Cycle and shed security

It’s come to the clubs attention again that there’s a rise in cycle thefts and burglaries within the clubs catchment area or we’ve heard of cycle security and advice in the wider news and online cycling community.

We’ve blogged before about cycle security but there’s never a wrong time to help out and give advice.
If you’ve any further questions and want to know more, ask us as a club, comment below on this article or you can contact your local Neighbourhood Policing Team for crime prevention advice.

Your bike:
Keep a record of the serial number (usually found on the bottom bracket under your crank)
Write down a description of the bike and any accessories and take a photo.

Register your bike online with immobilise or another local system if there’s one available

Keep your bike locked at all times when you’re not with it, even if you’re just popping in the shop for a bottle of water or a loaf of bread is enough time for the opportunist thief. Even a minimal security “cafe lock” is better than nothing. If you’re leaving it for any length of time (such as at work) buy a “sold secure” (rated from
Bronze through to gold) lock, and lock your bike through the frame and wheels to an object that can’t be moved or broken (take care not to block any exits or paths though)
You should also remove any accessories such as GPS computers, lights or panniers as they’re easy targets for the opportunistic thief.
When your locked up in public consider your surroundings, look for somewhere with high footfall, lights and ideally CCTV.

Get your bike marked, you can etch certain frames with your details or buy specialist DNA/Smartwater kits or UV chemical etching kits, these pair your bike with a unique ID number on a national database.

At home and in the shed:

If your bike is in the house keep them away from main entrances and out of sight, if they’re in the main hallway keep your door locked as it only takes seconds for someone to walk in and take your bike.
If your bike is in the house keep it out of sight if possible , if it’s on display in the front window it’s being advertised.
If you have something to lock it to in the house consider
Doing that as an extra measure.

If you keep your bike in a shed or garage bolt the bikes to the ground with a ground anchor and heavy chain (like a motorbike chain), again the more you pay generally
The better the lock, look for the sold secure or Thatcham (motor vehicle standard) approved locks.
If you can’t do this (wood floor for example) chain your bike to other objects such as a lawnmower or other garden equipment if anything else this makes moving the bike annoying as well As noisy.
If you’ve a garden shed consider using anti-theft bolts and hinges on the door to make it harder to open with tools, if using a padlock to lock the door again look for secure rated Locks.
Consider fitting a shed alarm, these can either work with a motion sensor, with a cable when it’s cut or as a contact alarm which goes off if a door is opened, there’s so many different types of alarms, look in your local DIY shop for a selection, alarms start at under £10 so they’re a cheap addition. Finally just as you would your house double check you’ve locked up before you leave.

Using technology:
Technology is a wonderful thing, we’ve got our phones, cameras and the Internet but to the organised criminal it’s as good as a glossy catalogue. A big advance in mobile and cycling technology is GPS, it’ll show you where you took a photo, where you have been and where you need to go. But to a thief it’s showing them what you have and where. You’ll put your rides on strava, post an Instagram photo and then say you’re away for the weekend, all pinned down to within a few feet of your location.

On ride tracking services, set a privacy zone around your house or office (this usually blanks out surrounding streets) if your service doesn’t offer privacy simply start your ride at the end of the street or just down the road at varying locations.

On photo sites such as Instagram where they give the option of geotagging of images (pictures with GPS data attached) be mindful of where you tag images, especially at or around your home.

On social media such as Twitter be mindful of what posts you tag with your location, be mindful of who your audience is and be mindful of advertising the fact you are not around.

With the right combination of photos, maps and information organised cycle thieves are targeting expensive cyclists. Take the simple steps above to help reduce the risk.

Another tactic recently employed by potential thieves is to create bogus profiles and befriend local cyclists, they’ll message you for cycling advice hoping you’ll add them (sometimes saying things like ‘they’re new to the area’) or they’ll simply friend request you, typically their profiles don’t have a lot of information on and have stock cycling images in open albums, or they’ll try the classic young attractive cyclist pictures to lure you in!

We’re not saying everyone new to the area or who adds you is a potential thief but do consider who you’re adding, consider mutual friends, their location and the look of their profile, if in doubt leave them out.