It’s a sad reality of biking that quite a few of the community get their bikes stolen. It doesn’t matter who you are, or what role you play in society. Someone even stole a bike belonging to a blood deliverer recently! I won’t repeat the exact words I used once I read that story but suffice to say I wasn’t impressed. And why would I be? Biking can be expensive, especially at the beginning! There’s the bike, the cost of learning, all our clothing, maintenance, and the items I would like to talk about today. This is the art of security, and the art of keeping our bikes safe. Let’s crack on:
What to buy? Start with a Cover
There are a few stages to this. The safest bikes tend to be the ones that aren’t seen or noticed initially. So let’s get ourselves a decent bike cover. There are plenty of places to get these from, and they aren’t too expensive. Ensure that they fit around the bike reasonably well, and be wary of windy days. The cover could act like a sail on a boat, and you might return to find it on its side. Leaning it near something reasonably solid is not a bad idea.
If a thief spots the bike, we need to do our bit to make sure that it at least doesn’t move. We should not rely on the bike steering lock, as a reasonably strong person can break through that. Instead we should invest in a few locks and chains. There is a huge range to choose from, so I will just focus on the ones that I had as a guide. My thinking must have been fine, since I’ve never had a bike stolen.
I bought myself a number of thick chains, to go around the back wheel. There was one to start with, and every time I bought a new bike, I went for at least one extra chain. I probably had one of the most secure GSXS 1000Fs in the country! The best strategy is to attach the back wheel at one end, and something reasonably solid at the other end.
If a thief can’t roll a bike away, they may lift it onto a vehicle and separate it later. It really pays to cover all bases, and make the theft process as long and difficult as we can. I also rotated the back wheel such that no part of the chains were on the ground. I am quite particular about this sort of thing. Chains can be cut, but if they’re airborne then this is much more difficult. Making life as awkward as possible for the potential thief is key.
I also explore the idea of a disc lock, as I felt a chain wasn’t quite enough for where I lived. The idea here is that we have a mini lock that is attached to one of the bikes brake discs. This stops the wheel rotating, and the bike cannot be rolled. The drawback is that these can be cut, so it pays to get a strong one. The ones I bought were also alarmed, so if there was any vibration at all, there would be a big noise. Hopefully followed by an arrest, conviction and a long jail sentence but fortunately no one tried to steal any of my bikes while I owned them.
For me, the disc locks and chains still weren’t quite good enough, so I looked at thick U locks. These are much bigger than disc locks, and can also fit through the front wheel to stop it rotating. The visual combination of multiple types of locks for both the front and rear wheels is a slightly more encouraging site for owners. And, I presume, it makes the bike look less like low hanging fruit for thieves. Having never been a thief, I’m not sure. I just hope they just leave our bikes alone and let us get on with it.
Truth be told, if we do all of the above, we would have to be pretty unlucky to have our bike stolen. Or we may be in possession of a very rare model. Either way, there is even more we can do. My bike also had a tracker fitted. And as bike theft is such a big issue, there are now a number of manufacturers that are fitting trackers as standard to their top models. A tracker allows the location of the bike to be sent to a device of your choice, as well as the tracking company. The bike will send out an alert if it is moved without being authorised. The top tracking companies (along with the police) recover around 95% of the bikes with these devices fitted. This is great news for bikers!
There are other more basic security tips that I haven’t focused on. Keeping the bike blocked in is a classic tactic. How can someone steal something they have no access to? This doesn’t stop people trying, but if we can make their life as difficult as possible, they may move on. My bike had some of its parts tagged with a unique number. People commonly strip bikes and sell the parts individually, as this is more lucrative. Tagging is inexpensive, and may be enough to put the casual thief off. The tactic most of the bikers I rode with used was to park your bike where you can see it, as often as you can. You can then respond properly if something unsavoury happens.
It’s unfortunate that theft is an issue, but it’s good to see the manufacturers fighting back. Bikes are not as cheap as they used to be. So if we save up, and pay our hard earned cash, we should be able to keep ours as long as we please. And if we employ some or all of the tactics mentioned above, it might cost a lot initially. However, we will save a huge amount of money and stress long term. We’ll give ourselves the best possible chance to keep our bikes safe, and our bank accounts happy.
Don’t forget to have a look at the Blog: Journeys of Focus, which majors on real life experiences and applying various money saving tips, some of which are just as applicable to two wheels as to four. Feel free to also get in contact. Thanks for reading!