• How to Secure Your Ride

    by Scott

    There’s nothing worse than the sinking feeling of returning to where you locked your bike to find just a wheel locked to the rack, or just the remains of a cut cable, or that the dog you locked your bike to wandered off and then someone stole your bike and used it to run over the dog.

    Get a good lock and learn how to use it correctly!

    A good lock and good locking technique goes without saying (but we will say this: No cables! They can be cut in seconds). We won’t cover either of those topics here because they’ve been done to death elsewhere on the interwebs, but you can check out a list of good posts and videos explaining these topics below. Instead, we’re going to go over some additional tricks and considerations for making sure that your bike survives your trip to the coffee shop or bookstore intact.

    Of course, we could tell you that one effective way to protect your bike is to just park near someone who did a crappier job of locking up than you and is an easier target because of it. But that would be unethical, so you won’t hear us say anything like you should lock up by someone locked worse than you who is an easier target!* Glad we got that cleared up.

    Know your neighborhoods!

    One consideration is to always be sure to know your neighborhoods to get a sense of where it is and is not safe to park your bike. If you live in San Francisco you can check out this map put together by Phillip Yip, which shows areas where bikes were reported stolen on Craigslist for a roughly three and a half month period. Similar maps might be available for your city, and if not common sense goes a long way.

    Pick your spot wisely!

    Also, parking in a heavily trafficked area with lots of passers-by is no guarantee that thieves will leave your bike alone, but it will certainly make things more difficult for them. Time is another factor that shouldn’t be overlooked. Wherever possible, don’t leave your bike unattended for long periods of time, as this is just asking for someone to have a go at stealing it. It’s also a good idea to park a little bit away from train or subway stations, and to avoid leaving it in the same place everyday since that makes you an easy target to any thieves that pick up on your patterns.

    People often say to ride a beater bike around instead of a nice one, but many casual thieves are just looking for any bike to trade, so this is really no guarantee that they won’t try to grab yours. It just comes down to making them work harder for it by using the proper deterrents, such as a good lock, bike alarm, and proper locking technique.

    If a lot of this sounds like common sense it’s because frankly it is common sense. In the second part of this post we’ll go over some clever hacks for preventing parts from being stolen off of your bike while it’s locked up, so stay tuned.

    *It’s not that you should hope they get their bike jacked, and we certainly don’t want that to happen to anyone, but they’re already easy pickings so you might as well let their bike block for you.

    Links on locks and locking techniques: