Bike theft is a problem that affects all cyclists. Most people will do what they can to keep their bike safe when out and about, but according to the office of national statistics, the majority of bike theft actually occurs at the rider's home. To help prevent this, we have put together some tips on the best way to keep your bike safe at home.
1 - Lock it up
When storing your bike at home, always make sure it is locked to something secure. You may think it is sufficient to keep it in a shed, garage, or other covered areas, however, these often supply very little security. We would recommend locking your bike to a secure ground anchor, or fixed wall mount. If this isn’t possible then try to secure your bike to a sturdy post, gate, metal fence or anything fixed that cannot be easily removed.
Twin Litelok Flexi-U Silver, joint together securing a bike to a secure wall mount.
As an alternative maybe find something that would make the removal of the bike very difficult and possibly very noisy like a metal ladder, large BBQ, piece of garden furniture or a lawnmower.
In terms of bike locks, make sure you use an independently security accredited bike lock. Both Sold Secure and ART are experts when it comes to testing the security of bike locks and gives fair security-based ratings. Our Litelok Gold range has been awarded Sold Secure Gold which is the highest security rating they award.
A Litelok Gold securing a bike to a weight rack, while a Litelok Silver secures the front wheel.
2 - Make sure the area where your bike is kept is secured.
If you keep your bike in a Shed or a similar storage facility, then make sure it is locked with a good quality lock. Earlier this year, Road.cc conducted an interview with a bike thief that provided insight into how they operate. The bike thief said:
“I could break into any shed pretty much if I had a screwdriver and sometimes bolt cutters. The only thing that would stop me would be an alarm on the shed. If an alarm went off I’d jump the fence and run and get as many streets away as possible before the police turned up.”
If you can lock your gate, or shed door with a Sold Secure rated lock then do so as this will make it very difficult for a thief to even get to your bike. 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. Our Liteloks are made from a patented material called Boaflexicore which is very resistant to bolt croppers. We purposely patented and designed the material that way because bolt croppers are a very popular tool amongst bike thieves.
If you have the ability to alarm your property then this will also act as a strong deterrent.
Litelok Flexi-U Silver securing a gate
3 - Keep it out of sight
Storing your bike within your residence is preferable to storing it outside. If you love your bike the obvious place to keep it is in the house, maybe even in your bedroom! If you have the space to do this then that is good but it is not always practical so it may have to go in a conservatory, garage or another outbuilding. Wherever it is stored, make sure it isn’t visible.
Another point made in Road.cc’s interview with a bike thief is that he used to go scouting for bikes in the day time, then come back at night to steal them. If your bike is visible through a window then cover it up.
4 - Avoid advertising the fact that you own bikes.
As we now live in a digital age, it has become very easy for strangers to find out information about people online. If you do post photographs of your bikes on social media then make sure that your privacy settings are restricted to only friends, family, and people you know and trust.
When it comes to fitness tracking apps such as Strava (others are available), it is very easy for someone to work out where you live. If you start tracking your progress from the moment you leave your house and stop when you return home, then everyone will be able to see where you live. Thieves often use fitness tracking apps to look for quick times as this is usually an indicator that the user has a good, expensive bike. Add that to a detailed track of your route, it makes it very easy for them to know where to go to steal a valuable bike.
If you are a fitness tracking app user, then either set your privacy setting so only the people you choose can see your progress or do not start tracking your journey from your front door. Strava actually gives you an option allowing you to hide your home which is something we highly recommend using.
An example of Strava's Hide my Home setting
There are other ways that advertise you have bikes, such as keeping bike racks on your car that is parked outside your house. This advertises that you have more than one bike at your residence.
5 - Double-check your insurance policy
It is very important to check with your insurance provider to see if there are any requirements to your cover. A lot of insurers will insist on your bike being locked with Sold Secure locks, or specifically locked to immovable objects such as ground anchors. When you have checked if there are any requirements then make sure you abide by them, otherwise you won’t be covered if your bikes are stolen.
Also, photograph all your bikes and create a detailed list of spec’s, special parts and accessories you own. This way you can run everything by your insurance company to make sure you will be covered in the event of theft.