Use a U-lock, a heavy-duty chain (with a heavy duty lock: a normal padlock is easy to cut), or use a U-lock in combination with a cable lock.
Do not use just a cable lock: hand-held cutters will cut through most cheap cable locks, and even very expensive cable locks can be cut more easily than a good U-lock. Thicker cable locks may just take 3 snips instead of 1 snip: they’re not enough to protect your bike.
Most bikes are stolen from backyards and out of garages or sheds. When your bike is at home, keep it locked, or at least out of sight.
If your bike has a quick-release seat, either always take your seat with you (even at home), or change it to use an allen bolt.
If your bike has quick-release wheels, make sure that they are also locked up. Use your U-lock so that it passes through the frame and one your wheels (or both, if you take one wheel off). A bike with no wheels isn’t much better than a stolen bike.
Lock to something secure. If you lock to a branch, or a post that isn’t cemented to the ground, or to something that a thief can lift the lock over, you’re risking your bike.
Here are some tips, adapted from Jim Langley’s page on on how to safeguard your bicycle:
- Ask other cyclists and bike shop personnel where the high-risk areas in town are so you won’t make the mistake of parking your bike there.
- At home, store your bicycles inside. If kept in a garage, leave the door closed and store the two wheelers out of sight (consider locking them, too), because you never know who might cruise your neighborhood looking for valuables.
- When stopped, if you can’t take your bicycle inside, always use your lock.
- Always lock your bicycle in a safe area and to an unbreakable and immovable object, being certain to secure the frame and both wheels. If you must park in a high risk area, use two good locks but different types such as a U-lock and a quality chain-type lock. This arrangement thwarts thieves prepared to only attack U-locks.
- Take with you any easily-removed accessories and components such as pumps, cyclecomputers, lights, seat bags, quick-release seat and seatpost, etc.
- To reduce the risk of becoming a target, never tempt thieves by leaving your bicycle locked for long periods such as overnight, or securing it in a predictable fashion, such as putting it in the same bicycle rack every day.
- Mark your bicycle so that you can easily prove it’s yours. You can write your name on a piece of paper and slip it inside the handlebars.
Where they Go
Once stolen, bicycles are usually sold ASAP to someone for quick drug money. Or, the bicycle remains with the person who stole it or in the community where the thief lives. Even when the bicycle is turned for drug money, if the transaction takes place here, the bicycle will probably stay here.