In this post we will be looking specifically at the do’s and don’ts of locking up your bike given the locks we reviewed yesterday.
You’ll find if you really think about it that you ride and lock up in the same places a lot. Perhaps your list looks a lot like my list; there is your house, campus, downtown, work, grocery store, library, and 7-11 (it is summer after all). What you will also find is that different amounts of time, and different types of racks are allocated to each place. We are going to try and cover all of these, but first you have to ask yourself what is the most expensive and easily removed part on your bike not including the frame? For most people the correct answer is your rear wheel. Most rear wheels have a quick release skewer on them (a lever removes your wheel) as opposed to a bolt on rear wheel (bolts hold your wheel on). If this is the case you are looking at a bare minimum of $70 dollars (wheel, tube, tire, gears) to replace a stolen rear wheel. Compare that to $40 dollars for the front wheel, and you see what I mean. As you look through the different locking strategies take note that if the bike is going to be out of sight for a long period of time you want the rear wheel locked up every time.
Locking up in a low traffic area where you will be away from you bike for an extended period of time is where you want the most protection you can offer your trusty steed. The following are examples of the strongest ways you can lock up and leave your mind at easy. As a reminder a U-lock and accessory cable are the absolute best in these situations. You can see that not only is the frame and precious rear wheel secured but the front wheel is not going anywhere as well.
A lot of places you lock up in will hopefully not be super low traffic, and so you can get away with some different locking techniques especially if you will not be away from your bike for a long time.
Notice in the picture above that the lock is tangled in the spokes of the rear wheel. Even if a thief were to come by and try to cut the cable they would have to untangle it from the rear wheel before riding off. This is a great deterrent.
This is the standard way to lock up with your U-lock if you are in a high traffic area. The smaller U-lock does a great job at securing the frame, but the other accessories are ignored. This is why we recommend having an accessory cable if you do go with the handier, smaller, U-lock.Now that we have seen all the standards lets take a look at a variations, and my personal favorite quick locking technique.
The rear wheel with a quick release is a real concern, and should be locked down whenever possible. As you will notice in the first set of pictures the U-lock is actually securing the wheel to the frame. Even if a thief where to clip the accessory cable they would have to carry the bike away. Instead of worrying about that they will simply look for an easier bike (which we hope will not exist, so spread the word about these posts). Are there any other parts of the bike you should worry about? The answer is your saddle. You many not think about it but your saddle and seat post are pretty important to riding your bike, and on the low end cost about $50 dollars to replace. So if you are locking up and you have a quick release seat post consider the locking option below.
You’ll notice the rear wheel is still locked and secured. You can do the same thing with just a cable lock as well. If you are really worried about a stolen seat, which happens a lot, you can always replace that quick release with a bolt from HomeDepot, or your local bike shop.
Finally there is my favorite quick locking technique. This technique comes with a serious warning: NEVER USE THIS TECHNIQUE IF YOUR BIKE IS OUT OF SIGHT FOR MORE THAN 30 SECONDS. I use this at restaurants downtown with big window where I can sit and have an eye on my bike, or at 7-11 (which also has big windows), when I am running in for a treat. The technique is very simple, take your helmet and clip it around your frame and rear wheel with the clip facing towards the wall you are leaning up/kickstanding against. It is that simple and works really well when you do not want to have to fuss with a lock. Check it.
Above is the view while ordering my burrito. Quick and easy as long as it is never out of sight.
In our next post titled Bikes, BYU, and What The… we will be looking at locking up on BYU campus for all you professors and students, as well as, checking out different ways people in Provo are locking up.