Bike shed

A bike is a valuable piece of equipment; for kids and adults, bikes are a great source of exercise, while an increasing number of us also rely on them for our daily commute. As such, a good quality bike can be a worthwhile investment, but only if you are prepared to keep it secure!

These days, with dash cams and social media letting us publicly post and brag about our cycling experiences, it is easier than ever for opportunistic thieves to find ripe targets. Any bike left in plain site is an open invitation to burglars, as is an unsecured storage shed. Worse yet, most insurance companies will not pay out unless the owner of a stolen bike took the proper precautions to keep it safe.

Having said that, the options for keeping bikes safe can be limited. If you do not have a garage or some kind of brick outbuilding, the next best thing will be to install a fully secure bike shed. These come in all shapes, sizes and materials, which can make choosing the best option to suit you a chore.

Luckily, there are several clear steps which you can follow in order to make your new bike shed as secure as possible. After deciding on the size, you must choose the material of the shed as well as the base. You can also maximise your security by investing in additional features such as alarms and sensor activated lights. Of course, simply choosing the right place to build your bike shed can make it that much more secure.

Most bike sheds are self assembly; however, the parts are often extremely heavy. If you do not have the experience to build your shed securely, it is worth hiring a local carpenter or an experienced handyman for the job. A locksmith, in addition to installing locks and other security measures, can give you valuable advice on keeping your shed and the valuables inside secure. Keep in mind that opportunistic thieves have the experience to know an easy target when they see it; the more you consult with the experts, the better your chances will be for keeping your belongings safe.

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Before you invest any money in your bike shed, it is worth checking your local authority’s rules concerning outbuildings. Typically, a bike shed will be considered a ‘permitted development’ and will not require planning permission as long as it is built within given guidelines. These will relate to:

  • Maximum height
  • Proximity to property
  • Proportion of the property’s land taken up

You may still require planning permission if your home lies within a conservation area, within certain London boroughs or if it is a listed building.

When it comes to planning permissions, it is almost always a case of ‘better safe than sorry’. Check what the rules are before you order your bike shed and you could end up save yourself from an expensive hassle down the line.

Bike shed

Where do I place my bike shed?

The first thing to think about is where exactly you will place your bike shed. As well as having enough space for the shed, the area should be:

  • Out of sight from the main road
  • Somewhere where it will be difficult for thieves to operate
  • Somewhere that won’t draw attention

Choosing the right location will help to keep your belongings safer, but you should not take any chances. In case any thieves get onto your property, it is good to install outdoor lighting with a movement sensor. This will let any thieves getting too close to your property know that you have security in place, which will often be enough to make them look elsewhere. For more advice on keeping your property secure, it will be best to speak to a home security specialist.

Bike shed
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Bike shed base

When looking at different bike sheds, you will notice that many offer information on how large a base they should be built on. Choosing to place your bike shed on a firm, flat and level surface offers several advantages:

  • It will make the assembly process easier
  • A level surface will ensure that the locks and bolts line up correctly
  • Heavy sheds can require a sturdy base to take their weight
  • Having a base will allow you to bolt the bike shed down

Remember that the base should be larger than the shed itself. Otherwise, any attempts to fix the shed down will likely end up damaging the base.

Typical choices for bike shed bases include concrete, tarmac and patio slabs. To have your base built quickly, your best bet will be to hire a local builder or bricklayer.

Bike shed

What material should my bike shed be?

Bike sheds come in a variety of different materials. Each option has its pros and cons, so consider your own needs carefully before you are making a decision. For example, how many bikes will you need to store? How secure is your property? Will your shed be used to store anything in addition to the bikes?

Generally speaking there are three choices of materials for bike sheds:

  • Wood - This tends to be the cheapest option, but requires regular upkeep to avoid rot. Many wooden sheds can also be relatively flimsy and easy to break into
  • Metal - This is the most secure option, though it can also be the most expensive. Metal sheds are highly durable and can even be fire resistant. However, the segments can be heavy and should usually be assembled by an experienced tradesman
  • Plastic - This is a fairly low maintenance option. The disadvantage is that the insides can be prone to condensation

An easy rule to remember is that the thinner a shed’s walls are, the easier it will be to break into. You should also try to avoid unnecessary aesthetic touches; windows in particular can be an easily exploitable structural weakness.

Bike shed

Making a bike shed secure

Buying and installing a bike shed is one thing, but if you really want to keep your bike secure then there is still more you can do. We have discussed the advantages of having a base to secure your shed to; you can give yourself an even better chance by investing in a hasp, along with a strong padlock. Spending the right amount on a single padlock is always better than buying several cheap small ones; the best brands will often even come with a guarantee! To make this even more secure, replace any screws holding the shed’s hinges in place with nuts and bolts, which will be much harder for a would-be-thief to force out.

In case thieves are able to get into your shed, the next step should be to make sure that they cannot get away with anything. A burglar alarm covering your shed’s door and windows will instantly draw attention if the shed is breached, which can often be enough to make a thief flee the scene. If you are planning to keep tools in the shed, keep them in a secured and locked container. Not only will they also be a target for thieves, but they could also be used to break through any locks securing your bike.

One of the great things about bike locks for the home is that you don’t have to worry about their weight. A motorcycle chain lock will make any would-be thief's job much harder, as long as you do not buy one that is too long. Buy a lock anchor and secure it to the base or wall of the shed; this will be the perfect spot to lock the other end of your chain to.

It is worth looking out for a ‘Solid Secure’ rating whenever you are on the market for locks: Solid Secure is administered by the Master Locksmiths Association, and products with high scores will be able to stand up to a wide variety of tools.