11th August 2016

How to keep your bike secure


Youtube abounds with videos of people getting through bike locks in seconds – including this 2008 lock with an infamous design flaw.

These days, the Master Association of Locksmiths rewards deserving locks with a bronze, silver or gold ‘Sold Secure’ rating. That means a professional locksmith has struggled to open it for a certain amount of time, using all the tools at his or her disposal (not dynamite).

A gold rating means that the lock has been able to withstand a full 5 minutes of sustained assault. That may not sound like much, but consider how skilled master locksmiths are, as well as the fact that they conduct the tests at their leisure without fear of being arrested.

For a bicycle thief, 5 minutes is an extremely long time to be trying to hack through a lock, especially if they’re trying to be quiet with it. So get yourself a Sold Secure lock and rest easy.

More tips

  1. A cable lock alone is not enough to protect your bike. They can usually by snipped through with a pair of bolt cutters that can fit in a rucksack.
  2. Notice the bicycle graphic above. The D-Lock goes through frame, rear wheel, and bike rack, and the cable goes through D-lock and front wheel. Front wheels are easier to steal than rear wheels. If you’re so inclined, you can also remove the front wheel, put it next to the back wheel, and lock everything together with the one D-Lock.
  3. Quick-release wheels (wheels that have a lever at the centre) are easier to steal than wheels that don’t have a lever.

    A quick-release lever on a front bike wheel.

    A quick-release lever on a front bike wheel.

  4. Make sure you’ve actually locked your bike to the bike rack/lamppost/railing. A surprising number of bikes are stolen because the owner locked the lamppost to itself.
  5. Stairwell railings are prime targets for bike thieves. In older cities (e.g. Edinburgh) a lot of the railings in stairwells can be broken with a vicious kick, making it easy to steal your bike.
  6. Make a note of your bike’s serial number. If you bought your bike from us and it gets stolen, let us know and we’ll give you the bike’s serial number for you to give to the police. This helps identify stolen bikes.
  7. If you want to go the extra mile, you can sign up to the National Bike Register and pay a premium to make your bike identifiable to the police.

The bottom line

All bicycle locks are essentially a deterrent to thieves. If they really want your bike and have ample time, they will be able to steal it. But if they see your bike has a good lock on it, is in a well-lit public area, and is more trouble than it’s worth, they’ll steal someone else’s bike instead.

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