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How to Prevent Bicycle Theft and Find Stolen Bikes

A good friend of mine had his bike stolen last week. His VERY EXPENSIVE bike at that. It was “locked” up right in front of a restaurant he was eating at, and he never thought for a second that he would come out after finishing his meal to find it simply not there anymore. It was one long pissed-off walk home that day, that’s for sure. Bike theft is pretty common because, well, it’s rather easy to steal a bike, ride away on it, and then sell it for a few bucks. Most people buy cheap locks (or none at all) and some have even had their two-wheeled transportation stolen from their own yard. Because of my buddy’s predicament last week, I figured there were others out there who could use some advice on how to prevent their own bike from being stolen, and this is what I found out. Hope it helps!

1. Always lock up your bike. Always. Even if you are only running into the store for 30 seconds, lock up your bike. I know someone who had their car stolen when they jumped out to drop off some mail at the post office, so if that can happen then your bike can disappear even faster.

2. Don’t ever lock your bike to itself. If it’s just sitting there loose, a thief can still easily pick the whole thing up and walk off.

3. Only lock your bike to objects that cannot be moved, shimmied, or taken apart. A 30 foot light pole or a dedicated bike rack will do; a twiggy tree or a political lawn sign most certainly will not.

4. If out at night, lock up in a well-lit area, preferably with other bikes.

5. Use a combination of two different kinds of locks. A solid U-lock combined with a chain lock of some kind should encourage any potential thieves to move on to the next bike down the line.

6. Have a quick-release front wheel? Remove it and put it next to the rear wheel, running a lock through the frame and both wheels.

7. Leave as little space as possible between your lock(s) and your bike’s frame.

8. Register your bike before it’s stolen with The National Bike Registry and maybe you can get it back. Maybe.

9. Take your seat with you if it’s quick-release. Riding a bike home without a seat cannot be pleasurable of an experience.

10. Take your whole bike in to stores/restaurants with you. OK, not every place will allow this, but another friend of mine always asks rather than just immediately locking up his bike outside. Most of the time, management says ok to his request.

Do you use your bike a lot to get around? Do you always lock it up? If you have some tips for other bike owners who may be reading this post, please be sure to leave them in the comments. We can all use any help we can get in order to secure our bikes when we are out and about so ours don’t get stolen too!

(photo credit: haraldwalker)


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Comments (2)

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  1. Erik Sanders says:

    The smartest thing to do is not leave your expensive bike in a public place. Get a second cheap bike for “high risk” places.

  2. Insurer says:

    Advice #6 the best:) I believe that the best way to protect the bike, it’s locking the bicycle frame with rear wheel. But need use quality lock up system!

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