Tips for protecting your bike from thieves

WASHINGTON – Eighteen bikes disappeared in the span of just three days.

That’s what clients at D.C.’s City Bikes have told store manager Saul Leiken.

More people are out on their bikes, so there are more opportunities for thieves. So bike shop owners are used to hearing about bikes being boosted this time of the year, Leiken says.

But the recent number of stolen bikes is a pretty dramatic spike, Leiken says.

Leiken says a really determined thief will find a way to get your bike, but there are precautions you can take that will make your bike less of a target.

  • Don’t use a flimsy cable lock alone, it’s easy to cut without special equipment.
  • Use a U-lock, one with a key is best.
  • Learn the techniques to secure your bike that will prevent a thief from a “leverage attack” where the lock is pried apart.
  • Be sure to lock your bike to a secure object. Street signs won’t cut it. Inverted U-bike racks are suggested.
  • Register your bike with the National Bike Registry.
  • Report the theft immediately. Police departments have been able to recover bikes.
  • Check Craig’s List, stolen bikes often turn up in the classifieds.
  • The Washington Area Bicyclist Association (WABA) recommends locking both the frame and both wheels.

Leiken’s been in touch with the Metropolitan Police Department, and there are discussions about putting out “bait bikes” to catch thieves.

Leiken’s shop is also looking at stocking “Spybike,” a GPS tracker that works like the popular auto tracker Lo-Jack.

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