Bike thieves are sneaky and resourceful so you've got to be diligent when locking your machine. When shackling your ride, it helps to examine how you've secured it while thinking like a thief. Ask yourself how you'd violate the lock and escape with the bike if you were a crook, and take pains to eliminate any risks. Here are some tips to help:
Lock your bike to something that can't easily be cut, broken or removed. And, don't attach your pride and joy to something like a loose or short pole. The crook might be able to pull the post out of the ground or lift your bike over the top.
Where you leave your bike is important, too. Secure your ride in a visible, well-lit area and you'll force the thief to operate in plain view, which may be enough to get him to pass on your machine and find another. And, don't routinely lock your baby in the same place all the time. A thief may notice the pattern and pick your bike as an easy target. Similarly, if you leave your rig outside a movie theater, a thief may realize there's a strong chance that you won't be out until the movie's over, which gives him time to get the tools he needs to swipe your ride. Also, if you store your bike in your garage, leave the door closed and consider locking the bike to something because you never know who might spot the bike when the door is open.
When using a U-lock (illustration), position your frame and wheels so that you fill as much of the open space within the lock's U portion as possible. The tighter the lock up, the harder it is for a potential thief to use tools to attack your lock.
Always secure your components and accessories, too, especially quick-release wheels and seat posts, with a secondary cable lock.
Don't rush when locking your bike because you might mistakenly lock it incorrectly. To prevent this, check your lock before leaving to be sure you've secured it properly.
For the greatest theft deterrence, use two locks such as a U-lock and a locking cable. This forces the thief to get through two locks and usually the creep will skip your bike and find an easier one to steal.
Get It Back If you're unlucky enough to have a bike stolen, don't assume it's gone for good. As long as you can identify the bike (you did record the serial number, didn't you?) and you're willing to do a little leg work, there's a chance of recovery. Immediately prepare a flyer with a photo and description of your bike. Include any details that make identification easier such as special accessories or markings on the bike. Post these flyers on telephone poles, on community bulletin boards, at colleges, by bus stops, in short, everywhere and anywhere. Also, hand them to all your friends and let us know as soon as possible so we can be on the alert, too (sometimes thieves think they can sell stolen bikes to bike shops and we're always on the lookout).
Sign Your Bike One thing that you can do that will help if you happen to find the bike is to put your name or license number on it somewhere secret. One hidden location is inside the handlebar (write your name on a piece of paper and slip it inside). You might also write your name on the underside of the seat. These marks will help in the event that you discover your bike at a swap meet or police auction because they'll help you prove ownership. Good luck. We hope these tips keep your bike yours!