More than 500,000 bikes are stolen in the UK each year – don’t let yours be one of them. Follow our top tips to secure your bike and stop it from being stolen.
Always lock your bike
When you are not riding your bike, you should always keep it securely locked. To cut the risk of bike theft make sure you use a good lock or two and use them effectively.
Some locks are stronger than others and price reflects their quality, so it pays to invest in a good one- opt for a "Sold Secure" lock. Remember that two locks are better than one. D-locks are sturdy, but consider using a cable lock as well to secure any parts of the bike which are quick release, such as the saddle or front wheel.
Use locks to secure the frame, spokes and bike stand, ensuring there is little room for manoeuvre to make it difficult for thieves to insert their tools. Make sure the lock is not touching the ground, where it can be smashed with a sledgehammer.
Finally, make sure you are attaching your lock to an immovable object, such as sturdy bike stand or railing.
Pick your location
Where you park and lock your bike is critical:
- leave it on a well-lit and busy street
- avoid leaving your bike in the same spot every day so it doesn't get spotted by thieves
- at home, take the same precautions and always keep your bike locked up and out of view
Social media and tracking apps
Whether you’re sharing a picture of your new bike or tracking your new challenge route, social media has changed how we view and value cycling. Cycling network apps such as Strava, Garmin Connect and MapMyRide encourage users to publicise their location, track daily rides and post pictures of their bikes or new cycling gear. However, organised thieves are now using these apps, and other forms of social media, to source desirable bikes to steal for order or to sell on. By following some simple advice and taking a few precautions you can minimise the risk of being a target of digital bike crime:
- Avoid posting pictures of your bike on social media as thieves can often find out your location from the geo-tag on pictures.
- Edit the privacy settings on your social media and tracking apps and don’t accept strangers to follow or add you as a ‘friend’
- When using tracking apps, don’t start or stop you GPS tracker outside your house. Some tracking apps allow you to set an exclusion zone your location will never be posted in the area of your house or work place.
- Avoid logging regular routes such as your commute to work or posting your ‘half-way coffee break’ location on your longer rides as these trends are what thieves look for.
Keep accessories safe
It’s not just your bike that can go missing – many parts and accessories are also valuable and easy to steal. Follow these tips to keep them safe:
- take lights and panniers with you
- replace quick releases on the saddle or the front wheel with regular bolts to make them more secure
- if you have an expensive saddle, consider removing it or locking it up
Keep a record
As soon as you buy your bike, record the frame number, make and any other marks that can identify your bike if it is stolen and keep this information in a safe place. It is also useful to take photographs of your bike from various angles, to help with identification and insurance if it gets stolen.
You can register your bike with immobilise or bike register (UK wide), a service used by the police to match found bikes to their rightful owners. To register you’ll need to find your frame number, which is usually near the handlebars, below the seat post, by the pedals or towards the back wheel.
Check if your home insurance policy covers your bike automatically, of if you need to add it as an extra. Valuable bikes may need to be insured separately to provide cover when you’re out and about. Find out if the insurance company requires you to produce a purchase receipt, photograph of the bike or frame number to support a potential claim.