No one wants to experience bike theft. Below, we have outlined 5 ways to protect your bike, and your sanity, from bike thieves.
1. Buy a good lock and always use it
A cable lock or cheap U-Lock may save you a few dollars up front, but they are an easy target for bike thieves. A quality, trustworthy U-Lock is always preferable as it is much tougher for a thief to remove and therefore acts as a deterrent before anyone touches your bicycle. Ideally, you can combine a cable with your U-lock to further protect removable components like your wheels. The more secure your bike appears the less likely it will be targeted. Do your research as not all locks are made equal and some may have a history of being easy to defeat. Always pass the lock through the main triangle of your bike. Locking your wheel to something does not prevent the rest of your bike from being stolen.
2. Lock your bike to a secure structure
A secure bike rack (i.e. bolted to the ground) in a visible or highly trafficked location should always be your first option when selecting a structure to lock your bike to. If a bike rack is not available, choose a structure that can not be cut or be compromised. Don’t be tempted to lock your bike to a tree, street signs, chainlink or wooden fences, or private property. The image below highlights a situation in NYC where a tree was cut down to steal a $50 bicycle!
3. Be Strava smart
Do not start or end Strava segments from your home. If you do, you might as well paint a bullseye on your home for bike thieves. Recently, Strava introduced a “Privacy Parameter” setting which allows you to hide your home and work locations. If you have your bikes in your profile, give them unique names that don’t reveal what you own to curious thieves. For example, a bike named “2018 Pinarello Dogma F10 Dura-Ace Di2” is much more likely to be targeted than “rusty heap of junk” or any other name that doesn’t reveal its value.
4. Bring your bike inside at night
Leaving your bike outside at night, even if it is locked, is asking for trouble. Bring your bike into your garage or shed (lock it up, too) or bring it into your home. Many companies are making attractive indoor bike storage solutions, like Da Hanger, pictured below.
5. Record Your Bike’s Information
The bill of sale, serial number, and photos of your bike should be kept in a safe place and in a digital format. Take the time to photograph your bike, it’s serial number, and ask a friend to photograph you with the bike. Websites like Bike Index and Project 529 were created to safely store this important information.
Having this information allows you to file detailed police reports in the event that, despite your precautions, your bike is stolen. Sometimes it can lead to happy endings when bicycles are discovered, identified, and returned.
Of course, unfortunately, theft is never 100% preventable. If possible, insure your bikes under your homeowners, renters, or separate insurance policy and rest a bit easier.