Beware the Bike Thieves

Jeff Kirchman Portrait
Jeff Kirchman, University Apartments Community Police Officer

The weather is warming up, and a lot of us are starting to pull our bicycles out of storage, airing up the tires, and preparing for another season of riding.

Unfortunately, thieves like riding bikes too. This is a time of year when their job gets a lot easier, with literally thousands of bikes to choose from.Don’t make it easy for them.

Here are some ideas to help prevent bike theft:

  • Lock It Up: Secure the bicycle frame and wheels to a sturdy, fixed object like a bike rack or a metal post. Or store it in a dedicated, lockable bicycle locker.
  • Get a Good Lock: I recommend a quality ‘U-style’ lock. Chain and cable locks are easily cut in seconds by someone with the right tool.
  • Invest in the Lock, Not the Bike: I recommend spending your money on your lock, and not on the bike. There’s a thriving illegal market in stolen high-end bicycles and parts, so don’t tempt thieves with your $4,000 racing bike. A $50 garage-sale bike secured with a $100 lock is a good recipe for retention.
  • Register Your Ride: Madison requires bicycles to be registered. Register easily online at Registration not only deters thieves, but also assists in recovering and returning stolen bikes.
  • Stick It to It: Remember your University Apartments property stickers! Much like the registration, an affixed sticker makes it far more likely a wayward bike will find its way home.

Follow these steps and you’ll dramatically increase your chances of ensuring your bike is there the next time you want to take a ride on Madison’s great network of bicycle paths and thru-ways.

Written by Officer Jeff Kirchman, University Apartments Community Officer (Email:, Twitter: @UnivAptsUWPD, (608) 219-4698), Office: 104H University Apartments Community Center.