Cut out the chance of having your bike stolen at home and you dramatically reduce the chance that your bicycle will be stolen.
The 2009/2010 British Crime Survey report, shows that well over two thirds of all bicycles reported stolen (68%) are taken from peoples’ homes, including outside areas and garages around the house.
Most people would assume that most bike thieves hang out on the streets, opportunistically looking for cycles to steal but given that there are far more bikes in people’s houses than there are locked up on the streets, on a raw statistical level, the nation’s homes provide a far more “bountiful” source of bikes than the streets.
There is substantial anecdotal evidence of stories on Twitter bikes being stolen at home, taken from their gardens, and pinched from landings in apartment blocks. These stories outnumber the (still considerable) number of stories of bikes stolen off the streets.
The need to keep your bike safe and secure at home is increased by standard conditions of cycle insurance. These require the insured bicycle to be kept secure whilst inside the property to an immovable object.
Storing in the home is the best security
We all want to keep our bikes safe, dry and out of the way. The best way of keeping your bike safe at home is keeping it in the home itself. As mentioned in other bike security articles we take a pragmatic approach to cycle security so we don’t think there is any need to lock a bike in the home.
In the house, bikes can be stored out of the way with hooks which can be attached to walls for hanging bikes out of the way but there are also bike stands and pulley/lever devices for lifting bikes into unused space above walking height.
However, most houses are not built to store bicycles and there is a real demand for property that provides storage facilities inside the home. In London, there has been a surge in demand for new-build homes/flats that have outdoor sheds, basement car parking or purpose-built blocks with allocated bike parking.
Lack of storage space in the flats often results with bikes being left unsecured in communal gangways or stairwells. Sadly bike thefts in such places do occur. If there is an opportunity to store a bike just outside your flat, consider investing in a ground anchor and attach it securely to a wall or concrete floor or ask your landlord to install one for you.
If locking to a handrail or a banister in a flat, make sure you use two locks to lock your bike. If there are a number of tenants or leaseholders within a flat complex who own a bike, you could collectively ask the property owner to install bike stands such as a Sheffield stand, a toast rack type stand or lockable containers inside the flat building.
Sheds, garages and gardens
In most cases, due to lack of space in the home, for reasons of storage or no facilities in flats, bikes are left in a garage, shed or in a householders garage. Theft from these places are at their greatest.
We’ve seen people put proper, secure cycle stands in their gardens or at the front of their house (similar to the ones the council put up, like these). These aren’t always beautiful but they are secure.
You could also consider installing a steel loop or other fixed anchor point to a wall and lock your bike. Also if locking in a garden, try to keep your bike out of sight so as not to attract the opportunist thief.
A more discreet option would be a bike locker, which has the advantage of storing several bikes and also keeping them dry. These can cost a few hundred pounds but are particularly good for those without too much space inside their home.
When it comes to sheds or garages, half the job in securing the bike is in making sure the shed or garage is thief proof itself. If you’ve paid a whole load of money for just a bike, then you should make the effort to properly secure your shed/garage. Doors are generally the weak point for both. When it comes to a shed, sure you invest in a decent padlock and don’t rely on the one that may have come with the original shed. Another option would be to include installing a basic alarm. If on holiday for some time, consider frosting windows so a thief can’t see what is inside a garage or shed.
One of the more common mistakes made when storing a bike in a shed or a garage is that they are left unsecured. Always make sure bikes are locked together or locked to a secure immovable object with two locks. For bikes, you may want to consider putting in a heavy-duty floor anchor or a wall anchor in your shed or garage.
However you secure your bike at home, the important point is that you shouldn’t think that your bike is safe just because it is on your property. A bike is (clearly) a movable object and needs to be secured, fastened, tied down, boxed up in a way that does not result in your bike becoming another home office statistic.