Keeping Your Bike Safe

Preventing Bike Theft

To prevent that sinking feeling in your stomach when you return to find your bike stolen, combine some of the following tips to keep your bike safe.

To reduce theft:

  • Choose a good lock. When it comes to bike locks, you get what you pay for! They may be cheaper, but flimsy wire and cable locks are easily cut. U-locks, O-locks, and square-link heavy chain locks are the best bang for your buck. Big U-locks with lots of space are easy to break open, so choose smaller ones made of hardened steel. Use multiple locks if you can – cable locks can make good secondary locks, particularly when put through both wheels.
  • Pick a visible area to lock your bike in. Although bikes can be stolen in broad daylight with people around, thieves prefer to work in low profile areas.
  • Choose the object you’re locking to very carefully. Don’t lock to the sides of bike racks, which can be unbolted fairly easily. Trees and signposts can be sawed through, and bikes can be lifted over poles if there’s enough room at the top between the lock and the sign at the top of the pole.
  • Lock your bike PROPERLY so that the lock runs through:
  • either the main triangle formed by seat-tube, top-tube, and down-tube, OR the rear triangle formed by the seat-tube, chain stays, and seat stays;
  • the rims of BOTH wheels; and
  • the object you’re locking your bike to. Position the keyhole of the lock downwards if possible, to make it harder to drill through.

* Avoid locking only your wheel to the bike rack – especially with quick release wheels, as a thief can easily take your bike and leave the wheel behind.

  • Disguise your bike. Expensive brands and newer-looking bikes are easy targets. Cover logos with electrical or duct tape, or buff / peel them off. Remember, September and October are prime bike-theft months so take extra caution. Try to leave expensive bikes at home, or rent a bike locker on campus.
  • Record serial numbers. A serial number is a key piece of identifying information for the police to use when attempting to recover a stolen bike. If your bike does not ’t have one, get one engraved for free at the RCMP detachment on Wesbrook across from the Thunderbird Field. The Security Office located beside the Bookstore offers free engraving services as well.
  • Take photos of your bike once in a while. Record components and specs for easy identification.
  • Keep your bike inside overnight. Bikes left on campus at night are easy targets for vandals and thieves.

Quick Release Levers on Wheels and Seat Tubes

Quick release levers can make removing a wheel or adjusting your saddle height easy, without the need for tools. Unfortunately, this also makes it easy for others to remove your wheels or seat! Quick releases can be replaced by nutted axles or bolts, which require tools to remove. This may be the best option if you don’t often need to remove your wheels or adjust your seat; otherwise, lock your wheels and take your saddle and seat post with you when you lock up your bike.


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