There's nothing like the punch-in-the-gut feeling upon finding that your bike has been stolen. If you've not experienced this feeling, good for you - let's keep it that way. It's not just the financial hit, it's the loss of connection that we all have with our bikes. I remember as a 12 year old riding to the store with my friend, locking our bikes together, and coming out 1/2 hour later to find his bike laying on the ground, and my bike gone. If only I had known a few of the tricks below, I could have saved that painful life lesson.
So here are some ideas to help protect your bike. These apply if your bike is locked up or, as sometimes happens, you need to leave your bike unlocked for a short while.
(1) Take the saddle and seatpost combo off your bike. Many bikes have a quick release for the seatpost clamp, in which case you can release it and take your saddle and seatpost with you. This takes about 15 seconds to do and may deter a bike thief.
(2) Take your front wheel with you. This might be awkward to do, depending on what you're doing, but for sure, a would-be thief won't be riding away on your bike! If your bike has a quick release skewer for the front wheel, just take off the wheel and bring it with you. Perhaps you can set it aside where you are at and not have to carry it with you. In any case, minus the front wheel, your bike is less likely to be stolen.
(3) Put your bike into its hardest gearing before you leave it. With your bike in the big chain ring and smallest cog combo, a thief hoping to make a quick getaway won't be able to get up to speed fast. This might make the difference if you or a friend are within sight of your bike and react fast enough to chase down the thief - before he figures out how to shift the bike into an easier gear. Granted, this technique won't stop a pure track sprinter with redwood tree sized legs! But it'll slow down most bike thieves at least for the initial 15-30 seconds if they must ride away quickly.
(4) Drop the chain. If you see a piece of scrap paper or even a big leaf nearby, grab hold of your chain and drop it off the chainring. Now a bike thief is faced with threading the chain back on before getting away. True - you'll have to put the chain back on, too, but that's a small price to pay for keeping your bike a bit safer while you're away and it's unlocked.
(5) Use your helmet to secure your bike. Put your helmet's chin straps through your bike in strategic places to attach it to a nearby fence, pole, tree or other stationary object. At least a thief who would try to yank your bike and run will be deterred - and thwarted suddenly, he may just take off and leave your bike be.
Got another idea on how to keep your bike safe? Email us at cl7 at qbike dot com and let us know! We'll publish your idea - and credit you for it - right here.