Big topic at the moment as more people start their cycling season security always comes up in the shop and there are many different ways to look at it.
It was reported that about 350000 bicycles are reported stolen each year in this country, there are many more that aren't reported. That's about one every 90 seconds and your choice of bike increases your risk; popular brands are Specialized, taking 7 spots out of the the top ten stolen bikes, Brompton is up there and so are Carrera and Ridgeback. Now there is nothing unusual in this after all Specialized is a huge bicycle manufacturer and most towns and cities have a Specialized dealer but it also means they are very easy to sell on, with so many in use people know the brand and the fact that ebay has hundreds of these for sale within a 50 mile radius of your postcode comes as no surprise. Its the same with Carrera and Ridgeback. So how can you improve your chances and keep your bike to yourself an not the thief?
First things first lets talk locks. Most people who buy a bike don't really think much about the lock, we've seen £2000 carbon road bikes locked up with the steel equivalent of string here in the cycle hub before (they have been advised nicely that this is probably not the best way to lock their bike in a public space) and anyone with a pair of cable could cut through many locks in a few seconds. So what do we recommend; well first your lock should be rated by Sold Secure, this is an independent testing house and so you can compare locks from different manufacturers with confidence. There are 3 grades: Bronze, Silver and Gold. If you want to protect your bicycle to the maximum a grade Gold is essential, these can be heavy though so take a look at the options before you purchase and how you'll carry your lock. D-Locks by far provide the highest level of protection but Chain Locks give you more flexibility especially fixing to strange shaped bicycle stands. There is no need to spend £100's on a lock just make sure it is Sold Secure.
Secondary locks are used to secure wheels or bags to your bike, these are generally cable locks and can be either combination locks or key operated. These are optional and there are other ways to secure your wheels, we suggest security skewers for quick release. These skewers screw into place using a special shaped tool, they are great for protecting your bike but don't forget the tool when you go out riding or punctures become impossible to repair.
Once you've got your lock think about where to lock your bike. A cycle Hub is great and generally more secure than the street especially for longer periods. On street bike stands are usually your main option so make sure they are located in areas where there are lots of people, don't tuck your bike away down an alleyway, the thief will be left alone to privately remove your lock. Check the stand isn't damaged before you lock up, some thieves have taken to breaking stands out of their foundations so they can easily be lifted out of the ground to remove bikes. Don't obstruct footpaths with your bike, fixing to lamp posts can cause an obstacle to others.
Then there is marking your bike. Although this isn't necessarily going to stop someone stealing your bike it can make it a lot harder to sell on and may get flagged up by a potential buyer. Bike Register is one of the leading suppliers of secure marking for bikes and holds a database of bikes for police to access. It normally costs about £20 and you get a set of ownership documents too. There are a number of organisations who mark bikes for free, British Transport Police do this on a regular basis at the Cycle Hub, the next one being on April 29th.
At the end of the day it is likely that you will suffer from bike theft but you can minimise this by making it as hard as possible to steal your bike. Alternatively you may not be that bothered and just buy a cheap secondhand bike off the internet to replace the one that was stolen; are you completely sure about where this new bike came from?
Here at Russell's Bicycle Shed we stock a range of locks for all occasions from Sold Secure Gold to small combination locks to secure bags on your panniers. Why not take the time for a demonstration of our Hiplok range.