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In Greater London bicycle theft has been on the
increase. Follow the golden rules below to reduce the risk of
theft and increase the chances of recovering your bike if it's
Register your bicycle model, make and frame number at Bike
Register. This information will give the police a much better
chance of recovering your bike if it's stolen. The Bike Register
database already holds the details of thousands of bikes. Add your
details now to help make your bike safer and reduce bicycle
If you can store your cycle inside your home or office - especially
overnight - this may be the safest option. (Many insurance
companies will only cover you if you store your cycle inside
overnight).The next best option will normally be special secure
home or office indoor cycle parking areas.
Always lock your frame and both wheels to an immovable
Take all accessories and easily removable parts with you, and be
aware that quick release levers can make seats and wheels very easy
to remove. You may need to take these with you or lock them with
the bike if you have not replaced quick releases with a normal nut
and bolt or specialised locking nut and bolt.
Use a good quality lock. The lock you choose should reflect the
circumstances you will be locking your cycle under. The less secure
the location the tougher the lock needs to be. Good advice is to
spend at least 20% of the value of your cycle on a lock and
preferably use two different types of lock if you are leaving your
cycle for any length of time.
When using a chain to lock your cycle avoid laying it against the
ground or against walls as thieves can smash the chains against
these. Instead lock the chain high up around your bicycle and what
you are locking to.
When using D locks (sometimes called U locks):
Lock strength can vary enormously and you generally get what you
pay for. Essentially any lock can be broken, but having a lock will
definitely deter opportunistic thieves and using more than one type
of lock will make stealing your bike even harder.
There is a three-tier security grading system developed by Sold
Secure (a non-profit making company which assesses security
products) and used by many insurance companies.
At the highest level are the Gold rated locking devices. These give
you maximum security but may be too bulky or expensive for the
average user. The Silver and Bronze levels may be lighter and
cheaper but should still offer defence against the opportunist
thief. When deciding which lock to buy you need to consider how
much your cycle is worth, where you will be leaving it, and how
often and for how long it will be left unattended.
These are rigid steel locks in a D or U shape, generally very heavy
and tough looking, though the actual strength can vary and is
normally reflected in the price you pay. D locks are by no means
thief-proof and are best used in combination with another form of
Cables can vary enormously in weight and strength. They
are more flexible so can be used in situations where a D lock might
not fit, but cheap versions are very easily cut through. Some
heavier versions are Gold listed through the Sold Secure scheme.
Thinner cables are useful in combination with other locks to secure
parts like wheels or your saddle so that you don't need to remove
them every time you leave your bike. Thinner cables should
not, however, be relied on as the sole locking device.
These can be heavy and awkward to cart around, but a good
quality hardened heavy-duty chain combined with a couple of very
good hardened padlocks may be the strongest option available. If
you need to leave your cycle locked up outside somewhere regularly
you might consider leaving your chain locked there permanently
(though please keep in mind inconvenience to other users).
These are fixed to the bike near your seat post. These lock your
rear wheel to the frame itself, this stops someone simply riding
away on your bike. These locks should definitely only be used in
combination with another good lock, so you can lock your bike to a
secure immovabe object.
It is worth replacing your quick release mechanisms, which make
it as easy for thieves to remove your seat or wheels as it is for
you, with a safer alternative. You can use ordinary nuts and bolts
which can be undone with a spanner or shifter, or nuts and bolts
which fit allen keys, or you can get special locking nuts which can
only be undone with a specially designed version of an allen key
which is sold with the bolt. If you don't feel confident doing this
yourself (some bikes will be more straight forward than others)
then you should go to a bike shop to get these fitted, it is
important that they are correctly fitted as you don't want your
wheels coming loose as you ride along!
An easy way to do this is to extend your home contents insurance
to cover your bicycle - but make sure it covers you for thefts
outside the home too. If your bicycle is particularly valuable you
may need to insure it separately.