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Video: How to protect your bike from bike thieves

London Cycling Campaing pass on some good advice, now we'd like to hear your tips too...

How to protect your bike, is a new video release from the London Cycling Campaign as part of its new Beat the Thief initiative (watch it below). The video's central message is that having a cycle lock is not much good if you don't use it properly, oh, and two locks are better than one. During the short film Barry Mason of the Southward Cyclists branch of the LCC talks us round the locking methods used on real bikes by real cyclists on some sheffield stands somewhere in London – Barry isn't that impressed.

Barry's recipe for keeping your bike out of the hands of thieves is to use two locks one through the front wheel and one through the frame, and preferably also something to lock any other jewellery, like leather saddles, you might have on there too.

Two locks doesn't necessarily sound that practical to us, especially if you can simply whip your front wheel off and lock it to the rest of the bike with a good gold rated Sold Secure lock rather than lugging Silver and Bronze rated locks about. Barry is also spot on about cheap cable locks – a visual deterrent only as far as we're concerned, but we're not sure the chain in the video would last much longer – a small pair of bolt croppers would be through that in a trice says our man in the hoodie and turned down baseball cap… although he might not have used the word 'trice'.'s bike locking  Dos and Don'ts

Do lock your bike to a secure, immovable object - ideally one designed for the purpose
Do make sure the frame and both wheels are inside your lock, or use two locks, or locking wheel skewers on the front wheel
Do use a lock, and use it properly even if you are leaving your bike unattended for even a moment
Do remove lights and anything else that isn't securely fixed to your bike when you are locking it up
Do lock your bike when you get it home, especially if you keep it in a shed or garage
Do buy the best lock or locks that you can afford

Don't leave your bike unlocked and unattended even if you are just nipping in to shop
Don't  lock your bike up in a secluded location where a thief has time to work on your lock undisturbed
Don't lock your bike to trees or fences that can be easily cut through, or, posts or signs that it can be easily lifted over
Don't leave space in your shackle - that gives space for evil bike stealing tools to do their worst or leave your lock lying flat on the ground for the same reason
Don't forget your lock

We're strong believers in always filling your shackle but we're always looking for new ways to help beat bike thieves so if you've got any bike security tips you'd like to share with the crowd let's hear them!'s founder and first editor, nowadays to be found riding a spreadsheet. Tony's journey in cycling media started in 1997 as production editor and then deputy editor of Total Bike, acting editor of Total Mountain Bike and then seven years as editor of Cycling Plus. He launched his first cycling website - the Cycling Plus Forum at the turn of the century. In 2006 he left C+ to head up the launch team for Bike Radar which he edited until 2008, when he co-launched the multi-award winning - finally handing on the reins in 2021 to Jack Sexty. His favourite ride is his ‘commute’ - which he does most days inc weekends and he’s been cycle-commuting since 1994. His favourite bikes are titanium and have disc brakes, though he'd like to own a carbon bike one day.

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Simon_MacMichael | 14 years ago

PS to the picture I linked in comment above - @thebikeshow has subsequently tweeted to confirm that the stand was cut with a hacksaw by Barry Mason, adding "For those who don't know, Barry Mason is chair of Southwark Cyclists. Cut the stands to show the council how crap they are."

Simon_MacMichael | 14 years ago

Worrying development - posted to Twitpic by @thebikeshow - doesn't matter what lock you have when this happens:

This, on Union Street @se1, is not encouraging.  on Twitpic

Tony Farrelly | 14 years ago

Here's another very good video on bike locking that Carlton Reid put together for Northumbria police last year… lots of good commone sense. And for a really in-depth look at cycle security check out Carlton's quickrelease tv feature on cycle security bottom line is bike locks are all about slowing down professional thieves enough to make it not worth their while especially when there are so many easy pickings about.

OldRidgeback | 14 years ago

Don't clean your bike - lots of thieves seem to be in a hurry and target shiny new bikes. For urban use build up a bike using an old scratched frame, an old saddle and old bars with tired looking grips - wheels, brakes and gears can be good spec items but ensure they appear grubby and old using mud and grease. As long as the chain and sprockets are clean, mud splashes on the frame, forks and wheels won't slow you down but might well divert a thief onto another cleaner bike that won't get their hands dirty.

Most thieves have cottoned on to owners who wrap their bikes in old inner tubes so don't bother. Wrapping a frame in insulation tape however is lighter in weight and can disguise its age rather more effectively, especially if the tape becomes mud spattered and tattered and is patched in different colours.

When locking up a bike have a look around and see what's alongside. Parking your bike close to something new, shiny and high value that's poorly secured by a cheapo lock will mean that it'll possibly be targeted rather than your scruffy set of wheels. There are always bicycle owners in too much of a hurry or too naive to secure their bikes properly - it's a tough world so it's preferable to you if they're the victim of theft rather than you - maybe they'll learn a hard lesson. Some thieves have enough knowledge to spot a high end bike in disguise under a layer of mud and crud, but not all.

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