Take it from a former thief: this is how you can prevent your bike from being stolen

If you’ve ever lived in the Netherlands, you know it’s best not to have a deep connection with your bike, because sooner or later, your beloved fiets will change owner. 

And by change, we mean become someone else’s property through a bit of light thievery. But what can you do to prevent your bike from being stolen? 

Jonny, a former bike thief, has some heel handig (very handy) tips!

A former bike thief, you say? 

Yep, Jonny was once homeless. Now, he is doing organised tours across the less postcard-perfect parts of the Netherlands.

As part of the tour, called Just a cup of coffee, he is selling one of the homeless newspapers called Riepe — he also took a moment to share his experiences as a former thief with Sikkom

So how much this pro tip will cost me? 

We have great news for you! Nothing. Jonny says that the best way to protect your beloved bike is to make sure to place your lock next to the valve. 

He explains that this makes it more difficult to steal your bike because the thief risks breaking the valve — and no one wants a broken bike. 

READ MORE: Guide to buying your first bicycle in the Netherlands (from a bike expert)

This makes sense when you consider the classic techniques of bike thieves in the Netherlands.

“They break down the stand, put it between wheel and lock and break it open. Even expensive locks [will eventually] pop open. [It takes only] one to ten minutes,” Jonny tells Sikkom.

You don’t want to end up like this. Image: Unsplash

Of course, no ultimate method would work all the time, if you have the coolest bike in town, but by having your lock right next to the valve on your wheel, this process becomes much more difficult for thieves — meaning your bike is safe!(er). 

Sounds great, right? You don’t need to upgrade your lock or take your bike up to your apartment on your tiny narrow Dutch staircase.

How do you protect your fiets from getting stolen? Tell us your tips in the comments!

Feature Image:Depositphotos
Mihály Droppa
Mihály Droppa
Mihály fell in love with (and in) Amsterdam, so he quit his NGO job in Budapest and moved to Amsterdam to become a journalist. His apartment is full of plants and books, two dogs, and a random mouse in the kitchen. You might find him in Vondelpark, where he spends most of his life throwing tennis balls for his vizslas and listening to podcasts. His nickname is Mex — ask him why!

Liked it? Try these on for size:

What do you think?

  1. Customize your bike by removing or changing stuff, make it look unsellable and overused. Park it on a very visible place, even if that means extra walking. Avoid putting your lock on the ground. Even simpler: don’t buy an expensive bike for everyday life unless it’s for commuting and even so, use a bike garage supplied by your city hall (they place them upon request).


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