A bike can be a huge investment, but whether your bike cost you £100 or £1000, you obviously don't want anyone to steal it. Bike theft is a huge problem in the UK because let's face it, most bikes are pretty easy to steal. But if you want to keep that bike safe and sound, there are ways of heightening security to lessen the risk of it getting taken.
Bike Security: The Basics
There are two basic methods for keeping your bike safe, and ideally, you should be using both of these. The first is a chain. A chain immobilises your bike as well as tying it to something so that it can't just be picked up, meaning most casual thieves are going to walk away to look for easier pickings. You'll need a chain so that you can lock up your bike wherever you are, and a decent chain isn't going to cost you too much.
The second consideration is storage. Whilst you can store your bike in your garage or even your home, the ideal solution here is a bike shed. These are specifically built to house your bike when you're at home and give you great security. They also mean that you're not cluttering up your garage or hallway with your bike!
Bike Chain Options
When it comes to chains you've got several different kinds of options depending on what you're looking for and how much you're willing to pay:
These are the most common kind of chain lock and come in three different forms:
- Coil:basically a spring that unwinds and tethers your bike, easy to store and convenient to use.
- Chain:a plastic covered cable that can be used to tie up your bike, not as easy to carry around as a coil, but still easy to use and fairly cheap.
- Armored:a cable covered by a steel shell, difficult to cut so very secure, but heavy to carry (and generally comes with a special bracket to attach the chain to the bike).
Cable locks are popular because they combine fair security with affordability and are easy to use.
D or U Locks
These are basically metal in the shape of a U or a D that can be used to secure your bike. They're easy to use and fairly convenient to carry around. However, they do tend to be a little more expensive than a cable lock. The security of a U or D lock depends on the kind of lock that's used. Some have combination locks, others have a built in key lock, and still others require that you buy a padlock to keep the bracket closed.
These are essentially a large piece of chain, usually covered in fabric or plastic to protect the paint of your bike. Again, security will depend on the kind of lock that you use to connect the two ends of the chain together. However, these are generally very secure (and the closer the chain links are together, the more secure), relatively affordable and a good security option. The only downside here is that they can be heavy and difficult to carry around.
Bike Sheds and Security
Whichever kind of lock you choose for you bike, having a bike shed to leave your kit in when you get home is the best way to ensure that your bike isn't stolen from your property. There are plenty of bike shed options around to choose from. Most are wooden and will look great in your garden, and all have hasps for padlocks to keep your bike safe.
Whilst which shed you go for is really a personal decision, there are some concerns that you'll want to keep in mind.
Bike Store Location
The less visible your shed is the less likely it will be that anyone will break into it. That's just common sense. If possible keep your shed in the back garden away from prying eyes. Most sheds can be placed against a wall, which gives an added measure of security and anchored to the ground to prevent the whole shed from being lifted.
If you have no choice but to put your bike shed at the front of your property then be extra vigilant and try to ensure that no one sees you putting that expensive bike into your shed!
Consider an Alarm
Security alarms are surprisingly cheap nowadays, and if you have an expensive bike it might be worth considering adding an alarm to your bike store. Ideally, have an alarm that connects to your phone so that you can monitor the shed appropriately.
A shed will require locking, and you'll need to buy a decent lock. Pop into a local locksmith and get some advice, not all padlocks are created equal!
The least secure part of your bike shed will be the hinges on the doors. These are generally screwed on, which means they can be unscrewed and the door can be lifted off, whether it's locked or not. There's an easy fix for this though. Simply drill through the hinge (or widen an existing hole) and the door, insert a bolt and then place the nut on the inside of the door. This way the hinge can't be removed without the door already being open.
Take Security Seriously
Thousands of bikes are stolen every day, and yours could well be one of them, even if you have a great bike lock and a great storage option. There are several sites that allow you to register your bike (Immobilise is the most popular) and that make it more likely that your bike will be found and returned if stolen.
Depending on the cost of your bike, it might also be worthwhile considering getting some specific insurance for it as well. Whilst your homeowner's insurance may well cover your bike when it's on your property, not all policies will cover a bike once out of the house. Double check with your insurance company and then decide whether it's worth buying extra insurance or not.
Bikes are an awesome way to get around, but they're also high profile theft risks. But with a little care and research, you can lessen the risk of your bike being stolen.