Covid-19 has resulted in a dramatic increase of bicycle sales. Heightened anxiety over public transportation and a surge in exercise has led to more and more people turning to one of the most basic forms of mobility, leading to a so-called “bike boom”. Like me, I’m sure you’ll agree this is great, as cycling has long been one of the fastest, most flexible and reliable methods of transport! However, it is the unfortunate reality that nearly 300,000 bicycles are stolen every year in England and Wales alone. It’s the dreaded feeling no one ever wants to experience: walking to the shed or garage where you left your bike, to find it is nowhere to be seen. So, what can you do to prevent your bike being stolen?
Well of course there are plenty of bike storage ideas and diy options out there. From garage bike racks, to ceiling bike racks, sheds and outbuildings, all of which definitely help prevent the theft of your bike. However, thieves are becoming more innovative in their techniques and dogged in their determination. You may be shocked to learn that in the year 2019/2020, in England and Wales, 26% of bicylce theft occured whilst the owner believed it was left in a safe area, with 12% being stolen whilst in a locked building (Source: Office for National Statistics). Understandably, you may think your bike is safe on your own property, but the harsh reality is it may not be as safe as you think.
It’s important to know how to protect your bikes at home. Don’t underestimate bike thieves — some may be wandering past and see a chance, but others are much more considered and calculated — even carrying tools! The trick is to make it as difficult as possible for them. Here’s how:
5 top tips for securing your ride at home:
- Don’t advertise your bike — Take every opportunity to avoid advertising the fact that you own a bike. For example, if you store your bike in your garage, don’t leave your garage door open for hours. Opportunistic thieves who see something as they walk past your house, then plan to go back later.
- Cover Windows — Wherever you decide to store your bike. Be it your garage, shed or outhouse, make sure it is not visible. Chucking a sheet over your bike immediately makes the value unknowable.
- Fit an alarm — The reality is, wherever you decide to store your bike, a determined thief is always going to be able to break in. An alarm will ensure they don’t hang around if they do breach the external security. The Friedland shed alarm is a great option as it combines a movement sensor with a door trigger and can be armed and disarmed using a key-fob remote control.
- Ensure the area where your bike is kept is secured — If you choose to keep your bike in a shed, garage or similar storage facility, then ensure it’s locked with a good quality lock. Thieves will generally carry tools that don’t make a lot of noise such as bolt croppers, so make sure the lock you use has a strong resistance to them.
- Lock it —If you are to take anything away from this blog, let it be this. When storing your bike at home, it is so important to remember to always lock your bike regardless of where it is kept. Bike locks are there to foil the opportunist thief, and slow down the professional. I recommend locking your bike to a secure ground anchor, or fixed wall mount. I appreciate this isn’t always possible and if that is the case, then try to secure your bike to a sturdy post, gate, metal fence or anything fixed that can’t be easily extracted.
You may not be elated by the idea of going out to buy a heavy, bulky, impractical lock that is unpleasant to look at (I wasn't either). Luckily, I discovered Litelok who specialise in bike locks that are more light, flexible and secure which, is great for a home security solution. The integrated design of their locks mean they’re in one piece so you don’t have to struggle trying to fix separate parts together and it doesn’t rattle when being carried, result! Not only is it easy to carry, it’s also wearable. They have designed a reflective, clip-on wearable kit, which is infinitely adjustable. It is designed to fit most ages, sexes and sizes. When worn around your waist it’s barely noticeable which i found pretty impressive!
If you successfully implement all of the above tips, then the chances of your bike being stolen should dramatically decrease. However, insuring your bike will provide peace of mind if the worst should happen. Always look at the small print when taking out an insurance policy and look at the range of covers that they have to offer. Insurance companies such as Laka have a range of insurance packages that will fit around you and your bike. You’ll be glad to hear they cover bicycles that are stored both at home and in a locked garden shed if it is on private property! Hopefully this blog has brought you some useful insight. Share with friends and family to ensure they too do not become a victim of bike theft.