How to protect your bike from thieves

Impossibly safe bicycle
How to protect your bike from thieves
Impossibly safe bicycle

Image by GOSS, an advertising agency in Gothenburg, via brett jordan/Flickr

How to protect your bike from thieves

With bicycle commuting on the rise and more bikes on the road, many cities are reporting more bike thievery. Here’s how to protect your ride:

Invest in a decent lock: Don’t cheap out and buy a cable lock or light-duty chain. They’re just too easy to cut through with wire-cutters. Get a U-lock or a heavy-duty chain and lock combination.

Credit: Alan/Flickr

Credit: Alan/Flickr

Use your lock correctly:  U-locks are at their strongest when you leave no space between your bike’s frame, the rack, and the lock where a thief can slip a pry bar or a jack.  If you can, lock around the frame and a wheel, or use two locks to secure both wheels. But never, never lock just a wheel.

Always lock your frame, not just your wheels.

Credit: I Bike Fresno/Flickr

If your expensive wheels are attached with quick release skewers, you might want to replace those with security skewers that need a key to unlock.

Pay attention to where you lock:  Try to park in a well lit, high-traffic area preferably with other bikes. Lock to a strong metal rack or tall post that is solidly buried or bolted in concrete and can’t be easily dislodged or cut. Sign posts are no good if thieves can just unbolt the signs and slide your bike up off the pole. Thieves can also easily cut through chain link fencing, wooden posts, and even small tree trunks to get your bike.

Pay attention to where you lock your bicycle.

Photo by loa bacon/Flickr

Document your bike.  Jot down its serial number, which is typically stamped under the bottom bracket where the two pedal cranks meet. Keep a receipt for the bike, or if you’ve lost that, keep the repair receipts. Keep this stuff with your other important documents so you can provide proof of ownership to the police. Photograph your bike so you can post pictures in case of theft. If you have homeowner’s or renter’s insurance, make sure your bike is covered for its full replacement value.

Below watch as bike mechanic Hal Ruzal grades the bike locking ability of New Yorkers…

Hal Grades Your Bike Locking from STREETFILMS on Vimeo.

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