Whenever I stop and leave my bike somewhere, I always hope that when I finally make it back my bike will still be there waiting to take me home again. There have been a couple of times when this hasn't been the case and I was devastated...not to mention irritated as I then had to make the journey home on foot. When I was out and about today I was by the university and decided to have a look at the different ways in which people had locked their bikes with a view to spotting those less well secured- this is what I found...
Firstly if you like your bike, make sure you've locked it to something. This bike was up on its stand with a little lock around the rear wheel. If the lock can't be pulled off- the bike will simply be picked up and carried away.
If you buy a lock and it costs you a £1, chances are it'll only give you a pounds worth of protection. Cheap locks (like the one here) not only have very weak mechanisms but more often than not the metal they are made of is as soft as cheese. If the bike is wheeled backwards and then yanked forward the lock will simply just fall off.
Always try to buy the best lock that you can afford, I tend to use a heavy motorcycle lock, but when I was short of money I used several old cycle chains inside an inner tube. You could also use one of the bike cage or bike storage facilities of which there are several in Coventry.
If you're going to lock your bike, don't attach it by anything that can be removed or cut easily...this bmx had been attached by its handlebars which are easily and quickly undone with an allen key- handlebars are easy for a bike thief to replace. More frequently i've seen bikes locked with a lock attached to a spoke- so easy to cut with nothing more than a set of pliers.
If the only thing you can find to lock your bike to is a small bollard, then take your bike with you. Bikes locked in this way are simply lifted up in order to release the lock.
This bike was seemingly well secured, except for the fact that an older 'D' lock had been used. Although difficult to cut through due to being hardened steel, the locking mechanism in these older 'D' locks is very vulnerable and can be unlocked with the end of a Bic Biro pen...so not only would your bike get stolen, but your lock would get stolen too!
This final bike illustrated a couple of things, firstly if you have a quick release seat post make sure you've locked it or taken it with you as they tend to get stolen. More importantly, if you have a nice bike with a good lock and when you come back to it the tyres are flat- take it home with you, don't be tempted to leave it overnight.
Quite often when a bike is nice and well locked, bike thieves will deflate your tyres or steal a wheel in order that they can return later with more substantial equipment to remove your lock and steal your bike. If you'd like to find out a bit more about locking your bike have a look here
After writing this blog post I noticed an article in one of the local papers discussing the increase in cycle thefts in the city- particularly in and around the city centre- you can have a read of the article here....you'll also find more good tips for securing your bike.