To improve your shopping experience today and in the future, this site uses cookies.
I Accept Cookies

Lock it or Lose it!

Words by bike zone oxford on 13/07/2019 18:05:13

How to avoid being a victim of bike theft

The Bad News 
According to reports from Thames Valley Police, 1,816 bikes were stolen last year in Oxford’s Local Police Area, or approximately five cases per day! Allowing for unreported bike thefts, the number is likely even greater. The largest number of bicycle thefts occurred in Oxford Central (734 cases), followed by Oxford East (411 cases) and Cowley (211 cases).

The Good News
Unlike in London and some other bike theft hot-spots, the majority of bike thieves operating around Oxford are not very professional. They tend to be opportunistic (very cheeky sometimes!) but don’t routinely go around with fancy lock-cutting equipment. However, if they get to know that there’s usually a nice bike left in a quiet back-yard at certain times of day they will find a way to take it, even if it’s fairly well locked.
So how do you keep your bike safe from those pesky bike thieves?

Use a good quality lock
Its very easy to convince yourself that a £10 cable lock will be fine, especially if it’s for an inexpensive bike, but they are completely inadequate for locking bikes out on the street. They can easily be cut with a small pair of cable cutters - the tool that most Oxford bike thieves do carry with them! There is an argument for spending less on a lock for an inexpensive bike, but bear in mind the major hassle and annoyance factor of having your bike stolen. If the bike is going to be left out around the streets of Oxford a reasonable quality U-lock or (heavier) chain-type lock are the minimum that you should have. For a better quality bike it is worth upgrading to a silver or gold-rated “Sold Secure” lock (prices from about £35). 

Lock the bike properly
Leaving your bike leaning against a wall with the rear wheel locked to the frame is simply not good enough. Oxford bike thieves won’t think twice about carrying it away lock and all! Also, locking through a wheel to a solid object is asking for trouble - if you wander round Oxford you will see plenty of well-locked wheels with the rest of the bike missing, stolen. This is especially easy for thieves if the wheels are the quick-release type. In fact we recommend that people remove quick-releases on bikes that are to be used for commuting. Finally, a bike that is well secured with a decent lock is then only as secure as the object to which it is locked. Care must be taken to ensure that the fixing point is sound. There are places around the city where street furniture has been messed about with to facilitate the theft of bikes - street signs are loose so that locked bikes can be lifted up and off the top of the sign post, bike racks where the metal tubing has been pre-cut and then taped back up to try to catch out unsuspecting bike owners! It is easy to be careless locking the bike when you're running late for something and all the bike racks are full up, but you have to be strict with yourself at times like that if you want to keep your precious bike.

Keep it visible
Try to lock your bike up in a visible public area. Areas with low footfall give bike thieves more time to steal your bike without being disturbed. Bear in mind that no lock is unbreakable, with the correct tools and enough time a thief can get into any lock. So it really comes down a combination of having a strong lock that takes a long time to brake and parking the bike somewhere that doesn't allow the thief to spend lots of time trying to brake it. Also,  don’t lock it in the same place every day. Bike thieves often target known parking locations for nice bikes. 

If you think you're in need of a lock upgrade then come into the shop and look at our wide range of leading brand locks. Don't forget if you have one of our Privilege discount cards, show it before paying to make some great savings!