Many children, teenagers, college students and yes, adults will be getting new bicycles for Christmas! Biking is fun and the exercise is good for your body. What’s not to love?
Here is the thing though; as much as you love your bike, so do thieves!
Bicycles are easy to steal.
Just ask anyone in the Netherlands where bike riding is a way of life.
Here are some fun and not-so-fun facts about bicycles in the Netherlands.
(and we are sharing these because we can learn from the Dutch about how to protect our property!)
Where and how are these bicycles stolen?
Most bikes are stolen from stores, train stations and schools, as that’s the mode of transportation for the Dutch.
In the USA, most bicycles are stolen from where you think they might be safe; from homes, garages and yards.
There are ways to make it harder for a thief to ride off with your possession!
Don’t make it too easy for someone to walk or ride away with your bicycle. Always, always double check that your bicycle is locked before walking away from it.
Fact; many Dutch people use two (or three) locks! They idea is that if you use multiple locks, it takes longer for a thief to open the locks and thus to steal your bike. Chances are someone might see the thief mess with the bike and alert authorities. One lock makes it just too easy!
There are locks and then there are locks. A cheap lock can be opened with a screwdriver in under 2 seconds! Seriously. So buying a more expensive lock buys time because they will be much harder to open! Certified locks are more expensive, but if you (or Santa) have already paid for an expensive bike, don’t you want to protect your investment?
This is to prevent a thief from using the ground to leverage whatever tool they are using to break your lock. It’s an added security measure that’s easy to remember – lock up high.
We recommend using a long, strong chain lock to secure your bicycle to a permanent, stationary object. In your garage that might be a bolted-down bike rack or a heavy wall unit. When out and about we recommend you secure your bicycle to a garden gate, a metal fence or a mailbox post, just to name a few options if you are looking around.
Smart thieves would know how to leave the wheel and steal your bike! Make sure to lock the frame of your bicycle to the stationary object. This is where a second or even third lock would come in handy; first secure the frame to a stationary object, then secure the wheels to the frame.
If you have a choice, leave your bicycle in full view of where you will be. If you are going in a store, lock up your bicycle right outside. If this is not an option, leave the bicycle in full view of the general public. Locking it up in a dark parking garage gives thieves a real opportunity to come and steal your bike as not many people will witness the crime.
Cameras are your friend! Install security cameras in your garage, trained on your bicycle and other valuables.
Another tool you can use is a GPS tracker. You will know where your bicycle is at all times!
These tips are all for bicycles, but they work for motorcycles as well!
Have fun, and be safe on the road – don’t forget to wear your helmet.