I park my bike in my building's bicycle room, in the parking garage in the basement.

The garage door can only be opened with a remote fob, and the bicycle room is locked as well.

In the garage, I secure my bike using a U-lock, and a chain lock.

This morning, I came to find a hole in the door, and the two locks cut by what looks like an electrical saw.

cut-out door cut locks

What can I do to avoid that should I buy a new bike?

  • The person who put that hardened steel grid (Irony!) in the door is 115% responsible for the break-in. Did they at least replace it a steel plate after that? And the bicycle rack doesn't seem to be secured to floor. – Carel Sep 14 at 21:04
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    They increased the size of the plate around the handle, but there are regulations issue that force a grid for most of the door, for smoke evacuation, in case there is a fire inside. – Maxime Sep 14 at 21:11
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    Possible duplicate of Locking your bike in public areas – shoover Sep 14 at 22:39
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    @Richard - given the effort, risk and preparedness of the thieves, I suspect the best lock in the world would merely slow them down. Its clear on this occasion, they wanted that particular bike, in which case better locks just means they come with better tools. – mattnz Sep 15 at 9:19
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    @DavidRicherby: By installing this flimsy grid, the landlord/owner was facilitating the deed while the victim bears no responsibility, of course. – Carel Sep 15 at 14:51
up vote 26 down vote accepted

That sucks. I'm sorry that your bike was stolen.

If thieves are willing to break into a locked garage, break into a locked and fully enclosed mesh bike parking area then cut two bike locks using power tools: there's not much you can do about it.

If there are lots of bikes in the bike parking area you can make your bike a lower priority target by increasing the number and strength of the locks, and by making the bike itself look less desirable.

Looking at the first picture, it seems the bike parking area door could be easily opened from the inside. The thieves were able to cut a hole in the door and reach the door release - not the most secure setup. Also, it's likely that someone let them into the garage - i.e. one of your neighbors.

Just store your bike in your apartment if you can.

There's nothing you can do if the storage area is not under constant surveillance.

It can take as little as 2 minutes to grind a U-Lock.

The only real solution is to keep your bike in your apartment.

In the meantime, check to know how the thief was able to get in that area ? did he came via the garage door ? the front door ?

Did he enter while someone enter or leave without checking ?

Check with your home insurances to see what can be done about that, if the building is responsible in some way.

Anecdotal: When I come in my building, if someone is waiting to be let in, I tell them to wait outside and wait and not come at the same time as I do and if I leave by the garage, I wait until the door is closed before either leaving or going down the ramp.

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    Someone probably snuck on foot after a neighbour's car. It takes some serious commitment to wait for the door to close, and I can't expect that from every neighbour, even I don't do it. Not much to be done there. I guess the appartment it is :) – Maxime Sep 14 at 18:22

I lost a few bikes to theft when I was in university. It stunk.

I took to buying used bikes (probably from bike thieves).

I wrapped the frame tubes of my (otherwise nice) bike in peelable masking tape, then smeared them with grease. Nobody wanted that ugly bike. It worked to prevent theft; I kept that one for many years.

Funny enough, the parking garage may actually be less safe than a well-exposed outside location. When I was commuting between the cities of Hamburg and Berlin I locked my (500/1000$) bikes at the train stations, sometimes for weeks. I made sure to detach and lock my front wheel together with the back wheel and frame though, on some steel pole or railing, with a good-quality U lock. Just one time in two years or so somebody stole my suspended saddle post.

Both stations have their share of homeless and drug-addicted people hanging around; but the places are busy 24/7. I suppose your average friction saw creates too many sparks at night to go unnoticed in public; but in a parking garage the thieves have all the time in the world. So try the next intersection next time. And yes, use a bike which is not a special target.

There are motion sensors (installed on your bike) and locks that can notify you if your bike is being moved. I don't have direct experience with them, and they're obviously expensive, so you'll need to decide whether something like that is worth it.

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    Minus one for impractical advice. Most of the alarms are either Bluetooth so have very limited range or audible alarms which a sharp tap of a hammer quickly fixes or which false alarm so much your neighbors will quick “fix” for you. – RoboKaren Sep 14 at 21:18
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    I’m thinking specifically about some that use gps and cellular. May still be impractical or too expensive, but they are out there. – Adam Rice Sep 15 at 3:14
  • @RoboKaren sherlock.bike and others - GPS, Celluar, motion detection. A switched on thief might know its there, be able to find it, remove it and disable it before it gets a text message away. – mattnz Sep 15 at 9:27
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    @AdamRice GPS wouldn't work in a basement, though it might help track the bike after it's been removed from there. – David Richerby Sep 15 at 12:46
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    @nurettin: Apparently the Sherlock device linked by mattnz looks just like any other bar end plug. So unless such devices are common enough that thieves start to routinely remove bar end plugs it shouldn’t catch attention. I think when even a strong U-Lock is not enough to deter thieves this is the only other option which might help to recover the bike. An even stronger lock (or multiple locks) would just increase the time required for cutting slightly, which is very short with an electric angle grinder. – Michael Sep 16 at 12:40

Check the quality of your locks ! I suspect both to be breakable with a bolt cutter (yes, your u-lock too).
You will learn more here :


For owners, a second option is more onerous, but will not benefit only to you.
Install a camera. Put it high enough to reduce the risk of being destroyed. Be sure to have access to data even if it is destroyed. This may even protect the whole garage, not only bikes.

  • Requiring a swipe card to leave sounds like a serious fire hazard. – David Richerby Sep 21 at 11:51
  • Depends what the poster means. Many high security areas require you to badge out of an area. You can leave without badging out, but the badge system knows where should be based on last swipe, and won't work on any other doors until you return to the room and badge out properly. It's a "make not badging really inconvenient" solution. That being said, the poster probably mean it in the 'violate the fire code' kinda way. Oh well. – Adonalsium Sep 21 at 16:38
  • ok, it is fixed – user285259 Sep 24 at 18:17

To prevent your bike being stolen, you could encase it in concrete. But I think you mean how do you keep it secure whilst also being able to ride it. If thieves have good power tools and expertise, they can cut through anything unattended, so if you keep your bike under 24-hour manned guard, this opportunity will never arise. Mere CCTV won't be enough. By the time the alarm is raised and someone attends the scene, the bike will be gone, and you'll only have a video of your bike being stolen as a consolation prize. Hiring guards to watch over your bike could well be more expensive than the bike, so you could take in lodgers so your home is never unoccupied; they watch over your stuff, and you watch over theirs. You could also keep your bike watched on campus or at work by taking it into the building and either locking it to a fitting in a staff-only area, or parking it near your desk or in another area frequently only by immediate colleagues.

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    Welcome to the site! I don't think your advice here is very practical. If the bike is inside your home, lodgers are irrelevant because a thief will already have to escalate to the level of a house burglary to take the bike. Taking the bike into a restricted-access area of a building doesn't guarantee anything, since that's exactly what the asker did. And, where I work, we're not allowed to bring non-folding bikes into the building anyway. – David Richerby Sep 16 at 11:32

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