Cycling is often one of the fastest, cheapest and safest ways of getting around a city, making it popular amongst students in recent years as running costs of owning a car, motorbike or scooter have sky-rocketed. It can be extremely difficult for those who need to commute to afford to run a vehicle.
Recent census data has shown that the number of commuters cycling to work/school has risen to more than three quarters of a million people in England and Wales. The popularity of commuting by bike has increased by 17 per cent to more than 760,000 people in the past ten years, an increase of 110,000 on 2001.
With more and more students hopping onto the saddle to avoid using public and private transport it’s important for those who choose to cycle to store their bicycles overnight in a safe environment. As many students rent properties or live in halls of residence that don’t have the space to cater bicycle storage, students can be forced to leave their bikes outside chained or locked up, often exposed to thieves armed with bolt-cutters, as there are no alternative storages facilities close-by.
Even though some students might have the luxury of potential storage space in their rented accommodation, the housing of a bicycle can often be impractical as the transportation of the bike can usually leave dirt picked up from the wheels onto the floor/carpet and can scuff marks on the wall. Not only can the storage of a bicycle in the home cause potential damage it can in some cases be against a tenancy agreement. Often housing agents won’t like having bicycles stored in hallways or within down stairs rooms as they can be seen a hazard in an emergency and as stated previously potentially damaging to the properties surfaces and decor.
For those that have no choice but to leave a bicycle locked up outside there are a few precautions you can take to ensure your bike is kept safe outside your rented accommodation and if the worse should happen and your bike is taken then it be tracked and traced by the authorities.
The location of a locked bicycle is crucial for those wanting to protect their bike and property from would-be burglars. It is advisable to have your bike chained up in your yard where it will be least visible to passers-by, as the less it is seen; the less likely it is to become a target.
It is important to remember that you should always find a suitable anchor or post to lock your bicycle up against. The anchor and lock will be the base of protection so if you can’t find a suitable location out of site don’t worry, just ensure that it is locked and secure against a drain pipe, gate, concrete surface, etc…. it is highly recommended that you attach the lock through the rear wheel and frame for maximum security.
The different types of bicycle locks available on the market today are frightening. It does seem that you have to be a rocket scientist to find the right combination for a bike and its security needs. Two of the most common and preferred choices of bike locks on the market today are the D locks and the Cable locks. Both are relatively secure and if used correctly make any bike extremely difficult to steal. It is also recommended to use a combination of locks on different sections of the bike to maximise security should you choose to house your bike in the open. So for example use a D lock for the frame and wheel and then a chain lock to thread though as many of the sections of the bike and the foundation as humanly possible.
A point to consider when investing in a lock is that larger locks give thieves greater leverage when using power tools of chain cutters. So in this case big is not best.
For those students that have invested in a quality, reliable and expensive bike that will likely be a target then it is strongly advisable (with your landlords permission) to consider either investing in a bicycle storage solution like a metal storage shed or a bicycle cover. Both can shelter a bicycle from the weather and preying eyes, giving you piece of mind that they if a thief was to attempt to steal the bike it would take considerably longer to gain access to the locks.
Some other quicker and more affordable deterrents are the inclusion of signs such as CCTV in operation or beware of the dog, and dummy cameras can be purchased from as little as £10. Students should also consider removing wheels and seats from their bicycles should they wish to store their bicycle outside as thieves can be deterred from taking bikes if they know they would need to work on the bike before they sell it on.
As 1 in 3 students will be affected by crime in some way during their years at university it is essential that those who care about their property make sure they protect it. One of the best ways you can protect a bike is through registering and tagging of a bike through Immobilse. By signing up and registering you can track and find your bicycle should it be stolen.
This was a guest post from Karl Young, a recent marketing and advertising graduate who now writes for the garden resources blog on behalf Tiger Sheds; a leading manufacturer of cheap wooden and metal storage sheds.