December 16, 2013 / Posted in blog / By bikesonrobson / Leave comment

Help!!!Someone Stole My Bike!!!!!

Quick video that HUB put out on how not to get your bike stolen, while there is more information to be had, this is a great start! Check out the article after the break for some more info.

Working in a shop as long as I have means that I have heard this phrase way too many times. So much in fact that I would say in our wonderful city at least 20% of new bike buyers are replacing their bike that was just stolen. This makes me unhappy and sad, as well as breeds a whole sub-culture of cycling that I consider bicycle mutilation. At some point these people have been convinced that if their bike looks like a pile of garbage then the thieves will walk right past it. Leading the bike mutilator to asking questions when they walk into the shop like, “What’s the ugliest bike you have?”, “What’s the cheapest bike you have?”, “What’s the worst bike you have?”. Are you kidding me? your shopping for something and you are looking for the ugliest, cheapest, worst one of them you can get? When I ask a customer why they want a bike of such description, I inevitably get the same answer leading back to  , “well, it will get stolen anyway….” , and that’s when I get sad

Although I haven’t lived here for my whole life, I have for the last 3 years, and in those 3 years I have had many things that I care about to a lesser extent stolen but not any of the many bikes I own *knocks on wood*. I’m a strong believer in yet another sad bike theft fact, almost all thefts are because thieves are very opportunistic, and people can’t be bothered to lock their bikes properly. In all honesty if you lock your bike poorly, you have a 100% chance of getting your bike stolen through your ownership. This is demonstrated by the overwhelming amount of customers that come in after getting 2, 3 or sometimes even more bikes stolen in the last year or 2. If your bike keeps vanishing, you are doing something wrong.

Now that I’m done my mini rant how about I give you some resources and information that will help you with not getting your bike stolen. A much happier fact that I also believe is that through being properly educated about bike theft and prevention we can bring the thefts down to the few that are unpreventable regardless of your precautions.

Tip #1: Get a good lock

Any lock that is made from a cable, regardless of it security rating, the amount of features it has or how easy it is to use, is not a good lock. This is the number one thing bike thieves look for when they are scanning the racks with their beady bike snatching eyes. Depending on the kind of cable lock it is and how it is constructed it can take between 5 and 30 seconds to cut, not minutes, SECONDS. That’s probably faster than you can unlock your bike with the same lock. The worse ones can be cut with the same tool we use for brake cable and the better ones can be cut with a small bolt cutter. Not to write off the cables though, they can serve as a very effective secondary lock for keeping your wheels on your bike, especially if you are using quick release skewers.

Chain locks range from slightly better than a cable, to at least on par with the best U-locks out there. Like any lock they have their drawbacks and their pluses, the former being that they are often heavier and often the same price for a comparable U-lock. The latter being that they are more flexible, and vastly more immune to prying attacks than an inexpensive or poorly constructed U-lock. Overall your choice between a good chain and a good U-lock is up to your personal preference, in my opinion you can find either that will do a sufficient job for most bikes that get locked up out there.

U-locks fall in a very similar category to the chains, unfortunately there are also many horrible U-locks out there that are hardly better than a cable. If  you spent between $12.00-$30.00 on your U-lock you can be pretty sure that you didn’t get a great one and it is probably very vulnerable to prying attacks. The higher you go in price you see things change in the locks.They often upgrade the steel that they use to something that is abrasion resistant (keeping grinders and hacksaws at bay), change the lock tumbler for one that is much less prone to picking and make the shackle a bit smaller to resist prying attacks.

I feel the best way to look at purchasing your lock is that you are paying for a one time purchase insurance premium. I know the $60-$120.00 that you pay for your lock can sting a little when you buy it, but I guarantee that it sucks way more to walk home with your lesser, broken lock and your helmet. If you properly take care of your lock (don’t be lazy, you just need some oil) it can last you many bikes, and that $100.00 you spent 5 years ago has saved you from buying a new bike or two.

Now you ask, what lock is right for me? Well if you come into the shop looking for a lock I ask you, “how much is your bike worth?” and “where do you lock your bike mostly/how long is it there?” I have a little baseline that I start with, if you are locking in a normal risk situation than I feel that spending 10-12% of the cost of your bike (or what it’s worth to you) is perfectly acceptable. If you lock outside overnight or in an overly high risk situation 15-20% of the cost will keep you moderately safe, and that is about as good as you can do as it is never a good idea to lock overnight. After figuring out how much security you need I’ll show you our offerings in folding, U-locks and chains, tell you everything you just read and try to help you make the best informed situation on a lock.

Tip #2: Be the least convenient bike in the rack to steal

I know, this sounds harsh, but you only have to be faster than the slowest person when the lion is chasing you. Always lock in a well lit public place, hopefully where there is some security foot traffic. Try to make your lock hard to reach, it’s also hard to cut! Don’t leave your lights/bags/really anything that comes off without tools on your bike, they are more or less scumbag bait! Try not to lock up in the same rack in the same place everyday, and if at all possible try to bring your bike inside.

Tip #3: Your lock is only as strong as what you lock it too

If you lock to a fence or another easily cut piece of metal then it really doesn’t matter how strong your lock is…..cause the fence is not.

Tip #4: Protect your components

Wheel locks are some of my favourite bike accessories, I have been using them for may years now and they are they single piece of equipment that I attribute to not having my wheels stolen. They cost $20.00 for the simple ones(which I recommend on every bike with QR’s) to about $60.00-$85.00 for the fancier ones that are slightly better as far as defeating them goes.  Most kits also come with a seatpost lock as well. In my mind this is where cable locks can become an invaluable asset as a theft deterrent. When you use a second lock(yes even a cable) to secure any loose parts you have just become one of the “inconvenient” bikes rather than an easy target.

Well I hope this helps keep everyone’s bike where is should be, under your butt.

Have fun and keep riding

Note: I feel like the video covers the how to and how not to lock your bike pretty well so I’ll leave that one from this post, maybe a future one will go more in depth on the locking procedure.