Lock it or Lose it

Bikes Welcome Everyday Biking Bike Parking Bikes Mean Business

There is more to securing your bike than just a cheap cable lock.  Here is the basic advice from NZ Police

Bicycle security checklist

  • Use a strong chain and lock.
  • Lock your bike every time you leave it.
  • Lock your bike in a shed at night (don’t leave it lying around).
  • Keep a record of the frame number.
  • Etch your driver licence number, if you have one, on the bike frame.

We would add to that list:

  1. Lock your bike in a secure location to an immovable object.
  2. Choose a well lit location, with plenty of passers by or onlookers, preferable with CCTV or security personal patrolling.
  3. If you are leaving your bike for an extended (and/or predictable) period of time, such as at work, university, school or a train/bus station, security is extra important.  A locked cage, bicycle locker and/or patrolled facility will provide superior protection / deterrence to thieves.  It can also help not to always leave your bike in the same location.

Locking your bike

Use a strong lock.  Not all locks are created equally, and a bike thief can quickly, easily and subtly cut through many cable/chain locks.  The best and strongest locks are D Locks, and some brands, e.g. Kryptonite, are made for cities such as New York where bike theft is rampant.  Good locks cost money, but so did your bike, and so does your insurance excess.

Auckland Transport advise that you double lock your bike.

Using 2 locks to secure your bike makes it significantly less attractive target for a thief. To do this:

  1. Use two different types of locks, a D-lock and cable lock is a common combination.
  2. Put the first lock on the back of the bike through the frame and then through the rear wheel.
  3. Put the second lock on the front through the frame and the front wheel (especially if you have a ‘quick release’ wheel – one you can remove without tools).
Using a D lock to secure the frame, and a cable lock to secure the wheels

Watch the video from Auckland Police to see how quickly and easily a thief can cut through a cable lock.

And if you like to take advantage of the latest innovations check out:

The bike lock that makes bike thieves vomit


or the finger print activated bike lock (no more remembering which pocket you put your key in)



Recently my bike got ‘done over'(whilst I was attending a meeting with council about cycling facilities…. oh the irony!).  The accessories stolen from my bike had a replacement value of over $450.  My insurance excess was $300; so despite insurance I was significantly out of pocket.  The lesson: remove expensive accessories before leaving your bike, (or take it into the building with you).  Or choose cheap lights etc.

Register your bike

A few options exist to register your bikes details to make it easier to return to you if it is stolen and recovered.  Police may encounter what they suspect to be a stolen bicycle, but without the right details they cannot prove it.  In other cases police storage rooms contain bikes they cannot return to their owners.  Police advise: “Take time to locate and record the serial number and a photograph the bike for future reference”

Image courtesy of Auckland Transport

Tips for proving ownership:

Write your bike’s serial number in marker on paper and have someone photograph you displaying it next to your bike. Also take shots of identifying details and keep them stored in your phone. This enables proof of ownership if there is a dispute.  

Operation SNAP (official NZ Police site)

SNAP (Serial Number Action Partnership) is an initiative of the New Zealand Police, aiming to prevent New Zealand burglary and property offending, and make it harder for criminals to sell stolen goods in New Zealand. The initiative helps to protect property in a number of ways.

The SNAP website (http://www.snap.org.nz) allows you to enter and maintain details of all of your important possessions or assets. You can then access this asset list from anywhere, anytime. If your items are stolen, you can instantly retrieve your asset list details, and forward these on to the Police and your insurance company.

NZ Bicycle Registry (NZ MTB Web)

The New Zealand Bicycle Registry is a free service for storing vital information about your bike – most importantly your bike frame serial number. In the event of your bike being stolen you can notify the Registry so the Police, and others, can search for your bike if they recover it – anywhere in New Zealand. Here’s the concise list of all stolen or missing bicycles.

This national registry is open to police agencies throughout New Zealand to simplify the return of found property. Hundreds of bicycles are found by police every year and there has been no easy way for them to find the rightful owner – until now. The New Zealand Bicycle Registry aims to solve this problem.

The general public can also search through the list of stolen bikes before purchasing a second hand bike.

Tip: Store photos of your bike and serial numbers on-line

We take photos of our bikes and serial numbers and store them online in a cloud based solution such as: dropbox, evernote, google drive, iCloud, or your favourite photo sharing  storage app.  That way, even if our phones/cameras/computers get stolen, we still have access to the information; and it is easy to find and share with police.


Sometimes referred to as ‘uglification’ it is about making your bike less desirable to theives:

  • Etch your driver licence number, if you have one, on the bike frame.
  • Write your initials at 12 o’clock and 6 o’clock on each tyre/wheel with a permanent marker.­
  • Pen your name on the top tube and cover it with layers of clear packing tape. A thief can remove it with some effort, but it probably won’t be worth the hassle.
  • Covering parts of the bike frame with duct tape or reflective tape makes your bike distinctive and perhaps much less attractive to thieves.  So do decorations!

The high tech approach vs the no-tech approach

Of course there are some high tech solutions out there: hidden GPS trackers that help you track down your stolen bike.  Examples include: Sherlock, Spybike, and a number of others.  Thieves are pretty cunning though, and if your bike is really valuable, then maybe taking it indoors is the only solution – at least that is the view of an ex-bike their interviewed by the UK’s Guardian newspaper.  However for the average bike: two really good thick chains and not leaving your bike for extended periods in the same spot seem to be the go.

What to do if your bike is stolen?

    • Report the crime as soon as possible.  This, together with photos and serial numbers, will help police to identify and return your bike if it is recovered, as well as measure and report on crime.  You’ll need a police report for insurance purposes.
    • It may also help to let your local bikes shops know, or post photos online to cycling communities and social media asking them to look out for your stolen bike.

The Bikes Welcome message:

Great bike parking is essential in enabling bike users to secure their bikes and in deterring bike theft.

Characteristics of great bike parking:

  1. Separate bike parking for visitors and staff
  2. Clearly visible from businesses main entrance (without crossing a road)
  3. Supports frame not just wheel (no wheel benders)
  4. Can lock to it, with either a cable or (preferably) D-lock
  5. Securely attached to ground or other immovable object
  6. Kept clear for bike use
  7. Preferably: Undercover, security cameras and/or high traffic location, signposted.
Good bike parking supports the bike frame  and allows it to be securely locked

Bikes Welcome can help you achieve good bike parking, whether your are a bike user or a business.

To find out more about asking for or providing great bike parking check out the following links:

Everything you wanted to know about Bike Parking…..

Bike Parking for Business

Wheel benders – what’s all the fuss?

About Bikes Welcome

One thought on “Lock it or Lose it

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s