Protect your bike - Increases in bike theft

The popularity of cycling has soared during 2020 and lockdown conditions. Retailers have genuinely struggled to keep up with recent bike sales demand. This has affected both the online and high street sectors and stock even now remains low in some areas of the cycling world, with mountain bikes seemingly the most popular. As reported this demand has increased the instances of theft to the second hand bike market.

With the increased interest, here are some tips to help reduce the risk of a burglary, outlining  some key points to watch out for when it comes to protecting your bikes against loss or damage, Theft is the most likely cause of a claim, either from your home or when your bike is left unattended .

Protection

  • Bike locks – there are a huge variety of locks available and many tend to buy to budget rather than based on performance. You should seek a Sold Secure Gold Standard lock as this is the highest rated standard for ability to withstand theft attempts. Following a recent investigation on BBC's One Show, a “D”type lock can be the most protective. The “D” lock should attach the frame to a fixed point, the more inaccessible to being tampered with, the better.
  • Bike Storage – either in a garage, shed or other similar outbuilding. Any doors should be locked using a British Standard approved lock or padlock. You may want to consider further securing the bike(s) using a bike lock or ground anchor – the latter more commonly used to secure motorcycles.
  • Parking – there are many purpose built bike storage racks in town and city centres, particularly near to public transport hubs. Always try to leave your bike somewhere public as this may deter opportunistic thieves.
  • Quick release items – many bikes now feature QR wheels and saddles. It is likely to be impractical to remove every component but you should consider chaining wheels together to prevent removal. Saddles can be removed and taken with you.
  • Transport – if you're taking your bike away to use it, you can either secure the bike inside your vehicle or use a correct rack, either roof or tailgate/bumper mounted, always make sure that bikes are secured according to the instructions and consider using locks to secure the bike to the rack. Thieves have been known to watch popular cycling locations so don't leave your bike unattended for any length of time.
  • Strava or GPS? - bike mounted hardware, any such items should be removed when leaving your bike unattended anywhere for any period of time – even while you pop into the shop. Or indeed local pub for a well-earned pint after a long ride.
  • Cameras – Helmet mounted cameras have the benefit of recording your riding and may assist with apportioning blame should you be involved in an accident.
  • Hashtags and likes – be aware that if your social media settings are public, your regular cycling routes and possibly even home location might be available not just to your friends but also those with less than scrupulous intentions.
  • All the gear – worth considering safe storage of your equipment. Helmets, clothing, footwear and other accessories can all add up so should be kept somewhere safe both at home and when you're out enjoying your ride.

When it comes to insuring your bike, there are specialist schemes available and many are marketed via bike retailers. Before you take out extra cover, it's worth checking the level and extent of cover within your household policy as follows.

  • Cover limitation – some policies might apply a limit per bike; is this sufficient?
  • Check policy conditions -  level of lock required, i.e. minimum of silver/gold standard lock.
  • Specify higher valued items – you may need to specify your bike if it's particularly valuable.
  • Cover away from home – check the extent of cover; is it anywhere in the UK? Would you be covered if you took your bike(s) on holiday abroad for example?
  • Wear and tear – almost certain to be excluded so make sure that maintenance is carried out in accordance with manufacturer's recommendations. There is a wealth of resource available to either direct you to your nearest suitable servicing outlet or even undertake your own repairs and maintenance.

Above all, enjoy your cycling. 2020 has been a very strange year but one of the many positives is the number of us taking to 2 wheels. We hope that our tips help you keep your bike safe and we'll no doubt catch some of you on Strava!