Strong bike safety starts with a good bike lock (we recommend the Kryptonite New York 3000). However, even the strongest of locks can be beaten by determined thieves. So what can you do to recover your bike if it is stolen?
A device a thief will never find
The answer may lie in GPS devices. The SpyBike Covert Bicycle GPS Tracker is one such system. It is cleverly hidden inside your bicycle steerer tube making it completely invisible to bike thieves. If your bike is stolen, you can send it a text message and it will report back the GPS position.
The device costs around £100 and you’ll also need a sim card. It only fits bicycles with aheadset (threadless headset) which is what most modern bikes have. However, as the tracker has a diameter of 23.5mm by a length of 110mm you’ll need to check if it will fit inside.
The SpyBike Covert GPS Tracker can be activated in two ways. The first is to use the supplied key fob to swipe it over the device. If your bike is moved then you’ll receive a text message. The other option which should help conserve battery life, is for the tracker to check for a text message every few hours. In this scenario, if you return to your bike to find it’s not there, you can send a message to the device and the next time it checks for messages it will send you the GPS position within a few metres.
When a GPS lock isn’t possible, the SpyBike can try to find its position using nearby mobile devices. However, this is not as accurate.
The SpyBike can only be installed and removed with the anti-theft key. That means if a thief wanted to remove your handlebars they wouldn’t be able to use a standard Allen key.
The manufacturer estimates you can get at least 3 months use before needing to change the battery.
Less expensive non-GPS options include electronic devices such as the ImmobiTag. Again, this is hidden on the bike but relies on a police officer actually finding the bike and then actually knowing how to scan for the special tag.
The easiest option, and the one I thoroughly recommend for all cyclists, is to get your bike tagged.
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As seen on The Guardian, BBC and The Independent.