So its been 2 months since my beloved bicycle was stolen. I am moving on but not yet fully over it, I miss the bike of course but I think what stung the most was the way it disrupted my life. I am now back on road with the lovley vintage Raleigh Caprice pictured above and have taken a few precautions to try and prevent the same thing happening again.
1. Better Lock - I'll admit it right now - I had gotten lock lazy. After my last D Lock broke I had settled for a cable lock someone gave me, it was easy to lock and unlock, it was light but it was also very easy to chop in half with bolt cutters! Lesson learnt. I have now got a proper sturdy D lock made by Squire that has a Gold standard sold secure certificate. To start with it was more of a fiddle to lock the bike. I did swear at it somewhat (but its a tough cookie so I dont think it shed any tears) but now I have perfected the angle and am growing to love my D shaped friend. Check when you buy your D lock it has a sold secure certificate (either bronze, sliver or gold)
2. Cheaper Bike - This is not a sure fire way to prevent theft, I have spoken to many people who have had inexpensive bikes nicked BUT it does make it less inviting to the professional bike thief. I also needed to get back in saddle asap with a budget of £100 so the easiest, quickest option was a second hand bike from ebay. If you have time you can scour the car-boot sales but this will take a few weekends and the right bike is not guaranteed. Here's 3 tips for buying on ebay.
- Go for brands that you've heard of and that have a good reputation for durability. I went for a Raleigh caprice from 1991 as I new the Caprice range from 80's and 90'd were good solid bikes. It still had the original basket and rack in place and the paint work looked almost perfect so it was clear it had been well looked after.
- Buy from a reputable seller or bike shop. A lot of bike shops sell second hand bikes through ebay as an addition to their business. It's a good idea to visit their website and give them a call, perhaps go through a check list of the parts to ensure they are all in order. I bought mine from Kings Cycles, ebay shop. And had a good chat with them about the bike before I committed.
- Be prepared for the extra charges. Unless you're lucky enough to find a local seller you will need to pay a postage fee, usually around £20.You may also need a professional bike mechanice to assemble it for you. Most bikes will need the pedals, front wheel and sometimes handlebar stem attaching. You may be confident doing it yourself but if not you run the risk of the bike being unsafe to ride. Charge for this is usually around £20-25.
3. Bike storage - I have tried all sorts of combinations; bike in the kitchen, bike in the hall but keep having to accept the same truth; my flat is not big enough for me, my daughter and a bike. Behind the sofa is a good tip if you have a streamlined bike but mine has a child seat on so is too wide and bulky. There are also some highly stylish bike shelf designs if you have spare wall and like the look of your bike from companies like Quarterre, but alas I have no spare wall.
Princess Kate heart shaped stand, £98.90 has caught my eye and may well be on my Christmas list. (although I'm sure it will be a bugger to wrap) Apparently they can be bolted to the ground so get your tools out or enrol a strong friend with tools and you're away. Show your bike some tough love.
4. Insurance - Again I had been a little lazy here and not bothered with insurance and whilst I'm not sure I will insure the Caprice I do have my eye on Bisou by Tokyo bikes and at around £500, this baby will definitely be getting insured. ETA do a really good cycle insurance package. Their website is really clear and easy to use, you simply type in your postcode and the price of your bike and it give you an instant quote. Prices start from £21 a year.