As cycling enthusiasts, our bikes mean as much to us as most motorists cars do to them. However, a bike is far easier to steal than a car (well, the vast majority of cars anyway), and there is less of a stigma attached to bike theft than there is to car theft (they don’t call it ‘Grand Theft Pedal’). As such, it’s important that when we leave our bikes, we keep them as secure as possible, and in many cases a conventional bike lock just might not be enough to dissuade potential thieves.
Here we’ll be examining a few of the best ways you can keep your bike safe, without spending a small fortune.
Out of Sight, Out of Mind
Whilst during the day it’s safer to keep your bike as visible as possible in a public place, the opposite is true at night, when there won’t be as many people around to notice any ‘strange behaviour’. If nobody can see your bike, then nobody will steal it right? Of course, completely camouflaging your bike probably won’t be possible, and you don’t want to hide it so well that you can’t even find it yourself. Try to keep it out of plain sight though, even if this simply means finding a side street or back alley in which to store it. Of course, if you’re going to be leaving it for a prolonged period of time, simply ‘hiding’ your bike isn’t recommended, but it you’re just popping to the toilet and can’t find anywhere to lock up your bike, at least make sure you don’t simply leave it sitting out in the open like a gift!
Take it with You
If you’re a regular commuter, it might not be a terrible idea to ask your superiors if they wouldn’t mind you keeping your bike in a safe place inside the office. Of course, if you work in an incredibly professional office, which wouldn’t even consider allowing you to stow your bike within its walls, then this probably isn’t an option. But it can’t hurt to at least ask.
If your bicycle is worth more than a couple of hundred quid, it’s probably a good idea to have it insured. You can either do this by insuring your bike as part of your home contents insurance or by purchasing its own insurance, which will cover it against theft and/or accidental damage. This will only prove necessary with particularly expensive bikes though.
Many bicycle thefts take place during the day, so don’t let the sunshine fool you into thinking your bike is safe. Make sure that your bike is parked in a well-lit, public area, which has lots of passing traffic. Many stations and public buildings in developed areas will have designated bicycle racks, so where possible, always use them. However, you should also be vigilant for signs which might let you know you’re parking your bike illegally.
Aside from the conventional bike lock (which all career criminals will have learned to pick and/or break within seconds) there are numerous alternatives, which we will be examining below.
Quick Stand Lock – This lock takes the form of a kick stand mounted to your rear tyre, which can be bent through the spokes of the wheel to prevent the rear wheel from moving. It should be noted however that with this lock there is nothing stoping somebody from simply picking up your bike and running away with it.
The B Hokuen and K Yoenjung Lock – This ingenious lock turns the bike itself into the bike lock, by using the structure of the bike itself. Whilst this system is incredibly secure, it isn’t a system that can simply be bolstered onto any bike, the bike needs to be built with this locking system at its core. So in that respect, it’s actually quite limiting.
Optical Lock – Working in much the same way as remote controlled car keys, the optical lock is a conventional lock in many respects, only it’s made from a sturdier metal and is remotely locked using a remote switch. It does this using a radio transmitter, so as you ca imagine, this isn’t the cheapest option, but it is one of the safest and coolest!
Bendable Bike/Lock – Working in much the same way as the Hokuen and Yoenjung lock (only to a greater degree), this bike can actually be bent and locked around a post or bike rack, making it practically impossible for anyone to unlock without the key.
Locksit – This quirky little contraption is a bike saddle that doubles as a lock. The lock in the seat actually stops the bike’s wheels from moving, but once again, there is nothing to stop a particularly bold thief from simply lugging it over his shoulders and making a break for it!