Cyclescheme is the UK's most popular cycle to work benefit, creating more cyclists than any other provider.

Six tips for keeping bikes safe during the winter months.

1.3 million Brits bought a bike during the first lockdown back in 2020. As one of the permitted exercise methods encouraged by the UK government, people took advantage of cycling with gusto. Government data showed cycling levels had risen by up to 300% on some days.

However, with this rise in cycling came an almost inevitable spike in bike crime. 2020 figures compiled by our partner, BikeRegister, confirmed that there was a significant rise in reported bike thefts by June 2020 – a staggering 48% rise on 2019 figures. The UK’s National Cycle Database continued to record a steady rise of thefts throughout the summer and into autumn and winter.

Bike Register infographic

With this in mind, BikeRegister have shared six tips for keeping bikes safe during the winter months:

Keeping your bike safe

1. Get a good quality lock

Bike thieves must work quickly to reduce the chance of being caught, so a decent bike lock is literally worth its weight in gold. A heavy-duty bike lock not only acts as a deterrent but will make the chance of a successful theft far less likely. Thieves will probably abandon any attempt to steal your bike and move onto a bike with a less secure lock. We recommend:

  • Investing in a good quality lock – expect to pay at least £40.
  • Buying a certified Sold Secure, preferably gold-rated lock.
  • Considering a second lock for ultimate protection. 

2. Make your mark

Marking your bike with a unique code ensures the Police will be able to trace your bike back to you if it is stolen and recovered.

Nearly every Police force will regularly run free bike marking events. These are often advertised on local police force websites and social media channels, so we recommend you follow these to find out when an event local to you is taking place. You can also contact your local Safer Neighbourhood Team.

Why not purchase a kit to mark your bike yourself? If you do this, you need to:

  • Use a Police preferred BikeRegister marking kit, making sure to place the warning sticker in a visible location.
  • Make sure you register your bike on BikeRegister where you can download your registration logbook to prove ownership.

3. Get insurance

The average cost of bicycle insurance is around £50 for a bike worth £1,000 in the UK*. Given that a bike can actually be one of the highest value items you might own, make sure you are well covered by insurance in case of theft. 

Check whether your home contents insurance covers your bike and ensure it also covers you for thefts outside the home too.

Alternatively, you may need or want to insure your bike separately, using a specialist cycle insurer, such as Bikmo.

*Nimblefins personal finance website: Average Cost of Bicycle Insurance UK 2021

4. Protect your bike while out and about

Bike thieves will steal a bike from pretty much anywhere, so make sure you follow these general security tips when you’re out and about.

  • Park your bike in a well-lit area, preferably in a designated parking area, where it can be easily seen by passers-by.
  • Lock the frame of your bike and both wheels to a cycle stand or similar immoveable object. Use two locks and make sure they secure every removeable part of your bike. If you have secured your bike to a post, make sure it is not possible for the bike to be lifted over the top. 
  • Make sure your lock does not touch the ground, or it can be easier for a thief to sledgehammer it off. 
  • Take any removable items that can’t be secured with you – think about your lights, saddle, and basket.
  • Avoid parking in the same place every day. If bike thieves are stealing to order, they’re more likely to target you if they know where you will be.

5. Keep your bike safe at home

Over half of all bike thefts occur where you might think your bike is safest: at home. You can reduce the chances of this happening by:

  • Storing your bike in a securely locked shed or garage. Consider getting an alarm for your shed or garage, you can pick up a wireless battery operated alarm for under £20. Better still, try to store your bike inside your house for ultimate security.
  • Secure your bike to an immovable object such as a hanger or rack.
  • Keep it out of view from passers-by.

6. Register all bikes in your household with BikeRegister

We encourage all cyclists to register the bikes they have and/or any new bikes they buy on BikeRegister. You can often do this at the Police-led marking events we mentioned above.

Registering with the BikeRegister service means you are more likely to be reunited with your bike in the event of it being stolen.

As a Cycleschemer, you can choose to have your bike(s) automatically registered with your Certificate redemption. And if you do, you’ll get a 15% discount on BikeRegister marking kits!