The problem is, it’s not just you who’s in love with your bike – cycles are one of the most stolen of all personal possessions in the UK and make a very tempting target for thieves. And aside from all the inconvenience that finding your bike has gone walkabout entails (surely that should be cycleabout?), bicycles aren’t cheap either.
Use a bike lock
There are things you can do to thwart the bike thieves, you'll be pleased to hear, with a sturdy bike lock being one of them. There are two types of bike lock that you can buy: a shackle or a chain and it’s up to personal preference which one you go for, as long as it has a good security rating. When choosing a lock look out for the Solid Secure rating, which comes in three levels: Gold, Silver and Bronze, of which Gold is top notch.
As for locking up your bike, always lock your bike's frame to a solid object that is anchored to the ground and to something that the bike cannot be lifted over or under. Put your lock where it’s hard for a thief to fiddle with as well, and if you are using a chain, wrap it tight so thieves can’t get at it easily with cutters.
Really think about exactly where you’re going to lock up your bike too, not just how. There are lots of dedicated bike racks at train stations but do try to lock it in a very populated area and try to put it somewhere covered by CCTV.
Quite surprisingly a huge number of cycles go missing from owners’ homes as well. So, just because you’ve parked your precious wheels behind the garden gate, it doesn’t mean that an opportunist won’t take a peek on the off chance. Use your bike locks even at home or better still, lock it out of sight in a shed, garage, bike store or hallway.
Even parts of a bicycle can have some value on the dodgy market so try to get your lock through all the removable parts of your bike (chain locks are best at this). If the wheels have quick release you could move one wheel so it’s easier to get a shorter lock round all of your bike's parts. If your saddle is easily removed, take it away with you.
Recovering a stolen bike
Despite taking the safety precautions above, bikes can still get pinched. If that does happen, make sure you’ve got the best chance of recovering it.
Firstly, mark your bike with your postcode. You can etch this on to your bike's frame or use an invisible ink marker pen. Take pictures of your bike and make a note of any distinctive features on it as well. This will all help the police when trying to recover it.
If it does go missing, call the police on the non-emergency number 101, or the British Transport Police if your bicycle was taken from a bus, train or tube station. You can also visit a local police station to report your bike stolen. For any kind of bicycle insurance to be valid you will need a copy of your police report.
It’s a sad fact that very few stolen bikes are actually recovered and returned to their owners, so bicycle insurance really is as essential as a good bell, basket lock, helmet and working brakes.
If you have a specialist bike, do consider specific bike insurance . These machines are often considerably more expensive than standard pushbikes, even a top of the range one. Often basic bicycle insurance doesn't cover bikes used for business or professional use such as courier bikes, racing or pace-setters, so be sure to find a policy tailored to your set of wheels.
If you’ve spent a lot of money making sure your super road bike is bespoke to your every need, you’re going to want to make sure it’s properly covered and doesn’t leave you out of pocket. Make sure you keep receipts for all the parts that make up your bespoke bike, as you will need these to prove the value in the event of needing to claim.
Children's bicycles are also frequently targeted by thieves (which is something owners often don't think about), so consider including them under your insurance package too.
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