Cycling is the most economical and environment-friendly way to go around a city. It does not require fuel or gas to function, is easy to carry, and is a great way to stay fit. However, despite its many benefits, securing your bike in public remains challenging.
Leaving your bike unattended always poses a risk. You must protect your equipment from theft, breakage, or other hazardous elements. So, how to lock a bike properly?
Check out this guide for helpful tips to lock your bike. We cover everything from getting the best lock and finding the right location to deterring potential thieves.
Table of Contents
- Choosing the Best Lock
- Know the Right Location
- Lock the Bike Properly
- Discourage and Deter Thieves
Choosing the Best Lock
1. Pick the Right Safety Level
Investing in good locks should be a top priority when you frequently visit public places with your bicycle. You have to use a bike lock that is perfect for your equipment to provide the necessary safety level.
For instance, Safety Levels 1 to 6 are only ideal for short-period parking and areas with a lower level of theft. On the other hand, Safety Levels 7 to 10 are perfect for high-risk situations and crowded spaces. Bike locks in these levels can provide good security and are suitable to use in schools, cafes, and malls.
2. Use two or more different locks
To get the best protection for your bike, you can use two good-quality locks s. It can double the protection, and you will feel more confident leaving your bike in more crowded places.
You can select a hardened steel U-lock along with a cable bike lock. With a u-lock and cable, your bike can get the protection it needs. U-locks for bicycles have an inflexible loop for you to attach the bike frame to a strong and stable object. The smaller the loop, the more challenging it is for a thief to break it.
It is important that you select a U-lock that can easily fit over your bike wheels, frame, and fork. Bicycle u-locks should also be strong and durable, so it best if it is made from a hard-steel metal. Then, you can supplement the U-lock with a cable bike lock or with a chain lock.
When picking the right cable bike lock, make sure you purchase a thick lock around 20mm. This thickness is difficult to cut and can easily deter thieves.
Know the Right Location
1. Talk to a Policeman or Local Bike Shop
After you have purchased the lock for your specific needs. It is necessary to know where you will park the bike. Make sure you are aware of the environment and take note of whether the place has a high rate of bike theft.
You should avoid locking your bike in front of loiterers. Those who are simply hanging around the area have the potential of stealing your equipment. Talk to a policeman or your local bike shop, and ask what specific areas have high occurrence of bike robbery. Avoid these places.
2. Look for well-lit area
Search for a place with lots of pedestrians passing by when you lock up a bicycle. With lots of foot traffic, thieves will find it harder to break your locks and steal your bike. If there is a surveillance camera nearby, you can place your bicycle within the viewing area, so in case of theft, you can easily get a footage of it.
3. Select an immovable object to lock your bike
Once you find the perfect place, look for an immovable object within the area or on a bike rack to lock your bike. Without a rack, the best way to lock the bike is to find an object that has enough thickness and sturdiness. It should also be hard to disassemble and firmly attached to the ground.
Lock the Bike Properly
1. Remove the front wheel
If you have a quick-release front wheel, you can remove it and place it near the rear wheel to prepare the bike for locking. Make sure you have a large enough U-lock to encircle both the rear and front wheels.
With a U-lock, secure the wheels and the bike wheel to a stable object. Ensure that you put the ‘U’ section of the lock around the bike rim of your back wheel, front wheel, frame and the immovable object. Then, lock them all properly.
2. Secure the front wheel next
If your bike does not have a quick release front wheel, you can use a cable lock to secure it. Loop the cable lock around your bicycle front wheel and the frame. Then, lock the cable together using the corresponding padlock.
By now, you should be able to properly lock a bike to the right place. Make sure that before leaving the bike, you secure valuable items or accessories that can tempt thieves.
This can include reflectors, baskets, lights, bells, and bags. These are easy to remove items and convenient to carry, making them prone for stealing.
Discourage and Deter Thieves
1. Change quick release skewers
If your bike has quick release mechanisms in its front wheels or saddles, it is prone to being stolen. Some robbers would be happy to leave with a wheel or a bike seat with them, even when they cannot get the entire bicycle.
You can change these quick release skewers with reliable locking skewers. You can get them online or you can visit a local bike shop. Locking skewers need a special handle or key for the seat or wheels to be removed.
You can remove the old skewer and replace it with locking skewers. In this way, the thief will be discouraged to disassemble your bicycle. Never leave your bicycle unattended, especially if it has quick release mechanisms in the front wheel and seat.
2. Disguise your bike
If you have an ultra appealing bicycle that can attract the eyes of a thief, disguise your bike, especially when you are in a high-risk area. You can use an electric tape and surround it on the essential components of the bike. This includes seat, frame, and handlebards.
It will look like the bike has been repaired or you are hiding damage. This hack can potentially deter thieves from stealing your bicycle.
If you have an expensive bike seat, remove it from the frame, and carry it along with you. Thieves can easily be attracted by a fancy bike seat and remove it while you are away.
3. Get proof of ownership
Make sure you always have a proof of ownership, especially when you frequently visit public spaces. This will ensure that in times of claiming your bike from the police department, you have something to show to the authority.
Stolen bikes are sometimes recovered by the authorities, and can be returned to the right owner. If you have proof of ownership, you can easily claim your equipment. You can just take a photo of yourself next to your bike and its corresponding serial number.
Serial numbers are normally located near the cranks. You can also see them in the headset or beneath the handlebars or the rear stays. These are the bars parallel to your bicycle chain.
4. Register your bicycle
Also, you can register your bike in a database. You can use Bike Shepherd or any database. Here, you can get scanning stickers for the bicycle, give theft alerts, and other great benefits.
5. Use a GPS tracker
Another way to protect your bike is through a GPS tracker. If you have some extra money, you can purchase a GPS tracker and attach it to your bicycle. With this, it is easier for the police to locate your bicycle once it is stolen.
There are a lot of methods in this article on how to lock a bike properly. But there are only three things you should not ignore when it comes to protecting your bike. It is important that you have a reliable and durable bike lock with you.
You should be aware of your surroundings, and know the level of risk your bike may face. Then, you must find ways to deter or discourage thieves from stealing your bike. Good thing, we have covered everything in this guide. I hope this can be of help to you in the future.
“I ride my bike to work for years, but is that enough? Our carelessness towards our surroundings has taken a toll on the environment. And now, everyone is responsible for changes; even the most minor contribution is counted. With this hope and spirit, I started with my partner to establish Biketoworkday to help more individuals commute to their work sites on their bikes.”