How to avoid bike theft

How To Prevent Bike Theft

I have unfortunately been on the receiving end of 2 bike thefts. One was when I was about 10 or so, which I still can’t figure out – I’ll tell you why in a sec. The other was when some scallywags (that’s a polite name for the bastards) stole everything they could from my bike I’d paid monthly for through my work/bike scheme thing. The bike was locked up with what I thought was an adequate lock, in a private bike store in my housing development… they took the wheels off, the seat off, and left me my lovely bike frame. Which still sits in the bike store.

How to prevent bike theft

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Back to the weird story of when I was 10, and my bike was stolen.

I was going to ride my bike to school, so I trotted into the garden to grab my beloved bike. It had custom frame stickers, so it looked like a speckled grafitti style that was cool in the early 90s. Clearly my coolness started from a young age…ahem.

My bike wasn’t where I left it, so I called my parents to let me know where it was. They couldn’t find it either. They looked up, and there was a huge hole in the fence in the back garden. Some scallywags (aka, some little shits) had made a hole in the garden fence, and stole everything of slight value in our garden.

That wasn’t the weird part.

When the police came – back when we called the police for things like that – they asked me to tell them everything I knew about the bike, and if I knew what happened. I told them about my awesome custom design, and that I had dreamt about my bike being stolen.

Yes, yes, I dreamt about my bike being stolen. It has stayed with me my whole life since, and my theory is that I was either woken by the theives as they hacked down the fence (because my bedroom faced the garden) and I was too sleepy to be bothered by it, or I was sleep walking or something, and I watched the thieves do their thang. Or, I was crazy from a very young age. Probably that option.

How to avoid bike theft

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The reason for telling you this very exciting story, is that those two scenarios could have been avoided if we had have locked up the bikes better.

Cycle Republic recently released The British Cyclists’ Survey, with some interesting findings. 29% (rising to 38% in London, because of a lack of storage) of cyclists in the UK have experienced bike theft. That’s pretty high, considering how potentially easy it should be to lock up a bike?!

 The British Cyclists' Survey

So, just for my own knowledge, and maybe for yours too, I have done some research into the best ways to lock up your bike, even in seemingly safe bike stores.

How to lock up your bike securely

How to avoid bike theft

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  1. Lock the frame, as well as the wheel to a secure object.
  2. Keep the lock as far from the ground as possible, but avoid locking around the top tube.
  3. Position the lock in as difficult place to get to as possible.
  4. Fill as much of the U in a U-lock as possible.

Because I am not qualified AT ALL to give advice about locking a bike (clearly, from my experiences explained above), there is a brilliant guide (and an extension of points 1 – 4 above) about locking your bike up in different situations, here.

Here’s the whole Cycle Republic survey for your perusal.

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