The day you collect your brand new bike is one to be remembered. It feels amazing to go out on that first ride knowing that all your hard work and savings was worthwhile, because a bicycle, after all, is an investment in both your health and happiness.
It’s no wonder then that it’s so heartbreaking when a bike is stolen. Unfortunately, as you may have seen on the Speeds Cycles Facebook page, there have been a number of cycle thefts recently in the local area.
Bicycles in both Bromsgrove and Redditch have been stolen from outside homes, schools and public spaces. The problem is that once a bike has been stolen it is very difficult to successfully retrieve it. According to stolen-bikes.co.uk 10 bikes were stolen between June and November 2014 within a mile radius of our Bromsgrove store. None of the bikes have since been reported as recovered.
Protecting Your Bicycle Against Criminals
It’s absolutely essential that you take a number of preventative steps to help protect your bike against theft. This includes investing in at least two good bike locks and registering your bike and frame number with an online service and your home insurance company.
Choosing Your Bike Locks
The first visual deterrent to any thief is a bike lock. However bicycles secured with just one lock aren’t always safe. Our recommendation is to carry at least two different bike locks as this will make it much harder for a thief to take your bicycle or components.
Here at Speeds we stock a number of different bike locks, including:
- Kryptonite cable locks secured by a combination lock
- Kryptonite cable locks secured by a key and lock
- Kryptonite D locks
Cable locks are good because they can be used to secure bicycle parts that can be removed, such as your saddle and wheels, into a fixed position.
D locks are ideal because they are sturdy robust locks that can be used to secure the bicycle frame to a fixture, such as a public bike stand.
Hiploks are handy because they are lightweight but strong locks that can be work around the waist during transmit and they can be used to secure the bike in different ways.
The more locks you have securing your bike, the more of a visual deterrent will be perceived by thieves and the more peace of mind you can have about leaving your bicycle unattended.
Tips for Securing Your Bike
There are a number of things you can do to ensure that your bicycle isn’t a target for thieves.
Safety in Numbers – As regular Sunday riders Kevin, Owen and I often have to leave our road bikes unattended during a cafe stop. We always try to leave our prized posessions in spots where we can keep an eye on them from inside the cafe; and we use a cable lock to secure the bikes together, securing them to a fixed post or drainpipe.
Take the Bike Indoors - Occasionally we might nip into Bromsgrove town centre on our bicycle to grab lunch. Many of the cafes in Bromsgrove allow us to wheel the bike inside while we grab a take out sandwich. Always ask permission of the store owner before you bring your bike into a shop.
Look For Bike Lockers - A bike locker offers more protection and peace of mind than securing your bicycle to a post. Unfortunately public bike lockers are, for now, few and far between.
Secure The Bike in A Safe Spot - If you can’t find a bike locker then you need to find a good spot where you can secure your bicycle. A hooped post offers far more protection than a single straight post, as the bike can’t be simply listed off of the post. Use multiple locks to secure the frame, wheels and saddle to your spot, and if possible secure your bicycle in the vicinity of at least one CCTV camera.
Reporting Your Bike As Stolen
Sometimes, despite your best efforts, your bike can still end up in the hands of criminals. It’s important that you take a number of steps to prevent someone else claiming your bike as their property and to recover your bike in the event of theft.
Make a note of your frame number – Your frame number will be located at the bottom of your bicycle, underneath the bottom bracket. Frame numbers for Trek bikes start with ‘WTU’. If you’re not sure how to find your frame number bring your bicycle in to our store and and we’ll show you exactly where it is!
Take a photo of yourself with your bike – Cinelli launched an Instagram campaign to help their customers prevent theft. Take a photo of yourself with your bicycle or bike frame (with the frame number included in at least one photo) and post them to your Facebook page, Twitter account and Instagram feed as proof of ownership.
Look for distinguishing features – Many of us customise our bicycles with accessories, components, stickers and even scuffs and marks. Make a note of the distinguishing features of your bike in case it is stolen.
Add the bike to your home insurance policy – This acknowledges the bicycle as an asset that you own. In the event that your bicycle is stolen and not retrieved you can claim the value of the bike from your home insurance policy.
Register your bike online – Use sites such as Bike Shepard to register your bicycle and to get a free frame sticker that marks the frame as registered with a third party.
Reporting a Bicycle Theft
The moment you realise that your bike is stolen you should:
Report the theft to the police - Be sure to give the police as much information about your bike, the components on it and the location of the theft. Most importantly, get an incident number for the crime.
Report the theft online – Use your social media accounts to report the bike as stolen. Visit your local ‘Spotted:’ Facebook page and ask the admins to report your bike as stolen (send them photos of the bike too) and visit the Stolen Bikes UK Facebook page and website to report your bicycle as missing. You can also report the bike as missing on the Stolen Bikes website. If you’ve registered your bicycle with Bike Shepard or another website report it missing there too.
Report the theft to local bike shops – Visit your local bike shops and give them your bicycle details and frame number. That way if someone tries to get a repair or upgrade carried out on the bike the staff can notify you immediately.
Monitor online sale websites – Many stolen bikes later end up on eBay or Gumtree, weeks and months after the theft. Monitor online sales sites and keep an eye out for any bikes that look like your own.
If you have any suggestions on ways cyclists can secure their bike or tips on ways to recover a stolen bicycle then please let us know and we’ll add it to this blog post!