“I've just bought a brand new bike. How do I go about insuring it properly?”
There are three important steps to keeping your bike safe. The first is to invest in one, or preferably two, strong bike locks. The next is to make sure you always secure both of your wheels and the frame to an immovable object. Finally, make sure you get bike insurance.
To insure a bike you'll first of all need a receipt, along with a receipt for any accessories that go along with it.
If your bike is second hand and you don't have a receipt for the purchase, you can go to a local police station, where they can issue you a certificate of ownership.
When buying bike insurance make sure you carefully read the small print. Check things like how long the bike can be stored outdoors for and what the bike locks the insurance policy requires you to use.
This will ensure that you fully understand the coverage you are getting for your bike.
“My bike has been stolen and I've reported it to the police. What do I do next?”
Once you’ve reported your stolen bike, if you have insurance, get in touch with your policy provider.
If you’ve gone looking for your stolen bike, remember it's not worth putting yourself in danger. If you do come across your stolen bike, reach out to your local police station before doing anything.
If you live in London (a very popular area for cycle theft), the Cycle Task Force is specifically assigned to deal with this sort of crime. Read more about them here at cycleislington.uk/local-resources/theft/.
There's also possibility that your stolen bike will appear for sale on eBay or Gumtree at some point. Look for new bike listings, especially in your area.
Again, if you live in London, the website bikeshd.co.uk/ will help you find your stolen bike if it gets listed on either Gumtree or eBay.
“My bike is very old and is continually in need of repairs. Is it unsafe to be riding it, do you think?”
Don’t go riding a faulty bike. Firstly, it’s dangerous, and secondly, your insurance might not cover it. A full bike service at a reputable bike shop should cost in the region of £70, with additional charges for parts that need replacing.
You can always get a quote for new parts after the initial service. It may be the case that you are simply better off either buying a new bike or seeking out a second hand bike in good condition.
I'm a big fan of older bikes – they are great fun to restore. If you've got the time then find a local cycle restoring course to attend, just to be sure you’re doing things properly!
You can read more from Andreas Kambanis at londoncyclist.co.uk.