Beating Bike Theft
For many bike riders, the threat of bike theft is just one of those things they learn to live with. The issue tends to be trivialised by police, which is of no comfort, seeing as many dedicated cyclists spend a large amount of money on their dream build. Bike theft is also particularly disheartening if a new bike is stolen, but it is a fact that newer, more aesthetically pleasing models will be highest on a bike thief's hit list. It is because of these reasons that bike owners must take responsibility for the security of their bicycles. Within large towns and cities, if a bike is stolen, it is unlikely that the owner will ever retrieve it. Bikes offer thieves a convenient means to escape from the crime scene; in a matter of minutes they will be gone with the bike, and are very difficult to track. However, there are measures which can be taken to reduce the chance of bike theft occurring, with some of the common faults that people make being easily rectifiable.
If leaving a bike outside, a good lock is essential
Cheap bike locks are useless, and do little to stop a committed thief from stealing a bicycle. An experienced bicycle thief will be able to spot a cheap lock, and put simply, will be able to get through it with ease. Within the latter link, the bicycle thief speaks of pushing and pulling the bike until the lock breaks. It is shocking to think that something sold to cyclists to prevent theft, can be overcome so easily. It just adds insult to injury that it does not even require specialised tools. Therefore, a good, robust lock is required. Locks may seem expensive, but in comparison to the cost of replacing a bicycle, especially in the instance of a mid-to-high end model, they are cheap in comparison. Anything you can place on your bike that will slow a thief down, or cause them to raise suspicion through their actions, should be included. Placing a chain through each wheel adds far greater security than a lock alone, and if you are serious about the security of your bike, then two high-quality locks can be used to secure the front and back wheels individually.
Outside VS inside storage
If it is at all possible, bikes should always be stored inside. Understandably, this is not always an option. If a bike is being left outside, it should be left in a sensible location, such as a designated bicycle storage area. Also, try to avoid leaving it in secluded areas, such as walkways or alleys, as this means it can be tampered with, without raising the suspicions of anyone passing by. With that being said, storing a bike indoors is not always a guarantee for its safety. If it makes financial sense to, you should place your bicycle on your home coverage policy, that way, if the worst does happen, some of the financial costs can be recovered. This may seem like a drastic measure, but it is necessary, due to the fact that 80,000 bikes are stolen annually, in London alone. This is a very high number and goes some of the way to explaining why the police are so often ineffective in cases of bike theft - they simply cannot compete with the numbers that they are up against.
Overall, there are measures that can be taken that can prevent bike theft, or in the worst case scenario, cover you against any financial losses. A good lock should be seen as compulsory. Good bikes are easy to spot - the quality of materials used stands out, the brand is there for all to see. It may seem as counterproductive, but perhaps the best defense against bicycle theft, is to not take expensive bicycles into a situation where they are left unattended. Having a cheaper bike to use as a commuter model, and a more expensive model for leisure is a common and valid practice. If this is not possible, then where and how you choose to store your bike when you are not riding it is of paramount importance. Encouragingly, secure bicycle storage facilities are being installed throughout the UK, and these should always be used if they are available. If not, it is down to yourself to make your bike as inaccessible for thieves as possible, because as we have seen, in the case of theft, the police will frequently not offer much assistance.