Need to know how to lock a bike and keep it safe? We've got it covered

Many people depend on their bikes or e-bikes to get to work every day and theft can be a big fear factor, and really inconvenient! We’ve got top tips from professional bike security experts and cycling pros to keep your bike safe.

Bike theft is a problem in most cities, whether it’s opportunist or organized gangs. In the United States, a bike is STOLEN EVERY 30 SECONDS according to a study carried out by 529 Garage, read that again! Every 30 seconds! That’s crazy! As well as being seriously inconvenient and upsetting, replacing a bike isn’t easy or affordable, so what can you do to protect your bike, wherever you live?

Do more than just lock your bike


1. Park smart! Tips on where you can lock your bike safely

It’s days when we’re in a rush that we need to be extra careful because thieves will target e-bikes that are easiest to steal without being seen (aka away from cameras or prying eyes).

Make sure you always park in busy public spaces Avoid leaving your bike overnight and don’t park in the same spot all the time.

At home, if you don’t have a shed or a garage you can lock up properly, look for indoor cycling hubs like the Oonee Hub in New York or guarded parking lots. Better safe than sorry.

Why not ask other cyclists for tips on where to park or do your own research? There are also amazing non-profits like the Bike Index that keep a database of bike theft hotspots. Forums like Reddit are super useful as well. This gives you an idea of which areas to avoid. Never underestimate the power of the cycling community!

2. Invest in a good bike lock and use it right!

We’ve lost track of how many times we’ve heard the same story about bikes getting stolen despite being locked. Good quality locks make a HUGE difference. Here’s what you should look for:

  • Locks that also lock components like wheels, handlebars etc. If thieves notice they can’t take your bike, they’ll take whatever else they can.
  • Locks with an alarm that sound loudly when they detect unusual movement.
  • Locks without cables or chains; they’re too easy to cut!
  • Locks with a gold standard rating.

Types of bike locks
There are lots of different types of locks, each of them offering a different level of protection, convenience and price:

D-locks, also known as U-locks, are a hit with cyclists because they're easy to carry around and not too heavy. You can attach a D-lock to your bike when you're not using it for decent protection without adding too much weight.

There are lots of D-lock options out there. While most will scare off a quick thief, it's a good idea to go for one with a Sold Secure rating for extra security.

Don't forget to keep your lock off the ground and fill up as much of the D-lock's shackle as you can to prevent leverage attacks. A D-lock with a shorter shackle can help with this, but it might be a bit trickier to lock up your bike.

You could always use two good D-locks – one for the back wheel and frame, and another for the front wheel and frame – you'll give your bike some solid protection.

Chains are also a popular choice for locking up your bike. The toughest ones are usually heavy chain locks with super strong links.

Chain locks often come with a cloth sleeve to keep your frame safe (like how most D-locks have a plastic coating). They are flexible, but they can be bulky and a pain to lug around.

For next-level bike security, consider getting a motorcycle chain (Sold Secure gives them a gold rating). You can also opt for folding locks with joints for easier carrying, but make sure those joints are sturdy to keep your bike safe.

Cable locks

Another choice is a regular cable lock. While a cable lock alone may not be as strong as a chain or D-lock, it can still be handy when used alongside a more secure lock.

Some cable locks have their own locking system, while others are looped at both ends and meant to be used with a D-lock or a separate padlock. Pairing a cable lock with a D-lock is a popular method that lets you secure the frame and wheels at both ends without lugging around two heavy locks.

Just remember that cable locks can be vulnerable to attacks, so they're best used as a deterrent rather than a foolproof way to protect your bike or its parts in risky areas.

Bike-locking tips:
How you lock your e-bike also makes a huge difference in deterring thieves. They want a quick and easy theft!

What to lock
Lock the back wheel and the bike frame to an immovable locking point. If you can afford it, use a second lock for your front wheel and the bike frame. Two is better than one.

Where to lock
Choose an immovable locking point fixed to the ground that cannot be cut by ordinary tools, and where the bike can’t be lifted. Examples include concrete posts, trees, street signs, streetlights, metal fences, and handrails. Always make sure you’ve chosen a spot in a well-lit, busy area.

How to lock
This might seem daft but it’s not just a case of lock and go, these tips could save your bike. When locking a d-lock – or any other lock – get a really tight fit, this will prevent thieves getting their tools in and cutting the lock; also, try to keep your lock off the ground with the keyhole facing the ground.

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3. Remove the e-bike battery if possible

Not all e-bikes come with removable batteries but if you can, we recommend removing it if you’ll be parked for a couple of hours. (Our Vida E+ is has a removable battery pack.)

The battery is the most valuable part of your e-bike, so thieves will steal them if they can’t steal the bike. Removing the battery also disables the e-bike and makes it less valuable.

4. Get techy and register your electric bike

The first thing you need to do after buying your electric bike is register it. Google “local bike registration programs” and register with your local law enforcement. You should also add your bike to databases like the Bike Index and Garage 529 in the USA, BikeRegister in the UK, and National Bike Register in Australia. You’ll need to input your bike’s serial number and photos of your purchase receipt and bike. This makes it easier for local authorities connected to the database to help you track down what’s yours.

Next, consider adding a GPS tracker where you can check its location in real time via an app. Conceal the tracker where it’s not noticeable, like inside the battery compartment or under the saddle. You can even set a notification alarm as soon as your bike starts moving. Some good examples include Sherlock GPS and Spytec GPS. Not gonna lie, this tech is also super useful for people who often forget where they parked!

Finally, consider using smart devices like Google Home, Alexa Echo or Nest Aware that can track suspicious movements and trigger an alarm if you own a garage. You can set this up via IFTTT, an app integration service that sounds the alarm and sends you notifications, plus other perks.

All of this tech can give you peace of mind when riding – and parking – in the city.

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5. Don’t skimp on e-bike insurance!

Most of us pay for a form of insurance, be it for health, travel, liability etc. Why wouldn’t we have one for our e-bikes when theft is so common? If you can prove you’ve taken measures to protect your bike, insurance should make it possible to get a replacement.

When shopping around for different insurance policies, please read the terms thoroughly to make sure it covers your bike. Homeowners’ and renters’ insurances don’t always cover e-bike theft but there are bike-specific insurance policies that offer coverage for both theft and accidents. As an added bonus, insurance also saves you time and trouble from tracking down your own bike and buying it back from the thief. (Which is ALWAYS  a terrible idea!)

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