Protecting your bike if you cycle to work24 Jun 2021
Never underestimate bike thieves – especially if you are new to commuting by bike. As lockdown restrictions lift you may be returning to the office to work and the last thing you want at the end of a busy day is to come back to an empty cycle rack.
If your work has secure bike parking, that’s ideal. If not aim for somewhere with CCTV nearby. Thieves need to operate quickly to reduce the chance of being caught. The trick is to make it as difficult as possible for them.
Choose where you park your bike carefully. Never park anywhere too off the beaten track where a thief would be undisturbed or anywhere too crowded where the theft would go unnoticed.
Ideally, don’t park in the same place every day. It may be easier for you if you are running late for work, but if bike thieves are stealing to order, they are more likely to target you if they know that you leave your bike in the same spot for several hours on a daily basis.
You could also look for a cycle hangar nearby, which is a safe, covered place to park your cycle. Transport for Greater Manchester and Salford City Council have developed a scheme to introduce secure bike hangars on streets where residents have little or no internal space to store bikes. Other local councils across the UK offer similar cycle hangar projects and are keen for people to apply to use them.
You could also check out providers such as Spokesafe (www.spokesafe.com), who are building a growing network of secure bicycle parking across London, available to all cyclists at the click of a button.
If a few of your colleagues cycle to work, and your employer is cycle-friendly, why not ask them if they would consider installing a lockable bike store. If not, you could ask whether you can park your ride in the office car park, courtyard, garage or even chain it to the balcony. If that’s not possible, ask whether you can park it indoors somewhere – maybe in an unused storeroom. Another option if outside space is limited is wall mounted cycle racks to make good use of not much room. You could also consider buying a compact folding bike – then it can sit safely under your desk all day long!
Even working from home, your bike may not be safe. You might be surprised to learn that more than half of bikes are actually stolen from the home itself. Reduce the chances of this happening by keeping it out of view, storing your bike in a locked garage and securing it to an immovable object. If you have to leave it in a shed make sure there is a good lock on the door and you use a ground anchor.
Wherever you park, you need to make sure you lock your bike securely. Buy a safe, reliable bike lock – preferably two – make sure one is a D-lock. This will force the thief to take longer and use more tools, drawing attention to themselves.
You may be very proud of your shiny, new bike, but maybe just keep that one for the weekend. Use an older, less flashy bike to cycle to work. It will still get you there but won’t stand out in the bike rack if a thief is on the prowl.
With over 2,000 retailers nationwide, for those looking for a good value bike to cycle to work on, Cyclescheme (www.cyclescheme.co.uk) can save you 25-39% on a bike and accessories. You pay nothing upfront and the payments are taken tax efficiently from your salary by your employer.
Every bike purchased through Cyclescheme can be registered to BikeRegister, the national cycle database. Your bike will be better protected if it is marked with a BikeRegister marking kit.. Furthermore, if the worst does happen and your bike does get stolen there is a higher chance of police being able to trace it back to you if it is recovered. Take a look at the BikeRegister website for more details www.bikeregister.com
Finally, make sure your bike is adequately insured. If you have spent a lot of money on it, you might want to consider a specialist cycle insurer, such as Bikmo (http://www.bikmo.com) who provide cover for bike theft and accessories up to five hundred pounds as standard. An added bonus is that if you are a BikeRegister member you get 12 months’ worth of cover for 11.
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