For many commuters and bike enthusiasts, owning a bike brings freedom. As such, when a bike is stolen, it can be devastating.
If you’re a bike lover and regular cyclist, then you probably already know the basics of how to protect your bike from being stolen, whether it’s purchasing a lock that’s up to national standards or parking your bike in a safe, well-lit area when it’s not in use.
However, there’s often a lot more that cyclists could be doing to protect their bikes even further. A good bike is a big investment, and if you use it a lot to get to work and other places that you need to be, having it stolen could cost you a lot of money and effort to find another bike that you love to ride.
Thankfully, we’ve got some top tips that you can put to use to make it even harder for thieves to get their hands on your bike.
Invest in Good Insurance
First of all, it’s important to be aware that even if you take all the bike protection steps in the world, there’s no guarantee that your bike will not be stolen. That’s why it’s important to get bicycle insurance to ensure that you are covered financially in this event. The right bicycle theft insurance policy gives you peace of mind that if your bike is stolen, your insurer will pay out the value of the bike so that you can easily replace it and get on with your life. Check out Velosurance; a national bicycle insurance company designed for cyclists. Along with bicycle theft insurance, you’ll also be covered if your bike is damaged in an accident or otherwise.
Invest in Additional Locks
Many cable locks are simply not secure enough to completely prevent bike thefts. In fact, some can be cut open using easily accessible tools like garden cutters. D-locks are the best type of lock to invest in when it comes to bicycle security, and the more you have of them, the better. You might already be using a D-lock to secure the rear wheel of your bike to your frame and once again to another object. However, getting another D-lock for your front wheel will seriously improve the security of your bike. There are other locks that can also help you to secure your bike, such as handlebar locks and locks that can immobilize your wheels. The key is to make sure that you have several locks, so that any thief will be unwilling to attempt to steal your bike. If they do try, then having many locks will take them longer to cut away, meaning that they’re more likely to be spotted by a passer-by.
Park Your Bike Carefully
When choosing where to park your bike when it’s away from home, choose a populated location where it’s going to be very difficult for a thief to single your cycle out and steal it. Use specially designed bike parking facilities, for example, since these tend to be in areas that thieves would not access and often have features such as CCTV and alarms that make it even more difficult for anybody to take a bike that is not theirs.
Track Your Bike
Installing a tracking device on your bike is a great idea since, in the unfortunate event of your bike being stolen, you and the police may be able to track it down and recover it from the thief very quickly. Today you can get a wide range of tracking device options that you can control using your smartphone to see where your bike is. This is not only useful for quickly finding a stolen bike, but it also provides you with additional peace of mind by allowing you to check up on your bike throughout the day to make sure that it is still where you left it. You may be able to get tracking software that sends you a notification when your bike is moved from the parking spot.
Avoid Leaving Your Bike Outside Overnight
A large number of bicycle thefts occur between the hours of midnight and 6 AM, so it’s a good idea to avoid storing your bike outside overnight. If you have bicycle insurance, bear in mind that leaving your bike outside could also make the insurance invalid if you need to make a claim, so be sure to check the details of your policy when it comes to choosing where you store your bike at night. The safest place to store your bike is inside your home, whether that’s in your garage or in the hallway. If you have a small home with little space for storing a bike, consider getting a bike that easily folds away for storage. You could also consider hiring a small garage or storage unit to allow you to keep your bike indoors at all times.
Be Cautious When Riding Your Bike
Bicycle thefts don’t only occur when your bike is left unattended. There have been several cases of cyclists being mugged on secluded cycle paths for their bikes. If you are riding alone, it is a good idea to stick to the busier roads and streets and save the quieter cycle paths for when you’re riding with friends and family when possible. You should also make sure that you don’t flaunt the expensive nature of your bike- if your bike is pricey, then consider removing the brand the name from the frame or not discussing its cost in public. Get familiar with cycle thefts in your area and learn about where the hotspots for cycle thefts might be so that you can avoid them or take extra precautions.
For cyclists, having their bike stolen can be a devastating event. Whether you’re just getting your first bike or are an avid cyclist, taking extra precautionary measures is essential. Use these tips to reduce the chances of bike theft and to improve your ability to retrieve your bike if someone does take it.