Avoiding Bicycle Theft
It takes less than 10 seconds for a thief to steal your bike. Think about that the next time you say to yourself, "I'm just running in for a coffee to go, I don't need to lock my bike" or you might end up walking home.
Bicycle thieves are crafty and quick, and locking your bike in the safest place with the best locks doesn't guarantee it won't be stolen, but following certain protocol may be enough for a thief to find another bike a more likely candidate.
Location is always a consideration. If you're locking your bike outside, make sure it is in a well-traveled, well-lit area, preferably near bikes that look more expensive than yours. If you keep your bike in your garage, always lock it. Make sure that you lock your bike to a solid immovable object.
Use a strong steel alloy U lock in addition to a 3/8-inch thick case-hardened cable or chain with an equally thick padlock. When using a U lock, leave little or no room within the "u" to prevent prying. When using a padlock, position it so it cannot be placed against a wall or the sidewalk; such placement enables a thief to smash or hammer the lock open. It's advisable to take any parts with you that can't be locked but can be easily removed, included quick-release seats, a bike bag, cycle computer, etc.
Put your chain, cable or U lock through the bike's frame as well as the wheels (take off the front wheel if you have a quick-release hub). Don't lock just the wheel and not the frame; thieves can simply take the bike and leave the wheel.
Register your bicycle with your local police department and/or the National Bike Registry. Keep your own copy of your bike's serial number and any other identifying/descriptive information. If your bike is stolen, the police are going to want proof that it's yours. If your bicycle is stolen, notify the police and request a printed version of the report.
You can also report your stolen bicycle on KarmaArmy, an online "community" that can help recover your stolen bike via community members who keep an eye open for the "just stolen" item. The site also serves as a repository for your serials numbers, equipment photos, descriptions, etc. In addition, victims of theft can share their stories with the community.