You can’t eliminate the chance of someone pinching your prized bicycle, but you can minimise it with an appropriate lock or security device. I know it’s not the most exciting subject but it’s really important to keep you bike secure. Bikes that are not well secured are really easy to steel because the thief can ride away from the scene fairly swiftly, and even if you see them disappearing with it, you won’t be able to catch them on foot, particularly in your cleated bike shoes.
I work in a bike shop and I’ve heard many sad tales from customers who lost their whole bike to theft, but also parts of their bike like wheels and seatpost/saddles. There’s nothing more useless (or annoying) than a bike without wheels or a seat.
So here’s a few tips for minimising the risk:
Don’t let your bike out of your sight
If you are at a local café after a ride don’t walk inside and leave your bike well out of your sight unless you have some friends to watch over it. It only takes a few seconds for an opportunistic thief to ride off.
Fit anti-theft devices to your bike
If you have a quick release seat-post clamp you can change this to a bolt variety or even one with an anti-theft bolt. It makes it harder for you to move the seat up and down, but it also makes it much harder for a thief to pinch your seat-post and seat.
You can also consider changing the quick release axels in your wheels but I wouldn’t do this unless you leave your bike for a long time unattended because it becomes a real pain when you want to take your wheel off to repair a flat tyre.
Buy a good lock
There are quite a few kinds of bike lock available. They come in key or combination varieties and range from a very basic cable lock right up to the heavy U-locks. You have to decide what works best for you based on where you plan to lock your bike, what type of bike you have, how much it’s worth and what weight you want to carry around. Abus locks has a good summary on its website so I won’t lecture you here.
You should lock your bike even if you’re just leaving it to duck into the shops or a toilet break. You should also lock it when it’s on your bike rack on your car and a bike cover is also a good idea so the potential thieves can’t evaluate quickly if your bike is valuable.
Insure your bike
There are a number of insurance companies that provide dedicated bike insurance like Real Insurance who my bikes are insured with, and you can also add bikes onto existing home insurance policies. Obviously check the conditions of the insurance. Many of the policies specify that it must be locked securely to qualify for insurance.