When thieves broke into Sarah Mckenna's Braddon court yard to steal her trusty bicycle, the only trace they left was the $40 combination lock which failed to protect it.
Bicycle thefts increased by a quarter between the past two financial years, data from ACT Policing has revealed.
Close to 1000 bicycles were reported stolen in the ACT last financial year, with Canberra's inner suburbs proving to be a hotbed for thefts.
"Unfortunately bicycle theft in the ACT is on the rise … with the highest concentration in the inner suburbs of City, Acton, Braddon, Turner, where there's a high percentage of people who ride into town," ACT Policing Acting Superintendent Harry Hains said.
Eighty-eight bicycles were stolen in Braddon with 76 nicked in both Acton and the City. Lyneham residents reported 41 thefts and Turner residents 33.
"I think a lot of people don't really see the value of securing their bike because they think it's only an inexpensive bike, $150 or $200, however when it's actually stolen it's very inconvenient to them, that's their mode of transport," he said.
But while cheaper bikes were being snapped up, it seems high-end bicycles have become less of a soft target.
Bicycle thefts have plunged in Kingston, where Acting Superintendent Hains said some of the stolen bikes were worth as much as a small car.
"Maybe the message has got through that these bikes need to be protected," he said.
But another message he wishes people would absorb is to ensure they keep up-to-date records of their bicycle through a 'bike passport'.
"One of the biggest issues we face is identifying bikes. We recover many bikes every year which have been dumped in storm water drains or in parkland, people bring them into police," he said.
"Unfortunately if the owner hasn't actually kept the details of the serial number or anything like that we have a very hard time matching those bikes up with their owner."
Ms Mckenna said she hadn't reported her bike stolen to police as she didn't have a photo of it and it was a common model.
"I have never heard of a bike passport, wish I had," she said.
While there's never a good time to have your only mode of transportation nicked, the Australian National University psychology student said hers happened a couple of weeks before her thesis was due.
"It was a major inconvenience and I could not afford a new one at the time. Luckily a friend from work gave me one that they were going to sell in a garage sale," she said.
"I lock my new bike inside my stairwell but I still only have a cheap lock, because the bike is probably worth less than the cost of a decent one."
Although they can be pricey, Acting Superintendent Hains recommends investing in a good quality U-lock.
"They are pretty much indefeatable unless someone's got a cordless angle grinder which generally attracts a bit of attention, so long as they secure it to a proper bike rack," he said.
You can report a stolen bike in Canberra by calling ACT Policing on 131 444.
To make sure you can reclaim your bike if it's recovered, take note of the serial number, any unique characteristics of the bike and photographs of the bike.
Grab a copy of bike passport on the ACT Policing and Justice and Community Safety websites.