Sadly, bikes are prime targets for theft but there is much you can do to beat thieves.
Think of how you would attempt to steal your own bike and apply the same thinking, whenever you leave your bike. If you can think of a way to steal it, so could a thief. Bolt croppers, hacksaws and hand tools are the thieves' weapons of choice; think about how much effort would be required to nick your bike and apply a strategy that makes the bike that much harder to steal!
1. Never leave your bike unlocked, not for a second - the time spent to grab a coffee or nip inside for a morning paper is quite long enough. How quickly can you whiz away from the lights? That's how quickly your bike will whiz away from you if it's stolen - a bike is not only the 'swag' but also the getaway vehicle!
2. Lock your bike to an immoveable object. Could you break the thing its locked to? Could it be undone? - Is it a Sheffield stand? Has it been set into the ground? If it is merely bolted on, a spanner could be used to remove it.
3. Make sure the bike cannot simply be lifted over the thing you've attached it to i.e. street signs or lights.
4. Avoid flimsy objects. Don't lock your bike to something wooden (benches) or plastic fittings (guttering) that could easily be cut through or ripped free.
5. Use a lock that takes time and tools to break. Thin cable locks can be cut in a few seconds, most thick cables can be cut with a short handled bolt-cropper. Ultimately, all locks can be broken but those that require extreme force or power tools are much less likely to be stolen. Using a 'sold secure' lock from a reputable company such as Kryptonite is your best line of attack.
One method of breaking a D-lock is to insert a lever or jack into the middle of the lock. You can thwart this approach by using a smaller D-lock or locking the bike in such a way that the space is removed from the middle of your lock.
6. Use two locks. A thief will have to use two kinds of tools. A D-lock and a heavy cable lock make a good combination. You can use the cable to help secure the wheels and seat or forks.
7. Lock your wheels and forks. A quick-release wheel can be removed quickly and a good set of wheels can equal the cost of your frame. Suspension forks are also vulnerable - most can be removed with pocket tools. You can easily secure forks to the frame using a lock, threaded into the space between the fork crown and fork brace.
8. Secure saddles and seat-posts. You can secure a saddle by threading a lock through the rails of the saddle. Alternatively, replace quick release seat collars with a bolted or key operated collar. If you stick with a quick release, you could simply pop them out and carry them with you!
9. Keep accessories with you. lights and accessories are often stolen. Take accessories off the bike and carry them with you; lights, helmet, tool pouches or pumps are all portable. There are plenty of super cool cycling back-packs, or courier bags, allowing you to keep them with you rather than on the bike.
10. Do not leave a bike outside, overnight. Bring your bike inside, somewhere secure ...
Beefing up home security. Is your inside safer than outside? Garages, sheds, conservatories and outbuildings are all great places to store bikes, saving clutter and mess. But they are targeted by thieves and often easier to break into than your home. Apply the 'how would I break in?' strategy to your bike store. Check the door locks, windows, hinges and bolts - are they 'tough enough'? Think about fitting a wall or ground anchor and secure your bikes to an immoveable object at home. Simply use the same good quality locks that you use outdoors to lock them up! The Met offer information online about protecting your home.