9 expert security tips to protect your bike from theft or recover it

Updated: Nov 30, 2021



Over 90,000 bikes stolen each year in the UK

At the height of lockdown, we knew that the number of new bikes sold rose by 60%.


The trend now seems here to stay for now, with bike sales showing no sign of weakening, on the back of habits changing, more people working from home, petrol and car purchase costs rising, the current relative scarcity of new cars, and increased efforts to live a more sustainable life better for the environment and the planet.


The biggest change in bike sales has been for bikes valued between £400 to £1,000, sales of which doubled.


Sadly, the thirst for two wheels theft is still very prevalent - According to The Sunday Times, around 90,000 bikes are stolen in the UK each year. Over half of them are sold online.

The crime figures are improving with a recent 11% drop but bike theft is still a significant issue.


How to protect your bike or electric bike from theft

When you want to get the best tips, who do you ask? Subject matter experts of course. We have enrolled the help of experienced bike shops owners, cycling clubs and bike security experts to offer you top tips on how to protect your bike from theft.

Of course, we can't guarantee it won't get stolen but putting these tips into practice should reduce the risk of it happening at the very least or act as deterrents.

Found also works hard to help find stolen bikes for bike owners like you, as well as developing partnerships with other organisations in the UK with the same mission at heart. Stay tuned, there will be more on this topic in the months to come. We'll share it on here and social media if you'd like to be posted.

For now here's a series of effortless tips you can use to reduce the chances of your bike being stolen.


1. Register your bike with Found


FREE app and local community network

Download Found for iOS or Android



2. Get the right bike lock type

There are many types of locks for bikes on the market:

  • D locks (or U locks)

  • Chain locks

  • Cable locks

  • Foldable locks

  • Ground anchoring locks (although those are for fixed position, not to take with you on the move as their name suggest).

A Sold Secure lock is required by most insurers, so a good investment anyway and will give you peace of mind when you’re out.

Be careful though as depending on your insurance policy, the grade of the Sold Secure lock required for you to make a successful claim may vary from bronze, silver or Gold type lock.

Get a cable to lock your quick release wheels as well.


You can buy D locks online easily from a lot of retailers. We like the ones from The BikeClub and also the bike lock section from Halfords, where the team has added a smart guide to help you choose how secure a D lock you might want to consider based on where your bike is kept most of the time. That's very helpful.


3. Use this simple tip to help you pick the right lock for your bike

Matt from bike store and repair shop Sully Cycles in Bristol has been involved in the world of bikes since 1999. We called upon Matt to be one of our bike safety expert for this post, as he's got in-depth knowledge of road, mountain, BMX and vintage bikes.


Here's what Matt shared with us about bike locks:


"I would always say bike theft is either people being lucky, or people that:

  • know the value of your bike

  • know your routines

  • plan to steal it

All I can say is (as a rule of thumb) you should pay 10% of your bike value on a lock, use a D lock, and cable to go around your wheels".


We thought this was a really useful and simple tip to help you decide which bike lock to get for your bike!


4. Upgrade to anti-theft skewers on your wheels

Matt from bike store and repair shop Sully Cycles in Bristol has been involved in the world of bikes since 1999. We called upon Matt to be one of our bike safety expert for this post, as he's got in-depth knowledge of road, mountain, BMX and vintage bikes.


Matt seconds the tip on using a decent bike lock. Here's what he told us:


"I would always say bike theft is either people being lucky, or people that:

  • know the value of your bike

  • know your routines

  • plan to steal it

All I can say is (as a rule of thumb) you should pay 10% of your bike value on a lock, use a D lock, and cable to go around your wheels".


Matt added that it's always worth taking a minute to check the stands you are locking your bike up to (more on this below).


Third tip from Matt is about using anti-theft skewers for your bike wheels to prevent them from being stolen:


"If you have quick release wheels, use anti theft skewers! Instead of just having quick release skewers, where if your wheels aren't secured and someone could take your wheels, you can get Allen key/anti theft skewers where you need a special tool to remove the wheel".


Making it harder work for thieves is a good deterrent indeed.


5. Quickly spot check secure cycle parking spots

Bristol-based charity Life Cycle UK's top tip on how to keep your bike safer from theft is all about paying attention to where you park it:

"Guerrilla bike parking" to flimsy rails and signs is a sure-fire way to attract thieves. Choose purpose-built cycle parking in well-lit, open areas and check for signs that the stands have been tampered with. If you can't find secure parking in your area, ask your favourite shop, pub or cafe to install cycle stands on their premises.


Did you know? Bristol-based charity Life Cycle UK gives free cycle parking to independent businesses and community organisations across the South West - so your favourite haunt won't have to break the bank to keep their customer's bikes safe. Tell businesses you think could benefit from this to apply directly through the Life Cycle UK website.



6. Do this to help prevent your E-bike being stolen

We asked Alistair from Bristol electric bike shop Atmosphere Electric Bikes for their views on this. He told us "if you are in a more dubious area of town especially, it may be worth taking the battery with you. The batteries are the most expensive part of the bike. Anywhere between £2-800 - so worth looking after".

Plan a head a little however if you prefer to keep your e-bike battery on you whilst the bike is locked and you are not near it. The batteries weigh between 2 and 4kg, so you probably need a sturdy backpack to carry it around with you.


7. Keep the location of your bike a secret online

If you’re using a tracking app like Strava, you might be unwittingly sharing where you store your bike. Set up a privacy zone around your home and place of work, so you aren't signposting it to thieves.

It's rather clever - you can tailor it to be between 1 and up to 8 miles, and as it only applies if you start or end your work out within your privacy zone, if you cycle through it during your workout it will still show on your activity route as normal.


Mashable have a very easy step by step guide on how to set up a privacy zone in Strava if you need more help on this.


8. Choose a smart insurance policy for your bike

Found has partnered with LAKA to offer you a 30 days trial of their innovative bike insurance
30 days free bike insurance offer with Found and LAKA

If you own an expensive bike, electric bike or even an electric scooter, your general house content insurance might not cover it at all (for example if it's kept in a shed...), not cover it when you are out and about, or only cover it for a limited amount. Plus, claiming on your home insurance if your bike gets stolen is likely to impact the whole of your home insurance premium at renewal.


There are a lot of specialist bike insurers you can look at in the UK. If you are part of a cycling club, they might also offer special discounts or rates for their members - always worth checking out.


Found partners with Laka to offer a bike insurance solution with a difference if it's something you're considering. Whereas traditional insurance charges you front just in case something bad happens. Laka is totally different. They don't charge you a fixed sum upfront. They calculate your premium based on the actual cost of claims that month which seems a lot fairer. It means your payments will vary, but your maximum payment is capped and some months you might pay nothing if nobody claims.

 

TRY LAKA BIKE INSURANCE FOR FREE FOR 30 DAYS

my.laka.co

Get 30 days FREE Laka Bicycle Insurance | Join the collective

Use this link to claim your 30 days free insurance.

Protect your bike, accessories, bike rack and cycling clothing all in one.

 

9. Use Found to help recover your stolen bike

What does Found do if you tell us your bike has been stolen?

We'll:

  • Fire up our clever seeking and matching tech to look through bikes that might have been registered as found by our venue partners or the public

  • Share your stolen bike alert through social media with all our community - so they can report it if they spot it

  • Run searches for a bike matching your description on buying and selling marketplaces like eBay and Facebook Marketplace - if we find one we'll let you know

(It's REALLY IMPORTANT that when you mark your bike as stolen you also check we still have an up to date email address for you in your account details - as we will use it to let you know if we find a match).


You can also use the Found app to store:

  • photos of your bike (particularly any scratches, marks that would help identify it, custom accessories or parts...),

  • Your frame number

  • any marking kit numbers

  • and your bike's purchase receipt.

So you have all the important details in one place if you need them to identify your bike or share them with the police.


It's free to join and register your bike on Found (and other valuables). It's really simple and we don't share or sell your data (just in case the thought crossed your mind).

if the worse happen, then in 1 simple click you can let us know your bike is missing.


Register your bike with Found now. Done. Ticked.


Don’t have the app yet?

Download Found for iOS or Android

Do you know other tips to keep your bike safer? Share it in a comment below so everyone can benefit from it.


Prevent your bike from being stolen with those 9 simple expert anti theft tips
9 expert tips to help prevent bike theft