In 2018, 1,461 bikes were stolen in Cardiff, which means 121 every month or three bicycles per day. You don’t want to be the next, right? Then follow these simple recommendations given by expert cyclists to avoid this annoying situation.
1. The Lock!
Most of the bikes stolen share one simple factor: a weak lock or chain.
“The most important thing is to spend money on a decent lock,” says Pam French, organizer of family bicycle rides in Cardiff (letsride.co.uk) for British Cycling.
Most specialists recommend “D-Locks”, made with a shape “U” bar attached to a crossbar section. Like in the Olympics Games, these locks are usually classified in three levels: gold, silver and bronze, plus numbers.
“It’s worth spending more on buying a gold rated lock,” says French. Also, the higher the number, the higher is the level of security.
Most bicycles have quick release mechanisms in case of a flat tire. That’s why thieves take these items first.
“[I recommend] a D-Lock and also a second cable lock if you are running quick release wheels. You put the D-Lock to your frame and the second for the front wheel,” says Gerard Davies, shop mechanic at ‘I Want to Ride my Bike’, a Cathays café.
A second option recommended by Davies is to replace the quick release mechanisms with security skewers which require a key to remove the wheel.
“There is less chance that someone will steal your wheels,” says Gerard Davies.
If you have the chance, plan your journey and where are you going to park. Choose only solid and fixed objects like bicycle racks, poles with no loose ends, and objects attached to the ground.
Don’t forget to secure the bike frame and the rear wheel together. Also, consider avoiding dark alleys and dead-end roads.
“Park somewhere busy and well-lit,” says French. “If it is well-lit, people there will be less inclined to steal it,” says Davies.
4. Remove your gear
Lights, helmets and bike computers are an easy target for thieves so don’t leave them on the bike.
“Everything is quick release these days – they have brackets or rubber bands. So, if you park your bike just take it off and take it with you,” says Davies.
5. Serial number
Most of the bicycles have a unique frame number. As your passport, this number is the ID of the bike, and you should save it in case of problems.
This number could be the only element to recover your bike if it is stolen. Keep it safe.
6. Signs and stickers
A simple street sign in your favourite bicycle rack can help you to avoid problems.
A Newcastle University research displayed posters with the message “Cycle Thieves, we are watching you” in the bicycle racks of the campus.
“Academics found that thefts from bike racks with images of eyes reduced by 62 per cent,” says Mike Shears from South Wales Police.
7. Register your bike for free
Register your bike in a specialised website is a smart move.
Sites like bikeregister.com or immobilise.com offer free registration that allows you to create a complete profile of your bike including pictures, features and details of the owner. This information is shared with the UK police in case of an incident to search and recover your bicycle.