Keep Your bike Safe

Bikes are an easy target for thieves. Despite this, surprisingly few of us own a decent bike lock, even though our bikes are probably worth hundreds – or even thousands – of pounds. The most expensive locks are less than £200, which may seem a lot but is a small proportion of some bikes’ overall value. It can mean the difference between a thief making off with your bike or not.

No lock is invincible, but bike thieves have to operate within a small window of time, so the longer a lock takes to break, the less likely it is that they will be able to get away with your pride and joy. If a lock looks like it’ll be hard work to break through, chances are they’ll give up or not even try, while a cheap cable lock can be snipped off in seconds….

Get the best lock you can afford, lock your bike in a sensible place and consider getting your bike insured in case the worst does happen. How and where you lock your bike up is as important as the lock you use. Lock it up somewhere that will make attempting to steal it too conspicuous, time-consuming or risky for the thief. Avoid alleyways, back streets and areas that are out of sight. Lock your bike in highly visible areas and to something solid and immovable. If there are railings, putting your bike on the side of the railing furthest from you is a good deterrent. Try to put the lock mechanism between the obstacle and your bike to make it harder to get to – if it’s tricky to lock, it’ll be tricky for the thief to steal..

Don’t neglect your wheels or seatpost when locking up your bike too.Don’t just lock your front wheel – it’s easy for a thief to undo it and take off with the rest of the bike. If you have multiple locks, use one of them to lock the rear wheel and frame to railings, or another fixed object, and one to lock the front wheel and fork..

Expect the worst

If you’re unlucky enough to have a bike nicked, there are ways to increase the chances of getting it back...

Make sure you have up-to-date photos of the bike, with shots of distinguishing features and a full spec list...

Take a note of your bike’s frame number – it is unique to your frame and can prove that it is yours...

Many shops offer the Datatag system, which involves the installation of a transponder – the size of a grain of rice – inside your frame. Once registered, it holds a unique electronic fingerprint that police can use to identify your bike. Using Datatag can also reduce the cost of your insurance from certain insurers...

£10 gets you a kit from your local bike shop, then you register an account for your bike. Tamper-proof QR code decals are provided for your bike – these decals are the key to the system, which uses social networking to find your bike. If a member of the network sees your alert and finds your bike, taking a photo of the code on their smart phone will reveal the location of the bike via GPS. It’s a great system, but the more people that use it, the better...

Don’t get fleeced

Most home insurance companies won’t touch a bike worth more than £2,500, and specialist companies have tight policies about where your bike is locked, the lock you use and even the door locks on your home, so make sure you read all the small print when you buy insurance. It’s worth talking them through various scenarios to make sure you’re covered. Try the following companies to get bike-specific cover:

Pick of the Locks

The most common bike lock is D-lock. Its D-shaped metal bar is a useful shape and size to fit round the frame and attach it to a solid obstacle such as a lamp post. It often comes with a bracket to allow you to fit it to your frame. If you don’t mind lugging round a heavy lock, or if you’re looking for something more substantial to use at home, it’s worth looking at the heavy-duty chain locks available.

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