Keeping your cycle safe

If you enjoy cycling and love your bike, make sure you’ve done all you can to keep it safe. Cycle theft is the most reported crime in Cambridge and Camcycle has been working on this issue for over 25 years.

Save Our Cycles campaign

Save Our Cycles logo featuring a heart made out of two 'D' locks

Camcycle has joined with Cambridge City Council, Cambridgeshire Police and other local organisations to launch a campaign to ‘Save Our Cycles’. We want cyclists across Cambridgeshire to make sure they register their frame numbers online and always lock their cycles securely. Poor quality of locks and locking techniques make cycles more vulnerable to theft and, once stolen, the lack of identifiable information to prove a crime often prevents the police from being able to connect stolen cycles with their owners.

Help us spread the word!
Digital posters and leaflets can be downloaded here or you can email us to order free printed copies for your organisation or community location. Please consider donating to Camcycle to support our production and distribution costs.

Find out more about this campaign and download additional resources (including social media graphics) on our Save our Cycles campaign page.

LOCK your cycle securely at all times

Illustration showing two cycles locked securely to Sheffield stands: one with two D-locks, one with a D-lock and cableBuy 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.

LOG your frame number and a description of your cycle

Illustration of a bike with arrows to areas where the frame number could be: on the seat tube or bottom bracketKeep details of your cycle somewhere safe

Take a good photo of your cycle and receipt along with the frame number and save as a contact in your phone or keep somewhere safe at home. Keep important information including manufacturer and model, predominant colour(s), size and frame number along with details and receipts for any accessories. The frame number is usually found on the bottom bracket or seat tube. This video shows some examples.

Cycle marking kits can improve identification.

Illustration of a laptop with bikeregister.com on the screenRegister your cycle

Register your cycle with frame number and description at bikeregister.com. If you don’t have access to the internet at home, you could ask a friend to help or go to the library. Your local bike shop may also be able to help you. If your cycle is not registered online, the police are unlikely to be able to help you recover it.

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

Illustration showing a smartphone in a hand with the text 'Report It' on the screenReport the theft

Report the theft to the police using the online form or webchat at cambs.police.uk/report, by calling 101, or visiting the police station. You will need your frame number, a detailed description of your cycle and specific details about the location and time of the theft.

Report the theft to site management where your bike was stolen e.g. workplace, station operators, college porters.

Record your cycle as stolen

Post on as many online platforms as possible including www.bikeregister.com/stolen and stolen-bikes.co.uk/add-your-bike.

Post on the ‘Stolen Bikes in Cambridge’ Facebook group, an active community working to reunite people with their stolen cycles.

Search on selling sites

Search as many online selling sites as you can such as Facebook, Gumtree, eBay and Shpock. Find That Bike shows listings from a range of selling sites and has a section to list stolen cycles. If you locate your cycle, let the police know.

HELP tackle cycle crime

Illustration in the shape of a magnifying glass with a barcode in the middleDon’t buy a stolen cycle

Ask for the frame number before you buy your cycle and check it against online registration sites to see if it has been reported as stolen. If you buy a stolen bike and it is recovered by the police, you will likely lose both your cycle and your money.

Report cycle theft to the police

If you see someone stealing a bike, this is a ‘crime in action’ and you should dial 999. If you have other information about the theft of a cycle you should call 101.

Join our campaign against cycle theft

Camcycle continues to campaign for more action to keep our cycles safe through improved security (cycle parking) and enforcement (police action). Find out more about what we have been doing and how you can support our work. Join us to take action against cycle theft!