View Full Version : Locks & Locking strategies

03-30-2011, 07:04 AM
On social visits around town where I may need to lock my bike up outside or in an unsupervised area I employ a couple of different strategies. Note: all my bikes have quick-release wheels. The seats are all stock and not-flashy, so unlikely to be stolen except for kids screwing around (which happens).

On the rare occasion I bike in on my hybrid, I use a single U-lock locked to a bike rack/meter through my frame, with a heavy-duty cable through the wheels and I strip almost anything worth taking off my bike. It's hard to forget the lock at home (it mounts under the rear rack. Should I forget the cable, I try to use the Sheldon Brown method (or at least include the rear wheel in the locked area) and remove the front wheel (and if I remove the front wheel, I'll sometimes take the seat/post since it's quick release, depending on the location/time).

However, most of the time I ride the Big Dummy in, which presents three additional issues: a) the racks prevent the sheldon brown method and/or locking both the frame and rear wheel with the U-lock, b) a standard cable isn't long enough to get the front wheel and rear wheel and c) the bike was substantially more expensive than the hybrid. However, since the bike also has lots of storage: I use two U-locks (of different manufacturers and different key types) and an extra-long cable threaded through the wheels onto the U-locks. The seat-post isn't quick release (but a semi-pro or better will have a hex key with him...but hopefully better targets :P ).

What strategies do you employ?


03-30-2011, 10:31 AM
I use a locking skewer set to keep the wheels and seat secure (of course you need to carry the "key" with you in case you get a flat).

90% of the time I'm riding to my office, where we have a bike cage in the parking garage. You have to request that your key card be activated for the bike cage, so access is limited. I lock my bike up in there with a u-lock.

For brief errands in the neighborhood I also use the u-lock.

If I'm leaving the bike at the metro, I take my least attractive/valuable bike and lock it with a u-lock and cable. Once I had a bungee cord stolen from my bike at the station! So you are smart to take anything that can be removed with you.

No method is 100% foolproof. Just trying to make my bike less attractive to thieves than the next one. And hopefully I won't get as distraught as Pee Wee Herman if the worst happens.


03-31-2011, 08:24 AM
What strategies do you employ?
Armed guards with orders to shoot. :cool:

03-31-2011, 09:06 AM
The dummy is not an easy thing to park or lock. I have a big u-lock that gets the frame and rear wheel. I then use a cable that goes through the front wheel, seat and the kit I have at the back. The bucket panniers are always there. I've had people open them hoping to find something worth stealing. When the smell hits them, they usually run in fear. ;)

I've generally found the "ewwww" factor helps with security. The only bike I leave completely unattended is disgusting enough that no-one wants it. I use a U-lock and add the QR front wheel into the lock. The saddle never gets touched.

My other bikes only get locked outside briefly and never completely unattended, so I lock front wheel, back wheel and frame with a U-lock and I'm back before anyone snags the saddle. Someone could steal it, but they haven't yet.

Mark Blacknell
03-31-2011, 10:12 AM
I just lock up next to a nicer, but less well-secured, bike. :)

04-04-2011, 09:58 AM
I have two U-Locks which I keep on-site at my workplace's bike rack. One is wide, and I use it to go through the frame, rear wheel and bike rack. The other is narrower, and locks the front wheel to the frame.

04-07-2011, 02:26 PM
Ulock for the frame + cable for the wheels.

Cable alone is useless, saw one today cut in half by GWU....

Joe Chapline
04-07-2011, 03:28 PM
U-lock for the frame, thick 7'cable for wheels and helmet. The cable can go through one of the helmet vent holes. The cable is also a good backup when there's nothing to lock the U-lock to -- the cable will go around a light post, phone pole or, as a last resort, a tree. Then I use the U-lock as an oversized padlock for the cable. When I'm stopping at a store for a minute, I just use the U-lock. I used to have skewers that required an allen wrench to remove. More of a deterrent to thieves than quick-release, but not as expensive as locking skewers. The last time I needed a new skewer, the bike store didn't have those, but they're available online.

04-11-2011, 12:40 AM
I use a single U-lock locked to a bike rack/meter through my frame