Guest post from Rob Spedding, Editor of Cycling Plus magazine.
According to insurance giant Aviva last month was the peak for bike thefts. In a recent press release it claimed that August, and the bank holiday weekend, were in particular ‘prime time for opportunistic thieves’.
“Traditionally during August we see a 25% increase in bike thefts as more people take to the great outdoors and make the most of good weather – the average cost of replacing a bike is around £400,” says Aviva’s Ian Coull.
To prove its point Aviva carried out an experiment in which five bikes were left prime nicking locations across London. Three of the bikes did indeed go walkabout in just a few hours – two bikes left unlocked outside, respectively, a shop and a house and a bike locked to a parking meter outside a university.
Having your pride and joy nicked is horrible – a few years ago, I rather stupidly left a bike unlocked outside my flat and sure enough it was stolen – and the chances are you won’t see it again. It still amazes me, though, how many riders seem prepared to take a chance and leave their bikes unlocked when they nip into the shops for pint of milk. Would they leave their keys in the ignition if they were running the same errand in their car?
While Aviva’s PR exercise was mainly about selling insurance of course, it also does a good job of reminding us to invest in a decent lock. We’ve just finished issue 241 of Cycling Plus (on sale September 13.) and tested some of the best locks on the market to destruction. It’s amazing how long some of these security devices will last under extreme attack. It’s also amazing how inexpensive good security can be – if you’ve spent £500 (or more) on a bike then splashing out an extra £50 or on a decent lock should be a no-brainer. Take my word for it – that initial expenditure is a lot less painful than finding some rotter has pilfered the two-wheeled love of your life!