Security: How can I stop my bike being stolen?

Dan Joyce's picture

Security: How can I stop my bike being stolen?

“Don’t leave your bike unattended unless it’s behind a locked door or secured to street furniture.” You can’t make a bike 100% thief-proof, but you can reduce the risk, as Dan Joyce explains

Storage behind a locked door is easy at home as long as your partner or landlord doesn’t mind. Elsewhere, apart from Travelodge and Premier Inn, indoor parking is rarely allowed – unless you ride a compact folder such as a Brompton. Fold it, maybe cover it, and walk in. Where you go, it goes.

Garages and sheds are easy to break into so ensure there’s a secure anchor point for a lock. Ground and wall anchors are available from lock makers such as Abus, Squire, and Kryptonite. For sheds, there’s the Pragmasis Shed Shackle. Sturdy bike bunkers are available from Cycle-Works, and Asgard which you can currently redeem 10% off with Cycling UK membership.

Shiny attracts magpies 

If you use a ride-sharing app or website such as Strava, use the privacy settings to create an exclusion zone around your home and workplace. Otherwise you’re telling thieves where – and possibly what – your bike is.

Thieves will go to more trouble for expensive-looking bikes. If you’re going to leave a bike locked up in town, consider a cheap ‘hack bike’. Decathlon’s Elops 100 city bike is just £179.99. Secondhand bikes can be cheaper still. If your bike is more valuable, dress it down. Keep it tatty, give it a rattle-can respray, or wrap electrical tape or innertube around the frame to cover logos.


Lock it or lose it 

Lock your bike whenever you turn your back on it outside. A lock rated Sold Secure Gold is best but any lock is better than none. Select a parking place in public view and lock your bike through the frame to a solid piece of street furniture that has a closed loop (i.e. not a post).

With a D-lock, lock the frame low down and aim to fill the shackle with bike and street furniture to prevent attack with a pry bar or jack. With a chain, wrap it so it’s taut: loose chains are easier to cut with bolt croppers.

Piranha theft

Thieves may strip a bike to the frame if parts and accessories are easy to remove.

Don’t use quick releases or tool-free thru-axles on a bike that will be parked in public. You can remove one or both wheels and lock them with the bike, and even take a saddle and seatpost with you, but doing so is tiresome. At the least, use Allen-bolt skewers for the wheels and seatpost.

Better still are security skewers from the likes of Pitlock, Pinhead, or Hexlox. Anything that isn’t bolted to the bike needs to go with you – battery lights, computer, water bottle, pump, and luggage.

Bike Register

Cycling UK members get 15% of marking kits, which aid recovery of stolen bikes.

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