“It’s going to get stolen anyway,” is a common argument against good bikes. But do you have to let a bike thief spoil the joy of cycling? No way! Just follow one or two simple tips and the wheel will stay where it belongs.
Opportunity makes thieves – this is especially true for bicycles. So the first step: never park your bike without a lock. Secondly, you also need to use the lock properly. Simply threading it through the front wheel won’t help; it’s best to connect the frame and one of the wheels together to a fixed object, such as a lean-to parking bracket or a lamppost. By the way, good lean-to parkers have a steel eyelet that allows the bike lock to be placed as far from the ground as possible. Thus, the bottom cannot be used as a lever, for example, for bolt cutters. Because when a lock is picked, it is usually by sheer force, i.e. with bolt cutters or saws, and only rarely on the lock cylinder, for example by picking.
Good to know: On average, thieves take about three minutes to pick a bicycle lock. So this period has to be bridged with strategy and technology.
The Ten Percent Formula
Wheel locks come in many shapes and also colors – but which one is suitable? Simple rule of thumb: The security technology should cost about ten percent of the bike’s value. So for children’s bikes or used ones from the flea market, the somewhat thinner cable spiral will do, but for classier sports and travel bikes, a three-figure investment in thick chains, U-bolts or space-saving folding locks is recommended. Combination locks are only secure to a limited extent.
Of course, this is all also a question of location. Even when you park your bike, you can spoil your mood. So busy places are better than quiet corners. Parking within sight feels best. Deterrence also helps: If thieves see at first glance that a lot of work awaits them, they look for easier targets. Therefore, it is advisable for commuters, for example, to combine two different types of locks. Especially if they always park their bike in the same place or in crime hotspots like train stations. This even has additional benefits, because many bike thieves specialize in a particular type of lock.
- Lightweight, thin wire rope lock to quickly secure baskets and bags to carry along
- Frame lock: permanently installed immobilizer for the short hop to the bakery
- Cable or spiral cable lock for inexpensive bikes and/or monitored parking spaces
- Folding lock: in different qualities, difficult to crack because links rotate
- The heavy U-lock is the unbroken classic – best with square shackle
- Armored cable lock and armored chain – withstand the heaviest equipment
- Smart loop: sheathed lock extension, e.g. for front wheel, child trailer or similar.
You can also find more tips and precautions on bike theft at our partner (ADFC).