First things first, invest in a good quality lock
A common guideline is to spend 10% of the value of your bike on the lock itself, but we would always advise buying the best quality lock you can afford.
Independent assessment company Sold Secure rate locks as bronze, silver or gold dependant on how difficult it is to break into. You can check the rating online or check the packaging for these symbols. If you have insurance, double check the policy wording as you may be required to use a specific rating of lock depending on the value of your bike.
Lock your bicycle through both the wheel and the frame – either by detaching your front wheel or using a second lock for the front wheel. Quick release wheels can easily be taken by themselves and the frame left behind.
Lock it to a sturdy, immovable object. Flimsy railings can be easy to cut through with bolt cutters, while a wobbly or unsecured post can simply be lifted from the ground.
Lock it in a safe area if possible. Good street lighting, CCTV cameras and nearby buildings are all useful deterrents, high footfall is good too – while members of the public may not step in if they see someone trying to steal a bike, it reduces the chance of wannabe burglars taking the risk.
Mark your bike. Anything that displays that your bike is known to the police or simply is easily identifiable makes it harder to sell off quickly. Consider registering for free with Bike Register, the National Cycle Database, or any of the other independent schemes out there.
Don’t leave anything on your bike. Saddlebags, lights and GPS computers are easy to pocket for quick-fingered thieves, so make sure you take them off.
Beware of damage. If you discover your bike has been vandalised, find a way to get it home. Savvy thieves often deface bikes so that they can’t be ridden and are left behind. They’ll pop back after dark with the right tools for the job and steal it.
Make sure it’s locked up better than other bikes in the area. Unfortunately, this is a case of survival of the safest. If a thief has a choice between a cheap cable lock – which can be cut through with kitchen scissors - and a gold rated D lock, it’s obvious which one they’ll tackle.
Marketing executive for charity insurance supporter, Yellow Jersey