My e-bike at Sunport Pool this summer! I didn't want to like this bike, but I sure do!
I know, it sounds ridiculous, doesn’t it? Why do we accept the inevitability that our bikes will probably one day be stolen off the streets of Albuquerque? To be fair, it’s not just Albuquerque that has a bike theft issue! This is a common reality across the US & Canada. How do we solve this issue?
Vancouver, British Columbia, was once North America’s worst city for bike theft. However, through consistent community practices and interventions in the last 7 years they’ve successfully reduced bike theft by a whopping 52%.Yes, it’s true! How cool would that be here in Albuquerque? It isn’t that complicated, but it does require the community at large. While we’ll be working on
this in the coming years, there’s a few tips that every e-bike owner should know!
Get serial number on bike and register with APD in advance
Being prepared saves a lot of headache later, but it also has a cumulative effect in the community. Over time, these community safety measures create a protective effect for everyone. Think about it—if you know it’s easier to trace a theft, wouldn’t you be less likely to spend that effort in the first place?
Park in high visibility location
Bikes are harder to steal if there are eyes on them. Parking in a high visibility and high traffic location helps ensure that your investment isn’t vulnerable to more experienced bike thieves. It takes time to crack a high quality lock and if people are around it isn’t worth the trouble!
Buy a high security lock
I know, the locks we carry are pricey ($100+) and may seem extreme on top of the $1500 - $2500 you’re dropping on your new e-bike,but a high security lock is an essential – here in Albuquerque or anywhere. Cable locks are a cat call for an experienced bike. With hand-held cable cutters and a few seconds, they’ll have that lock cut and your bike out of there! Most of the locks found on Amazon or Walmart look very similar to the high-security locks, but do not be fooled.
Instead, look for the Sold Secure rating! Free-to-Roam eBiking carries a number of top brand bike locks such as Kryptonite, Abus and On-guard that have earned either the Diamond, Gold or Silver rating. The Kryptonite New York U-Lock has long held the top rating, but that standard size U-Lock is sometimes tricky to fit around your e-bike frame and a pole. Thus we carry the extra long version. We also carry the Abus Bordo folding locks that also have the high-security ratings. They may be tricky at first to figure out how to quickly fold and unfold, but once you get it, you’ll love the extra circumference when locking your e-bike on a thick pole or crowded bike rack. They’re also nice and compact when folded up making it quick and easy to carry on your e-bike. Some of our Abus folding locks have an alarm on them as well! We also carry a few chain locks which are the hardest to cut so they’re fantastic for city living, but they’re also quite a bit heavier.
When you buy your e-bike with us, we’ll throw in a seat lock since those quick release and adjustable seat posts are the quickest win for any bike theft.
Lock the frame of your bike carefully
If you lock your bike around the wheels, seat or other removable parts, it makes it easy for someone to come along and quickly take that component off—and steal the whole bike. Be mindful of how you lock your bike, making sure to lock around the frame. Sometimes an extra cable around wheels is useful, especially if you have to park in low traffic or low visibility areas.
Take pictures of where you park your e-bike
Get in the habit of taking pictures of where you park your bike every time you leave it. Pretend an insurance agent is looking at your picture! Part of the success of reducing bike theft in California recently hinged on widespread use of this practice. By giving the community more of an accountability buffer and ensuring that more bikes were locked up, the incentive to steal a bike went down significantly.
If stolen take multiple pictures of the crime scene
Just like we talked about taking a picture of the e-bike when you leave it behind, it’s important to also take photos of the crime scene as close to when it happened as possible. Remember, you’ll be using these pictures in your police report and insurance claim!
Insure your e-bike
Just like renters, homeowners or car insurance, bike insurance is an essential tool in saving yourself money should the worst happen. Your investment in a high quality e-bike can be replaced for as little $10 a month, so call your homeowners or renters insurance company to see if they can add that to your existing policy. Otherwise, we can get you all setup with Oyster insurance that specializes in e-bikes.
Remember, it’s many small changes made by a whole community that changes a culture. We can make Albuquerque a safer place to live, commute and play—all on bikes and e-bikes! Make sure to share these tips with your friends and community. We all deserve a city that is Free to Roam!