Protecting your bike from being stolen is a daunting task. Unlike the motorized vehicles, bikes don’t have electronic safety systems to protect them, and they are also easy to disassemble, making it easy for thieves to operate.
Nevertheless, you can prevent bike theft in a number of ways.
For example, you can choose an adequate anti-theft system, learn how to park your bike securely, and change its aesthetic appearance to make it unattractive in the eyes of the burglars. Read our top tips to prevent bike theft and learn how to protect your vehicle.
How To Choose An Adequate Anti-Theft System
On the market, there are numerous anti-theft devices designed to meet the needs of various users. Unfortunately, the perfect bike anti-theft system has not been invented yet, but you can protect your bike at the best by using a combination of two complementary systems that can guarantee an excellent result.
An example of anti-theft system combination is the use of a U-Lock and a chain. On one hand, the U-Lock is very difficult to break and large enough to secure the bike to a pole. The chain, on the other hand, can be used to secure the rest of the bike.
Apart from this example, there are many anti-theft system combinations available and you should choose the right one for you based on the practicality of the systems, lightness, endurance, maneuverability, and transportability.
The choice of the systems must be based on your biking habits. For instance, if you are using the bike for the daily commute, then you need to invest in a lightweight and easy to use a system that can be comfortably carried in a backpack or purse.
If you use the bike less frequently, and especially if you rarely leave your bike unattended, then you could consider investing in less expensive options.
Therefore, to choose an adequate anti-theft system you should:
- Evaluate your needs: set a budget and decide the must-have features of the ideal anti-theft system you need for your bike. Choose between U-Locks, padlocks, chains, and even GPS and anti-theft alarm systems.
- Remember that each device has a different cost and different potentialities. Without a doubt, the most advanced instrument is the GPS anti-theft that is usually installed inside the frame and that allows you to track the bike regardless of where it is.
How To Park Your Bike Securely
You can purchase the best anti-theft system in the world, if you don’t know how to safely tie the bike you still risk losing it if a professional thief arrives. There is a number of rules you should follow to ensure the safety of your bike.
- Always tie the frame: the mistake many newbies make is to tie the wheels of the bike, thinking that in this way the thieves will not be able to move it. However, you couldn’t be more wrong. Instead of the wheels, you should always tie the frame. The wheels can be easily replaced and you’d be surprised to find out how many burglars leave the wheels behind if they can leave with a high-quality frame.
- Tie your bike to a stationary element: it might seem trivial, but many cyclists tie their bikes to objects that can be easily moved. If you want to maintain your bike safe, choose a pole, a tree, a bike carrier, or any other fixed stationary object to tie your bike to.
- Check the height and characteristics of the pole: apart from being well attached to the ground, the pole you decide to tie your bike to must also be tall. In fact, many thieves are still able to steal the bikes by lifting them to remove them from the original location.
- Secure the parts of the bike as well: never limit yourself in tying only the frame. It is important to secure each part of the bike, including the wheels and the saddle. In fact, if thieves can’t take your bike away, they might just settle for a souvenir and take with them the smaller parts.
- The elements that need to be secured are the frame, wheels, and saddle. Because a single anti-theft system is unlikely to protect all these elements, it is advisable to use a combination of two devices, as we explained above.
Where To Secure The Bike?
Knowing how to secure your bike is only a part of the bike anti-theft strategy. A part equally important is understanding where to secure the bike. Nowadays, most cyclists are used to park their bikes either at home or at the office, but not everyone is lucky enough to have a suitable space available.
The choice of the place where to secure the bike majorly depends on where you’re from.
If you live in an urban area, there are numerous options to take into account, the most obvious being that of tying the bike to a bike rack. The racks of the latest generation have been developed with to keep your bike as safe as possible, yet there are a few precautions you should take.
- Park the bike in a well-lit and crowded place. In this way, it will be difficult for the thieves to touch your bike without being noticed. Also check if there are any surveillance cameras in the area, such as in the commercial quarters or office areas.
- Avoid isolated areas. It doesn’t matter how well you can tie your bike, if you park it in an isolated area you might still lose it. If there aren’t any crowded areas where you need to park the bike, at least check if there are any bike parking or storage facilities.
If you live or cycle in the countryside or suburban areas, protecting your bike is even more important. Because of the remote areas, it is even harder stopping the thieves while getting away with your precious transportation means.
To limit the hazard, park your bike in areas frequented by other cyclists, maybe near pit stop areas. If you can find nothing appropriate, hooking your bike to a tree might be the most suitable option.
Make Your Bike Recognizable
Like already mentioned, not even the best anti-theft system in the world can protect your bike from all burglary and vandalism acts. For this reason, making your bike recognizable can help when it comes to identifying a stolen item.
There are many techniques you can use to make your bike easy to identify, and there is a good reason why you should do it. The first reason, if your bike truly gets stolen, the law enforcement officers will be able to track you in case your bike is found.
Another reason why you should make your bike recognizable is to prove to the law enforcement officers that the vehicle really is yours.
A method to turn your bike into a customized model is by applying all sorts of decorations and stickers to the frame, to make it as unique as possible. The presence of many stickers will also discourage thieves from touching your bike, exactly because it can be easily identified.
Another method that can help you prove that the bike is yours is by photographing yourself in the saddle. In this way, in the case of a theft, you will be able to show the police how your bike looks like and also prove that it truly belongs to you.
If you photograph yourself in the saddle, try uploading the photos on one of the many cycling communities on the internet. In this way, if your bike gets stolen, you will be able to share the photo and ask the members of the community for help to find your means.
You could also register your bike in a national bicycle registry or similar service, depending on where you’re living. Some countries have free national registers where you can record the details of your bike and insert a link to a personal profile.
An important information to know is the serial number of the bike, that will make it easier for you to identify the bike even if it has been customized or repainted.
Lastly, a great idea is to hide a piece of paper with your personal identification data inside the tube of the saddle or in the handlebar. Again, if your bike will ever get stolen, it will be really easy for you to identify it.
As you can see, preventing a bike theft depends on a wide range of factors. Nevertheless, if you decide to put these tips into practice, you will have the opportunity to protect your precious bike at the best.
Don’t forget: if your bike ever gets stolen, never give up on finding it. Complain, share photos, and do whatever it takes to find your means of transport.