In London alone, more than 100.000 bikes were stolen between April to November 2020. A year earlier in America, a survey suggests about 2 million bikes were stolen.
What’s more surprising is that a huge percentage of stolen bikes were parked in semi-private areas like garages or car parks which we always thought to be safe.
If we take a closer look at that survey, over half of the stolen bikes were secured with a cable lock. This kind of lock is too easy to break with a regular cable cutter.
If you don’t want your bike to end up in the wrong hand, you have to step up the game. Here are a few suggestions you can make to deter thieves from ever touching your precious bike.
#1 Get three, or at least two different quality locks
Thieves are often only bringing one type of tool to do their job. For example, a cable cutter is quite large and can only be used to breach cable locks. The tool may not work in the face of chain locks and U-locks as they are much stronger.
By utilizing multiple different locks, they will add extra layers of security to your bike. Not only do thieves have to work with different tools, but they also can’t afford to spend too much time breaking a few locks.
If there is one cable lock, they would take the shot. Two locks, they will rethink. And if there are three locks, it’s likely they would find another bike that is more vulnerable to steal.
#2 Invest in a bike alarm
The least thing bike thieves want is attention. And if you can somehow push people nearby to put their attention on your bike, installing a bike alarm is a good place to start.
Most bike alarms have a motion detection sensor that will trigger a loud siren when movement is detected. This means any attempt to remove the alarm, let alone steal the bike would be pointless as even a small movement could set off a loud noise.
#3 Install a GPS tracker to your bike
The idea of adding a GPS tracker to your bike is to instantly let you know if the bike is moving. You might think you could use the GPS data to report the case to the authority, but as far as I read stories on the internet, it’s not sufficient evidence for the police to pursue the stealer.
Some bike owners, filled with courage, are willing to confront the thief themself and reclaim their stolen bikes. Of course, this is a risky endeavor and I wouldn’t recommend anyone to deal directly with potentially dangerous people.
Regardless, a GPS tracker is still a worthwhile investment to secure your bike further. There are plenty of affordable GPS tags with a mobile connection, but I highly recommend using Apple AirTag as it has global coverage with no monthly fee.
For example, this YouTuber sends one of his AirTags to North Korea and can still know its precise location. That’s wild!
#4 Add personalized stickers to your bike
The main goal of thieves stealing bikes is so they can quickly sell them for profit. But not all bikes sell.
Bikes with some level of personalization would be hard to sell since those customizations are tied with the original bike owner. Just adding a simple sticker name on your bike would reduce the chance of it getting stolen.
Sure, with a proper tool, thieves can remove even good stickers from the bike without leaving marks. But that means more work to do and since they are also battling with time, they cannot afford to perform cleaning work like that.
Remember, their goal is to sell the bike as quickly as possible. So, make your bike “annoying” for them to sell.
#5 Hide your bike with a bike cover
It amazes me how bike thieves can spot an expensive bike just by taking a quick glance at it from far away.
When they spotted it, if there is no one nearby, and the bike is not properly locked, then it’s a perfect chance for them to claim it. Unless, if they can’t see the bike in the first place.
Bike covers are generally used to protect bikes from harsh weather. While doing so, it also helps us hide the bike from malicious eyes. Well, it’s still visible and still looks like a bike, but at least no one can tell the value of the bike.
It can be a $6.000 all-carbon road bike or a $99 bike from Walmart that’s not worth stealing. Even if the thief is still interested, they have to uncover the bike first which takes time, and again, time is their big enemy.
The whole article is based on the premise: “What would I do if I’m a bike thief?”
With just a simple “what if” scenario, we can get a rough idea of how thieves work and what are the hardest parts of stealing a bike.
Of course, there are many other tips to secure a bike, but these are just some basic examples that you can expand further. Apply as much as security applications as possible and hope for the best, but don’t forget to prepare for the worst.