Bike Theft – A Guide To Protecting Your Property

Published: 21/08/2013

The London 2012 Olympics and Paralympic games boosted sporting participation by the millions; inspiring people from all walks of life into sports like Running, Swimming, Archery and Netball. One of the sports to have seen a large proportion of growth in recent years is cycling.  The inspiring efforts of Chris Hoy and Bradley Wiggin’s in 2012 along with the announcement that the Tour De France is coming to Yorkshire are just a few of the reasons why thousands of people have been motivated back into the saddle and hundreds to invest in new bikes and accessories.  Halfords’s alone have seen a 32% rise in demand for their repair services and this year saw a 15.1% lift in revenues from cycling alone in the last three month.  With more households storing bikes than ever before bike security and safety are two of the hot topics online at the moment. Which is not surprising really, when you consider that bike thefts in some of the biggest towns and cities like London, Manchester, and Liverpool are on the rise. Nearly all the regions across the UK have experienced an annual increase in bike thefts with London, Themes Valley and Cheshire seeing the largest increase in bike related thefts. It is important to note that only 1 in 5 bike thefts are reported to the police, therefore accurate statistics are almost impossible to attain.  Even the current inaccurate statistics released by police forces around the UK seem to be worrying considering that most new unsecured bikes are being stolen within 2 years of purchase.  You might be surprised to hear that people are still leaving their bike unsecured on their premises and the majority of thefts (over half of the recorded cases) occur from thieves entering onto premises and taking the bicycles away. For those who are yet to consider their security for their bikes then we have put together a resource to help you best protect your pride and joy against would-be burglars.

Bike Locks: 

With a million and one bike locks on the market it is hard to know what would best suit your needs. So in a bid to help you choose the right one for your garden we have provided a short description of each of the common locks on the market today:

Cable Locks

There are three traditional cable locks;  Basic Cable – Usually a steel cable of various thicknesses covered in plastic – traditional used for the basics of bike security needs. Coiled Cable– A low level security lock that houses sprung cables, which can recoil for ease of storage and transportation.  Armoured Cable – The best of all the cable locks is protects the steel cable with a hardened steel shell that is frustratingly difficult to cut.  Armoured cables can weigh as much as 2.8 kg they are often supplied with a carrying bracket.

padlock on bike spokes  


Chain Padlocks

The different weights, lengths and chain link sizes all affect the security of a chain padlock. The thicker the chains and the closer the links spaces are the better the level of security, especially if the ends of the chain are locked into a close shackle padlock as they are less resistant to levering. These types of chains are generally covered with a protective fabric or plastic sleeve to reduce corrosion and to avoid damaging the bike’s paintwork.  Chain padlocks are one of the best overall security locks available; however they tend to be heavy and cannot easily be carried on the bike, but make the perfect lock for those that plan on just using a lock in their garden or shed.

D and U Locks

Both shaped locks comprise of hardened steel shackles of various lengths, widths and thicknesses, which lock into an oblong shaped lock body. Often compared to an oversized padlock, the lock is lightweight making it easy to transport, apply and secure. The length of the D and U locks reduce the space between the secured bike and the desired secure object (Shed, drain bike, fence, etc…) minimising levering points. These types of locks have become increasingly common in recent years and are reliable for covering home bike security and in-town/parking security needs. When it comes to bike security in the garden or shed it is important to invest in a lock that is suitable for your needs.  Investing in the right lock can make all the difference and failure to use the wrong shipped, weighted or shaped lock can result in a preventable theft.  


Bike with heavy-duty security lock

For more information on the different types of bike locks including information on Skewers and Cuff shackles and their uses visiting Crime Prevention Website in which the above information was inherited from.  If you would like to find out more information on how to lock your bike correctly then these websites have excellent guides; London Cyclists and Howdini or watch this short video guide created by PC Ian MacPherson, from the Metropolitan Police that gives you some useful tips so that you can properly lock your bike safely up safely:

Shed Security

When you have invested in a bike the first thing you need to make sure is that you don’t let the world know that you are storing a bike in your shed. For those that use their sheds for bike storage amongst other things there are a few extra security precautions you might want to consider:

Obscure its view

If you ensure your expensive bike cannot be seen from the outside of your shed then they might be less interested in breaking into your shed and riding away with your prize possession.    One of the easiest and most cost-effective methods of blocking the view is to cover your shed windows with spray on glass frost, which can pick up from your local DIY store. Other methods of making glass more opaque include covering your windows with cardboard, newspaper or stick on film sheets.   If you rely on the light drawn through the shed windows then consider using the film or spray on frost as they enable light to be pulled through but completely block preying eyes.

Shed Alarms

More often than not a shed will store a wide range of valuables as well as your bike so fitting an alarm can be a reassuring security methods for those overly concerned about a potential break-in.    Key fob alarms can be picked up from loyal DIY-stores and installed almost effortlessly. All you need to do is install a sensor onto your door and or windows so when it detects movement of either an alarm will sounds and it can only be turned off with the fob key. 


For those that have invested a significant amount of money on a new bike then you might want a little bit more protection through surveillance. If you can’t afford to install and run your own camera then you can pick a dummy camera online for under £10. Dummy cameras can be fixed to your shed or premises to act a deterrent.    For those that feel that they would like an outside camera that can record and hold footage for at least 48 hours then these can also be picked from as little £30.    As deterrents go cameras can offer piece of mind to bike and shed owners alike, but they can also attract unwanted attention by advertising your property/shed as having highly valuable assets.     

Old brown shed


Some of the cheapest deterrents are the signs you can often find in your local supermarket. You know the beware of the dog signs and the surveillance in operations signs you can pick up for 99p can be added to you shed, gates and fences to warn off any potential thief’s from entering you premises.   


One security measure the Bike Rader website recommends is the toughening up of door hinges. Usually door hinges will have standard sized screws securing the hinges in and the website recommends replacing these with strong and wider screws to reduce the ease of forced entry. All owners need to do is remove the old screws, widen the holes and then secure wider, strong more quality screws that will take/hold onto the door better.

Hasps and padlocks

Most modern high quality metal bike storage sheds come with basic key locks and these are great for your basic security needs, however the addition of a hasps and padlock can make your shed as secure as fort Knox.  The addition of a quality padlock and hasps will be an essentially deterrent to thieves, but a balance between security and attracting unwanted attention need to be considered before you go out and buy the biggest padlock you can find.    You don’t want to advertise the fact you have something to protect so make sure you invest in a solution that is proportionate to your shed!

Wall Racks & Floor Anchors

If you and your family have a passion for cycling then you might have multiple bikes that need protecting. A wheel rack or a floor anchor can often two of the easiest mass security solutions on the market for your shed if you regularly need to access your bikes.   Racks can either be secured to the floor or walls of the shed to save space and floor anchor generally work well when a shed has a solid foundation. A large chained lock will often suffice when securing several bikes to a wall or floor mounted wheel rack. Wheel racks offer security in numbers as it highly unlikely that a thief would be able to squeeze three bikes through your shed door easily.

Bike Covers

Covering your bike in your shed with an old sheet or bike cover can be a good way of reducing the attractiveness of your sheds or gardens content.  You can pick up a basic bike cover from as little at £5 online! 

Extra Protection 


For those that rely on their bike to commute to work every day then investing in bike cover essential. A stolen bike can be more than an inconvenience to you and your family, especially when you report the incident to the police.  If you value you bike and or your bike is valuable and you want to make sure it is covered on and off your premises then it’s best to shop around for the best bike insurance deals. It is important that you read the terms and conditions of your cover as you might only be covered for a limited amount and you might have to pay an excess should you make a claim.   You might find that you are covered in your home and content agreement, however claiming on home insurances will usually cost more than a bespoke claim through a bike insurer. Also it is worth mentioning that a claim on a home insurance policy “could” push up your premiums next time you renew your policy. It’s important that you look at what protection you currently have around your bike and home, the cost of claiming and the repercussion of claiming should the worst happen. 

Bike Registration 

The website Immobilise is the world largest free possession ownership database. The website has become a very effective tool for those who register as it can help repatriate recovered personal property to its rightful owners. Immobilise can be used by members of the public to registers their bikes and other valued possessions on their database which gives them an ownership account which are viewable on the Police national property database the NMPR, which means that if your bike is recovered by the police they have a good chance of finding you and returning the stolen bike.   There are other register databases online which are free but considering that the as a direct result of Immobilise there are over 250 cases a week where property is returned or information collected that assists the Police in investigating criminal activity involving stolen good, registering with a the long standard site is highly recommended.  Click here to read more about the Immobilise database.

Neighbourhood Watch 

  Neighbourhood watch logo

The Neighbourhood Watch is a voluntary network of schemes where neighbours come together, along with the police and local partners, to build safe and friendly communities and has been going since 1982 in the UK. The network enables individual sand neighbourhoods to share concerns within their local community.  The aim of the network is to drive down crime in trouble neighbourhoods and works with the local community to reduce crime.  If you feel that your bike and shed are at risk due to increased crime in your area then it is advisable to not only speak to the police but also consider taking to the NHW. Working with your neighbours can mean that extra security measures can include on your street/area: no cold calling zones, key holder schemes, home security improvement drives and even architectural alterations to reduce the potential for crime and anti-social behaviour on estates. Joining your local scheme can ensure you and your property are better protected, you become educated on the crime around your area ad you communicate with your neighbours who can help keep an eye out for bike thieves. If you’re interested setting up your own NHW scheme click here to find out more information.

Bike Security Resources 

With the tough economy forcing workers to down scale and the Olympic and Paralympic Games inspiring us to get on our bikes it is not hard to imagine the opportunities presented to thieves on a daily basis. We hope this guide will help you keep your bikes and sheds safe and if you need more information take a look at the following useful resource section, in which you will find useful website and article on how to keep your bike, home and shed safe:  Bike Register - Bike Theft Statistics - Bike Theft Research - Bike Advice & News - Anti-theft Advice: - General Bike Security Advice- Neighbourhood Watch - Article: How to Lock your Bike: Recovering a Stolen Bike - Reporting Stolen Bikes - Bike Insurance - Bike Crime Prevention - Article: Five ways cyclists can help police tackle bike theft:

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