Top tips to prevent your bike becoming stolen – by 10 London bike shops

What are your top tips for keeping your ride safe in London?


We recently asked 10 London bike shops to provide their top tips to prevent your bike becoming stolen in London.

Their tips cover the importance of using quality Sold Secure locks, correct locking technique and choosing a suitable location to leave your bike. Also, to prevent the bike becoming stripped for parts, they suggest using security bolts and taking away removable parts/accessories.

Stayer Cycles

  • Bike thieves serve a market – people who want bikes on the cheap! Less desirable bikes are less quick to be bought and therefore less likely to be stolen. A bad colour brown or bright pink or luminous green and purple bike might be deterrents! Something weird surely is more recognisable and less saleable on the second-hand market where as the black Boardman or Specialised or Orange BLB single speed is where the easy resale is. I mean the more understated and common the more of a market and less option of tracking or identification.
  • I think a heavy duty lock is a great deterrent to opportunist thieves, and so are wheel locks or security skewers.
  • I would recommend thinking about where you park up and how you tie up your bike. Use monitored areas if possible and park it where you can see it or check on it if you are leaving it outside the pub or a shop.
  • How you tie up your bike is important. Thieves carry bolt cutters and a good quality set will get through most D-locks but only if there is the space to get the tool in and they have the leverage. If there are a couple of locks to get through in this way it might make someone think twice about bothering. Don’t tempt thieves by skimping on your lock but mostly, try to use it well.
  • Get an exploding bike lock that removes a finger if tampered with or one that sprays something that stinks like a skunk or shouts for help…! If in doubt park your bike inside or leave it in the custody of a local policeman or magistrate! If it is expensive then tag it or put a tracker in it and don’t just leave it unattended while you pop in to pick up a takeaway. Mostly be active in stopping bike crime by following and using Stolen Ride, passing on information of thefts to the police but also to your local bike shops.

Hub London

  • Use two locks
  • Spend as much as you can on security; even if your bike isn’t amazing
  • Try to keep your bike indoors at night
  • Never get complacent. The minute you get lazy with locking your bike up is when they’ll choose their moment.
  • Even if your bike is in your hallway or garden…lock it up!

Hackney Peddler

  • Buy a decent lock – silver or gold rated, nothing less
  • Swap out quick release skewers for security skewers on your wheels
  • Don’t leave your bike outside overnight
  • Keep a recent photo of it just in case the worst happens and you need to recover it

London Bike Kitchen

  • Get (or build!) a pub bike, the one that you don’t really care if it gets stolen (don’t buy a stolen bike as your pub bike though)
  • Invest in a good lock (or two – one D-lock and one chain)
  • Keep your bike indoors as much as possible, especially at home and overnight
  • If you only have one lock on you, use the Sheldon Brown technique and lock the rear wheel THROUGH the rear triangle. This will at least safeguard your frame and rear wheel.
  • Lock with a friend! Lock both your bikes to an immobile object and to each other

London Fields Cycles

  • Lock it well with a Sold Secure lock
  • Don’t leave it out overnight
  • Try to lock it in busy areas with high visibility
  • Try and keep it inside
  • Take off any devices such as lights and speedometers when being left outside

SBC Cycles

  • Use a good D-lock
  • Lock it to something equally solid
  • Secure your wheels, seat post, stem with Pitlock skewers
  • Use security Torx bolts on other items
  • Don’t leave it in high risk areas at night if it’s your nice bike

Isambard’s Cycles

  • Be conscious of where you’re locking your bike up. If it’s in a dark alley with little footfall and no CCTV, you’re asking for trouble.
  • Don’t scrimp on a lock. The more valuable and desirable your bicycle, it stands to reason the more you should spend on keeping it safe. That might sound obvious, but it’s surprising how often the lock is an afterthought.
  • Try not to leave it locked up overnight if you can avoid it – it’s when most bikes get pinched
  • Be aware of how easy it is for certain parts of your bicycle to be removed, and take appropriate precautions. If someone’s going out to steal bicycle part, they’ll probably go equipped with at least a set of allen keys and a spanner which could mean saying goodbye to your wheels,saddle, seat post and bars and stem – in the space of a few minutes.
  • Don’t EVER give in to that temptation to leave your unlocked bike unattended while you nip back in to the house to grab your shoes, or in to the shop to get that cheeky can of special brew. It’s a risk – there’s plenty of opportunist bike theft and it doesn’t take long for someone to ride off in to the sunset with the love of your life.

Seabass Cycles

  • Always lock your bike, leaving it outside a shop while you pop inside is a definite no
  • Lock it to something secure. Lamppost, railing etc…
  • Try not to leave it anywhere overnight
  • Take a photo for your records
  • Buy the best lock you can afford. You get what you pay for. A cheap lock may result in you losing your bike.

Blue Door Bicycles

  • Use a decent lock (or preferably 2)
  • Lock to something solid – ideally a bike stand – even in a shed
  • Lock the frame and not just the wheel
  • Secure your wheels – quick release has that name for a reason!
  • When out and about, pick somewhere well-lit and busy to park if you have the choice

Heales Cycles

  • Good Lock
  • Pitlock for wheels
  • Always lock in a busy visible location
  • Don’t leave any accessories on your bike
  • If possible lock in a bike storage area

The answers above are part of a wider interview we ran with the bike shops. 

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