Cracking down on bicycle theft

10.11.2016 11:36
Cracking down on bicycle theft

Figures from specialist cycle insurance, Cycleplan, show that over 376,000 bicycles are stolen each year. London is the most targeted area, with Edinburgh and Oxford following in closely. But regardless of where you live or work, it is more important than ever to be safety savvy. Whether you purchased a brand new state-of-the-art bike or opted for a more economical option, your efforts will be in vain unless you invest in the right safety measures.

Choosing the right lock

Taking proper precaution in ensuring your bike is properly secured when you're away is, arguably, the most important step you can take. After all, you wouldn't leave the house without locking the door. But with so many different anti-theft options on the market – from U-locks to chain locks to cable locks – it's easy to become overwhelmed. Choosing the right one is easy once you're acquainted with the unique properties of each.

Here are some lock features to bear in mind when choosing one:

  • compactness/portability
  • reliability of metal used
  • type of lock mechanism
APECS offers a range of bike locks. Let's begin by looking at cable locks, which often come with the locking mechanism already permanently integrated. These locks can be operated by a key or a combination and are most efficient when used in conjunction with a U-lock. For maximum effect, use a cable to secure the wheels and/or seat and a U-lock or padlock to secure the frame. Consider the cable's thickness too – the thicker it is, the harder it will be to cut through it. We offer cable locks of up to 8mm in thickness.

15283.jpgcombination bicycle lock.jpg

U-locks are often considered to be the most secure locks. The U part of the lock attaches to a crossbar section (which is why it is also known as a 'D-lock'). To lock the bicycle, you can physically attach it to an immovable object, such as a bike rack, parking meter or other pole installed securely into solid ground. U-locks are secure because it takes heavy tools, such as bolt cutter, to snap it in half. When choosing a U-lock, pay attention to the hardness of metal used and its resistance to grinding.

Another highly reliable lock is a chain lock. While these tend to be heavy and bulky, they offer more flexibility than a U-lock as they can be easily passed through the bike's frame and wheels, securing it firmly to another object. However, if you settle on a chain lock, think about its portability and storage. 

If you're looking for a lock that's small and portable, a wheel-lock may be right for you. Also known as a ring lock, it immobilises the rear wheel by preventing motion but offers low security as it doesn't actually lock the bicycle to a stationary object. 

As more people switch to cycling every year, so do lock alarms and other smart locks rise in popularity. Even the most secure chain lock may not deter a thief as much as a device which flashes and sounds an alarm when someone tries to tamper with the lock. Smart cable locks, which can be controlled via smartphones, allow owners to monitor their bikes and notify of any undesirable action taken against them.  

Once you decide on the type of lock that's right for you, be vigilant about where you leave your bicycle. Try to park it in a well-lit area, ideally monitored by CCTV, and make sure it's secured to an immovable object. For extra security, opt for two different locks. Do register your bike as well – this will help the police to identify it in case a theft occurs.