At the risk of sounding paranoid, nothing is ever safe. Here are some ideas on how to make sure your two-wheeler is a bit safer when you're not around!
As a cyclist, you usually have at least a little bit of investment in your ride. Not just the money you spent buying and accessorizing your bike, but also the level of familiarity you have with it and the amount of time it will take you to try get another one. Therefore, it is in your interest to keep hold of your two-wheeled friend. Too bad some people steal.
Statistically speaking, about half of active cyclists have had their bike stolen. This number increases for year-round cyclists – their bikes are out and about more often, often parked for hours while their owners are at work.
At CLARA, we've all suffered the pain of stolen or lost bikes. One of them rolled off a bridge and into a river (the rider was taking a panorama photo and felt extremely stupid afterwards). One of them was stolen from a football practice locker room because of a faulty lock. One of them lost a wheel but gained a better one after some time and investment.
Bikes are often left unattended
Chances are, you've seen or heard similar stories before. Maybe they happened to you too.
Only about 20% of cyclists report a stolen bike. Reports of stolen cars are up to 98% in most countries, but bikes seem to have a much lower level of importance. Only 2.7% stolen bicycles are ever returned to their owners.
Depressing, but there is always hope.
There are many ways to keep your bike safe – or at least safer. Here's what we've found works:
- Lock your bike. A quality bicycle chain or lock can be your savior. It might seem like a large investment at first, but it can potentially save you a lot in the long run. Don't be put off by the size – the bigger, the more work for the thief.
- Always make sure to park in the right place. Some cities have designated bike-parking in strategic locations. If not, try to make sure it is in a public place, ideally somewhere with cameras close by. Putting your bike in a hidden corner just gives potential thieves privacy while they work.
- A pricier solution: if you value your bike enough, go ahead and get it a tracker. They vary in size and utility (some come as a part of your speedometer or other bike gadgets), but they can come in handy even when you aren't dealing with a stolen bike. I mean, how often do you forget where you parked?
- Make your bike unique. It's not just about the fashion, the details, the personality. If you can recognize it, thieves will have a hard time re-selling it. We know of a girl that recognized her bike because of a graffiti she put on it. It was a year after it was stolen, and she managed to get it back. Will wonders never cease?
- Avoid leaving your bike unmoved for longer periods of time. If you don't use your bike very often, try and move it every week or so. A bike that hasn't been moved in a long time will attract attention and give potential thieves a long window to work.
- Take a picture of your bike. Even small details can be important in case of theft, like the shape and color of the pedals. The more details you know, the more likely it will be recovered in case of theft.
And there you have it. If you have more ideas on what to do to protect your bikes from theft (or from rolling off a high place while you Instagram), let us know.
Raise your chances and stay safe on the streets!