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Find out how to keep your bike safe at home with our 9 essential steps

How to lock up your bike to stop it from being stolen

Without wishing to state the obvious, being robbed is a terrible feeling. Of course there are worse things that can happen, and material possessions are only that. But when it comes to your bike, it’s more than simply a mixture of carbon, metal and rubber. Aside from the monetary value, your bike is your trusty daily commuting companion; your weekend adventurer; your family-time faithful. To have it lifted by a light-fingered felon can be heart breaking. 

Nobody ever wants their bike stolen, although that doesn’t mean cyclists always protect their bike with the kind of thoroughness needed. Whether your bike remains resolutely yours or disappears forever is not a matter of luck: it’s an outcome that’s largely in your own hands. If you lock your bike sensibly and securely, you really can thwart potential bike thieves.

So how do you lock your bike sensibly and securely? Here’s how…

1. Keep thieves guessing 

The fundamental rule of bike security can be summed up in one statement: the less inviting your bike looks, the less likely it will be stolen. We’ll go into the practicalities and mechanics of locking your bike in the following steps, but the first step to prevent your bike from looking inviting is to not have it on show at all. Lock it up inside if possible, well away from windows and doors, so that any opportunistic bike thieves won’t even be tempted.

2. Secure your doors

Despite keeping your bikes out of sight, a ne’er-do-well might still fancy a lucky dip in your garage or shed. That means your doors have to be the first line of defence. Reinforce them as best you can by fitting as strong a hasp and staple as you can afford – products endorsed by the Secured By Design police-approved secure building initiative are ideal – and change important accessible screws, such as those on hinges, to security screws.

Using a floor anchor

3. Use a ground/wall anchor

People often think that if their bike is locked in any way inside their property then it’s automatically safe. Not so. Even if you fit a lock between the rear wheel and frame to prevent it being ridden, a well-prepared bike thief can pick it up, lob it in a van, and work out how to remove the lock at his leisure later. If you want to be serious about home bike security, lock your bike to something solid and immovable: a competently installed wall or ground anchor such as Oxford’s Anchor Flat, Anchor14 Ground and Wall Anchor, Anchor10 or Beast Anchor would be perfect.

4. Lock your bike correctly

Now to the crux of the matter: how should you lock your bike? It’s actually fairly simple. Using two locks is the best way: the first should go through the front wheel, frame and the solid anchor; the second should go through the frame, rear wheel and – if possible - also the solid anchor. 

5. Use two different types of lock

Remember the goal is to make life as hard as possible for bike thieves, hopefully meaning they don’t even try, or give up, or take so long to steal your bike that they are disturbed. To make a bike thief work hard and put his limited intelligence into overdrive, use two different types of lock to secure your bike. The obvious idea would be to use a U-lock or D-lock on one part of your bike, and a chain lock on the other. Having to think twice may be enough to send the ruffian running.

6. Use the best locks you can find (preferably highly rated Sold Secure)

We look at what Sold Secure is in more detail later, but the basic idea is to use the baddest, meanest-looking locks you can buy. A huge number of bike thefts are carried out simply by using bolt or even wire cutters. If the locks you’re using can’t be snipped or snapped, you’ve already got one up on the crooks. Remember, these locks will stay at home at your bike’s permanent residence, so there’s no need to worry about weight or size – just go for the best locks you can afford, such as something from Oxford’s great range below.

Locking real wheel

7. Reduce wiggle room

If not wire or bolt cutters, there’s an even simpler tool in the bike thief’s armoury: a long pole. With enough room or if space can be manipulated, a shortened scaffolding pole or suchlike could be used to put enough pressure on the lock that it pops open. One way to make this difficult is to make sure all your locks are taut and there’s no wiggle room, or at least little in the way of opportunity for extra tools to be introduced. Locks available in either long or short lengths – such as the Oxford Shackle14 ProOxford Sentry or Oxford Sentinel Pro U-Locks– are ideal for making sure you don’t give thieves too much slack. 

8. Keep locks off the floor

We appreciate setting up a secure locking system can be a bit fiddly (remember, if it’s tricky for you – and you have the keys – it won’t be much fun for the thief either), but there is one further step: keep your locks and especially their locking mechanisms off of the ground. If they rest on something suitably solid, a sledge hammer can be used to smash them open.

9. Security stickers

There’s an argument to say that the more obvious your security, the more you're advertising you’ve got something worth protecting. As we mentioned in step one, you don’t want to give the message that you’ve got bikes inside your home. But assuming a thief has already got up close and personal with your bike, one last throw of the dice is to sticker it up to show that your bike is officially registered and trackable. As a step on its own, it’s only a mild deterrence, but as an extra ingredient in your recipe for home bike security, it’s another reason for the thief to think twice. 


Sold Secure – endorsed security

Lock manufacturers proclaim all sorts of abilities for their products but thanks to Sold Secure you don’t just have to take their word for it. Sold Secure is an independent, not-for-profit organisation – originally established by Northumbria and Essex Police but now owned and administered by the Master Locksmiths Association – that independently tests and verifies security products from manufacturers who want their products to carry the Sold Secure mark. 

Rather than a flat pass or fail, the Sold Secure scheme classifies security products into four categories – Bronze, Silver, Gold and Diamond – with the different levels reflecting the difficulty and time it takes to overcome the lock. For example:

Bronze - Theft resistance against a basic tool list (aimed at preventing opportunist crime)

Silver - Theft resistance against an enhanced tool list (aimed at preventing more determined attacked)

Gold - Theft resistance against a dedicated tool list (aimed at preventing dedicated attacks)

Diamond - The highest level of theft resistance including use of specialist tools (aimed at preventing the most destructive attacks that could include angle grinders). 

While knowledge of Sold Secure is useful in itself for bike owners wanting to keep their bikes safe, potentially more importantly, insurance policies can require you use a lock that fulfils a certain category of Sold Secure protection to ensure that any later claim is valid. 

10 of the best – Oxford’s locking highlights

Oxford Anchor Flat £49.99

Oxford Anchor Flat

For a practical, convenient wall anchor, look no further than Oxford’s Anchor Flat. This Sold Secure Diamond-rated product not only offers a tamper-proof place to lock your bike, it also has a few features to make life a little easier, such as the fact it folds flat and it’s strong enough to be driven over. 

Key Features
• Sold Secure Bicycle Diamond
• Folds flat when not in use
• Hardened steel 14mm shackle
• Fits chains up to 16mm link diameter
• Tough polymer housing
• Anti-tamper fittings
• Resists attack from angle grinders, hammers and saws

Oxford Anchor14 Ground and Wall Anchor kit £59.99

Oxford Anchor14

The Anchor Flat certainly provides superb security, but Oxford also offers an even tougher option: the Anchor14. This hardened steel product – complete with four sets of high-security expansion bolts, anti-tamper ball bearings and steel plugs – represents a high point in locking point protection and has achieved not only Sold Secure Bicycle Diamond but also Sold Secure Motorcycle Gold accreditation.

Key Features
• Sold Secure Bicycle Diamond and Motorcycle Gold 
• Hardened steel ground anchor provides a safe anchor point for all chains
• Can be fitted to concrete floors and walls
• Fits all cable locks and Oxford chains up to 16mm link diameter

Oxford Chain12 chain and padlock £79.99

Oxford Chain12 and Padlock

When it comes to chain locks, things don’t get much more serious than this. Oxford’s Chain12 features 1.5metres of heavy-duty, maximum-security 12mm square-link chain, all covered in a cloth sleeve to keep your bike smart, scratch-free, as well as safe. As an added extra – because there’s next to no way you’ll break into this Sold Secure Diamond-rated beast if you lose the key – Oxford even offers a key replacement service.

Key Features
• Sold Secure Bicycle Diamond 
• Heavy duty 1.5m chain lock with a flexible cloth sleeve to protect paintwork
• Hardened 12mm square link chain
• Tough double-locking padlock with hardened 11mm steel shackle
• Key dust cover
• Sledge hammer, saw, bolt cropper and drill resistant

Oxford Shackle14 Pro U-Lock £51.99

Oxford Shackle14 Pro U-Lock

We said in step 5 above that it’s a great idea to use two different types of lock, so what could you use as the perfect team-mate for a heavyweight chain lock? The Shackle14 Pro U-Lock is an ideal candidate: it’s Sold Secure Diamond-rated, features a 14mm shackle and comes in long or short lengths to help reduce wiggle room. As a bonus, because it’s not overwhelmingly heavy, it even comes with a bracket to attach to your bike, so you can use it away from home, too. 

Key Features
• Sold Secure Bicycle Diamond
• 14mm diameter shackle
• Double-locking mechanism
• Includes carry bracket
• 3 high-security keys

Oxford Anchor10 £24.99

Oxford Anchor10

We’ve looked at a couple of fab wall anchors already, but for riders on a budget or who have limited floor or wall space, the Anchor10 offers a convenient alternative. Made of hardened heavy-duty steel, the Anchor10 will accept all Oxford chains up to 14mm link size and comes with all the fixings needed, meaning anybody can have access to a solid and secure locking point. 

Key Features
• Sold Secure Bicycle Silver 
• Hardened heavy duty steel bolt-down anchor for floors and walls
• All fixings and Allen key supplied
• Bolts protected by ball bearing and then covered when a lock is being used
• Fits all cable locks and Oxford chains up to 14mm link diameter

Oxford Sentinel Pro Duo U-Lock £46.99

Oxford Sentinel Pro Duo U-Lock

If only life was simple and we all only had one bike to secure. Whether you’re a bike fiend with a full stable of machines, or the designated adult charged with protecting the rest of your family’s bikes, you may well need more capacity. Oxford’s Sentinel Pro Duo achieves this by combing a Sold Secure Gold-rated U-lock – itself available in two lengths – along with a heavy-duty extender cable to help you spread the security.

Key Features
• Sold Secure Bicycle Gold
• 14mm diameter shackle
• Replacement key service
• Includes carry bracket
• 3 high-security keys
• Extender cable included

Oxford Sentry Duo U-lock £36.99

Oxford Sentry Duo U-Lock

For riders who need good security both at home and away, the Sentry U-Lock is a lightweight and easy-to-use option. Despite its easy carrying weight, the Sentry still boasts a 12mm hardened steel shackle, which is vinyl coated to protect your bike’s paint. As with Oxford’s Sentinel Pro and Shackle14 U-locks, the Sentry comes in a choice of lengths, and the Duo option even comes with an additional security cable for more capacity.

Key Features
• Sold Secure Bicycle Silver
• 12mm hardened steel shackle
• Carry bracket included
• Double-locking mechanism with spring release
• Vinyl coated to protect your paintwork
• Key hole dust cover
• 3 high-security keys
• Extender cable included

Making thieves face the beast

Most of the Oxford products we’ve looked at so far have been designed for use with pedal cycles, but there are other two-wheeled vehicles that are also at threat from thieves and require even greater security: motorcycles. Oxford’s Beast range might be mostly aimed at motorbike riders but with high-end bicycles often matching or exceeding the price of their motorised equivalents, these products offer cyclists an extra layer of protection. 

Oxford Beast Anchor £99.99

Oxford Beast Anchor

If you thought Oxford’s bike-focused wall anchors were impressive, prepare to have your mind blown. The Beast Anchor weighs in at a whopping 4kg and features double-layered hardened steel to be all-but impenetrable. Its Sold Secure Motorcycle Diamond rating means it is able to withstand forceful and sustained attacks from a huge range of tools, including – most impressively – a 90-second angle grinder attack. 

Key Features
• Sold Secure Motorcycle Diamond 
• Resists angle grinder attack
• Double-layered strength with a hardened steel construction
• 22mm Beast chain compatible, fits all Oxford chain and locks
• Weight: 4kg
• Anti-tamper fittings

Oxford Beast Chain £159.99

Oxford Beast Chain

Another heavyweight bad boy, the Beast Chain is made from 22mm hardened steel, meaning it is Oxford’s largest, strongest and heaviest chain to date. Like the Beast Anchor, the Chain is Sold Secure Motorcycle Diamond rated, but if used in conjunction with the Beast Lock below, it also has a further qualification: international security standards agency ART awarded the Beast system a five-star rating based on a variety of tests performed by both machines – tensile strength, torsion strength, cutting, corrosion, dust and freeze tests – and test engineers – brute and intelligent attack tests.

Key Features
• Sold Secure Motorcycle Diamond
• Art 5-star rated when used with the Beast Lock 
• Oxford's strongest ever chain
• Resists angle grinder attack
• 22mm diameter links
• Weight: 12kg
• Available in 1.5m or 2.0m lengths

Oxford Beast Lock £159.99

Oxford Beast Lock

And now to the biggest and baddest of them all: the Beast Lock. This 3.6kg monster is actually a thing of locking beauty: its 30mm locking pin is almost double the size of Oxford’s next largest – which is itself approved to the four highest international security standards – while the Beast Lock’s body has the same 90mm girth as a pint glass, although in this case, made of solid steel. Used together with the Beast Chain, there is simply no better way to protect your bike.

Key Features
• Sold Secure Motorcycle Diamond
• Art 5-star when used with the Beast Chain 
• Oxford's strongest lock ever
• Resists angle grinder attack
• Surface hardened throughout
• 30mm hardened locking pin
• Weight: 3.6kg
• 3 keys and replacement option


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