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Locking Your Bicycle

Things to consider in a lock

Design Features. Make sure that the lock design provides functional security. Gimmicks may look cool, but will they really protect your bike? Lightweight cables or chains aren't going to stop even a novice thief.

Solid Steel is Strongest. The ideal steel is hardened against cutting yet maintains flexibility.

Services. Find out about the lock's reputation. Does it have a good track record? A warranty? A guarantee? Lifetime key registration and prompt key-replacement services?

Size. Do not buy a larger lock than you really need. Thieves will use the extra space between your lock and your bike to their advantage.

Locking Right.The world's best lock won't work if used incorrectly. Lock up using the tips below to make it even more difficult for thieves to position their tools to attempt a break. And, always lock your bike in a visible, well-lighted area. Most thieves don't like to be seen.

How to Avoid a Theif

How to lock a bike properlyWhen locking your bike, think like a crook. For example, select a location where there are other bikes. The chances are better that there will be a bike with a less-secure lock or even without one, and thieves will usually look for unlocked bikes first. Likewise, lock your bike in a well-lit area where a thief won't be able to hide. Also, don't routinely lock to the same spot day after day. A determined thief might "mark" your bike, round up the tools to steal it and take it.

  1. Position your bike frame and wheels so that you fill up or take up as much of the open space within the lock's U portion as possible. The tighter the lock up, the harder it will be for a thief to insert a pry bar and pry open your lock. In the illustration to the right, 2 different locks are used.
  2. Always secure your components and accessories, especially those that can be easily removed, such as quick-release wheels and seats. Use your cable lock on these items looping it through them first and then through your U-lock.
  3. Try not to let your lock rest against the ground where a thief can smash the lock. And, if your U-lock has its keyway on the end of the crossbar, place the lock with its keyway end facing down toward the ground. This makes it harder for the thief to access your lock.

Keep your Bike Safe

Buy high-quality locks. Cheap locks will only waste your money and give you a false sense of security.

Register your key number(s) with the lock company that made your lock.

Write down your key numbers and/or lock combination and put them in a handy file with your bike registration information, purchase receipts and other important documents.

Always keep your bike locked: at home or in the dorm; everywhere. Thieves look for unlocked bikes. They may be thieves, but they're not dumb.

In high-theft areas, 2 locks are better than 1. It stinks, but it's true. Combine a cable and a U-lock, or even 2 U-locks. The more time and trouble it takes a thief to attack your bike, the less likely your bike will be stolen.

Consistency. Lock up every time. It's always the one time you don't lock that your bike is stolen.