Bikes are easy targets for thieves, and hundreds of thousands of bikes are stolen in the UK every year. Leave your bike unsecured for even a few seconds, and there’s a chance it will be gone when you return.
You can significantly reduce the risk of having your bike stolen by taking a few simple precautions. Here are seven security tips to keep your bike safe.
1. Always Secure It with a Lock
Do yourself a favour and invest in a good bicycle lock. Leaving your bike in public without locking it up is an invitation to thieves. Get the best one you can afford, which usually means one made from hardened steel – they’re heavy, but they provide better protection.
U-locks, which are also known as D-locks, are the best. Some locks even contain smart features built-in like GPS tracking and distress alarms. Check out this guide to bike security for some more information on bike locks.
2. Lock It in a Sensible Location
Always lock your bike somewhere safe, which means somewhere visible and well lit – preferably with CCTV coverage. You should also attach it to something solid – a bike rack is ideal, but a strong railing or bench is also suitable.
If you return and find that your bike has been tampered with, don’t leave it alone. A thief might give your bike a puncture in the hope that you will go away so they can then spend more time breaking into it. If this happens, always take your bike home if you can.
3. Protect the Components
The components of your bike are often tempting for thieves because they can fetch a high price, so look after the handlebars, seats, stems and brakes. You can do this by replacing the hex bolts with security bolts, which require a key to loosen them.
Also, take your accessories with you. Don’t leave lights, pumps, etc, with your bike because they are too easy to steal.
4. Don’t Advertise Your Whereabouts
Fitness tracking apps are all the rage with cyclists. But don’t use them to advertise your place of work or your home. This gives too much information to thieves. Change the privacy settings so you don’t inadvertently help the thieves.
5. Keep It Secure at Home
Don’t forget to keep your bike secure while it is at your home. It will be more secure here than in the street, but still lock it up. Keep it indoors if you can, but otherwise, make sure your garage or shed is secure enough to keep thieves out.
6. Make It Less Desirable
If your bike is less desirable, thieves will be less likely to steal it. Cover the branding with electrical tape to make it look less expensive, and consider spray painting it bold colours (if you are not too bothered about its appearance).
You could even scratch your name or initials into it. This makes it stand out, and it is less likely that a thief will get away with selling it.
7. Make Recovery Easier
The final tip is to take preventative measures. No lock is 100% secure, so make it easier to recover your bike if it is stolen.
Take photos of your bike and the serial number, and use an online register like Bike Register, which checks stolen bikes that have been recovered.
Make sure your bike is covered by insurance, and always report a theft to the police so they can help to get it back to you.
Keep Your Bike Safe
Your bike is your pride and joy, but it’s a tempting target for thieves. Simple security tips can help to deter thieves as well as help you recover your bike if it is stolen. So follow the simple steps above and lower the risk significantly.