Our Top 7 Tips For Protecting Your Bike From Theft

You probably already know the basics of how to protect your bike. Whether it’s buying a lock with a Sold Secure lock rating, or registering your bike with the National Cycling Database, you’ve tackled the essentials.

However, there’s still much more you can do. That’s why we’ve put together a list of 7 bike theft prevention tips to help you stay as vigilant as possible.

Wrap your lock around as much as you can

Most inner-city cyclists will know to wrap their D-lock around the object they’re securing it to. They also know to wrap it around the bike frame and rear wheel, and to run a looped cable around the front wheel and back to the D-lock.

However, if you’re not au fait with this, here’s a helpful video in case you’re scratching your head:

As secure as this setup looks, you can still make further tweaks to create a greater deterrent for prospective thieves.

To begin with, fill the lock’s space as much as possible or lock the bike at the tightest angle. This will help prevent pesky thieves from easily getting bolt cutters around the lock.

Even minor touches like making sure the lock’s keyhole is facing downwards and raised off the ground help make it very difficult to steal your bike.

Invest in additional locks

Most cable locks are not secure enough to prevent bike thefts, despite what you may think. In fact, some can be cut open using tools such as everyday garden shears.

You should invest in a couple of D-locks for this precise reason. D-locks such as the Kryptonite New York Fahgettaboutit Mini are the gold standard when it comes to cycle security.

You probably already use a D-lock to secure your rear wheel to your frame, and again to another object. However, you should also buy a second D-lock for your front wheel to maximise the security of your bike.

Aside from D-locks, there are lots of other locks you can buy to protect your bike. The Pinhead Headset Lock will protect your handlebars from being stolen, and the Pitlock Security Skewer will prevent your wheels and saddle from being removed. It sounds drastic, but if your bike is your primary mode of transportation and you commute to urban areas, you should use every tool at your disposal to thwart thieves.

Keep thieves guessing

If you ride your bike to work, odds are your morning routine is quite ingrained and you lock your bike in the same place every day. This is ill-advised for a couple of reasons.

Firstly, your routine will become apparent to bike thieves in the area, meaning they’ll know when it’s safest to attempt to steal your bike. Worse yet, if your bike is a common feature in a particular location, a potential thief might think it’s rarely used, convincing them that stealing your bike is easy.

If you must lock your bike in public view, it helps to switch up where you lock your bike every now and again.

There’s safety in numbers

Modern wisdom dictates that bikes should be locked and secured in populated locations when away from the home.

The thinking is, it might increase the odds of a bike thief being caught in the act. However, it’s also likely to mean there are more potential thieves around.

While a busy street is better than a back alley, there are some additional measures you can take to lower the odds of your bike being targeted in public.

For example, locking your bike within a group of bikes (ideally in the middle rather than on the outside), locking your bike behind surrounding bikes and storing your bike on the upper section of multi-level bike racks.

bike theft prevention tips

Consider using cycle lockers and hubs

Many cities in the UK have cycle locker facilities at train and tram stations.

These provide several benefits over locking your bike to lampposts or exposed public bike racks and the setup presents a formidable prospect to any potential thieves, especially considering train and tram stations are usually busy and monitored by CCTV and staff.

Facilities vary from entirely sheltered metal lockers secured by padlock, to contained out-buildings operated by key-card. Inside you should secure your bike using your usual D-lock and cable method.

These facilities are available across the UK and you can find out which are nearest to you by visiting the Cyclehoop website. It’s worth noting there’s an application process involved and you will need to pay a yearly fee.

Be cautious about where you ride your bike

It’s not just where and how you store and secure your bike that affects the likelihood of it being stolen, it’s where you ride it as well.

Cycle paths up and down the country veer away from roads and through parks, down rural footpaths, or alongside canals. As has been recently reported, while it might be a godsend to avoid the traffic and pedestrians, some opportunistic thieves have preyed on cyclists using these cycle paths.

Cycle paths are a great public service and you can be mugged anywhere, so we’re not saying you shouldn’t use them, only that it pays to be discerning.

If a section of a route (cycle path or not) is known to be a hotspot for bike theft, avoid it or take precautions, like riding in a group.

We would advise against using cycle paths after nightfall too, as they’re quite often unlit and in relative isolation. If you must ride your bike at night, it might be best to stick to well-lit, populated road routes.

Avoid leaving your bike outside overnight

According to a study by customer research website NimbleFins, 22% of bike thefts occur during the night, between midnight and 6 am.

Storing your bike outside overnight gives potential thieves all the time in the world. Not to mention, it could invalidate your insurance.

The best place to store your bike is inside your home directly – whether it’s in an adjoining garage or hung up on your living room wall. Granted, you might not want a muddy bike next to your sofa, but it’s much better than waking up to no bike at all.

If a bike must be stored outside overnight, it should be in a locked metal bike shed from a reputable company like Asgard. For added security, lock the bike to an immovable object on the inside too.

For more information on Cycleplan’s bike lock requirements see our Insurance Approved Locks page.