Author Topic: How should I lock my bike in public area?  (Read 1825 times)


  • 5 O'Clock Shadow
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How should I lock my bike in public area?
« on: November 26, 2016, 03:24:59 PM »
as stated in topic


  • Bristles
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Re: How should I lock my bike in public area?
« Reply #1 on: November 26, 2016, 05:57:12 PM »
I think it depends on how much crime is in the area and how expensive your bike is. Huffy in a small town? No lock needed. Custom frame road bike overnight in San Francisco? It won't be safe with any lock. The general advice is any cable lock is next to worthless. A U lock is best, thicker shackle and smaller dimensions are stronger. Some people use multiple locks or disassemble the bike to lock up both the wheels and frame. Some people with a nice bike will use a heavy lock they keep at their home bike rack for locking overnight and a smaller lock to take with them for shorter stops.

This website is informative:

I have been doing a lot of research on this lately because I am planning a bike tour through Europe with an expensive Co-Motion coupled frame touring bike. I will get a small U lock to save weight but ultimately will only sleep in places that the bike will be safely stored indoors.


  • Walrus Stache
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Re: How should I lock my bike in public area?
« Reply #2 on: November 26, 2016, 07:11:09 PM »
The general advice is to use the smallest secure u lock you can find, and lock your rear wheel to the bike rack inside of the rear triangle, even if that means not locking the frame directly. has details.

Bigger u locks are not more secure, because they have more room to get a breaker jack inside.  Heavy locks are not fun to carry, so you make some trade off between weight and security and price, depending on where you're locking and for how long.   No lock is perfectly safe at any price or weight, so you pick what makes sense for your situation.

I routinely lock up with a $6 cable lock at the grocery store.  I have a bigger u lock that I leave locked to the rack at work.


  • Handlebar Stache
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Re: How should I lock my bike in public area?
« Reply #3 on: November 27, 2016, 12:55:46 AM »
Lock up the frame and any important bits to something solid. Pick a place under surveillance if possible.

A while back we were stuck in traffic in Union Square on a bustling Sunday afternoon. A boy on the sidewalk pulled a massive pair of bolt cutters out of a ruck sack and nicked a bike locked up to a light pole. The whole operation took about 15 seconds and there were dozens of witnesses. We were stunned.


  • Pencil Stache
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Re: How should I lock my bike in public area?
« Reply #4 on: November 27, 2016, 10:10:07 AM »
After locking my bike, depending on my situation, I will remove the seat/seatpost and front wheel and take both with me to my destination. That way, theft via riding the bike into the sunset is impossible. If the thief is going to leave the scene with my bike on foot, it will look very strange/suspicious carrying the bike w/o seat(&post) and front wheel.

I would never lock my bike up O/N. I also try to lock it up in high foot traffic areas to ensure public eyes on the rig may prevent a thief from bashing/cutting the lock. No guarantees for sure.


  • Magnum Stache
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Re: How should I lock my bike in public area?
« Reply #5 on: November 27, 2016, 02:15:46 PM »
"Don't live in a shitty place to live filled with bike thieves."

I moved to a much better place to live, and I rarely lock my bikes anymore.  I'll toss a cable lock through the frame and front wheel at church, or cable lock it to a parking lot sign or something if I do anything.  It's just not an issue in large parts of the country.

If you live in an area with aggressive bike thieves?  Ride a crappy looking bike with halfway decent components, insure it, lock it the best you can, but don't get attached to it, because someone, somewhere, needs a hit of meth more than you need your bike.


  • 5 O'Clock Shadow
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Re: How should I lock my bike in public area?
« Reply #6 on: November 27, 2016, 02:26:57 PM »
I park my bike outside of work during the day in a high-theft city.  A few co-workers have had their bikes stolen because of cable locks or not locking them properly.  I've been lucky so far.

I have a mini kryptonite u-lock that I lock my frame to and purchased "pit locks" that essentially lock my front wheel and seat to the frame so they can't be removed without a key.  I always double check that the lock is on there securely.

It really does depend on where you live, though.  I've been on bike trips where people left their 2k road bikes unlocked and wandered off to explore town without any issues.