Last week we posed the question: Which of these four bikes will get stolen first? The post proved very popular and was visited by 2,819 cyclists of which 46 left their answer. Here’s a tally of the responses:
- Bike D: 31
- Bike B: 8
- Bike A: 7
- Bike C: 0
Most people guessed correctly that the most likely to get stolen is Bike D:
But why exactly? As Philcycle commented:
One snip and ride away.
The locking technique on this bike is truly horrendous. Not only does the cyclist use a very flimsy lock but they also secure it only to the front wheel (meaning the thief can remove the front wheel and take the rest of the bike). The lock has even been placed near to the ground which is perfect for leveraging an attack.
Despite the bad locking technique, the other big argument is: Is this bike safe simply because it’s undesirable?
One of the commenters, Jon, tested this theory by locking a similar bike with a similar locking technique. In the past two years no one has stolen it. However, as Simon commented it:
Appeals to opportunist who won’t be too bothered it’s a rubbish bike if they can sell it on quickly for £20.
Whilst there’s no doubt there’s some protection in having a less desirable bike, anecdotal evidence would suggest that thieves will happily go for the easy pickings even if there’s far less money per bike sold.
The next most likely to be stolen is Bike B:
As Amoeba commented:
Lift it off the post and just pop it in the van. The front wheel is Q/R, so that will go. Needs a van unless the thief is going to open / break the U-lock.
Whilst this bike uses a D-Lock, which is a fantastic start, it makes two scary errors that make it really attractive to thieves. The first is that it can be lifted over the pole. The second is the unsecured front wheel which can removed and sold.
In third place is Bike A:
Whilst I admit this isn’t the best picture, most people picked up on three important factors. The first is that this is a desirable bike that could easily sell for £200-£300. The second is that whilst it’s fantastic this person has secured the front wheel with a D-Lock, the lock doesn’t go around the railings. The secondary lock that they use, whilst well positioned to go around the frame and wheel, isn’t as strong. Also, it is only secured around one of the railings which can potentially prove to be weak in an attack.
What greatly reduced the chances of this bike being stolen was the fact it was in a busy place (next to the Tate Modern). This means not only will the thief have to operate in a very public place but they also can’t drive the van right up next to the bike.
In final place is Bike D:
Not a single person suggested Bike D would be stolen first. (Which I’m pleased about as this is my bike!). Gizmo commented:
D has two locks which are probably worth more than the bike.
By using two different locks I’m making life much harder for a thief. The heavy Kryptonite New York at the back secures the wheel and the frame and provides little room for a leveraged attack without seriously damaging the bike. The weaker front lock secures the wheel and the frame to the bike stand.
To backup the two locks I’ve also secured the bike in a very public place within full view of a busy coffee shop. Also, the bike doesn’t look like it’s worth much.
What I could have done differently is position the front lock to stop it hanging so low to the ground. Also, I could use lockable skewers to secure components such as the seat post, handlebars and wheels.
Ultimately, there’s nothing that will guarantee your bike is never stolen. That’s why I strongly recommend bicycle insurance from someone like ETA for any expensive bikes.