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Hundreds of thousands of bicycles are stolen every year in the United States where the owner rarely gets their bike back once it has been taken. However, there are specific steps that can be performed to prevent the bicycle and you from becoming victimized by stopping or at least slowing down a thief who is eager to steal your bike.

The five major steps that can be taken to keep your bicycle safe and secure include:

ALWAYS Lock Your Bicycle

While locking the bike might seem like a simple solution, there are often occasions where bike owners believe they can keep the two-wheel vehicle unlocked. This includes when the bike is stored in an apartment building hallway, in the backyard or out on the porch. However, always locking the bike, even if you are going to leave for just a minute or two can dramatically reduce the potential of it being stolen. Getting into the habit of always locking your bicycle can become automatic.

Lock the Bicycle to Something Solid

Best Ways to Lock-up Your BikeSecuring the locking mechanism to the sturdiest object around can minimize or eliminate the potential of the bicycle being stolen. Securing a bike lock to a small tree might be a mistake if the tree trunk can be cut down. Locking it to a short signpost or barrier might allow the thief to simply pull the bicycle up and over the top of the object. Ideally, it is best to secure the bike at a location where other bicycles are also secured in a place that is well lit and has high foot traffic.

Never Use a Cable Lock

Bicycle thieves understand that the flexibility of a cable lock makes it extremely easy to cut with a hacksaw or bolt cutters. Even though cable locks are an effective deterrent for individuals who want to remain honest, bicycle thieves see them as an easy solution for stealing your bike. Instead, purchase a hefty bike chain or U-lock that can be secured with the keyhole facing down,which will make it more challenging to break into the lock without the key.

Adequately Safeguard Your Bike Accessories

While quick release wheels and bike accessories make riding your two-wheel vehicle more convenient, they increase the potential of being stolen if not properly secured. Consider securing every portion of the bicycle, especially the wheels, because a wrench is all the thief will need to remove the 15 millimeter bolts connecting the wheel and tires to the bike frame. Smart bike owners lock up both the front wheel and the back wheel that is often more expensive to replace but just as simple to steal.

Keep the Serial Number in a Safe Location

In the event that your bicycle is stolen, you will need to present the serial number to local law enforcement officers so that your bike can be returned to you in the event that it is ever found. Typically, the serial number is located along the bottom bracket. In addition, write your personal information on a piece of paper and slide it inside the grips of the handlebar in the event that you find it on the street after it has been stolen. Taking photographs of the bicycle is also important to ensure you can post its picture on the Internet to help others identify the bike in the event that it is stolen.

It is important to note that two or three bicycle locks will always be better than a single one. The more challenging you make it for the thief to steal your bicycle, the less they will want to deal with the hassle of cutting through multiple locks. In addition, electronic technology is also available to help locate your bicycle in the event that it is stolen including GPS tracking devices such as Spot Trace and Helios Handlebar.

If you into socializing on social fitness platforms to discuss your bicycling behaviors, never disclose your exact location to the public. This is because Internet savvy bicycle thieves can easily track the athlete’s home and location when the information is uploaded frequently. Bicycles are known to be stolen from vehicle racks, at public locations and from inside garages. It is up to the bike owner to take effective proactive measures to minimize the potential of it being stolen.