If you don’t ride your bike because you are afraid that it will get stolen. It’s a common lament. While there is no fool proof way to prevent bike theft, follow the tips below and your favorite ride should be fine. We also have added some advice on what to do if it does get stolen.
Get a quality lock: The old adage “buy a $ 50.00 bike and a $ 100.00 lock” applies here. A good quality lock will have bike thieves weighing whether it is worth trying to steal your bike versus another bike that may have a poor quality lock. You have to remember that not all U-locks are created equal, so check the quality carefully.
Beware of locks that have cylindrical keys as they can be opened easily with the barrel of a ball-point pen.
Park in a secure area: Always lock your bike in an area where people are present. That said, some bike thieves have been known to take a bike right in front of witnesses so you cannot necessarily depend on others to watch your bike.
If you can find a secure bike cage or locked area to put your bike inside that would be ideal, however if you are not lucky enough to have access to this option, here are a couple of possible solutions:
The Winnipeg Parking Authority operates a “bike corral” at the Millennium Library Parkade. The cost is only $ 25.00 per year.
The Albert Street Parkade also has a bike cage. Contact Impark for details about membership and fees for the use of this facility.
Always lock your bike even when inside a bike cage.
If these are still not an option find an area with high foot traffic, well lit, and check to see if there are any security cameras.
Lock wheels and frame: You can use your U-lock to lock the frame and one wheel to a solid object, however if your wheels have quick releases it will be necessary to secure both wheels. The simplest way to do this is to use a cable to loop through the other wheel and lock to the U-lock.
Always make sure you are locking to a “solid object.” Sign posts can sometimes be uprooted easily or in some cases are secured to a bracket that can easily be loosened and removed.
Take anything that can be easily removed: If you have a quick release on your seat post, either remove the seat and post or secure the seat with a cable to your U-lock. It’s a good idea to take the quick release lever from your seat with you as well. Remove lights and other accessories that can be easily removed.
If your bike does disappear, there are both some things you should do before and after a bike theft to improve the chances that you will get your bike back.
Know your serial number: Write down the serial number of your bike and keep it with you whenever you ride. That way you can report a theft right away and not have to wait until you get home. The serial number should be on the bottom of your bike frame under the bottom bracket (pedal cranks) but sometimes it can be on other areas of the frame.
Take a picture: A picture can help identify your bike and you can also use it to post pictures in ads or on social media etc. This can help others including the police help identify your bike.
Register your bike. You can register your bike with the City of Winnipeg. That way if they find it they can notify you. Regardless of whether you have registered your bike, report the loss immediately to Community Services Bicycle Recovery and call them regularly to see if your bike has been picked up.
Spread the word immediately: Let others know as soon as possible. Ask others to spread the word to their contacts and through social media. Also let local bike groups like Bike Winnipeg and the bike shops (community bike shops, commercial bike shops) know as well.
File a police report. Finding your bike will not be a police priority, but it can’t hurt to make them aware of the theft.