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Tools, Tricks and Tips to Help you Avoid Bike Theft

There’s no getting around it - bike theft is one of the biggest challenges bike owners face. In fact, new statistics from bike registration company 529 Garage claim that more than 2 million bikes are stolen in North America each year.

That’s equivalent to someone’s ride being lifted every 30 seconds!

The industry is clearly still a lucrative one. As thieves get more sophisticated, it’s super important to take all the necessary measures to avoid bike theft and keep your bike safe. Here are our top tools, tricks and tips to help you theft-proof your bike.

Double Down on Locks

Locking your bike is a pretty obvious first step to protect against bike theft. Unfortunately, one lock is often not enough to deter thieves.

Using two instead can make a big difference. U-locks tend to be more durable than thin cable locks, which can be cut through more easily. But because of their shape, U-locks limit the amount of bike you can secure at one time, so consider using a steel bike chain for extra security.

Locks can also prevent your wheels from being stolen, too. Thread a U-lock through to the bike frame, the bike rack or another secure structure, and one wheel. Then, loop the cable lock through both the front and back wheel, as well as through the U-lock.

Consider a Smart Lock

Locks have come a long way over the last decade, to include modern technology, tracking, alarms and more. They can be a great option for extra security and peace of mind. On our forever wishlist is the LEO 2 Pro GPS Theft Tracking Smart Bike Lock by Linka.

It securely locks your bike, and has built-in GPS so you can pinpoint your bike’s location with a 3m range of accuracy. Users are also alerted via an app whenever your bike is tampered with. Pretty slick, right?

Invest in Some Anti-Theft Bolts

Remember, thieves aren’t picky about which parts of a bike they can steal. The frame and wheels are often the main target - if they’re unable to steal the whole thing - but stems, seats, handlebars and other easily accessible components are also at risk of theft.

In order to prevent bike theft, many cyclists choose to replace the common hex bolts that lock your components in place with security bolts, like the Hexlox system. Similar to lock-nuts found on car wheels, the anti-theft bolts and wheel skewers typically require a key to “unlock” or loosen them.

Since bike thieves are often working fast and looking for easy targets, they'll be more inclined to leave your bike alone and search for something that requires less work.

Don’t Tempt Fate!

While bike thieves are, sadly, all too common - they’re always going to be drawn to bikes that look the most valuable. If you’re locking your bike up in a public place, remove any objects that might draw a thief’s attention. We’re talking about expensive lights, speedometers or bags. Items like these will all appeal to a thief, who can sell them on later - along with the rest of your bike!  

Other tricks you can use is to cover over your bike’s branding with tape or paint to make it seem more subtle (or  less expensive). You can also customize it in other ways to make it more recognizable, which makes it more difficult for thieves to on-sell.

Take Note of your Serial Number

OK, so while this doesn't prevent theft, it does make it easier to recover your bike if it does get stolen. Take good quality photos of your bike, including the serial number (normally found stamped on the bottom bracket section on the underside of your frame). You can then provide it to organizations that track down stolen bikes, and to your local police.

There are several services that provide bike registration and help prevent theft and can help you retrieve your bike if it does get stolen. Project 529 and Bike Index are several places where you can register your bike and join a community where you have a better chance of getting your stolen bike back.

It also goes without saying that having insurance will help ease the emotional and financial toll of having your bike stolen. Just remember to read the fine print of your policy, as some insurance policies require you to use only specific, approved locks.

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