How to get your bike stolen

It’s fairly easy to get your bike stolen and in this article I’ll talk you through some of the best ways of doing so. I know not everyone wants to have their bike stolen, in the same way, so please feel free to choose one of the methods below that most suits you.

Method 1: £45 for a bike lock?

When you are buying a bike ask if you need a bike lock. Of course, the assistant will foolishly say yes – little does he or she know that you want your bike to be stolen. Play along but purchase the cheapest one you can find. I strongly recommend avoiding the Kryptonite New York 3000 as that is likely to majorly hinder theft. Instead, choose something that looks like it could be cut with a pair of children’s safety scissors.

Method 2: One is more than enough

Walking past bike stands you may notice a number of cyclists use two bike locks. Believe it or not, it’s even frequently recommended by police stickers left on bike stands! Fools! Little do they know how much they are inconveniencing thieves and how much they are decreasing the chances that their bike will be stolen. To that end make sure you only ever “secure” your bike with one bike lock.

Method 3: Time to play a game of chance

One of my absolute favourite ways of getting my bike stolen is to leave it somewhere unlocked. Preferably, my back garden. Then a thief is easily able to open the garden gate (of course leave this unlocked) and ride off with the bike. However, don’t restrict your creativity just to the back garden. When you pop in to buy some milk at the corner shop leave your bike outside for a few minutes unlocked – if you are lucky an opportunistic thief will have that.

Method 4: Take cue from the UK’s prime minister


One man who knows exactly how to get his bike stolen is David Cameron. Often known as the UK’s prime minister but less frequently known for his hilarious bike locking antics. To execute this method start by finding a post you can lock your bike to. The post should be have a maximum height of 1.5 to 2 meters. Just enough for a bike thief to be able to easily lift the bike off and ride off with it. Brilliant and hilarious!

Some people have also had success locking their bike to a post with a sign above it. Whilst common sense would say that a thief wouldn’t be able to lift the bike off they have been known to cut the top of the post off.

Method 5: You don’t need to be a Houdini

Someone who wants to get their bike stolen needs to be familiar with how not to lock their bike. Unfortunately, with an abundance of information on “how to lock your bike” this information has sadly often remained hard to find. This forum post provides some inspiration. The best thing to do is to focus on locking just one part of your bike. I highly recommend locking just the front wheel to a bicycle stand.

Of course, some strange people amongst you don’t want to have their bike stolen. In which case you might find these articles of interest:

Image via LFGSS forum.

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As seen on The Guardian, BBC and The Independent.

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35 Responses to How to get your bike stolen

  1. bycostello 21/03/2011 at 9:05 am #


    • paul 06/07/2011 at 1:57 am #

      a new member, i would like to point out what i can only say is negligence ….i live in west sussex and say the police find a bike in chichester they will not report it to neighbouring towns…so even with my post code stamped on it my bike was auctioned off in chichester when for two weeks i went in to bognor regis reporting the loss. it was 3 months after the loss which seems to be there time scale..i paid 850 for it,auctioned off for 120…..can we cycle people promote the idea of a national lost bike site maintained by the police……they must notice the differance between cheap and quality bikes…or is it all a of my previous lost bikes about 1100 quid padlocked to the washing line pole which had a top on it,,the thief had climed over my fence removed the concrete post and climed back over dragging the bike .reported to the police,the reply was you have lost your bike,,,,clearly it had been stolen….no crime number no insurance

  2. diana 21/03/2011 at 9:07 am #

    I am hopping mad because last week while the thief couldn’t break the sold secure gold lock I had for the frame, I had the cable that was locking the wheels of my new bike cut and the wheels stolen. The bike was locked up in the middle of the city. I am kicking myself for not having a better lock for the wheels or at least also locking the back wheel since I’ve only just discovered how expensive wheels are.

    • Andreas 21/03/2011 at 9:16 am #

      This happened to a friend of mine recently – seems part theft is on the up as they are giving up on the locks?

    • Zabrina 05/08/2011 at 7:33 pm #

      If you’re looking to buy these aitcrles make it way easier.

  3. Dan 21/03/2011 at 9:37 am #

    I left my bike out of the view of the CCTV outside the swimming pool. I found that really encourages them to have a go at stealing them. Unfortunately I have a really bloody good lock and they couldn’t cut through it, next time I’ll use a cheap one.

    Oh also I took all the lights off and the computer off. I should have left them on so that the poor guy could have at least had them to make up for his failure.

    • Andreas 21/03/2011 at 9:50 am #

      Exactly – plus you have to think about if they steal your bike at night how will they see to get home?

      • Henz 21/03/2011 at 10:08 am #

        And what about their PPE? You should think about leaving your prospective thief with an (optional) helmet dangling from the handlebars.

  4. Breeny 21/03/2011 at 9:48 am #

    When I use my kryptonite lock, I always lock my frame and a wheel to a post, but I’m always torn which wheel to pick.

    If I lock the front wheel, that leaves the back wheel exposed however that is harder to nick quickly – but it is a lot more expensive if it does get nicked.

    If I lock the rear wheel because it’s the more expensive, then I leave the easy-to-steal front wheel exposed (but then it is cheaper to replace).

    Choices, choices. (but I generally opt to lock the front wheel……….and before someone says to lock em both – I only have space for one lock in my bag)

  5. Gaz 21/03/2011 at 9:50 am #

    A fantastic twist. Great article!

    • Andreas 21/03/2011 at 9:51 am #

      Thanks Gaz – I chuckled writing it!

  6. Elena 21/03/2011 at 10:49 am #

    If you’re looking for inspiration on how to get your bike stolen, this Flickr group’s the place to go:

    • Andreas 21/03/2011 at 10:50 am #

      Brilliant link – thanks Elena – I’ve joined that group..

  7. JonF 21/03/2011 at 12:44 pm #

    People are so wealthy round my neighbourhood that they ostentatiously display Kryptonite D-locks on the holders on the frame of their shop-fresh bike, (esp. if it’s got the brand name “Specialized” or “Giant”), but when going for a saunter around John Lewis or the Bentall Centre they allow their partner to lock their bike together with theirs with a crappy combination cable lock, thus saving vital seconds. Well, those D-locks are so heay and cumbersome. By all means I’ll carry on eon my bike but don’t expect me to use it. Or maybe it’s a case of “I’ll put my bike lock key in the drawer where it’s safe.”

    And spotted in Surbiton, the clearly loved and cherished vintage Gillott machine secured with a £1.49 cable lock from that well-known supplier of security products, Clas Ohlson. We love our bikes so much we want others to have the opportunity to enjoy them too.

    Honestly, I’ve spoken to people about bike security and advised them of the risks and how to secure their bikes. Some have told me that actually they want their bike to be stolen so they can get a new one on the insurance. Oh, what’s the point, I ask you?

    • Amoeba 21/03/2011 at 5:57 pm #

      IIRC, Surbiton, especially near the station and Kingston-upon-Thames are bike theft hot spots.

      According to British Transport Police, the top ten London boroughs as bicycle theft hotspots in descending order. November 2008 to October 2010
      Richmond upon Thames
      Kingston upon Thames

      Article about bike theft

      • JonF 22/03/2011 at 12:29 pm #

        It’s not a great claim to fame, but Surbiton Station should have topped the table of most cycle thefts in TfL’s Cycle Security Plan (fig 8). More bikes stolen in 2008/09 than from Euston and the same number as from Euston in 2009/10 – so how come Euston ranked #1?

        However, on the brighter side, my calculations show a 62% drop in thefts from Surbiton (Jan-Oct 2010 vs Jan-Oct 2009) which coincides somewhat with the introduction of a restricted-access bike parking compound. > NEWS

        I wonder what Daniel Westrop is up to these days?

        • Dave Escandell 23/03/2011 at 2:09 pm #

          Westrop often took two or three bikes at one time…… that mans a cycling genius!

        • Amoeba 24/03/2011 at 9:15 am #

          I hope that scum-bag Daniel Westrop is an unwilling ‘companion’ to a large and very amorous cell-mate.

      • Aggi 25/03/2011 at 1:43 pm #

        Only one bike stolen in Hackney in 2 years. That seems somewhat surprising.

    • Amoeba 25/03/2011 at 11:08 am #

      ‘Some have told me that actually they want their bike to be stolen so they can get a new one on the insurance.’

      I suspect that when it gets stolen they may get a nasty shock. Law abiding citizens are subsidising these people who don’t take adequate care and try to get a freebie. Insurance companies that allow themselves to get ripped-off will not survive.

      They may well find that the insurance company won’t play-ball. The insurance company will probably want the keys to the lock and evidence i.e. a receipt showing the lock make and model. So as to prove it was of sufficient security standard.

      May be different if the bike was on the household insurance, but i doubt it.

  8. Nick 21/03/2011 at 3:38 pm #

    I’m still having a little chuckle about this article, it’s amazing how many people still leave very nice bikes locked up with the flimsiest of locks!

    My fav is the really heavy duty kryptonite lock on a pretty fancy ride attached to wire mesh fencing when there is a perfectly good lamp post right next to it! I lock both wheels and since having a saddle nicked, now have that locked as well!

  9. John 21/03/2011 at 6:29 pm #

    If your worried about parts getting nicked off your bike go to PIT LOCKED and they will sell you security bolts for your wheels, saddle,A head, brake callipers and discs even your dynamo lights.
    Not the cheapest, but if you have valuable parts on your bike or just love your bike then its money well spent.
    Its worked flawlessly for me with a couple of good quality locks.


  10. Amoeba 21/03/2011 at 7:32 pm #

    A blog about bike theft in London. Interesting!

  11. Angi 21/03/2011 at 9:29 pm #

    Ha. Brilliant.

    Had the haggard bungees stolen off the back of my bike last week. Ah well…at least they left me my bell (wouldn’t have minded so much if that was stolen)…oh well.

  12. Goonz 25/03/2011 at 12:36 pm #

    It really is upsetting hearing how so many peoples pride and joy are snatched away and sold for pittance.

    Sometimes it is the vast sums of money spent on them or for some like me, the bike is just a part of me and I could not bear think of life without it.

    People be smart and vigilant at all times and always lock your bike up effectively. No less than 2 locks and cable everything, the wheels, seat and anything that can be removed. Or security lock the parts as mentioned above. I am considering it just so I do not have to carry around 3 locks with me!

    Great blog by the way. I’m glad I joined this site.

  13. Cosnahang 25/03/2011 at 7:04 pm #

    You forgot to mention that you should only have a newer bike and don’t put coloured, or striped tape around the frame and handlebars which is so hard for the thief to pick off and ruins the second hand value.

    The same goes for chipped paint, an old frame with new components (and old frames are too light so you go to fast to easily and what is the fun in that?)

    PS MTBT (mean time between thefts) varies of course on bike value but with bus fares for the 2m (3km) between Waterloo and Euston are c£650 per year you can get a Halfords bargain bike and a lock every four months. If the thief is lazy your in profit.

  14. teekanne 03/08/2011 at 10:56 am #

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  15. Kim 25/10/2011 at 11:27 pm #

    There is of course a simple way to ensure that your bike will be stolen, take it to a crime hot spot, somewhere like London. Londoners will steal anything….

  16. Matt 29/08/2012 at 1:09 pm #

    Don’t leave your keys in your lock after being distracted by thinking “you should take your lights off in this dodgy area”!

  17. Nick 19/09/2012 at 9:28 am #

    Remove the seat when locking your bike (got this one from a Boris Johnson article in the paper!). Crude, but it works – who’d want to steal a bike without a seat?

  18. Wally Winkie 20/11/2013 at 8:57 am #

    I’ve been faithfully doing all of the above for the past six months and my bike hasn’t been stolen yet. What am I doing wrong? 🙁

  19. Miles Taylor 10/10/2014 at 2:42 pm #

    You forgot to mention that top end bikes are stolen for components as much as frames so you definitely shouldn’t use something like datatags stealth uv pro marking system to mark your components making your bike unattractive to the thief, not doing this increases your chance of having your bike stolen by around a factor of 8!! Worth ignoring if you really want your bike nicked!!

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