There has been a wave of bike thefts in Grand Rapids over the past few weeks of months. The weather is good, everyone is riding, and whether you're tossing your bikes on a rack to get the trailhead or just running inside quickly for a coffee on your way to work, the scum of the earth is always lurking. We wanted to offer just a few ideas on how to make sure your bike is as safe as possible.
Lock It Up. No, you lock it up! I know what you're think, 'No kidding'. But what kind of lock you use can make a huge difference. A lighter cable lock is the most portable for your commute, and if you're just stopping for five minutes for a coffee or to drop off a library book, you're probably okay. Anything longer, and we'd recommend investing in a steel U-lock; and if you have both, use both. Many bike thieves use different methods for these two locks, and it's slightly less likely they'll have both, have time to use both, and can cut both without be spotted.
Stay Where Daddy Can See You. Whenever possible, lock up your bike in view. Even if it's from a window of a co-workers' office, the break room, or through the door of the coffeeshop, having it visible means you'll be able to see anyone lingering near your bike, and other people will be able to spot suspicious activity, too. PRO TIP: If you're in a place people know you, park in the same spot every day so they might be able to notice strange activity. However, it can also be good to park your bike in different spots so a casual thief can't rely on coming back for it if they were scared off the first time.
Add More Protection. Bike on your car rack? Yeah, that little rubber or nylon strap isn't deterring anyone. Just as many bikes are stolen off cars, so even if your rack as a locking mechanism, considering adding U-lock or cable lock to its arsenal to make it a bit more daunting. Especially if it's a trunk rack that can literally be taken off in a minute or two, you need to offer some kind of road block; trying running a lock to any tow points below the bumper using think cord to lengthen your lock.
Register Your Bike. If someone rips of your rig, it might just be for a joy ride. Register your bike and there's a slim chance you may be reunited if the bike ever ends up in the hands of the law.
Be Vigilant and Communicate. Watch for any suspicious behavior, keep track of who rides what, and if you see photos of stolen bikes, keep your eyes peeled and help find them. Share posts or photos of stolen bikes on social media, too; perhaps the best way to deter theft is to make it clear that ripping off someone's Kona means living a life in the shadows, with all of Grand Rapids watching for the thief to slip up.