LOSING A MOTORCYCLE TO THEFT DOES NOT MAKE A PLEASANT MEMORY. I’ve had one bike stolen. It was about 1985 and it was locked to a street-light pole with a heavy chain outside my apartment in Boston. In fact, it was secured with a really heavy chain and a big lock. However, it was no match against a determined thief, or team of thieves. I say “team” because there was an earlier time that the same bike was almost stolen. A neighbor told me he observed two guys who had backed up to my bike and were apparently getting ready to attempt to break the chain or lock. From what he could figure, they were going to load the bike into their panel truck, shut the door and drive off with my motorbike.
Which is when he walked over and inquired about their activity.
That time they left.
If I was smarter, I would have made other arrangements about where to park the bike after I was offered that observation. Because, shortly thereafter, when it actually was stolen, and I was left with a broken chain instead of my motorcycle, I learned that the likelihood of getting any missing bike returned was pretty close to nil.
Lucky Motorcycle Rider
And yet, I was lucky.
A week or so later, I did get it back – although with some damage.
And it wasn’t the police who located it.
In this case, it was through the efforts of a helpful citizen, in a neighborhood several miles away, on a street I had never previously visited.
My stolen bike had been left by the curb on a residential street and someone who lived nearby observed its ripped-apart ignition and a jimmied fairing pocket and figured it was stolen and abandoned.
My owners manual was sticking out of the jimmied side pocket and he opened it up in search of identification. He found my phone number from an earlier residence in upstate New York. He called the phone number, got my old roommate, who provided my new phone in Boston. When he called me, I was instantly jubilant (and incredulous) and made my way over to the address he gave me. I found the bike, inspected the damage, and rode it away.
The motorcycle spent a few days in the shop getting a new ignition and having some cosmetic damage repaired. The bike, which I had purchased brand-new a year before, had never been down. But its temporary caretaker had introduced it to the ground in some kind of minor mishap.
In the mean time, I went into high gear networking with friends and neighbors and posting fliers around the community in search of a garage with some space I could rent. As a result, my repaired bike was returned to a rented portion of a garage about 1/2 mile away from where I lived. Although it was not nearly as convenient as having it parked outside the front door, the peace of mind in terms of motorcycle security was greatly appreciated.
Nowadays, I understand motorcycle security options have improved. Not only are there stronger and lighter locks, there are different kinds of locks (for example, I don’t recall disc brake locks being in existence back then). Regardless, I don’t know if any locks are really able to deter a motivated thief. And back then, LoJack’s Stolen Vehicle Recovery System for motorcycles had not been developed, or at least I wasn’t aware of it yet.
Although I’ve had a few items stolen from motorcycles over the years, I’ve never had any bikes, themselves, stolen since that incident. However, since then my bikes have always been garage kept at night, except when I’m out on the road, whether that be for a weekend, a week, a month, or longer. I’m not concerned about my bike when I’m camping, but when I’m staying at hotels or motels, I park it where I can see it outside my window, or right by the lobby and ask the night desk clerk to keep an eye on it.
Even though garages have been good to my bikes since then, I’m aware that some owners take extra care to lock their bikes inside their garage as a greater precaution.
What Are Your Motorcycle Security Suggestions?
So, what are the best options for motorcycle security nowadays? I don’t actually know. But I figured some of the readers here would have some experiences that could be helpful to others.
What types of motorcycle security problems have you had?
And even if you have never had motorbike security issues, what equipment or procedures do you advise to keep your bike and gear safe?
Add your recommendations below.