Lock your bike – and what to do if it is stolen

Note down details

Join Bikeregister.com, a site approved by the police, to add details and photos of your bike (including a scan of the receipt). You can also use this site to record a theft and tip off any would-be buyers. Your bike's serial number is most often on the rear stay or bottom bracket. Record brand names on the frame, gears and wheels. List any changes that make the bike unique to you.

Use a high quality lock

Use a high quality D-lock or super-strength chain. Your bike’s value is irrelevant: think of the upset and inconvenience if it is stolen. Sold Secure Diamond or Gold D-locks are best and medium and small sizes give a thief less room to manoeuvre. Pass the D of the lock around the down tube and back wheel through to a cycle stand or tall post. Consider a second lock for the front wheel.

Fit a tracker

An Apple AirTag will link to your other Apple devices using Find My, meaning you can trace your bike’s location. You can disguise the tag as a reflector or pop it under the saddle. Other brands include Pow Unity and Invoxia. Backpedal.co offers an all-in-one track or replace service for £8.99 a month*. Always alert the police on 101 (or here if in Essex) before you try to recover a bike.
* Ask us for a code!

Be streetwise

Park in a secure location that is well-lit , has plenty of passers-by and is, preferably, under CCTV surveillance. Colchester railway station has secure areas north and south that are fenced and gated. Greater Anglia charges a deposit for a key but you get your money back in full when you eventually hand it in.

Keep your eyes peeled

Pay the favour forward: when you pass any cycle park, keep your eye out for anyone up to no good. If you see someone get a good description or discreetly video them. Consider carefully whether you want to challenge them. If you are buying a secondhand bike, check to see whether it is stolen on Bikeregister.com

Mark your bike

The police will apply stickers that are hard to remove – they are worth getting. There is also a variety of microchip options, including Bike Register, Datatag and Immobitag. Another idea is to paint your postcode under the bottom bracket. All of these methods will inconvenience a thief trying to sell the bike and may help you to get it back.

The ladder trick

As many bikes are stolen from home as from outside the house. If you keep your bike in a shed, hang a ladder at the right height on the wall and lock your bike to it — it will cause a thief hassle and cause a noise that may alert you or your neighbours. Crooks don’t like it when you make things hard. for them 

Always report a theft

Tell the police about a theft as soon as possible giving them full details from your entry on Bikeregister.com. Make sure that they give you a crime number for insurance purposes. Take the name of the officer filing the report. If you don't hear anything, follow up with a phone call in a few days' time. Use the crime number in any social media posts so people know the police are looking too.

Look for yourself

Many bikes stolen in Colchester are taken to London for resale but others are traded locally or stripped for parts. Alert local pawn shops such as Cash Converters as well as the Saturday auction at Colchester livestock market which sells up to 400 bikes a week. Ask the police which bike shops deal in second hand cycles. Tell Re-cycle in Wormingford in case it turns up there.

Check online

Set up searches for your make/model of bike on Ebay and Gumtree and tell the police if it turns up. Consider putting up posters in the neighbourhood. Colchester Cycling Campaign advises against trying to meet a seller without having someone with you.

Caught on camera?

Did people/businesses near by get pictures of the thieves on CCTV, dashcams or video doorbells? 

Use social media

Put a report and picture of your stolen bike on Facebook and Twitter and ask your friends to share it. This page features stolen and found bikes in Colchester