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Bicycle theft is a PLAGUE. Keep your bike – and your sanity with these easy tips.
You love your bike. You look forward to riding it for fun and exercise. Your bike may be your prime mode of transportation to school or work. The WORST feeling is to walk outside and discover that someone has ripped you off!
Don't be a victim. Lock your bike CORRECTLY!
If you weren’t aware, COVID has inspired a huge surge in all outdoor recreation, including cycling. State Bicycle Co. has many models SOLD OUT before shipments arrive. This has also caused a shortage of used bikes – which makes disposing of stolen bikes easier than ever. A bike listed for sale on Craigslist may be sold in a few hours, often before the owner discovers it missing.
A recent article by National Public Radio (NPR Online) reports that bicycle thefts are up from 25% to over 50% across the U.S.! Thankfully, there are some common-sense methods to prevent the theft of your precious bicycle.
SBC stocks high-security bike locks. Use them to deter thieves.
First, invest in a decent bike lock. Sorry, the visual deterrent of a Dollar Store lock isn’t going to slow down a thief. Every hardware store sells bolt cutters that slice through standard padlocks like butter! SBC stocks some of the best rated locks. Many quality locks include a theft protection policy (see the individual lock registration process.)
A cable lock might work for a 5-minute coffee stop, but if you're locking up overnight or for a long period of time, you're going to want to get a U-Lock or something stronger.
Cheap locks INVITE thieves!
Second, learn to use the bike lock correctly. EVERY part of your bike needs to be locked. If it can’t be locked, remove it. The MAIN thing to remember is to lock both wheels AND the frame of your bike. DON’T get lazy and lock just one wheel – the rest of the bike will be gone when you get back. The chart below shows the right and wrong ways to use your locks. And yes, this includes those stops along the way that should only take a "minute".
Take the time to lock your bike securely.
If you have quick release wheels, consider detaching the front wheel and taking it with you. You may need a heavy-duty lock AND a cable to reach everything. The same goes for quick release seat post clamps - take your expensive saddle and seat post with you!
We made a fun guide so you can see how to properly lock up your bike here.
It should also be obvious that you need to lock your bike to something VERY secure. Have you ever seen a cable lock looped over a parking meter or street sign? NEVER just lock two bikes together and hope they will be there when you return. Likewise, don’t lock your bike to a movable sandwich board sign or even a small tree. A thief will steal your bike just to humiliate you.
Finding a secure bike rack may be a challenge in some neighborhoods. That is your responsibility. Look not only for a place to lock your bike, but also for a well-lit area, preferably with plenty of friendly pedestrian and vehicle traffic. With a little extra time, a thief can remove bolted on wheels, saddles, even handlebars – NOTHING is safe! If your workplace doesn’t have a secure bike rack, ask the management to install one. In the meantime, ask for permission to bring your bike into your workspace or a designated area – and then lock it there!
With enough time, anything can be unbolted and stolen
Another good idea is to check with your insurance agent in advance. Do you have Homeowner’s or Renter’s insurance? Is your bicycle covered if stolen from your home address? From school or your work address? Does your Auto policy cover your bike if stolen from a car carrier? Does your policy cap your coverage? This is crucial if you have an expensive bike or a high deductible or if only a $500 wheel is stolen. Don’t forget to take a few good photos of your bike from every angle, then create a file with the brand, model, serial number along with a copy of the purchase receipt.
If the worst happens and your bike is stolen?
Oh snap! Your bike has been stolen. Before you put on a cape and start beating bike thievs senseless here are a few do’s and don’t when it come to getting a bike stolen. Hopefully these tips will help you if you have a bike stolen and will help you prevent this from happening again in the future.
Don’t panic! While it may seem like life itself may be over it is important to keep your wits about you.
Do put the word out! Tell everyone and their grandmother that your two-wheel friend has been stolen. Do this on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, Craigslist and any other outlet you may think help get exposure. Share photos and descriptions letting people in the area know to keep an eye out for the bike. The thief may still be in the area and if people know to look then the better your chance of getting your bike back.
Don’t become a bike thief vigilante. You may be very angry about your bike being stolen but you don’t have to do this alone.
Do file a police report with the local police or campus police department. In most cases this can be done over the phone. You will have to give information on the make, model, year, and description of your bike along with some personal information. While it does take some time to give the police information, it is an important and a vital step if you want to file an insurance claim.
Don't count on good luck to keep your bike safe.
Do file a claim if you have insurance. Depending on the location of your bike theft and the type of coverage you have you will be able to file a claim/report. For example if your bike is stolen off a bike rack on your car it may be covered by your homeowners policy. I had a friend who’s bike was stolen off his roof rack and was able to get it covered through his homeowners insurance. If you have put a sizable investment into your bike make sure to get some sort of insurance to cover it. Without it you will most likely have to cover the entire cost of replacing your bike. Don’t put this off if you do not already have insurance.
If you use Kryptonite bike locks and it failed to keep your bike secure (read this document beforehand to make sure it qualifies) and followed the directions of the company to submit a claim, do so and file a claim for their protection guarantee. A police report is needed for this.
Don’t shut down. You got to keep your head up and try to stay positive after taking a moment to grieve. Being sad doesn’t help anyone and will only make the feeling of being wronged fester.
Do cry (just a little). It’s okay to grieve and accept the fact that your bike will most likely not be back between your legs anytime soon, if at all. Take a moment to accept the fact that bike thieves suck but don’t let it keep you down.
Now that the ugly part is over you can look onto new horizons, and on that horizon is you on your new bike. Depending on your financial situation you could use this opportunity to get that new bike you have had your eyes on for months.
At State Bicycle Co., we love bikes as much as you do. Bicycle theft is personal. If you are the victim of bicycle theft, we would like to soften the blow to your mind and wallet. That’s why we offer up to a $100 discount to anyone unfortunate enough to have had their bike stolen (IT DOESN'T HAVE TO BE A STATE BIKE THAT WAS STOLEN!). Learn more about our stolen bike policy here. This is another time your Police report will come in handy.