Having got a bike, you’ll want to keep it. Even if your bike is not terribly valuable, it is intensely annoying to find your bike has vanished when you leave the cinema at 11 at night.
So the lock you buy depends on how much you value your bike. A ‘U’ lock is best – a rigid plastic-covered steel hoop with a shackle across the end – but it will typically cost around £25. They’re not invincible, but will deter all but the most determined thieves.
Always lock your bike to a fixed object, even for the shortest stop – preferably a bike rack, but if not, be considerate to pedestrians and especially think about blind people and wheelchair users when you park. Generally try to put the lock through a wheel as well as around the frame. Replace quick release axles (those with a lever) with a more secure variety.
Please, do take care not to inadvertently attach your lock to someone else’s bike too!
Cambridge police will stamp a postcode on your bike at certain times to help trace it if it is stolen. Cambridge Cycling Campaign is currently organising a cycle registration scheme.
You’ll want to insure your bike. The most economical way to do this is through household insurance. Very few insurers will cover new-for-old, though. Most will put an upper limit, sometimes surprisingly low, on the value of bikes they will insure. They will insist on it being locked to a fixed object or behind a locked door.
Ask insurers what their replacement arrangements are in the event of theft – some replace a bike with one of their choice, sometimes inadequately adjusted.
While you may wish to avoid dark places late at night, consider that drunk drivers on the roads are probably more of a risk to you than assault on the commons. You’re probably safer on a bike than walking, or indeed going to your car in a car park.
Watch out for your handbag or purse. It is all too easy for a thief to snatch it from a basket (see ‘carrying things’). Consider using an elasticated cover for a basket.
Material dated: July 1997