Bicycles are becoming a popular mode of transport through projects to reduce congestion and pollution such as cycle to work schemes, and also due to a greater interest in the sport after increased coverage of the Olympics and Tour de France. As they become more popular, the value of bicycles has increased through new technological innovations and upgraded visual designs. With an increased demand for the high-end bikes, it is no longer just opportunistic criminals stealing them but also organised crime groups stealing them to fill out a particular order. To protect yourself from being the victim of bicycle theft you need to think about three important factors; your bike, it’s lock and where you park it.
You should register your bike with bikeregsiter.com using the serial number and keep a record of it. If your bike is taken you can report it as stolen on the site and then if someone is trying to buy a bike they can use the site to check if it is a stolen bike and report it to the owner. It is also useful to change something about the bike to make it unique to you such an engraving initials or coloured tape around the frame. If you make your bike look undesirable it is less likely to be targeted so think about spray paint or stickers that appeal to you but not everyone else. Taking up to date pictures that clearly show these unique markings will help in the search for the bike and prevent people from selling it on if circulated in the local area or on social media.
A high-grade lock with a unique locking system such as a code or using two keys is recommended. It is even better to purchase two different locks so both wheels are secured, some people will just take the wheels from a bike if the lock is only around the frame. When you put the locks on make sure there is no space and the lock is tight around the bike so a thief could not wedge bolt cutters or a saw to break the lock with out damaging the bike. If you come back to your bike and the lock is broken or tampered with such as glue in the key hole, do not leave the bike unattended. This is a technique used by thieves to give them time to go and get a power tool before returning later on. You can stay ahead of them by staying with the bike and calling a friend or family member to come and meet you with a similar tool.
Always park your bike in a public, well lit area or if possible a secured parking unit with CCTV or alarm facilities because criminals are less likely to attempt a theft if they know there are people or images that can place them at the scene. When you park the bike make sure it is locked to an immovable object, otherwise they may take the object with then and break the lock later. If you use any cycling accessories like helmets, water bottle holders or reflectors make sure you take them with you, never leave them with your bike as they are often unsecure and easy to take. Make a note of where you left it and what time so in the unfortunate circumstance that your bike is stolen, there is plenty of information to provide in order to aid its return.
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