City biking in the United States is still a relatively new phenomenon. Most major US cities are not built to handle cars, bikes, and buses on the same road. Those who do choose to bike to work are at a very high risk for accidents and bicycle thefts. For example, while people riding bikes in New York City is at an all-time high, the number of bicycle thefts has also skyrocketed.
While thieves are smart about how to get what they want, there are ways to either make their job harder or put a wrench in their plans altogether.
There are two parts to keep your bike safe: where you store it and how you store it. These are universal tips that can be applied to all city bike riders.
Where To Store Your Bike:
- Inside – If at all possible, bring your bike indoors with you. This significantly cuts down the risk of your bike being stolen and gives you the peace of mind of always knowing its location.
- A Public Location – The more foot traffic there is past a location, the better. Also, locking your bike up in an area with other bicycles is better than locking it up on a pole by itself.
- Well-Secured Bars – Most bike posts are bolted into the sidewalk. However, bolts come loose over time, so make sure whatever your bike is locked to is not in danger of coming unhinged.
How To Store Your Bike:
- Choose The Right Locks – Heavyweight locks used correctly are the first step in smart bike security. U-locks, D-locks, or thick chains are the three best options because they are both hard to cut through and they can link through multiple parts of a bicycle.
- Lock All Parts Of Your Bike – Link the lock (or locks) through both wheels and the frame. The more obstacles you create for thieves, the less likely you are to lose your bike.
- Use Multiple Locks – Again, this is a matter of adding to the trouble a thief has to go through to accomplish his goal. The harder you make it for them, the better for you.
Most major cities have bike sharing programs, like Citi Bike in New York City, which means you don’t need your own bike and have a place you can lock it up at the end of your ride. While this system is mainly meant for tourists, it can work for people who live within the city limits.
However, if you do own your own bike, the first thing you should do is register on a site such as Bike Index. Sites like these provide serial numbers for your bicycle, and if your bike does get stolen, it is easier for the police to locate and verify that the bike is indeed yours.
As city biking becomes more and more common as people try to exercise more and do more for the environment, it’s important that basic security measures not be discarded. The more secure you know your property is, the more you can enjoy the ride!