How to keep your bike safe – easy, quick and free!

University of Worcester PCSOs offer free advice and kit on how to keep your bike safe

Offering you the latest sustainable travelling tips, our PCSOs and helped students by marking their bikes for free to increase security, making sure you get your cycle back in case it’s stolen.

This might come as a surprise, but in the UK, a bicycle is stolen on average every single minute! Less than 5% are returned and that’s due to the difficulty the Police face in identifying the rightful owner. So you can see how crucial it is to have a system that links you directly to your bike.

If you’re using bicycles from the Woo Bikes  Scheme, then you don’t need to worry! All of them are already secure and marked with the University’s SMART  water. You might wonder where that is, but here comes the trick: you don’t actual see it.

PCSO Alun Jones explained how this actually works.

“We use a system called Retaina Guard. It’s an unique product that registers your cycling details against a database, by using a smart number that uniquely identifies your cycle.

With the use of tamper proof labels, the stencil within the label is covered by smart water. The label goes over the frame and nobody will be able to see it, unless it’s under a certain light.

In essence, if a cycle is lost or stolen and recovered by the police, you’ll be able to get it back. This increases the number of returned bikes and happy cyclists,” said Mr Jones.

If you want to have your bike marked but didn’t get a chance to come by St John’s Main Reception on the day, there’s no need to worry. For more information on how to keep your bike safe and when you could get it marked for free, you can contact Alun Jones at


  3 comments for “How to keep your bike safe – easy, quick and free!

  1. Matt Smith
    February 21, 2014 at 3:10 pm

    All loan bikes are also marked with Smartwater which carried a unique DNA code and can be traced back to the owner via a national database. Smartwater is marked onto bikes as a liquid which claims to last for over 100 years even on item left outside! The liquid is only visible with a UV torch and holds the unique DNA to the owner. Smarterwater enables police to identify owners of stolen bikes (plus lots of other things) and can act as a deterrent to potential thieves.
    Research suggests that one of the key reasons people stop cycling and form new transport behaviours is because their bike was stolen. So bike security is essential for continuing active transport behaviours once they have been formed.

  2. PCSO Alun JONES
    February 24, 2014 at 8:15 pm

    The ‘cycle security coding initiative’ on the 11th and 12th February was somewhat hampered by the inclement weather and only 6 cycles were uniquely coded.
    Tash and I have received several reports of cycles being stolen from the area at the front of the ‘Arena’ since before Christmas. We therefore reiterate the importance of the unique security coding that we offer, free of charge to both staff and students.
    If you wish to have your cycle permanently security coded please send an email request to We will also be holding similar ‘open’ events on both campuses later in the Spring and these events of course will be advertised.

  3. Gordon The Campus bike shop
    February 25, 2014 at 8:34 pm

    As Matt & Alun says, marking your bike will make it easier to help get it back, however, fitting a good quality lock will make it harder for a thief to take it, we have a selection available for sale in the main campus bike shop, every week I hear stories how someone has had their bike stolen when only fitting a cheap chain/ wire bike lock, one man had paid £750 for a specialised cycle but only paid £2.50 for a lock & chain that could be cut with a good pair of wire cutters??
    Just as important is where or what you secure it too, it is no good only putting the lock through the wheel & frame, the bike can be carried off and put into a car or van, it needs to be locked to something secure, (not a thin wooden fence!)
    If you need further advice pop into the bike shop any Wednesday or contact us by Email, we will be glad to help if we can.

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