (if you have it).
Check eBay, Facebook Marketplace and Gumtree to see if it is being sold online. Beware that your bike may be sold in parts rather than the whole bike.
Notify local bike shops in case it turns up there.
Spread the word on social media and bike forums and offer a reward for its safe return. This is often cheaper than the cost of replacing the bicycle.
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