One of the very few upsides to this lockdown experience, aside from normalising working from home, is that cycling is now seeing a resurgence. People are being advised to jump on a bike rather than head to the bus stop or train station if they need to travel anywhere.
This has meant that our local bike shops are busy, really busy, but also that supplies of new bikes are rather more scarce than we are used to due to a combination of high demand and interruptions in global supply chains. Unfortunately it has also meant that bike theft seems to be hitting our social media feeds more than usual.
Don’t let it happen to you…
Bike thefts are something we’ve dealt with in these pages on a few occasions now, but it’s advice that is worth sharing again now, particularly as you may be new to cycling and are just learning the ropes.
First of all, you need a good lock.
Bike locks are rated by Sold Secure according to how long they’ll hold out against an attacker. Gold is the highest, bronze the lowest. Anything that isn’t rated at least bronze needs to be avoided. This includes cable locks, which are really quick and easy to snip with some easy-to-hide gardening tools. We have some suggestions for locks on our Essentials page.
We have a more detailed bike security rundown here.
Don’t lead thieves home…
Whilst it can be fun to upload your rides to Strava, after all it’s a great place to meet fellow riders and to track your increasing fitness, but it can give people a breadcrumb trail to your house.
Strava will let you name your bike, but for the love of your chosen deity, please don’t name it as the make and model of the bike. Calling it Pinarello Dogma F10 is just asking for trouble. Call it Sarah, or Steve, or whichever name speaks to you.
The next thing to do is turn on privacy zones for your home, work, or anywhere your bike is likely to be locked up for a period of time. There’s more on Strava’s privacy here.
NOT THE SHED! NOT THE SHED!
The next thing to remind you of is, don’t leave your bike in the garden shed. Most of the thefts that pop up on our social media feeds are from garden sheds.
Garden sheds, as it turns out, are great for storing plant pots, trowels etc. They’re not so good for storing valuable bicycles. They offer privacy for any would-be thief, but offer little defence against them.
If you must use the shed, please consider anchoring the bike to the ground somehow. There’s more on in-home security here. If you can store your bicycle in the house, either in the hallway or a large cupboard, please do.
Depending on who you live with, this may be more difficult for some than others, particularly if you are trying to fit four bikes in your hallway, but there are some inventive storage solutions for the home that you may be interested in. Here are some options over at Tredz.
Busy is best…
When you’re out and about, you may think it’s a good idea to lock your bike somewhere quiet and out-of-sight. It isn’t.
Find a good, solid Sheffield stand somewhere with a lot of people passing. Time and seclusion are what thieves need to cut through your lock. You would hope that someone will be alerted to a thief with a portable angle-grinder working through your gold-rated lock, wouldn’t you.
There’s some more tips from former thieves here.