Bike security: more than just locking up
Every 90 seconds a bike is stolen. It doesn’t matter if it’s a beaten-up BMX or a finely-tuned Trek Madone; without proper precautions, your bike could be at risk. Here are a few top tips for securing your precious steed.
Each year, more than 376,000 bicycles get pinched. While that figure is mainly made up of unlocked ‘low-value’ bikes, the number of more expensive bicycles being nabbed is on the up.
This situation is a bit of a head-scratcher. Surely most owners of expensive bikes keep their gear safely locked away? Maybe so, but more than half of all cycle thefts in the UK occur in or around the victims’ homes; the new generation of tech-savvy thieves have a secret way of knowing where hardcore cyclists keep their valuable bicycles.
If you take your ride seriously you might record your training route on an app like Strava, Relive or Cycle Maps. While these programs are fab for showing off how intense your evening ride was and a neat way to track your route, they’re also public. Police believe that criminals are using info shared by cyclists to work out where high-value bikes are being stored. Luckily, there are easy ways to keep your bike’s location under wraps.
- Check the privacy settings on ride-tracking apps and social media accounts. Change the settings so that, if you still want to share your ride statistics online, only friends and connections can see your starting and finishing position.
- For extra security, consider randomising your start position or wait to switch the app on when you’ve ridden 100 metres or so away from home.
Of course, there are other methods to keep your bike secure that don’t involve the internet:
- Use an appropriate lock. It’s obvious, but a high-quality lock can make a huge difference when leaving your bicycle outside or in an outbuilding. Chains can be cut, so it’s well worth considering a U-lock. Bike locks are graded ‘Sold Secure’ gold, silver and bronze.
- Dummy security cameras aimed where you keep your bike are a cheap and effective way to make would-be burglars think again.
- If you must leave your bike outside, lock it to something solid. Avoid flimsy structures. Mesh fencing, for example, can be easily snipped with wire cutters.
- Be mindful about attaching a bicycle to signs or bollards. If the post’s not tall enough, the whole bike can be lifted over the top.
- Select a place to leave your bike which is well lit, in public view and ideally, near visible CCTV.
- The frame, front wheel and back wheel must all be locked. Just locking the front wheel means it can be easily detached and the rest of the bike stolen. If you only have one lock, remove the wheels and feed the lock through all the separate parts.
- Registering your bike is a great idea. The registration marking deters thieves and increases the chances of getting it back if the worst does happen. It’s easy to do at sites like www.bikeregister.com.
It’s not possible to guarantee total bike security, but with a little forethought and some low-cost equipment your risk of becoming a victim can be dramatically reduced. Now let’s go and enjoy the race!