Lock It or Lose It

Cycling is popular, and the sad fact is that Johnny Lightfingers wants to go riding without buying a bike — and he's eyeing up yours! The answer is to buy the best lock that you can afford and always use it, whether you're leaving your bike for a minute or a whole day.

Good locks are graded gold, silver or bronze depending on how long the makers think it will take Johnny to break them. These are generally D-locks, and the grading is reflected in the price. Be prepared to pay one-fifth of the value of your bike on a good lock.

For maximum security, pass a D-lock between the rear stays and the back wheel, and around a solid object such as a sheffield parking stand (there are lots in Colchester town centre and other key points around town). The lock should fit snugly and not allow Johnny room to use a bottle-jack to break it. If your bike is an expensive one, you consider using a lock on the front wheel, too. If you have a well-loved saddle, you may like to use an old piece of bicycle chain in a length of rubber hose to fasten it to your bike rack.

As many bikes are stolen from sheds as from away from home. Consider a shed alarm and security lighting, as well as a padlock. Lock your bike to a ladder or similar large object.

Be ready for the worst: have recent photographs of your bike, plus the serial number, a good description of the frame and details of what makes it unique. You could also consider a cycle recovery scheme such as Bike Shepherd. You should have insurance.

If you make life difficult for Johnny, he'll target someone else!

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