To minimise the risk of your cycle being stolen or vandalised, we advise that you take the following precautions.
Buy good locks
Two D-locks or a D-lock plus a cable to go round the wheels are ideal – and look for locks that are marked with a Sold Secure Gold rating or above. These can be bought for under £50, but the more expensive your bike, the better the lock you’ll need. More expensive locks are thicker and therefore more difficult and time-consuming to cut through. Keep your spare keys somewhere safe.
Choose your parking place carefully
The top choice should be a secure indoor location, such as a lockable shed at home or an indoor employee parking space at work. If this isn’t an option, choose a secure and sturdy place which will allow you to attach both the frame and your wheels. U- or A-shaped ‘Sheffield stands’ concreted into the ground are common in Cambridge and are ideal for a wide range of different-sized cycles. Ground anchors for cargo bikes are also available in some places, such as the Queen Anne cycle park on Gonville Place. Check that thieves can’t lift the cycle up over the item (e.g. a post), cut through it (e.g. a wooden fence) or unscrew it (e.g. a badly-installed Sheffield stand). Choose busy, well-lit areas which are covered by CCTV and try to avoid leaving cycles locked up overnight in public spaces. Be wary of locking your cycle in the same space every day and make sure that you lock it in a way that doesn’t cause an obstruction to others – this will also protect it from getting damaged.
Lock your bike securely and take removable items with you
Best practice is to lock your frame and both wheels to the stand and as tightly as possible, so they are hard for thieves to manoeuvre. Position the lock low down with the keyhole facing the ground to make it more difficult to be picked. Take removable items such as lights, panniers and e-bike displays with you and consider security bolts instead of quick release on wheels and the seat post. Watch our video on how to secure a bike.
Always lock your bike if it will be out of your sight for any length of time
Never assume your cycle is safe if you are just nipping into a shop for a minute or leaving it in the front garden as you unlock the back door. Many people have been the victims of opportunistic thefts; without a lock, anyone can steal it.
To maximise the chance of being reunited with your cycle if it is stolen, you should also make sure that you:
Record key details of your cycle and purchase
You should take a good photo of your cycle and write down the frame number, brand name, model, colour and size, along with any distinguishing features such as stickers or attachments. Take photos of your receipt and any other proof of purchase or ownership documents.
Register your bike
Make sure you register your bike at www.bikeregister.com to give you the best chance of getting it back if it is stolen. BikeRegister can supply stickers which may deter some thieves. You could also get it marked at one of Cambridgeshire Police’s security marking events and register it on www.immobilise.com.
Update your insurance
Make sure your bike is insured, using cycle-specific insurance or as part of your household contents insurance.
Know what to do if your cycle is stolen
Report the theft as soon as possible to the police, supplying the frame number and all identifying information. Report it stolen on www.bikeregister.com/stolen and stolen-bikes.co.uk/add-your-bike. Posting/searching on the local facebook group STOLEN BIKES in Cambridge and on selling sites such as Facebook, Gumtree, eBay and Shpock may also help you track it down. Find That Bike shows listings from a range of selling sites and has a section to list stolen cycles.
Join our campaign against cycle theft
Write to your local councillors and the Police and Crime Commissioner
Unfortunately there is no easy solution to prevent cycle theft. Any lock can be broken, any compound can be broken into. There needs to be targeted action from the police and local authorities to address the issue and make it clear that thieves can’t get away with this crime. Help raise awareness by writing to councillors and the Police and Crime Commissioner as well as sharing your story in the local press and joining Camcycle’s work campaigning for change.