When a cyclist has had his/her bike stolen, there are several options available:
- do nothing – “bicycle theft is an eventuality of cycling, I’ll do without”.
- buy a cheaper bike – “because that one will be stolen as well”.
- buy a brand new one – “I can afford it”.
- contact the insurance company (in the rare occasion that the bikes IS insured) – “they will sort me out a new one!”.
In just a few cases the victim will contact local bike shops hoping that the thief has tried to sell it to them or is having it repaired by them and the shop will (hopefully) call them back. Most are disappointed when the bike shop takes a tacit interest in their plea. Some are astonished when the bike shop tries to sell them a replacement!
At Re-cycle Engineering, we do things differently – we are not like other bike shops. We actually care about their plight and do something about it. We keep written records and advise accordingly. We may be the only shop in Leeds who does – because we don’t want to buy, sell or repair looted cycles!
Although “why bother to keep records – no one ever does anything about it!” may be valid response, we think differently:
- doing nothing and doing without a bike means that the thieves have won and you have lost out on a cheap, convenient, environmentally-sound and healthy form of personal transport.
- buying a cheaper bike “because that one will be stolen as well” will degrade your cycling fun.
- buying a brand new one because “I can afford it” is environmentally unnecessary.
- getting a replacement from the insurance company (if any) is again environmentally unnecessary.
We have successfully caught several thieves in the past. For example, a recently stolen bike came in for a repair. We got the thief’s details and called the police – they waited in a car outside (middle of winter) for the thief to return to pick up the bike. They ‘lifted’ him and was successfully prosecuted.
Of course, we put ourselves at risk – we’ve personally been threatened with violence and arson! That’s called “Taking Personal Responsibility”.
We also believe that notifying the Law is an essential because
- the statistics become more realistic and the Police can then justify appropriate resources, and
- you can be contacted if the bike is recovered.
In almost every instance the basic issues are not addressed:
- how did the bike get stolen in first instance and
- what can be done about it in the future.
To avoid having your bike stolen, our advice is:
- Get a good Sold Secure rated lock (nothing else will do) – in our experience, about 98% of these thefts are due to poor security (usually cheap cable & D-locks). The thieves are most likely to steal the bike with the least secure lock.
- If you leave your bike in the garage/shed, make sure it is locked up to something solid with a Sold Secure rated lock – about a third of all bikes are stolen from such places. Once the thieves are in there, they are out of sight and have all the time in the world (and quite often, the tools are already there too).
- If you have to leave your bike in a public space, don’t leave it in exactly the same place every day – the thieves will soon know your timetable & habits and will know when to bring the necessary equipment to relieve you of your pride-and-joy.
- Make sure that that your bicycle is security-marked with a recognised system (e.g. DataTag) – the thieves tend to stay clear of bikes which they can’t pass on.
- Get some insurance – just in case (shop around, check your Home Contents Insurance Policy).
- Make record of the bicycles frame number (usually located under the bottom bracket shell – the part of the frame between the pedal cranks).
- Have someone take a photograph of you and the bike – make sure that you are on the left hand side of the bike and that the photo is take from the right hand side (so that anyone can see the make & model, the chainset (front cogs) and the front & rear dérailleurs (gear shifters on the frame).
- Register your (new) bike on the supplier’s or manufacturer’s website (if they have the facilities).
IF you are interested, we do sell Sold-Secure rated locks and DataTag equipment – pop into the shop to see for yourself.
Remember most stolen bicycles will only be passed on for £10 or £20 to fund some sad ba£$%rd’s habit.
Happy, safe and secure cycling.