You realize how quickly a thief could get away with your locked bicycle when you break the key in the lock, leaving your bike attached to a bike rack with no way home. Fortunately you are next door to an auto supply store and the clerk is happy to help me out with a pair of bolt cutters. After 2 grunts on the cutters you free your bike and seriously question the effectiveness of cable locks. So what is the best lock? In speaking with the local RCMP they do not recommend an particular brand of lock, stating that a lock, “should be selected for its build quality and capabilities according to the owner’s needs”, They went one step further and recommended “multiple forms of theft deterrence (i.e. multiple locks/cables/chains, etc.)”. Good idea.
Although I doubt that most cyclists have investigated this, you can go online and buy a set of 24 “ bolt cutters for $25. Pursuing the bolt cutter theory with the RCMP I asked about the most common tool used by thieves in the Kelowna area and was told that bolt cutters would be at the top of the list. They also mentioned a tool that I had not come across in previous research, a pipe cutter. Apparently one was being used last year to cut thorough street signs being used as makeshift bike racks.
So pay attention to the type(s) of locks you use, what you attach them to and how you lock up your bike. Depending on the components you have you may just want to ensure the frame is locked to the bike rack or for additional security people will add a cable lock to protect the wheels. Some may even run a cable lock through the seat.
Here’s a good set up I saw in Kelowna:
Still searching for the best lock I go online and see a variety of reviews. I will provide you with the links but here is a summary of what I would consider, depending on the cost of bike you want to protect. It appears that the U –locks are the most popular anti theft devices. By going with the smallest that suits your needs it reduces the surface area for thieves to “work” on your lock. Please remember that bike locks can slow down and deter thieves. Any lock can be beaten, such as the Abus Granite X-Plus 54. It received a gold Sold Secure rating but I found a You Tube video showing it being picked in less than 2 minutes. Fortunately I suspect the thieves in Kelowna are more opportunistic and don’t rely on sophisticated lock picking tools.
About Sold Secure Ratings- “The Gold rated locking devices offer the highest level of security. The next level down Silver offers a compromise between security and cost, whilst the Bronze level typically offers defence against the opportunist thief”.
It looks like an average of 3 to 6 bikes are stolen in the Kelowna area weekly. The latest numbers I was provided showed a 9% increase in bike thefts so far this year. When asked about an estimated percentage of stolen bicycles that were not locked I was told about 50%. Not surprising as I was outside a pub on Queensway yesterday at around 4:00 pm. There were 3 bike parked outside the pub and only one of them was locked.
Don’t forget to lock your bikes while stored in the Garage. A friend of mine had 3 bicycles stolen from his garage this winter.
Here are some additional recommendations: