Before you go

If your bike’s expensive, consider registering it so that the police can trace your bike back to you if they find it. To register your bike you’ll need to find your frame number, which is usually near the handlebars, below the seat post, by the pedals or towards the back wheel.

Insuring your bike may be worthwhile, too. Home insurance policies can often be extended to include your bike when it is at home and more valuable bikes can be insured separately to provide cover when you’re out and about. Take a photo of the bike and write down the frame number.

Locking your bike

There are three simple ways of cutting the risk of bike theft:

  1. A good lock;
  2. Using it effectively;
  3. Choosing the right location to lock it up.

Some locks are stronger than others and price influences their quality, so it pays to invest in a good one. Remember that two locks are better than one. D-locks are sturdy, but consider using a cable lock as well to secure any parts of the bike which are quick release, such as the saddle or front wheel.

Secure the lock round the frame, spokes and bike stand, ensuring there is little room for manoeuvre to make it difficult for thieves to insert their tools.

Location, location, location

Where you lock your bike is critical. Leave it on a well-lit and busy street so any potential thieves are conspicuous. Avoid leaving your bike in the same spot every day and lock it to a bike stand or something immovable.

Make sure you take care of your bike when you get home too - according to the British Crime Survey, over two-thirds of bikes were stolen in or near the owner’s home. Always keep your bike locked up at home and try to keep it out of view.

Keeping accessories safe

It’s not just your bike that can go missing – many parts and accessories are also valuable and easy to steal. Follow these tips to keep them safe:

  • Always remove lights and panniers;
  • Replace quick releases with regular bolts to make them more secure;
  • If you have an expensive saddle, consider removing it or locking it up;
  • Lock both wheels and the frame.

Top Tips

  • Lock it up, no matter how short a period of time you intend to be away for. Even if it is visible from where you are, you should remember that a person riding a bike is faster than another running after them!
  • Lock to something immovable and solid.
  • Leave it in a busy, public place where there is less opportunity for a thief to work unnoticed.
  • If there are other bikes parked nearby, park yours next to one with inferior security! An opportunist will always take the easy option.
  • Consider a range of locks, each catering for the different locations you will need to leave your cycle.
  • Spend a suitable amount of money. You do get what you pay for. Police guidelines suggest that you spend approx 10% of the value of your bike on a lock to secure it.
  • Don't be fooled by cheap locks which look really beefy. Many cheap shackle locks can be broken with one blow of a brick or hammer. They may look the part, but you can guarantee that serious thieves know what they're up against.
  • Some insurance policies may stipulate the use of certain kinds/brands/models of lock to qualify for insurance so if you have your bike insured, make sure that the lock you buy won't invalidate your insurance policy.

Bike Security FAQ

There is 3 main types of bikes locks available these are:

D or U Locks - Shackle locks consist of two parts, the mechanism housing and a U shaped round bar, the ends of which fasten into the mechanism housing.

The bar should be made of hardened steel to resist cutting, as should the housing which contains the lock mechanism.

Shackle locks can be separated into 2 types: Single and Double mechanisms.

Single Mechanism shackle locks anchor one end of the U into the housing and the lock mechanism secures the other end. The key will operate the lock at one end of the housing.
Double Mechanism shackle locks have a centrally located mechanism with secures both ends of the bar independantly. The key will operate the lock from a central position (most commonly on the underside) on the housing.

Cable Locks - should be of the multi-wound multi "braided" type. A braided cable with many thin wire strands is far more difficult to cut than a cable with consists of a lesser number of thicker strands. Many cheaper cable locks consist of the basic cable construction whereas better quality cables will feature the finer braided construction.

Cable locks offer the advantage of flexibility. They are easy to wrap around other objects. Even long lengths (up to 6 feet or 1.8m) can be provided in a coiled form such that they are easy to carry on your bike. The thicker the total cable diameter, the harder it is to cut but it will also be less flexible and more heavy. For a lock which you intend to carry around, 8 or 10mm diameter should be sufficient although don't be tempted to leave your bike overnight relying solely upon a cable of this size.   Chain Locks - are, once more, extremely flexible although tend to come in shorter lengths than cables. The strength of the chain is determined by the type of steel it is made from and the free space within the links. Chains are good at withstanding tensional forces (stretch) but may be broken by torsional forces (twisting). This torsional force is achieved by inserting two long levers into the gaps created between links and moving the levers in opposite directions. Better quality chains will have a reduced gap between consecutive links and be of hardened steel.

Chains should prove more secure than cables for longer periods but are considerably heavier. Chains can be virtually any length and because chain collapses into a pile, they can take up less space.

There is a accreditation scheme for locks, in the form of "SOLD SECURE". Sold Secure grant 3 different levels of award according to how secure a lock is. They perform a variety of standard tests on a brand new lock, including a number of attacks with different tools and time the period taken to break into the lock. The award is granted according to how many of these set tests a lock withstands. Bronze is the lowest award and Gold is the highest. A gold award does not mean that the lock is impenetrable, just that it withstood all that Sold Secure threw at it within the allocated time! Look for a Sold Secure logo on the packaging. There is even a loop lock on the British market which is sold secure accredited at a level above many big and bulky cheap locks.

There are several places on a bicycle were a serial number can be found.

These are the most common locations:

Cleveland Police offer these services, if you contact your local policing team on 101 and arrange for your bike to be taken to your local police station, officers will be happy to help.