It’s every cyclist’s worst nightmare – returning to your bike only to find a broken lock and no trace of your pride and joy. Bicycle security is crucial due to the unfortunate fact that bike theft is a very common crime. You’ll always be one step ahead if you know how to lock a bike securely. Purchasing a cheap lock won’t suffice to keep your bike secure. If you want to guarantee that your bike will still be there when you return to it, there are many factors to take into account. Some of these factors are obvious, while others are less so. We’ll go over where to lock your bike, what kind of locks are available, and some important safety advice.
Where to Lock Your Bike
If you anticipate leaving your bike unattended, even for a brief period of time, you should lock it up to prevent theft.
Try to pick a location where there are a lot of people so that if a thief needs to use tools to get through the lock, it will be a little bit more obvious. Additionally, make sure CCTV is available; banks and ATMs frequently have high-quality security.
Choose a well-lit area where it would be difficult for a thief to hide if your bike is going to be locked up at night. Try to locate a location where your bike isn’t the only one there because there is safety in numbers.
It’s imperative that you lock your bike to something stationary. If not, it’s fairly simple for a thief to take your bike somewhere quiet to deal with the lock.
A proper bike stand is ideal, but railings are also an option. However, building owners frequently forbid this, so be aware of any signage.
If you commute by bicycle, many workplaces offer on-site bike parking that is ideally monitored by CCTV. Although it may not be visible to the general public, you still need to lock your bike; you shouldn’t assume it is safe on its own.
You should also consider how secure your bike will be at home. Try to keep it out of sight from the outside, carefully consider your Strava security settings, and think about installing a ground anchor so you can secure the bike to it on your floor or wall.
How to Lock Your Bike
Lock Your Bike in the Street
Tip 1: Lock your frame
Always lock your frame to the immovable object. A thief can easily take your wheel off your bike and leave with the rest of the bike if you only lock it to the wheel.
This may sound obvious but it happens all the time…
Tip 2: Keep your lock off the ground
Attempt to keep the lock off of the ground. If it’s on the ground, a thief can use a hammer to smash the lock against the hard floor and this will break cheaper models.
In a bolt cutter attack like this, using the floor for additional leverage is also easier the closer it is to the ground.
Do not let the bottom of your lock touch it. But off the top tube.
But stay away from the top tube as well. The frame of the bike can be lifted and twisted in an attempt to break the lock if the lock is around the top tube of the bicycle.
If the lock is on the top tube, there may also be more room inside; in that case, you can insert a length of metal that can be used to twist and pop the lock open.
Therefore, the lock should ideally be placed high up around the down tube or seat tube.
Tip 3: Make the lock difficult to access
Make the lock as challenging to pick as you can. Attacking it will be challenging if access is restricted.
Even better if you can set it up so the keyhole faces down. This will make tampering with the locking mechanism more difficult…
Forcing you to leave your bike unlocked overnight and giving them more time to steal it during the day when traffic is lighter, thieves may try to lock the keyhole with superglue.
Alternatively, some burglars may be able to forcefully open your lock using lock picking techniques. However, both of these attack methods become more challenging if the key hole is difficult to access.
Tip 4: Fill the inside of a U-lock
If you’re using a u-lock, try to fit the bike and whatever it’s attached to into as much of the U as possible. This is really important…
A bottle jack or pry bar cannot fit inside this u-lock.
Leverage attacks are most frequently used to defeat the better u-locks. The U-shaped space is filled with a length of metal or scaffolding pole, which is then twisted until it pops open.
Hydraulic bottle jack attacks are less common also depend on there being enough space inside the u-lock to insert the tool.
Attacking a u-lock with a bottle jack
A thief, however, cannot use either of these techniques if there is no spare room inside the U. So make sure they’re all locked!
Lock Your Bike at Home
Keeping your bike inside your house/flat
The safest place for your bike to be kept is inside your home or apartment. However, a lot of people are unable or unwilling to allow bicycles into their homes.
Perhaps they (or more frequently, other family members!)) don’t like the idea of big, wet, dirty machines cluttering up their home. Perhaps they find it annoying to carry a bike inside. Or perhaps there’s simply not enough room.
If space is an issue, many businesses now offer inside-the-home storage options for bikes.
Keeping your bike in communal spaces
It can be tempting to leave your bike there if you live in an apartment that has shared communal space inside the building (often in the hallway, just inside the front door). However, storing anything in this location is extremely risky.
The majority of the time, there is nothing there to secure your bike to, and there isn’t much room for installation because it’s not your space.
Finally, your unprotected bike sits in the hallway, just waiting for someone to forget to lock or close the door, so that someone else can enter and take it!
Keeping your bike in a shed or garage
If you’re fortunate, your home may include a garage or a bike storage area. The next safest option is this if you can’t keep your bike inside your home.
In general, garages are safer than sheds. However, you should never, ever leave your bike unlocked in either one (even if it’s on your bike stand and you’re still working on it).
Remember, over 50% of stolen bikes are taken from the owners home, so no matter how safe it feels, this is where you bike is most at risk.
Finding something suitable you can lock your bike to in a garage or shed can be a challenge though…
1. In a public place, choose a location that is busy and well-lit. CCTV surveillance is ideal.
2. To secure the bike, pick a reliable, immovable object, ideally a cycle stand or rack that is appropriate for the situation.
3. Correctly secure the bike to the stable, immovable object.
4. Use only locks that have been approved by “Sold Secure.” London or any other area with a medium-high risk requires two high-quality locks.
5. Remove valuables from the bike such as pumps and lights. On the seat post and wheels, think about using security bolts rather than quick releases. These special security bolts can be used on other parts to help prevent bike stripping.
Do Bike Thieves Take the Lock?
Professional thieves frequently have hydraulic jacks, large bolt croppers, and power tools on them. Any bike that is targeted by professional thieves will, of course, be poorly secured. The majority of bike locks can be broken if a professional thief has enough time.
What Bike Lock Cannot Be Cut?
Is There a Bike Lock That Can’t Be Cut? The three hardest-to-crack bike locks currently available are the Altor SAF, LITELOK X1, and Hiplok D1000. All of these locks have anti-grinder and anti-cut components that enable them to resist power tools.
Can You Break a Bike Lock With a Hammer?
Steel that is very durable is used to make bike-lock cables. Hammering a cable won’t quickly cause it to break. But because it is so much softer than the high-carbon steel used to make tools, it can be cut with a hacksaw.
Do Bike Locks Work Even?
Yes, it really is that important. Bicycle locks serve as deterrents to theft in addition to security. When given the choice between two identical bikes, thieves will always choose the unlocked bike.