'It's a design flaw': Bike hangar broken into for a second time

Broken lock on green bike hangar

"This seems a bit too easy for these guys to break into." - Credit: Mike

A unit for storing bikes in a West Hampstead street has been broken into for the second time in 12 months, leaving one customer to question whether it's worth paying for.

After being on a wait list for many years, Mike was ecstatic when he heard that a space had become available in a hangar. He lives in a flat and doesn't have any space to store his electric bike inside, so he felt the £36 annual fee would be worth it.

However, in March 2021, his hangar was broken into and even though the bikes were locked up inside, all of them were stolen, apart from Mike's as he was using it. One of the victim's electric bikes cost more than £5,000.

He said the hangers seem "a bit too easy for these guys to break into". 

He spoke to the manufacturer, Falco, which acknowledged the issue but Mike said it "didn't do anything to beef up their locks".

A Falco spokesperson said that after the break-in, the lock manufacturer "began to redesign the lock and ‘swing-arm’ mechanism and we began to look at new designs for our hangars".

But on the evening of April 26 this year, the hangar was broken into again with the police saying power tools were stolen, rather than bicycles. Luckily Mike was using his bike again.

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"If people's bikes are being stolen, they're not going to put them in hangars anymore. There's no point building all this infrastructure, if it's not going to be used," Mike said.

A Falco spokesperson said: "Vandalism and theft is a London-wide issue not just for Falco but for all suppliers and operators.

"The strength of ‘attacks’ has risen considerably in recent years and in particular the use of battery powered grinders has taken this to a whole new level.

"This kind of attack – not just for cycles – has become more prevalent in London over recent months and years and keeping ahead of these thieves is not a simple as it may seem."

A Camden Council spokesperson said: “The council are aware of an attempted break in at this bike hangar location last week and have arranged our bike hangar supplier, Falco, to replace the damaged lock as soon as possible.

"The council are continuing to monitor bike hangars in the borough."