5 Tips on How to Protect Your Bike from Bike Thieves.
By Sheerah Singer (Trials of a Leisure Bicycle Rider Series)
I remember when I was in middle school and I thought I was so special. I was allowed to borrow my older sister’s brand new bicycle to get to and from school. Each day I would open the garage and make my way to school, locking my bike up in the gated lot with the rest of the students. One day I rode home and left my bike in the driveway, forgetting to place it back in the garage where it belonged. I was in just too much of a hurry to get home and watch Power Rangers. It wasn’t until hours later that I remembered. I opened the garage and instead of seeing her bike in the driveway, there was just empty space. I felt my heart plummet in my chest when I realized I was going to have to tell my sister that her bike was stolen. To this day, I have never lived that down, she still brings it up every Thanksgiving.
I am not alone in my bike theft experience. FBI statistics show it is estimated that over 1.5 million bicycles are stolen every year. Most of those thefts take place in metropolitan areas and on college campuses. Many bike crimes are crimes of opportunity by thieves who spie an unlocked bike left outside a home (yes that happened to me), on a sidewalk or outside of a shop. However, sometimes there are thieves who stalk riders, knowing the parts on their bike can be sold for a high profit.
Having had my bike stolen before I wanted to share some helpful tips on how to prevent this from happening to you.
- Keep a record of your bike’s serial number and register it with your local police station. You can find the serial number of your bicycle and take a quick photo of it for your records. You can also register your bike’s serial number with a local bike registry in your area or the national bike registry through 529 Garage.
- Bring your bike inside at night, storing it in your garage, shed or in your home. The best way to help prevent bike theft is to not leave it outside, especially overnight. Even the best of locks, if given the right tools and time, can be sawed through.
- Choose the right lock. Bike locks are imperative for bicycle security and ensuring your bike remains where you put it. If you are riding to work, taking a leisurely ride on the weekend, or getting to class, it’s important to have a good lock to keep your bike safe while you’re away. One of our most popular and secure locks is our Combination U-Lock series. We have a lock to fit every need.
- The best way to lock your bike to an immovable object is to lock both the frame and the wheels. This provides maximum security for your bicycle. By using the Combination U-Lock along with the steel cable, you can wrap both your frame and the wheel to an immovable object. If you lock just the wheel to the object, then a thief can remove the wheel and walk away with the other 75% of the bike. If you lock just the frame, then your expensive wheels might be in danger of being removed and stolen.
Make sure that the immovable object that you lock your bike to does not allow it to slip off easily. It is best to lock it to a bike parking rack if possible. If those are not around, be careful when locking it to a pole or parking meter. Make sure that the pole is bulky enough or high enough that a thief couldn’t just pick up your bike and slide it and your lock over the top of it.
- For commuters in major cities, see if your building has an underground or local garage. Many times they will have bike racks available to employees of the building. Another good tip is not to leave your bike in the same place everyday. This might help prevent it from being noticed and stolen, especially if it is valuable.
Hope these help. Just remember to be aware of your surroundings at all times. Be safe and ride on!