A few weeks ago we had a look at how to have the most secure bike in London. There is nothing more devastating than returning to the spot where you left your bike to find only an empty space. However, bike theft has an annoying little sibling – and that’s saddle theft. Having your saddle stolen is not as heartbreaking as losing your bike, but it is still expensive, and incredibly irritating.
Here’s a look at some of the things you can do to safeguard your saddle:
DIY, low cost and effective: bicycle chain it up!
The chain through the saddle trick is nothing new, but it is both incredibly simple, and incredibly clever. To do this, you’ll need a length of old bike chain (your LBS should have an old chain hanging around somewhere, it doesn’t need to be new), a length of inner tube, and a chain link tool.
If you’re a friend to your LBS and they know you, you could probably ask to carry out the procedure in store or in the workshop, borrowing a chain tool, but this depends on if you are besties or not.
Here’s what to do:
- Measure the chain so that it is the correct length to thread through your saddle rails, and then through the top tube or rear triangle. Once you’ve got the length right, split the chain.
- Cut your inner tube so it’s just a little bit longer than the chain.
- Thread the chain through your inner tube – this is to prevent the chain scratching or marking your bike.
- Now you’ve got a chain/tube combo, thread both through the saddle rails and top tube or rear triangle (I think the latter looks better). Use your chain tool to rejoin the chain, making a full loop.
- Finally, secure the inner tube – you can do this with electrical tape for a quick fix, or use puncture repair glue for a more attractive fix.
The less messy and time consuming version of the above is to buy an extra cable, such as the purpose designed Kryptonite Seat Saver. This has two loops either end, and can be secured by wrapping it through your bike lock, or with an additional padlock.
The braded steel is hard to cut through, though arguably not so much so as a complete bike chain, but it does have a vinyl covering to protect you against marking or scratching your bike.
At £9.99, it won’t break the bank, and it will be cheaper than buying a chain tool, so if you’re going to buy one specifically for the task above, and never use it again, it’s worth considering.
Locking seat bolt
Locking skewers and seat post bolts use a special key to secure these removable parts. A full set such as this one from Valert Secura will set you back just under £20, and will come with a personal security key that you can keep safely with you. These aren’t indestructible, but someone on the hunt for saddles to steal is looking for quick wins that they can remove with no hassle – these will make your saddle a much less friendly target.
Take your saddle with you
This might sound a bit extreme, but it’s a lot less inconvenient that riding home “out the saddle” because you’ve been left with nothing but a seat post.
If you do this, and take the seat post as well as the saddle, do make sure you cover the hole that is left with a plastic bag, because in the event that it rains, you don’t want to be lugging half of London’s rainfall home inside your frame. Admittedly, this doesn’t look very aesthetically pleasing, but it’s a more attractive option than spending time trying to shake the frame clear of moisture..
Do you have any other tips for keeping your saddle firmly secured to your bike? We’d love to hear them…
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As seen on The Guardian, BBC and The Independent.