How to Lock a Bike

Confused about locking your bike? Don’t be – it’s a simple process, and with a few helpful tips and pointers, it’ll be a walk in the park – or rather, like riding a bike.

We’ve prepared a short overview to help you get a better grasp of the situation. We’ll go through the considerations, methods, and things to keep in mind so that you can have peace of mind when your bike is out of sight.

Locking your bike is a stressful, but unavoidable part of many people’s daily life. It’s one of the few drawbacks to cycling – but armed with some knowledge, you can easily take care of it.

bike lock around the saddle

With the hustle and bustle of modern life, locking your bike is absolutely essential. Bike theft isn’t uncommon – and a good set of locks is a must-have for any cyclist.


How to Lock a Bike

Before You Lock Your Bike

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Take Note of the Area

One of the most important things when locking a bike is to be aware of your surroundings. The area and type of neighborhood you’re leaving your bike in plays a big role in overall safety. It goes without saying – if possible, avoid dangerous neighborhoods and areas.

Properly-Locked Bike

Would-be bike thieves are generally discouraged by crowded areas. Streets that have plenty of people walking by make tampering with locks a much more risky proposition. The same goes for security or CCTV cameras.

If possible, secure your bike to a bike rack. They are generally well-placed, in plain view, and offer little space for thieves to work with.

Be Mindful of What You’re Locking the Bike to

You might be tempted to lock your bike to the nearest convenient point, but this can easily be a huge mistake. For starters, always aim to lock your bike to solid, fixed objects. Bike racks are ideal – but not always readily available. Metal railings are another good option. In short – look for heavy, immovable objects which can’t be easily broken, dismantled or unscrewed, and those that the bike can’t be lifted over.

properly locked bike

You should also check bike racks just in case – as some of them can be already damaged or cut through, making them a hazard.

You should avoid locking your bike to a tree. This is only acceptable as a last resort – most of the time, it’s easy to cycle a little further to find something more secure. Locking a bike to a tree can damage the tree, and generally leaves plenty of room for thieves to maneuver.

If at all possible, avoid storing your bike in a communal area. If you have to, take the same approach you would when storing it in a garage or at home – get a good, heavy ground anchor and a strong, thick chain to go with it.


Locking Your Bike

Now let’s move on to the more practical side of things. There are a lot of things to consider when locking a bike, and there’s plenty of approaches. The methods and techniques differ, as does the equipment they require. Let’s look at a quick overview of the different ways that you can lock your bike.

The Basics

First things first – always make sure to lock the frame of your bicycle. This might sound like a no-brainer, but it warrants repeating. If you lock the wheel of your bike, it’s more or less as good as stolen.

But that isn’t all – locking your bicycle via the top tube is a very bad idea. The bike can be lifted and twisted, and the resulting leverage can break locks.

Bike Lock and Cables

Instead, lock the rear triangle of the frame. This allows you to place the lock around the bike frame, rear wheel, and whatever it is you’re securing the bike to – a much safer method.

Lock Placement

Next, you should consider the placement of your lock. There are a couple of things to watch out for here.

First of all, don’t place your lock close to the ground. One of the easiest ways to disable a lock is by simply smashing it – and placing your lock close to the ground means that it will be much more susceptible to hammers, heavy objects, and the like.

Next, try to angle your lock in a way so that the keyhole faces down. This makes the mechanism of the lock a bit more difficult to access.

In the same vein, try to leave as little space as possible within the lock – this makes it much harder for thieves to tamper with the lock, and using leverage to pop the lock off becomes nigh-impossible.

Different Approaches and Important Notes

If you want some additional security, adding a cable or chain to your setup can help you secure the front wheel. Simply pull the cable or chain through both the lock and the front wheel.

Bike Lock

If you have quick-release wheels, you can easily remove the front wheel and place it next to the rear one – allowing you to easily secure both.

As for other components, such as headlights, bags, bike computers, and other bike accessories, the safest method is to remove them and carry them with you.

In the past few years, gadgets that secure the saddle and other, removable components have also gained popularity. If you have a quick-release saddle, look into these products.

The best way to achieve more security, bar none, is using two different locks. This means that even in the case of tampering, the thief would need to use two different sets of tools – something that they are much less likely to have on hand.

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How to Lock a Bike: Tips in Keeping Your Bicycle Secure — Bike Hacks