Cycle theft advice that could hinder cycle use

Last week I noticed a couple of tweets from Edinburgh South Police suggesting that you should remove the seat or a wheel when you store it in a shed on the grounds that many bikes are cycled away.

I can see why the advice would help to reduce the probability of a theft as it would make it harder to cycle away, however I was rather annoyed with this advice. On my bicycle it’s not easy to take the saddle or wheels off. It would likely add an extra 10 to 20 minutes each day, with the additional risk of the front wheel not being connected on correctly, or the electrical connector to the hub dynamo for the lights and USB charging wearing out.

Where I live, I have to go through 5 auto closing doors, and find it extremely annoying, especially when you can’t get the bike through the door unless you hold the door open. It’s something small which has discouraged me from using the bike as often as I have in the past, especially for the more spontaneous journeys, and taking the wheel off would make it even less likely.

Knowing the above I fear that the advice would discourage people from choosing the bicycle for many journeys, particularly the shorter journeys.

For people who have quick release wheels and/or saddles, the advice may work, however for others this is likely to discourage the owner from cycling instead.

On my Dutch bike, and my wife’s Pashley, we have frame locks which stops the back wheel from moving when locked, and you must have the key in the lock to use the bike. I’d really like to see more bikes in Britain with practical wheel locks as they are a useful and discrete security device that is always there. Ideally frame locks should be supplemented with another lock to attach the cycle to an immovable object, some frame locks allow you to insert a cable lock, so you don’t need to carry a separate lock.

© Trelock: RS450 frame lock
© Trelock: RS450 frame lock

I wonder what the root causes of cycle theft are? I wonder if there’s any link to the benefit sanctions and other cuts the government are making… Hopefully some day we can revert to the good old days where you don’t need to worry about things being stolen, as is currently the case in some rural areas.


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  2. Totally impractical advice. As if they don’t actually use bicycle themselves…

    As for the rate of cycle theft in the UK, that’s really quite strange. Why a high rate of cycle theft when there is a low rate of cycle use ?

    1. As there is a noticeablish increase in people cycling, and some people willing to buy a bike for very little from some random person, so therefore there’s a demand to sell the bikes on, hence why they get stolen.

  3. My bike with a frame lock was attempted to be stolen once. The perpetrator cut through the cable lock, then realised it wouldn’t go anywhere. Clearly, they didn’t know how to defeat a frame lock.

  4. I have a wheel lock / nurse’s lock / horseshoe lock on one bike. They have two common problems: you need the sort with a captive cable else it’s not locked to anything so someone can walk off with the bike and hacksaw the lock at their leisure; and some of the pre-Defender Axa ones had a “kryptonite moment” a few years ago where any key could unlock any lock. Without a cable, they’re OK only as a cafe lock.

  5. Reminds me of the days before car security ~1998 : one of my neighbours used to take a wheel off his car, and leave it on a pile of bricks, to stop his mates ‘borrowing’ it !

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