There is a right way and a wrong way to lock your bike. The wrong way makes it very easy for experienced bike thieves to take the bike or parts of the bike. The right way discourages theft of any kind as it becomes too difficult to even attempt theft. Here are some quick tips on how to properly lock your bike no matter where you are.
The Best Locks
The best bike lock is considered to be the u-lock because a high quality u-lock is not easy to pick, disengage, or break with tools. The most famous of the u-locks is the Kryptonite New York Fahgettaboudit U-lock. The smaller size makes it difficult for the u-lock to be pried open with a crowbar while the steel construction resists bolt cutters. With a double deadbolt the lock is no easy thing to pick either.
The u-lock is considered to be the primary lock and many people prefer to use two or to pair a u-lock with secondary bike locks such as the cable, pin, or wheel locks. A chain lock is also a primary lock though it ranks just below high quality u-locks for security.
How to Lock Your Bike with One U-Lock
In order to properly lock your bike with one u-lock follow these steps:
- Place your bike against a fixed, immovable object with the chaining facing outwards. If you are placing against a bike rack be sure that the bike rack is secured to the ground and never use a bike rack where you can’t see the bolts attaching it to the ground. Bike racks that are inserted into the pavement are easy to pull out and thieves will simply slide the lock and the bike from the rack and walk away.
- Remove the front wheel and lean it against the rear wheel.
- Place the u-lock around the immovable object, through one or both seat stays, and through both wheels.
- If you cannot remove the front wheel and have a cable lock simply do steps 1-3 for the rear wheel. Thread the cable lock through the front wheel, around the frame, and secure to the u-lock.
How to Lock Your Bike with Two U-Locks
To properly lock your bike with two u-locks follow these steps:
- Place the bike against a fixed immovable object with the chain facing outward. A u-shaped bike rack works best here.
- Place the first u-lock around the immovable object, through one or both seat stays, and through the rear wheel.
- Place the second u-lock around the immovable object, around the downtube of the frame, and through the front wheel.
How to Lock With Only a Chain
If you only have a good quality chain lock available to you, follow these steps to secure the bike:
- Place the bike against a fixed immovable object with the chain facing outward.
- Remove the front wheel and place it with the rear wheel.
- Thread the chain around the immovable object, around the frame, and through both wheels.
This is not considered to be the most secure method of locking your bike but it will be sufficient for lower-risk areas. Any other type of bike lock is not sufficient to be used on its own but only as a secondary or even tertiary measure.
These tips for how to properly lock your bike should keep you from having to experience the headache of bike theft. A high quality bike lock paired with good locking technique is such a good deterrent that most thieves will likely take one look at the bike and move on to easier pickings.