Ever feel like killing someone?
We've all been there. Kidnapping that person in the middle of the night. Cut off an arm or a leg, maybe a finger or two. That's what people who had their bikes stolen daydream about at night. We've all learned our lessons and hope you never have to experience it yourself. Before you make the same mistake, here are some tips every new eBike owner should know to stop yourself from becoming the next victim!
Think Like a Thief to Beat a Thief!
An old mentor of mine used to say "Failing to prepare is preparing to fail". The better prepared you are, the less likely you will become a victim. If you want to avoid getting your property stolen, you need to think how the bad guys operate! Once you begin to think the way they do, then the tips below become common sense and a newfound way of life.
Location, location, location!
Ok. Maybe not this type of location. In fact, if you are living in this type of location, we hate you. Out of jealousy of course. Ok, being serious, you got to chose the right location when locking up your bike. Locations that are well visible, well lit at night, or covered by CCTV to name a few ideas. Chose an area that has a lot of other bikes and people coming and going. If you are locking it down a dark alleyway, I'm already praying for you.
It is equally important not to lock your bike in an overcrowded place. Yes, as strange as it sounds, this is equally true. The higher the number of bystanders, it's less likely that someone will help. We've all seen it before in other areas of our lives.
At home, it is always advised to keep your eBike inside the house or in a well lit shed with a good lock. Battery operated locks for sheds are fairly inexpensive, and are a great deterrent. It is always better to keep your bike indoors than outdoors, but you knew that already.
Lock Your eBike Wisely.
Be strategic in the way you lock up your eBike. Imagine what your eBike would look like if you only chained up the front wheel... it would like you got a lock and front wheel for sale if you ask me. Locks and/or chains should always go through the frame of the bike and through as many parts if possible. There are also double locks out there for added protection. Different type of locks also make it harder since the person would require multiple tools and time to remove.
Make sure to lock the eBike up to an immovable object like a bike stand or iron railings. Fill the shackle of the lock with as much bike and fixture as possible, so it's harder to cut. A shorter narrow lock is much harder to break than one that can be adjusted. Finally, never leave your bike unsecure when going in the store for 2 minutes. This is what many thugs are hoping for and wait for the next poor victim.
Don't Go Cheap on Your Bike Lock.
What's the point of having a really nice eBike if it's gonna be missing in 2 weeks? There are many types of locks ranging from thin wires, security chains, nurse locks, to U-locks. Thin wires may be great for the convenience for short 2 minute trips, but can be cut in a matter of seconds. You can opt for the security of a security chain, but keep in mind the thicker it is, the heavier it will be. Most common would be the U-locks as they give a good amount of security and can be mounted onto the bike frame for convenience, but would not have the flexibility that a chain would. The decision is up to you. We suggest a thickness of at least 13mm, and 16mm recommended. Unless your bike cost €12,000, double D-locks or a combination of D-lock and chain lock will surely do the trick. Always stay away from thin wires or cable locks.
Don't fall for the tyre puncture trick.
If you come back to your eBike and find there is a tyre puncture, take it with you straight away. Omar Aziz, a former professional bike thief who was hooked on crack for 13 years mentioned that he would do this sometimes, knowing that the owner would come back later for it. Then he used to sell them for €20 to feed his addiction. Now you know.
Don't Park in the Same Place Everyday.
Even thought it might feel safer since you haven't had trouble before, and might be convenient, this makes things much easier for criminals. They study times when you're not around. Many work in teams of 3, where one will find the best bike, time, and tools. The second one brings the tools and unlocks the bike while the others keep lookout, and the last one rides the bike away. This takes away the individual attention and they are less like to get caught. Be tactful in your decisions.
Invest in a GPS Tracker.
Still don't feel secure? If your bike is like your puppy and losing it is not an option, you could always invest in a GPS tracker. They look like a standard component of the bike, and can take you one step closer to protecting yourself from thieves. You can set the tracker alert, so if your eBike is on the move, an alert is sent to your phone.
Out of cash? I bought a sticker off Wish that says "Enabled with GPS Tracking". While it doesn't help if my bike is stolen, any deterrent is better than none and only cost me €4.00.
Don't Lead Bike Thieves Home.
Bike thieves are getting smarter too. Websites such as Strava, Facebook, or ride sharing apps allow you to log your journeys and make them public. While it's great to show off all the calories you burned, anyone can see where you start and end. See if your app has privacy settings to exclude the home and office, and don't give any information of the model of your bike. If it has a high value, you could be an easy target. Better to show off those burned calories in person anyways!
Laminate your details.
One little cool trick is to write down your details. Information to prove it's your bike and laminate it (no sensitive information obviously). Then hide the information down one of the bike's frame tubes, such as top tube of the seat post. That way, if your bike has been recovered by the police, you can formally prove it's yours. The same can be done with a vehicle registration number, but it is quite possible that when your bike is stolen, it's going to be removed.
So what's the point of having an eBike?
Might as well go ahead and give the thieves my money. That's what it may feel like to many of you, but isn't true. In most cases, if you prepare and think like a thief, you are already in control. By taking the necessary steps to protect your property, there is very little risk. You are not the person being targeted. They want quick, simple, and unseen. Follow the simple rules of common sense, and you will find that thieves will usually find an easier target. They have busy lives too and who are we to judge?
So enjoy your eBike and enjoy your life!
Don't worry too much about getting your bike stolen, but also take the steps of responsibility, and you will be fine! Life is precious. The older you get, the more you realise how valuable time is. Make the most of that time visiting your family and friends. Go on adventures and explore new destinations. Try new things, don't sweat the small stuff, and don't forget what happens when failing to prepare.