Between the great weather and less-than great public transit options – more people are biking in D.C. than ever before. While this means more bikes are taking advantage of our bike lanes and trails, it also inevitably means an uptick in stolen bikes.
Learn the best steps to take to make sure your bike isn’t stolen.
1. Your bike should be more secure than the bike parked next to it.
While you may not be able to 100% secure your bike, you can make your bike the least accessible target for a bike thief.
2. Never lock your bike to anything that it can be lifted over.
This could be a street sign or hydrant. And make sure the object you lock your bike to is fixed to the ground.
3. Never rely on a cable lock to secure your bike.
Cable locks can be cut in seconds with compact size bolt cutters.
4. The smaller the U-lock, the better.
Not only is it lighter to carry around, the smaller size gives the thief less room to mount a leverage-based attack on the lock (i.e. pry it open with a crowbar).
5. Use multiple locking mechanisms.
With one U-lock, there is no possible way to secure all the components on your bike that a thief might steal. Use a cable lock to secure your front wheel to the frame while a U-lock secures your rear wheel and frame to a fixed object.
Use a second U-lock to secure your front wheel to the frame.
Use locking skewers to secure your wheels and a bolt-on seat clamp to replace a quick-release seatpost.
6. Lock your bike the right way.
The primary component in this strategy is a mini U-lock. This U-lock goes through the back wheel (inside the rear triangle of the frame), securing the bike to something solid. It’s impossible to pull the frame away from the wheel when the lock is positioned in the triangle of the bike frame. Another strategy is to use a larger U-lock to lock both the rear wheel and the frame.
7. Know the BAD ways to lock your bike and avoid them.
Frame only: If you lock your frame only, you risk your wheels being stolen – especially if you have quick release wheels. Always lock both your frame and wheels.
Wheel only: If you lock your wheels only, and not your frame, your risk your frame being removed from the locked wheel. Always lock both your frame and wheels.
Post only: There are many ways to secure your seat – security bolts, chains, removing the post all together – but no matter what, don’t rely on your seat to secure your entire bike. If someone is able to remove your seat post when locked like the photo above, your bike is long gone.
*Never leave anything on your bike that can be easily removed, such as lights and saddle bags.