Whether you use your bike to get fit, go for weekend rides, run errands or get to work, you certainly don’t want anyone to steal it. Here are some tips on how to protect your ride from thieves.

 1. Invest in a good quality U-lock

Go for a U-lock that can lock the frame and the back wheel to a bike rack or a fixed post.

Choose an anti-theft device that is the right size. If it’s too big, thieves will be able to insert a tool that can break it open.

When securing your bike, place the lock so that it is difficult to access—with the keyhole facing down, for example.

Invest in a quality lock that costs roughly 10% of the value of the bike.

2. Double your chances

For increased security, add a steel cable lock that is long enough to attach the wheels, frame and seat to a post or rack.

Making access to your bike a hassle will deter a potential thief who will look for another bike, one that isn’t as well protected.

If possible, remove any bike parts you can’t lock: bike bags, pump and seat, if you can’t attach them with a cable lock. A bike without a seat is not quite as tempting …

3. Choose a good place to lock your bike

Look for a specially designed bike rack. Whenever possible, don’t leave your bike at either end of a bike rack. It will attract less attention if it is firmly secured to a rack surrounded by other bikes.

What if there’s no bike rack around? Go for a good-sized tree or a post that is permanently fixed to the ground. Avoid chain link fences that are easy for thieves to cut through.

Make sure your bike doesn’t get in the way of pedestrians or any other traffic. Some cities will remove bikes they consider to be an obstruction.

Don’t leave your bike in the same place too often: change street, tree, bike rack. Leaving it parked too long in the same place will also make it an attractive target for thieves.

4. Make you bike “recognizable”

Make sure that the serial number is clearly visible and make a note of it, keeping the information in a safe place. Also keep your sales receipt.

Has your bike acquired a few knocks and bruises along the way? Take a photo of them―they could be used as proof of ownership if ever there is a dispute.

Have an identification number or some other visible mark engraved on the frame. This will make your bike easily recognizable and, more importantly, make it harder for a thief to sell.

5. Take precautions, even at home

Close your garage door if your bike is inside. Making it is visible to passers-by just adds to the risk of theft. It takes only a few minutes to steal a bicycle.

Leaving your bike on view at the back of your house is also tempting fate.

And what if the worst happens?

Take a walk around the neighbourhood: you never know… it’s possible you locked it up somewhere different and you just forgot…

Contact the city or municipality to see if your bike has been recovered by the authorities.

Fill out a police report. You can do this online in some cities, which saves you a trip to the police station.

Make use of social media: Facebook and all its friends may be able to help in the search.

Look under the “bikes for sale” section of the classified ad websites. If you locate your bike, print the ad and the contact details of the advertiser, then give the information to the police.

You can also place an ad yourself, saying that you are looking to buy a bike of a certain make, with certain accessories. Be very specific. Who knows, you might get a call from the person trying to sell your own bike!

A visit to your neighbourhood pawnbrokers and used bike stores might turn up a surprise.

And don’t to forget to contact your insurance company. Calculate whether it is worth making a claim, given the value of your bike and the deductible applied under your insurance contract.

If you really value your bike, no matter what you use it for, look after it well and be vigilant because theft happens.