Daily Commuting Tip - Bike Security
It's always nice to find your bike where you left it after a long day's graft. And there's nothing more infuriating than seeing a sad void where your bike was. Or worse, a token, kicked in front wheel the only remnant of your beloved, faithful workhorse.
You don't have to succumb to this fate however. Here are a few top tips to maximise the security of your bike, while you're elsewhere shopping, studying or earning an honest crust.
Buy a decent lock
Don't fork out a thick wedge on a great commuter bike then skimp on the lock. Factor in the price of a decent lock when budgeting for your bike. Look for a lock with a Gold Sold Secure rating if possible. This means that it's passed the industry's toughest test. Read some lock grouptests in the mags to get some real world advice on the efficacy of each lock. Not all locks at a particular price point are created equal.
Always lock up to an immovable object
The heftier the better. Obviously top choice are purpose made cycle stands, which will resist all manner of cutting and bashing. Don't make the mistake of locking your bike to a post where a thief could easily lift the bike off (a certain David Cameron famously suffered from this sad fate a while back)
Choose a well-overlooked location
Don't hide your bike away thinking thieves won't find it. Park in a highly visible place where thieves can't operate without being overlooked.
Lock through the main frame
Don't just lock through a wheel, because thieves can easily steal the rest of your bike and leave you with the sad, lonely front wheel scenario mentioned earlier.
Lock up or remove easily removed items...
...or your friendly neighbourhood thief will do it for you. If you've got quick release wheels, remove the front wheel, place in adjacent to the rear wheel and lock through both wheels, the frame and the cycle stand/immovable object. Don't leave your lights, speedo, etc on the bike if they can be easily removed. Pop them in your bag
Never risk that ‘just popped into the shop for a paper' stop
It's a well-known fact that 'Opportunist' is the middle name of most casual thieves. Don't risk leaving your bike unlocked and unattended even for a few seconds. If you do a lot of these kind of quick errand stops, consider fitting a Dutch style wheel lock (like the AXA SL7 or simlar) which immobilises the back wheel. While not a full-on security measure, these locks are great for thwarting the opportunist ready to snaffle your bike outside the bakery.
Don't think riding a crummy bike will save you
Fact is, thieves will steal anything.
Avoid locking up altogether
Regular readers might accuse me of sounding like a broken record, but running a compact folding bike such as the Brompton means that in most cases you can take your bike in with you anywhere, negating the need for a lock and the associated anxiety of leaving your bike unattended.