- Bike owners have an average of 23 months before their bikes are nicked
- 26,000 bikes stolen in London last year
- 4% chance of ever recovering your stolen bike
These headlines make me want to haul up inside my new BMW X6M “Chelsea Tractor” and hide in my secured compound with 24 hour armed guard security.
Except, I don’t have a BMW X6M and I don’t have a secured compound.
What I do have is a bicycle that I’d very much like to keep. Fortunately, for the past three years I’ve managed to achieve just that.
That’s despite the apparent theft epidemic hitting our city.
I’d put that down to a few simple steps that I take to keep my bike safe. If you’d like to copy them and use them, here they are…
London Cyclist 5 step guide to the un-stealable bike
Step 1: Eat my Kryptonite
Both the locks always tend to top the lists of the toughest locks to crack in tests by cycling magazines.
Many thieves will take one look at them and choose an easier target.
However, you can’t use these locks on their own. You also need to use a secondary lock. I’d recommend the Abus Centuro. The combination of two different locking systems should present major problems for most thieves, who are likely to just carry the tools to break one type of system.
Step 2: Don’t lock your bike like an idiot!
The right way to lock a bike is to lock the frame and both wheels to the bike stand. To do that you pass your d-lock around the rear triangle, the rear wheel and the object you are locking to.
This makes it tough for thieves to remove and steal your wheels and it also makes it hard to leverage the lock for attack, without damaging the bike.
Furthermore, you should avoid locking your bike at the same place for prolonged periods of time. Ideally, your bike should be stored indoors and out of sight. However, if you have to leave it outside, don’t always lock it to the same spot, as thieves can target your bike and wait for the perfect time to strike.
Ideally, leave your bike in a busy location, with CCTV coverage.
Avoiding locking your bike to old Victorian railings, as these can be easy to break and don’t lock your bike to sign posts where the sign could potentially be removed and your bike lifted over.
Step 3: Keep the Piranhas at bay
As thieves become increasingly annoying, they have been to know to “Piranha attack” bikes, whereby they’ll steal components such as seat posts, forks and handlebars.
To protect yourself you could use a system such as the Pinhead Headset lock. You could also get the same system for your wheels and seatpost.
The pinhead system means that you can no longer remove these components with an Allen key or quick release. Instead, you need a key that is specific to your personal Pinhead system.
If you don’t wish to invest in this, at least remove your quick releases and replace them with bolts.
Also, make sure that when you leave your bike you remove any removable components such as bike lights.
Step 4: Get your bike registered
Google “Cycle Marking Events” and head along to the one nearest to you to get your bike marked.
If you can’t get to one of the marking events, order a kit through Bike Register and add it to your bike. Anecdotal evidence suggests that thieves will avoid bikes that have a security tag. This is a simple way to make your bike less attractive to thieves.
Step 5: Insure it!
For the ultimate in piece of mind, you can get your bike insured with a service such as ETA. We recommend good bicycle insurance providers here.
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As seen on The Guardian, BBC and The Independent.