The Chainlink

By Greg Heck and the Chicago ABUS team

Riding to work, meeting friends for brunch, and trips to the beach can be much more enjoyable (and often more efficient) on two wheels. However, a perfect day can be ruined if you return to find your bike missing. Sadly, bike theft is an epidemic, with a bike stolen every 30 seconds and very few of them are recovered (source: Project 529). Those facts may give pause to a lot of riders, however, with a proper lock system and smart locking habits, you can make thieves consider finding another profession (or at least another bike).

How

1. Always use a high-security u-lock, folding lock, or chain to secure the main frame of your bicycle.

 

If your bike was stolen today, how much would you pay to get it back? An upfront purchase of a high-security lock is a good investment.

 

2. Never use a cable or other low-security lock as your main defense against theft. Cables should only be used for securing individual components like wheels or saddles.

 

 

3. Since replacing components on any bike can be quite expensive, always secure the individual components (wheels and saddle/seatpost) with a cable or component security system like the ABUS NutFix

 

4. We all make mistakes. Even the most seasoned bike commuter can lock their bike improperly. ABUS always recommends taking a step back to look at your bike after locking it up to make sure it is secured before heading on your way.

 

Where

While we recommend locking to a proper bike rack, finding a bike rack is not always possible. In these cases, other permanent structures should be used. These include parking meters, light poles, and permanent traffic signs.

  • Keep in mind that not all streets signs are created equal: Beware of “dummy poles" when looking for a place to lock your bike. Dummy poles are parking or traffic signs with bolts at the base that can easily be loosened and removed. Thieves will remove or loosen the bolts ahead of time, making it simple to lift the pole and slide the lock off. The thief can then transport the bike to another location for lock removal. 

 

  • Never lock to objects or materials that are weaker than your lock. These include small trees, chainlink fencing, or wooden structures. Also, do not lock to construction scaffolding or other private structures. In these locations, locks may legally be cut by the property owner.

  • When looking for a place to lock your bike, areas with high pedestrian traffic and good lighting are recommended. Thieves don’t like company.

  • Shared storage rooms, garages, porches, indoor bike parking, and car bike racks are not always safe. We recommend always locking your bike in these locations.

  • Any lock can be defeated with the proper tools. Do not lock your bike up overnight in a non-secured location. If you must lock up overnight, a second high-security lock is recommended.

 

Register Your Bike

Registering your bike can help in its retrieval in the unfortunate event that it is ever stolen. For Chicago residents, bicycle registration can be done with the Chicago Police Department: https://home.chicagopolice.org/online-services/online-bicycle-regis...


On a national level, project529.com, also known as 529 Garage (which acquired the National Bike Registry in January of 2017) has been making great strides toward reducing bike theft. The website offers a place to register your bike by storing its information and photos, and can alert authorities and its online community about stolen bikes in real time. 529 Garage's Android/iOS app (currently in beta) sends out a detailed alert to all users when a bike has been stolen.

 

The Chainlink also has additional resources to help you register your bike on Bike Index and what to do if your bike is stolen.

 

A few recent ABUS product reviews on The Chainlink:

Product Review: ABUS Bordo 6100 Combination Lock by a Commuter

Product Review: ABUS Bordo 6000 by a Mountain Biker 

 

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Comment by Kevin Wright on June 15, 2017 at 10:42am

Good tips, please also note the first photo in this article is a No-No.  When using a public bike rack keep the key on the Bike side, not the rack side.  By doing this you take the other side of the rack away from a fellow cyclist.  They can't lock up and block your key hole.  This, of course, is if they even notice which I doubt many will.  Now you come back and your key hole is blocked by another bike and you are unable to unlock your bike.

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