8 ways to make your bike safer from the thieves
Someone out there wants to part you from your bike – don’t make it easy
1. Out of sight, out of danger
Bikes aren’t commonplace, so thieves have to know they’re there to stage a theft – burglars can bank on valuables like TVs and jewellery, but Fireblades aren’t behind every door. So don’t make it obvious there’s a bike on the property – keep road-facing garages closed, wash it around the back, and don’t make a big deal of warming it up with loads of revs. Think of the little things too – that VR46 on the back of your car only means one thing to sharp-eyed crooks: you’re worth scoping out.
2. Obstacle course
The best thefts are quick, quiet and easy. So the more you put between your bike and a means of escape, the better. Park cars tight to gates. Use bins to block passageways. Place kids’ bikes and other garage clutter between the bike and the door – make that stuff work for its place in your shed. Thinking outside the box, if you can isolate your garage power supply, turn it off when you’re not in there. If someone wants to get bikes out, they’ll have to do it in the dark and without power tools.
3. Locks away
When fitting a ground anchor, don’t just place it for convenience. If you can get at it easily, so can crooks. Corners are best – especially if the bike is then chained down over it. No lock or chain is undefeatable, but effective attack relies on access with tools. If you’re locking bikes together, park them tight together – paddock stands or centrestands are good for this. Loop the chain through so the lock isn’t easily accessed with anything larger than a key and a hand.
4. Make some noise
Stealth is the friend of the bike thief. Get in, lift the bike and get out before anyone notices. Make it harder for them to be stealthy – if a crook can’t get in quietly, you stand a chance of hearing them, or just as often, the potential to be caught in the act puts off less professional bike thieves. Alarmed bike security and even a cheap alarmed padlock on your gate increase the chance of rumbling them. Less obvious measures: gravel drives, yappy dogs and creaky hinges left unoiled. Offcuts of copper pipes leant up against the back of a door make a surprising din if disturbed, too.
5. Entry point
Nicking a bike depends on being able to reach it in the first place, so examine your doors and gates for ways to make them more secure, and throw yet another obstacle in the path of criminals. A hasp and padlock is a good measure, but only if it can’t be easily unscrewed and circumvented. Exposed hinge screws are quick and silent to remove, and mean you don’t need to defeat the lock – choose internal hinges, or spec your garage/shed with a proper, multi-point locking security door. Basic up-and-over garage doors are dead simple to defeat – adding bolts and locks is a must.
6. Love thy neighbour
Overcome those anti-social urges. Being surrounded by friends who understand your routines, know what you’ve got and who should (or shouldn’t) be around is better for security. Rather than being curious onlookers, as happens all too often in all types of crime, it’s better to have neighbours who might act in your interest.
7. Tools away
What’s in your toolkit? Drills, saws, files, maybe an angle grinder? Anything good for attacking your bike’s locks needs to be at least hidden away, or ideally locked up in its own right (which will keep them safe too). Spending time and effort locking your bikes down is a waste of time if you also provide the means to effectively defeat the locks.
8. Technical solutions
House alarms (that also cover outbuildings) can send alerts to your phone, personal intruder alarms in garages and CCTV can be accessed on various devices anywhere too. You might also want to consider a tracker. Depending on the system, they can be set to alert you to small movements, or ones outside a certain area, and give you a chance of taking action.