27 October 2021
The ultimate guide to bike security
Protect your bike with this actionable guide.
More people than ever have the bicycle bug! According to SBS, bicycle sales in Australia are up 60 percent since the beginning of 2020. Crime Stoppers NSW reports people spend 1.2 million on bicycles annually. Considering the high prices of modern flashy bicycles, (some go for over $20k), bike theft is also on the rise. According to a report from bicyclenetwork.com [no hyperlink included?] in the last ten years, bike theft in Victoria alone has risen by over 80%. Every year more than 30,000 bikes are stolen across the country and fewer than 10 percent are actually found and returned.
Lyn Patrick of Metro Cycles in Newcastle, NSW knows a thing or two about preventing bike theft. Before Metro Cycles, she worked as the active transport minister for local council, so she’s been involved in the design and construction end of the cycling world too.
Lyn has great tips on reducing your chances of bike theft.
Take early precaution
As soon as you get a bike, write down the serial numbers or frame numbers. Write down as much information as you can and take a few photos of your bike (and also you with your bike). This makes it easier for police.
The latest and greatest in Bike Safety is BikeVault. It’s a free community portal where you can search stolen and found bikes, created by an ex-policeman after seeing so many of his friends’ bikes get stolen. Don’t wait until yours gets stolen, register it up front. Also consider a bike vault ID kit which includes a micro data identification dot
“If there’s anything unique about your bike, even if it’s subtle, take note of that,” Lyn says. “One guy had a unique bottle case. No one would know it, but he recognised it when it came up on gumtree.”
(Police also suggest engraving your driver’s license number near the serial number to make it easier for them to get in touch with you if they find it.)
Get a good lock
No lock is 100 percent secure, but if it takes an industrious tool to break through your bike lock, your odds are better
“Make sure you have a good quality lock. A good quality brand will have a security rating on it,” Lyn says. “Think about what tool it’s going to take to get through it and how difficult it is for someone to carry that in their pocket. Cables are easier to chew through. People are less likely to publicly carry angle grinders and bolt cutters.”
Abus locks have a good reputation, and within their brand they have security ratings for each type of lock. Security ratings tend to go hand in hand with price. An alternative good bike lock for a range of bike enthusiasts is the Kryptonite New York 3000.
Use two locks
The combination of two different locking systems such as a D-lock and a cable will mean that any thief has to carry twice the number of tools. You can also use a heavy-duty chain and padlock.
Lock it right
The right way to lock a bike is to lock the frame and both wheels to the bike stand. To do that you pass your d-lock around the rear triangle, the rear wheel and the object you are locking to. This works two ways – it makes it tough to remove and harder to get to the lock to attack it, without damaging the bike.
Keep your bike out of sight
The best place to keep your bike is inside or under cover. If you must lock it up outside then leave it in a well-lit, well looked over area, preferably somewhere with CCTV. Don’t leave it for too long.
“Don’t lock it up down some dark laneway that no one goes past,” Lyn says. “Keep in mind, lots of thefts happen from home, even in garages or carports. It’s always worth locking it up.”
Lyn recommends having a think about where your bike is. Do you regularly park it in the same place where would-be thieves might see it? Remember that shopping centres and pubs are easy targets, too. Consider calling ahead before you ride to know what’s available.
“Ask venues to provide good bike parking. Ask if there are security cameras overlooking bike parking. If they get enough requests, they understand people want that option,” she says.
Ride a cheap bike
Thieves love fancy bikes with new paint, brand names and all the bling, so another option is to ride a cheap bike. It’s never a bad idea to have the second-nicest-bike on the rac
Insure your bike
Insuring your bike is another way to guarantee the peace of mind that even if your bike is stolen
Insurance is the best way to guarantee total protection for your bike. Across Australia, we offer
Single Item Insurance, including in SA and WA. Our single item cover allows you to insure four items in your home, or alternatively you can select Home Contents Insurance which covers you for theft, fire and more.
Even if you’ve taken all precautions, there’s always a chance your bike might get stolen. Remember, the more information you provide to police the better your chances of seeing it again. If you’ve done the above, you’ll have a better chance of getting your beloved bike back!