Given time and determination, there’s just no way to protect a bike from thieves. Risk of bicycle theft can be minimised but does not guarantee that it will not be stolen. If they want it, they are going to find a way of getting it. That’s why bicycle insurance is a good idea, especially for the more expensive rides. The thieves like high-value rides that are both easy to get to and easy to resell.
A £1,000 ride leaned up against a wall in is a theft magnet no matter how well-traveled the area is. Whereas a cheap bike chained to something immoveable is going to be much safer no matter the neighborhood.
Considering that bike thieves work with just a few tools – they do plan to ride your stolen bike away from the scene after all – making your ride a less likely target is not hard. Here’s a few tips to do that.
Minimise the Risk of Bicycle Theft
Lock your bike up
Get a cable or chain bike lock and run it through the rear wheel, chain and the frame and then around an immoveable object like a power pole, a bike rack or a black hole (just kidding – the event horizon would pull the bike in, but you talk about safe from thieves). If there’s nothing secure around to attach it to, run the lock through as many moveable parts as possible.
Quick-release wheels should be removed and put into the cable as well.
How to choose a lock
Get a strong lock that also allows you some flexibility in where to place it. A length of good strong chain and the D-ring is a very effective deterrent. Steel cables are also very good. Get sturdy and quality products whichever you get. The more work a thief has to put into taking the bike, the more likely he is to head out to find easier pickings. Remember cheap locks are easy to defeat.
Choose your location
Find somewhere public to park the ride. A bike rack is the very best place. When using a bike rack, lock the bike frame and rear wheel to the rack, especially in the case of quick-release wheels. In addition to being public, the flow in and out of riders will be enough to keep most thieves away. Otherwise, pick a well-lit area with plenty of traffic going through.
Most thieves are there to make some money. Given the choice between a department store kids bike and a carbon frame racing bike, the racer is going to disappear much faster. You can do things to your ride, without damaging it, to make it look less attractive, especially when you have to leave it. At the same time, these things can actually lower the resale value, so if that is important to you, be careful. Cover the seat with a grocery bag. Attach cheap plastic baskets.