The population is becoming more environmentally friendly, and as a consequence, more and more people are now pedalling their way to work, school or about town. Many of our team members here at The Workplace Depot chose to cycle to work and the introduction of the endearingly dubbed “Boris Bikes” in London has brought to light how easy and practical cycling in the capital can be, and now 1/4 of all London traffic is made up of cyclists.
Motorised traffic is the single largest source of air pollution in city areas and the amount of pollution caused by traffic and transport is increasing every year. Motor vehicles emit a variety of pollutants such as Hydrocarbons, Carbon Monoxide, Nitrogen Oxides , Ozone, Particulates , acidic compounds, and Carbon Dioxide, all of which are harmful to the environment. In order to combat this, or to at least limit the amount of greenhouse gases we produce, cycling from place to place instead of using a car is much less harmful to our atmosphere. There are zero emissions from riding a bike – a much cleaner and greener way to travel.
Not only does cycling have a healthy impact on the environment, but it also has a healthy impact on your physical well-being and on your wallet. Cycling is a great way to get fit and active and is extremely cost effective. Once you have purchased your bike and accessories you are good to go! No petrol costs and no road tax.
However, one big downside to owning a bike is the risk of bike theft. In the last year the number of reported bike thefts rose by 7%, but the number of bike thefts that go unreported may have increased by even more. In London, 28% of cyclists have had their bikes stolen. Many bike thieves operate in London and other urban areas, and in some cases, even thieve to order – picking up bikes to match a product description and many of these bikes actually end up for sale online. According to a leading insurer, the average time an owner will have with its bike before it gets stolen is just 23 months, and even 1/5 of cyclists claim that their bike was stolen after just as little as six months.
Once a bike has been stolen, studies show that people are more reluctant to ride a bike again. The theft of a bike should not put you off. Here are a number of tips from Transport for London to keep your bike safe and secure.
- First of all, buy a bike lock. It is important to invest in quality and strength when it comes to locking up your bike so it is advisable to buy the best that you can afford. It may sound simple, but when you go out on your bike, don’t forget your lock!
- When locking your bike, make sure that both the frame and the wheels are securely inside the lock. It’s even suggested that using two locks is the safest option. This way it stops thieves from being able to detach the wheel from the fame of your bike, making it easier to steal.
- It is vital that you take time to consider where the best place to lock your bike would be. It is always best to lock your bike to fixtures specifically assigned for the storage of bicycles such as, bike racks, Sheffield cycle stands or, if available, in a cycle shelter or a bike locker. In these cases the cycles are hidden, giving less incentive for bike thieves to break into the locker and steal what is inside. These immovable, designated spaces work much better than locking your bike to trees or sign posts that can be easily cut through or your cycle could be lifted over. Also, it is always best to leave your bike in a busy area. The more people around, the less time and space a thief has to work on your lock.
- Even if you leave your bike for a short amount of time is it essential that you lock it. Don’t help thieves out. Keep your bike secure at all times.
- As soon as you purchase a new bike it is recommended that you register it. By registering the model, make and frame number you increase the chances of getting your bike back if it does unfortunately get stolen.
- Always take all removable parts of you bike with you. Lights, bike pumps and other items that can be, should be taken with you.
- The final suggestion is the one which has worked for me so far: Buy an old banger! An undesirable, old bike (like mine) is less attractive to thieves and you can always try to pass it off as “vintage!”
Worrying about bike thieves does not have to be a big deterrent from getting on your bike. As long as you stay smart and keep to the guidelines above you will be able to put off thieves and keep your bike safe.
To see our full range of cycling facilities to keep your bike safe from thieves, click here.