With 188,000+ bikes reported stolen each year in the United States, bike security is a hot topic. How can you prevent your bike from being stolen? What locks or tools do you need to keep your bike secure? What is the best bike lock on the market right now? We are going to answer all of those questions and more as we share our 11 bike security secrets to prevent theft.
You have probably heard the saying; If someone wants your bike, they are going to get it. That statement is not accurate. There are lots of different ways to protect your bike. Keeping it safe is important when you consider how much bikes cost. I discuss the topic of bike costs in this Why Is Cycling So Expensive analysis. You’ve already taken the most important step to protect your bike by researching bike theft prevention tips.
11 Ways To Prevent Your Bike From Being Stolen
- Locks – cable locks, u-bolts and chain locks
- Bring your bike inside at night
- Use multiple locks
- Never lock through the wheel alone, always through the frame because its more expensive to replace
- If using multiple locks, then lock both the wheels and frame.
- Only lock to secure structures
- Try to lock up near other bikes
- Take your saddle with you if it is expensive, especially if it is on a quick release
- Lock your bike even when you think it is safe
- Keep track of serial numbers and register with local authorities if applicable
- Stay off social media with your bike posts until your bike is secured
The first step to prevent bike theft is using a lock. There are many different lock styles. Cable locks will be the easiest for would-be thiefs to break through. U-Bolts and Chain Locks are much safer options.
You also need to make sure you bring your bike inside. Just because your bike is inside doesn’t mean you can forget about locking it. My kids are notorious for leaving the garage door open for hours at a time. I always keep my bikes locked, even inside the garage.
Lock placement is also important. If you only lock through one wheel, popping that wheel off and stealing the remainder of the bike will be easy for a thief. I’d recommend using multiple locks and going through both the frame and the wheels when possible. It also helps to lock up near other bikes. If you are using multiple locks on your bike, chances are some other bike on the rack will be an easier target.
I also recommend staying off social media until your bike is secure. There are a lot of social media related apps specific to cyclists like Strava, as well as apps like Facebook that have location data included with the post. If a thief sees your high priced bike in a public post and knows your location, that makes you an easier target for theft.
Bike Security: Cable Locks
I mentioned several different types of locks. The first is a cable lock. These locks are exactly as they sound… It is a wire cable that you can threat through your bike and around a permanent structure to help keep your bike secure. These locks are very affordable, making them popular amongst cyclists. They are the least secure form of bike security because a simple pair of wire cutters can break through the cables. They can come with codes, pins or keys. You can buy a cable lock for about $10. (Check Current Price on Amazon.)
Bike Security: U-Locks
A more secure option to secure your bike is with a U-Lock. In other words, a U-Lock is much harder to cut through for thieves. They also come with keys, pins or passcodes. Because of the higher strength material, a U-Lock will cost about double that of a cable lock. You can still find affordable U-Locks for around $20. (Check Current Price on Amazon.) When it comes to U-Locks, paying more will usually get you a higher strength rating of the steel material it is made from.
What Is The Most Secure Bike Lock: Chain Locks
My personal favorite type of bike lock is a chain lock. Chain locks usually come with a fabric cover to prevent scratching and damage to your bike. With a U-Lock a thief needs to cut through one piece to break the lock. With a chain they need to cut through both sides of the chain loop. It is slightly more difficult to cut through.
Another added benefit of a chain lock is the fact that the shape is not fixed. For instance, you can store them just about anywhere. This isn’t the case with big and bulky U-Bolt style locks. Chain locks come with passcodes and pins, but the most secure forms of chain locks come with keys. The cost for a good chain lock is substantially more than U-Lock and Cable Lock systems. Kryptonite Bike Locks have a price tag around $100. (Check Current Price on Amazon.)