Buying a bike is no small financial commitment for most people. So why leave it exposed to damage by the weather or the greedy eyes of opportunistic thieves? Failure to protect your bike from these very real threats is the result of sheer laziness given the ease with which you can protect it.
In terms of the weather the easiest solution is to store it in the house or flat, either in a good-sized hallway or the upstairs utility room, should you have one. For those living in accommodation where space is at a premium, it may be wise to buy a folding bike. This can also be a useful option if you are commuting by bike as only a line manager with the hardest of hearts is going to deny you the little space needed to store your folded machine.
Outside of your four walls, the next convenient storage space is the garage. Again if it’s a tight squeeze, invest in some wall hooks that will free up much needed floor space. Alternatively, a garden shed can provide adequate accommodation, while the last resort is a PVC bike cover should there be no alternative but to leave it in the open air.
Of course, storing the bike in the house or flat will provide the maximum amount of security; the garage, shed or open-air options less so. But whichever of the latter three options is open to you; provide added security in the shape of a chain or lock. You might hear an intruder in your home, but they are less likely to run into an irate homeowner when rummaging through an outbuilding.
Whether stored for the evening or out and about, the most basic form of security is the cable lock. Easily portable and at the cheaper end of the market, they are available in a variety of thicknesses. Of course, the thinner the cable, the easier it will be to saw through. Both D-locks and U-locks are popular but again vary in terms of their strength. They are also less portable than the cable variety. Portability is also an issue with both chains and padlocks. Another alternative is a loop lock, sometimes referred to as a frame-fitted immobiliser.
It is wise to invest in more than one of these devices, for example, a D-lock coupled with a sturdy cable, as the more difficult you make it for the thief, the less likely they are to pick on your machine in the first place.
In the UK, a good guide as to the effectiveness of a particular product is whether it bears the Sold Secure quality mark. Sold Secure is a not-for-profit organisation administered by the Master Locksmiths’ Association. It was set up in the early 1990s to assess methods of bike crime and strategies to combat it. Another security standard recognised by the insurance industry is provided by the not-for-profit organisation Thatcham.
In addition, there are a number of cycle registration schemes which in the event of theft can provide tracking and hopefully the return of your stolen wheels, while taking out insurance, either specific to your bike or as part of more general household cover, is another option. Always check the small print of your policy, which may specify the amount or type of security needed for your bike. There may also be an issue in terms of the size of premium if you happen to own a particularly expensive model that will be both costly to replace and more attractive to thieves.