With lock and tactic vs. bicycle theft
“That will get stolen anyway” is a common argument against quality bicycles. Yet, must one let the joy of cycling be spoiled by fear? No way! One only need follow one or two simple tips for the bike to stay where it belongs.
Opportunity creates thieves – is especially true for bicycles. The first step then: never park your bike without a lock. Secondly, one must use the lock properly. Simply threading through the front wheel is insufficient. It is best to lock the frame and one of the wheels together to a solid object, such as a frame rest on a bike stand or a lamppost. Good frame rest parkers, incidentally, have a steel eyelet with which the lock can be mounted as far as possible from the ground. Thus, the ground cannot be used as a lever, for instance, for bolt cutters. When a lock is cracked, then usually by brute force; i.e. with bolt cutters or saw, and rarely at the lock cylinder, for instance, by picking.
Good to know: Thieves take about three minutes on average to crack a lock. This time span therefore needs to be bridged with strategy and technology.
The 10% formula
Bicycle locks are available in many shapes and colours – but which is suitable? A simple rule of thumb: The safety technology should cost around ten percent of the value of the bike. For children’s bicycles or the second-hand mount from the flea market the somewhat thinner cable spiral does the trick. For high-class sport and touring bikes, a three-digit investment in thick chains, U-locks or space-saving folding locks is recommended. Combination locks are only limitedly secure.
Of course, this is also a location issue. One can undermine bicycle thieves´ good mood simply by choosing one´s parking spot. Thus, busy places are better than quiet corners. Parking within sight feels best. Deterrence also helps: if thieves see at first glance that they are in for a lot of work, they look for easier prey. Therefore, for commuters it is advisable, for example, to combine two different lock types. This especially goes if you always park your bike in the same place or at criminal hotspots such as train stations. This even has additional value, since many bike thieves have specialised in a particular lock type.
- Light, thin wire lock for fast grab ´n run prevention of baskets and bags
- Frame lock: permanently installed immobiliser for the short trip to the baker
- Cable or coiled cable lock for cheap bicycles and/or supervised parking places
- Folding lock: in different qualities, difficult to crack because links rotate
- The heavy U-lock is the unbroken classic – preferably with square profile bracket
- Armoured cable lock and curb chain – withstand even the heaviest tools
- Clever loop: sleeved lock extension, e.g. for the front wheel, child trailer etc.