6 methods against bicycle theft – overview
If you’re not careful, it’s easy for thieves to steal your bike. As light and handy as bicycles are, they can be stolen just as quickly. In 2022, more than 265.000 bicycles were stolen! Fortunately, to prevent this from happening, there are some methods to prevent it or at least to limit the consequences of theft. In this article, I’ll show you six methods you can use to protect your bestie.
The good old lock as a bicycle theft protection
Probably the most common protective measure is the good old bicycle lock. Just remember: there are big differences here. The more solid and secure your lock is, the better it protects against theft. The D1000 from Hiplok shown here is one of the most secure lock models. It takes quite some time for the thief to break such a lock.
The other side of the coin: those locks are quite heavy and very expensive. However, when you consider how much trouble a lock like this can save you, it’s absolutely worth the purchase. My tip: Don’t be too stingy here – you weren’t with your bike, were you?
By the way, the best lock won’t do you any good if you don’t lock it properly. Make sure that the lock always encloses your bike and a solid object. This can be a lantern or a railing. In the best case scenario, there are even proper bike racks in your city at key locations that are built just for this purpose.
The Mini Lock
Which brings us to the second way you can protect your bike from bicycle theft. This is especially interesting if you want or need to save weight. For this purpose, there are various “mini locks”, as a super light cable lock or like a kind of cable tie. One like this one from Hiplok. In the Hiplok Z Lok Combi is a solid steel core, that you can’t just cut easlily.
Nevertheless, is so light and compact, that really fits in any pocket and should always be there for emergencies. Such a lock is also totally helpful when bikepacking, where it depends on every gram. Especially handy about the Hiplok zipper: it has a small combination lock, so you do not even have to think about a key. For me, this is worth its weight in gold, because I misplace keys all the time …
Of course, it is clear that such a lock does not provide much security. It should rather be used when you just want to jump in somewhere and don’t have a thicker lock with you. But then it is a great protection against casual thieves. You still need force or tools to break such a mini lock.
The bicycle insurance
In the category of passive bicycle theft protection belongs the next possibility how you can optimally protect your bike from thieves: The good old bike insurance. Compared to the past, however, it doesn’t look that old anymore. Special bicycle insurance not only protects against theft. Wear and spare parts are insured at the same time and some insurances even explicitly allow participation in (mountain bike downhill) races. Of course, such premium bicycle insurance policies are significantly more expensive, but it can still be worth it.
This is definitely the case with the project I co-initiated, the free cargo bike Halver: A wide variety of people ride on this cargo bike and they use it for all kinds of things. So that everyone has a good feeling about it and everything is financially safe, it is actually not possible without insurance. The cargo bike BALU is insured by the bicycle insurance of helden.de.
They have a bonus system that allows you to lower your insurance premium: Each customer gets a so-called hero code. If you want to buy a Helden.de insurance and BALU’s hero code (HLVR6) when you pay, you will get a permanent discount of one month’s premium per year. So does the Halver cargo bike – we all get something out of it! You will also receive a hero code after ordering and the more friends you recruit, the cheaper your own insurance will be.
Hexlox: Smart screws against parts theft
A very nasty scam is when thieves target not whole bikes, but particularly high-value parts. Then suddenly the expensive wheels are gone or your favorite saddle. So that this does not happen, there are the bicycle theft protection screws from Hexlox. They have a small insert that you can only get out with a special tool. They do not offer any attack surface to a normal Allen key. These are small parts with a big impact that make sense especially on high-end bikes.
Hexlox screws are available as sets for the most important screws on the bike or individually. If you are looking for a bicycle quick release theft protection you will also find it at Hexlox: Here there are corresponding exchange sets. You can quite effectively protect your favorite parts on the bike from theft with those small scews!
High-tech GPS bike anti-theft Knog Scout
I found another pretty smart way to protect your bike. This is the new “Scout” from Knog. It has two functions: An alarm that is triggered by movements on the bike. And a GPS transmitter that works with Apple’s “Find My…” app like an Airtag bike anti-theft device.
The small part thus first deters and at the same time sends an alarm message to the smartphone. If the thief doesn’t care and steals your bike anyway, you at least have a chance to find your bike again via “Find my…”. The Scout weighs just 25 grams and can be mounted under your bottle cage, it does not require extra space. The downside: Scout only works with the IOS operating system, i.e. with iPhones. How the little part works: I tested it here.
My Dirty Trick
Admittedly, this trick is a bit nasty. But if someone steals a bike, he or she doesn’t deserve it any other way. If I forgot my lock again, I “prepare” my bike a bit so it’s not ready to ride right away. Adjusting the gears, loosening the saddle quick release or unscrewing the thru axle on the front wheel …there are many ways to take the bike out of service without much effort. If someone simply wants to ride away with it, he/she will first be surprised by a random “defect”. In the meantime, I hopefully see this and can chase the thief away.
These were my top 6 tips on how to effectively protect your bike from theft. But the most important measure is still: keep your eyes open, don’t let your bike out of your sight unnecessarily unprotected and just make sure to give thieves as little opportunity as possible. If I have to, I also take my bike to the supermarket. I’d rather get odd looks than one less bike!