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Cycling Tip of the Week: How to Protect Your Bike

So you opted for a bicycle instead of a car. You're doing your part to help the environment and stay in shape. You're wearing your helmet, using bike lanes, maintaining proper posture, and even keeping your bike clean. Guess what? It's not enough...because there seem to be bicycle thieves everywhere. According to the FBI, 231,238 bikes were reported stolen in 2006. Hey, even Lance Armstrong had his bike taken for a joy ride earlier this year.

If you want to live the bike-friendly life, you've gotta protect your ride. This process begins with buying one of the many types of bike locks (U-Lock, Chain, Cable, O-Lock, Bike Club, or Cuff Locks) and registering your bike in a national database. For more theft-protection tips, let's consult those knowledgeable folks at REI.

7 Ways to Protect Your Bicycle

1. The One-Lock Method

Remove the front wheel of your bike or make sure your lock encircles the rim, not the spokes, of the wheel, as well as the bike frame. Lock your bike to a fixed object that cannot be easily broken, cut or removed. Some thieves go so far as to remove bolts from sign posts. Once you've locked your bike around a seemingly secure pole, the thief simply lifts the post out of the ground and slips off the lock. Remove unsecured bike parts, such as the seat.

2. Multiple-Lock Method

Use a maximum U-lock or chain lock in conjunction with a cable lock. Set up the U-lock around your front tire, frame and some fixed object. Then snake the cable through your rear wheel, saddle rails, frame and the U-lock. You may still walk away feeling wary, but you'll know that you did the best you could.

3. Reduce Leverage

Choose a lock that leaves as little space as possible between the lock and the bike. A small space means thieves can't use leverage to break off your lock.

4. Lock to Something Solid

Lock your bike to something solid in a visible place (not a chain-link fence or wooden railings)

5. Video Surveillance

Remember, underground parking lots have ample video surveillance cameras.

6. Switch Locations

Don't lock your bike in the same spot each day.

7. Lock with Other Bikes

Lock your bike next to other bikes where possible.