How do I store, Insure and keep my bike secure?

This is an issue whatever we ride, but personally I try to hold with the view that, although it is my primary means of transport, it is just a bike, to be used whenever, and just locked up in such a manner that it really is too much trouble/risk to nick. Ours are insured on our house policy, probably the cheapest (or free) option if you can do it, but bear in mind possible premium hikes if you do have to claim…

My own and a neighbour’s experience (he had to make a claim) with Halifax home insurance has been very positive. They will cover up to £10.000 of named cycles.

Separate dedicated and comprehensive e-bike cover is now available from lots of insurers, such as  ETA  or cycleguard ,  yellowjersey ,  Pedalsure and bikmo  which give reassurance both when parked, some also offering ‘rescue’ out on the road. Might sound expensive (typically around 5 – 10% of purchase price) but it is effectively my ‘car’ so what would I have to pay to insure that against theft?

Starting with wheels, if your bike has quick release axles, consider fitting security skewers. (and a seat post one too if you wish)

I just fit inexpensive Allen key operated ones   ones to deter opportunists, but you can go mad and fit coded ones such as tranzx-components-quick-release-security-skewer-set  or   pitlock  – just make sure you have the ‘key’ with you!

Next up it’s pedals – if like me you are likely to leave your bike unattended for long periods in higher risk areas, consider taking the pedals with you when you leave it! Easily done with such as MKS detachable-pedals  pedals (metal version also available) and another hassle point to put the bandits off. (and make storage easier)

I’m a big fan of the modern incarnation of the Frame or ‘nurses’ lock – the frame mounted lock that basically locks a bar through the (usually rear) wheel. These are standard on some models, can be easily retrofitted to frames with the relevant drillings, or mounted to frames without drillings using an adaptor kit. 

Choose a model that has a plug in chain option and get a chain to suit – quick, flexible and convenient for every shop stop and a good start for longer stops, and given my cargo style bike and habitual pannier contents weigh in at about 30kg it would be difficult to waltz off with if one wheel is locked. 

For standard width tyres get something like the AXA-defender-rl-frame-lock and AXA-plug-in-chain-lock. Buy them together at Decathlon: Defender-bike-frame-lock and Plug-in-chain-bike-lock-for-the-defender-frame-lock  or currently  here  at Scuffwheels and the nice versatile longer  130cm chain too.

Note – Choose a model which has wide enough jaws for the wider tyres on some e-bikes, especially if it has wider ‘balloon’ type tyres that tend to be around 60mm wide, e.g. the axa block xxl  and the specific (nice long) plug in plug-in-chain chain that fits it.

If in doubt, get a bike shop to supply and fit one – locally russellsbicycleshed have the Trelock model available. 

U locks – (aka D locks): The experts say these are the best cycle locks. They come in 4 security ratings: Bronze, Silver, Gold and now Diamond. 

Better u-locks, with diameters of between 13 and 15 mm are unlikely to be defeated by anything but the biggest bolt cutters which most casual bike thieves just won’t have. However some thieves will, so at the top of the range there are the thickest locks, with diameters of 16 to 18 mm which reputedly cannot be cropped by even the biggest bolt cutters.

I wouldn’t use less than a Gold rated lock(s) on an e-bike, and in addition to the nurses lock and chain combo, I use a hefty (16mm thick shackle) oxford lock which has performed well, or go for the new halfords ultra high security Diamond rated lock. Use these in such a way it is hard to attack – all the lock filled by the frame/wheel/item you are locking too, well off the ground, lock mechanism pointing down. Lots of locks tested by Bike Radar here and a really informative  resume of which U lock for which application at thebestbikelock (written pre the intro of the now highest ‘Diamond’ security rating.)

If im leaving it in a ‘dodgy’ area or for a length of time I might also take a minimum 10mm thick link chain/padlock combo  to add to the D lock, something like the: Oxford-Chain10 – again at its most effective when the lock is kept well away from the ground so it is hard to attack with a hammer (wind chain round bike/object to soak up any loose.)

So 2 or even 3 locks – basically enough to make a thief look for an easier option!

The most difficult threat to counter is angle grinders. The litelok-x1 , reviewed here looks to be the lightest, most useable and reasonably priced UK made model available at the moment, and this Bikelock wiki  unbreakable-bike-locks/  article details some other current offerings that aim to counter that threat, including the Hiplock  d1000 Anti Angle Grinder model – expensive but worth it for a good bike in a vulnerable area, and the eponymous….. (looks good, means £50 shipping from USA, but still cheaper than the Hiplock)

The good news is that being an e-bike, all this weight is not an issue, and certainly for say something like locking up in an outbuilding (or having a regular locking spot you can leave a lock at) you could even go for a motorbike type like the MAMMOTH-1-2M-SQUARE-CHAIN-LOCK .

However, if you are on one of the lighter e-bikes you might want to keep the weight down, so check out the very light and tough Seatylock-Mason-U-Lock  or the hiplok  range.

Folding locks

These are a thing on the continent for urban security – people like the fact that they can be neatly and easily attached to the bike, and have a good open size for ease of use enabling a good range of locking options.

The only ones worth considering are Sold secure Silver or Gold rating – mostly from Abus (The Bordo ) and Seatylock, eg the seatylock-foldylock-compact for medium risk areas, or for high risk areas choose the Seatylock-foldylock-forever (aka foldylock 90) – reviewed here.

Seatylock-foldylock-forever (aka foldylock 90) – reviewed here 

As you can see these days you can buy a couple of really good locks for around £100 or even less, but in the end all locks can be cut with a portable angle grinder, and I reckon the nurses lock adds a good degree of awkwardness in that scenario. 

I also hold to the idea of parking it in a public, well lit place. Better still safely in the Hub at Sheffield’s main station if it’s anywhere near my destination. (Fob for life the station.)

Up to now there doesn’t seem to be a trend for trying to nick batteries, which is just as well as my Bosch one is currently around £300 – £800+ to replace depending on capacity, but it has a reasonably secure key locked mount, and the new  ‘hidden’ downtube type should be more secure still. Of course you could take it with you when you park, as long as you have your key with you…….

Fit a Tracker?

It is a fact that stolen bikes are more likely to be recovered if they have been fitted with a tracker.

(One local e-bike has been recovered twice recently via the tracker.)  Locally, A Different Gear, having tested different ones recommend and fit the powunity  model.

Register your bike on the National Cycle Database  (aka BikeRegister). I reckon this is a No Brainer – a free to use database where you enter your bike’s ID (frame no). You can then list it if stolen, so it can be looked out for at bike shops etc if touted round, and the Police can reunite you with it if it is recovered post theft. (They need hard evidence of ownership.)

You can also interrogate the register  to check if a bike you are thinking of purchasing is bona fide, get info on risk in your area and buy ID aids or good locks cheap (e.g the Squire Eiger 230 Gold for £30) from this register.

Storage: Lastly I’m guessing most thefts are from home, where people who want to have watched it/you and your routine. (Yes that’s how it often happens!)

Here the best advice is to keep it inside a secure garage/shed (locked to a stout wall or floor anchor or even to the garden furniture that foiled one local attempt!) or even inside the house if possible, where you might use a Bike-lift

Alternatively, go for a secure outdoor storage option like the compact trimetals  , or  asgardsss bike storage if you need more room as e-bikes tend to be longer, combined with a wall-anchor or a good ground anchor , and lock it to that with the super 10/14 or even 16mm thick chain or lock(s) you have.

Good range of these on offer at shedstore and buyshedsdirect  and even fit a basic shed-alarm  (recommended by a local user) for good measure, or get your storage solution plugged into your house alarm circuit if it’s nearby.

Finally you may wish to cover the area you store your bike with surveillance, and a local user rates the ring  range highly – certainly the scallies skulking around my neighbours back door recently scarpered sharpish when they realised the ‘doorbell’ was recording them! –  and a local user recommends the reolink wi-fi camera if you want to be wire free.

Note – be ready for the inevitable ‘return visit’ of the thieves a few weeks later, who know that you will have a nice shiny replacement bike! 

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