According to the CTC, over 462,000 cycles were stolen last year and this figure is believed to be rising. With the Tour de France starting in Yorkshire this year, thieves are targeting more and more cyclists. Even if you have insurance to cover the loss, having your bike stolen can be a costly affair and can leave you out of pocket with no means of transportation. The Safe Shop have teamed up with Chris Juden, Senior Technical Officer at CTC National Cycling Charity to give you top tips and best practice on keeping your bike secure.
You can also test your bike theft knowledge using our quiz below which shows the Tour de France Grande Départ route from Leeds to Harrogate. Help raise awareness of keeping bikes secure by sharing our quiz and your final score!
So to begin with, if you have spent a reasonable sum of money on your bike then it is probably worth insuring it. Unfortunately, you can do everything in your power to keep your bike safe but sometimes this just isn’t enough.
You can insure your bike as part of your contents insurance although be sure to cover it for thefts away from home. Alternatively if you have a particularly expensive bike then it may be worth taking out specific insurance to cover it against theft and accidental damage.
It’s also worth noting that some insurance companies will only insure you if you have a good quality lock. You may think your lock looks fairly strong but often all it takes is a reasonable pair of bolt clippers and they can be broken easily. So what lock do you get? How do I know if it’s secure? See below.
How much should I spend on a lock?
In short, you should spend as much as you can afford on a lock. However, as a rough guide you should look to spend at least 10% of the cost of your bike. So if your bike cost £1000 you should aim to spend around £100 on your lock.
All good bicycle locks should have a Sold Secure security rating and are ranked by ‘Gold, Silver or Bronze’ depending on how secure they are. The Gold rated locks offer the highest security whereas the Bronze locks are the least secure and are normally only meant for use in low crime areas or to prevent an opportunist thief. For a £1000 bike, we would recommend a Gold rated lock and for anything up to £1000 a Silver rated lock.
Types of Lock
(Left to right)
Chain locks are specifically made to prevent thieves from gaining leverage and breaking the lock. The material is strong and great for use in areas with high crime. However, the chain is only beneficial with a strong padlock to accompany it.
U Locks (also called a D Lock) vary in security and some are stronger than others so be sure to check the lock’s secure rating. A strong U lock has the benefit of being much easier to carry around than a chain lock, whilst still being a strong deterrent for thieves. When accompanied with a cable you can also secure both wheels.
Cable locks tend to be the easiest locks for thieves to break and should only be really used in areas with very low crime or in conjunction with another lock such as a U Lock.
Where to lock up your bike?
Always lock your bike to something secure that can’t easily be removed. If possible look for a bike rack where other bikes are already locked up. This takes the attention away from your bike. Many people might think a secluded street is a good option but if possible try and lock your bike up in a busy area as the foot traffic may deter a potential criminal. Never lock your bike up overnight outside, always try and find a secure indoor location that has quality window and door locks.
How to lock up your bike?
If possible you should aim to lock your bike up with two locks for example a D Lock and a cable lock with a secure padlock. Your D lock should go through the frame of your bike and also through your wheel if possible. It should then be locked to a secure object that cannot be moved. Your cable lock should be used to secure your other wheel.
Put locks higher up if possible as the closer to the ground they are the more easily they can be broken with a hammer to the floor. Point locks downwards to make it more difficult for someone to jam it with something. Thieves will sometimes jam the keyhole to prevent you from unlocking it, allowing them to come back and steal your bike later on when it’s quieter. It’s also important to remember to take off any valuables such as a navigation system and secure any expensive parts of the bike, for instance an expensive saddle.
Do you have any great bike security tips? Feel free to share your advice and experiences in the comments below!