The post-Olympic boom in cycling has one unfortunate side effect – there are now more and better bikes available for thieves to target.
Bikes, by their lightweight nature and lack of a key, have always been a relatively easy target for thieves and, with more people buying pricier road bikes, it’s more important than ever to make sure the bike rustlers give your wheels a wide berth.
According to the CheckThatBike website, more than 500,000 bikes are stolen each year – that’s one every 67 seconds, with cyclists expected to their bike stolen, on average, every 23 months.
Specialist insurance broker Bikesure, which has just launched a new comprehensive bicycle insurance policy, looks at the security options on the market.
1) Let’s assume it’s obvious by now that you should a) buy a bike lock and b) use it to lock your bike to something solid and secure.
It’s generally accepted that you should spend about 10 per cent of the value of your bike on a lock, and there is a huge array of options on the market.
Most insurers require you to fit a Sold Secure approved lock so, if you’ve just spent £1,000 on that lovely new road bike, your insurance is unlikely to cover you if you’ve fitted the cheapest cable lock you can find.
Heavier U-locks (sometimes probably more accurately called D locks) locks may mean carrying around more metal, but good ones are more likely to make all but the most determined thief move on to an easier target.
The U-lock was invented by Kryptonite in 1972, and they still make some of the best around, including the Evolution Mini 7 Lock and 4 Foot KryptoFlex Cable, which gives thieves two things to worry about removing in one device.
Generally speaking, a chain lock will always be easier to remove than a U-lock, because equipment that can cut chains exists!
Most good chain locks meet the silver Sold Secure standard, and the Master Lock Street Flexium is a bargain at under £20 from Evans Cycles. But if you want a truly tough chain that will protect a valuable bike in a high crime area, the OnGuard Beast series may be the way to go.
So you’ve got your lock, you’re using it properly and every time you leave your bike – what else can you do?
With no electrical system on your bike, these alarms run on batteries and can emit a high-pitched noise to scare off thieves who tamper with your bike or the alarm itself.
There are several on the market, with the best selling the Ducharme Bicycle Alarm, which works in all weathers, and features an audible false warning and emits a 125db double siren.
At the top end of the market, the Lock8 smart bike lock and alarm combines a lock, smartphone technology with GPS and a gyro accelerometer to keep your bike safe.
Launched with the help of Kickstarter donations, the Lock8 is armed and disarmed using an e-key on your smartphone and, if the bike is tampered with, the unit emits a 120db alarm and sends a warning notification to your phone and other Lock8 users nearby.
If your bike should still be stolen, the GPS tracking device allows you to locate your bike anywhere in the world. The lock even includes a heat sensor to detect blowtorch or ice spray attacks.
3) Clearly, none of these measures are entirely foolproof, so how can you help to recover your bike if it does get stolen? Bikes are one of the top five items registered on the national property register Immobilise. It’s free to register your bike, and the police re-unites thousands of pieces of stolen property with their owners every day. It’s also worth permanently marking your bike with your post code.
Whoever has stolen your bike will want to sell it, so it’s worth trawling eBay and sites like find that bike, which collates bike adverts from other sites and puts them in one place.
And if you’re thinking of buying a secondhand bike, check the frame number with CheckThatBike to see if it appears on any of the various stolen bike databases the site checks.
Bikesure’s pedal cycle policy, which is suitable for everything from a custom-built racing bike valued up to £5,000 to a commuter bike, can include the following benefits:
- Accidental damage and theft for your bike valued up to £5,000
- Personal accident cover up to £10,000
- Third party liability
- Legal expenses cover
- Breakdown cover for £16 a year