Top 5 Tips for preventing bike theft

Use the best locks that you can

Look for the security rating on locks.  D-locks or U-locks are best for securing the frame, and are the most difficult for thieves to break.  Cable locks are less secure but they are more flexible.  When you are buying a bike, you should include the cost of locks in your budget.

Lock your bike near others

Make sure your bike is more securely locked than the others.  Thieves will be less tempted to steal your bike.

Use at least two locks

One of them should be a D-lock or U-lock, the other could be a cable lock.  Use the D-lock or U-lock to secure the bike frame to the immovable object.  Make sure the back wheel and front wheel are also secured to the immovable object, and cannot be removed independently of the bike frame.

Front wheel locking

In addition to a D-lock or U-lock, a cable lock is used to secure the frame and the front wheel to the Sheffield stand.

The most immovable object possible

Secure your bike to an object that is solid and fixed to the ground with concrete.  A Sheffield bike stand is ideal.  Beware of railings, trees, and street furniture.  Do not use cheap bike stands where you cannot secure your bike by the frame.

front wheel locking

This cheap bike stand is a terrible place to lock a bike. You can only attach the bike by the wheel and this makes the bike extremely vulnerable to theft. Thieves love this type of bike parking. Avoid at all costs.

A busy, well-lit area

Ideally in an area with CCTV.  Thieves don’t like places with heavy pedestrian footfall.

Lock the frame first

Use a D-lock or U-lock.  Next, lock your back wheel and front wheel.  It’s a good idea to use one lock to secure the frame and back wheel, and another lock to secure the front wheel and frame if possible.

Sheffield stands

Sheffield stands are perfect; they are solid, immovable, and secured to the ground with concrete. They are ideal for using more than one lock to secure your frame and wheels.

Lock as tightly as possible

So that there isn’t room for thieves to move their hands.  If you’re using a D-lock or U-lock, make sure the D or U is filled.

tight locking

Tight locking leaves very little room for thieves to move their hands about. Downward-facing key hole is also good.

Locks off the ground

If a lock is on or near the ground, a thief can bang it against the ground with a hammer to force it open.  Make sure keyholes are facing down so it is more difficult for thieves to open them.

poor locking

This is very poor locking. Only the back wheel is secured to the Sheffield stand. The frame is not secured to the stand at all. It would be easy for a thief to detach the wheel in seconds using a spanner, steal the frame and leave the back wheel behind.

Keep your keys and codes safe

Keep a spare copy of your key, and write down lock codes somewhere safe.  If you have a smartphone, use the MasterLock app or something similar.

Don’t let them steal your lights

Take them with you.

Locking your bike at work

Follow exactly the same rules as if parking your bike in the street.

Locking your bike at home?

Exactly the same rules apply as if parking your bike in public.


Cycle South Brum’s bike theft prevention project is supported by

West Midlands Police and Crime Commissioner