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The Bike Lock Guide: Everything You Need to Know About Bicycle Security

To cyclists, one of the most traumatizing things is to find the remnants of your bike or lock lying on the ground right where you just left your secured bike just a few minutes ago. Your beloved bike has a higher chance of getting stolen if you live in a crowded place like a big town or a college campus and you often leave your bike unattended for some time.

The-Bike-Lock-Guide

What would you do then? Getting a cheaper bike? Giving up of on riding? Or getting a better lock next time?

Riding a bike gives you and the environment so many benefits, so don’t even think of abandoning it. And why buy a beater bike when you can have a nice and more secured bike at the same time?

There are several types of locks for you to choose from such as: D-locks (U-locks), chain locks, folding locks, cable locks and some new designs.

Buy the best locks (you can afford)

  • D-locks are the most secure method at the moment.
  • Don’t be cheap, buy a high-quality lock instead of a cheap one. Or you have a higher chance of having to buy a new bike, and a new lock!

Choose the right type of locks

  • Not too heavy: Difficult to carry around, hard to secure.
  • Not too small: Limits the places for locking.

Understand the tools and techniques thieves use

  • Lifting: Lifting your bike over the object it’s framed to.
  • Levering: Using leverage based attacks.
  • Striking: Using a hammer and chisel.
  • Cutting: Using the cutting equipment.
  • Picking: Picking the lock with tools.

Chain locks

  • Just like the name, it has a long metallic chain and a lock.
  • They are the most expensive but are more convenient for transport and give more space to fasten around bigger object than D-locks.
  • They give you the highest level of security.

D-locks

  • The second most expensive after chain locks and the most complicated to transport.
  • The limited size means it gives you less places to secure you bike to since it won’t fit bigger objects.
  • On the other hand, the smallest D-locks are the best. The smaller D-locks will give the thieves less purchase for leverage-based attacks.

Folding locks

  • A folding lock is a series of metallic plates riveted together so it is more flexible than a D-lock. It can be folded in or folded out.
  • They are almost as secure as D-locks.

Cable locks

  • Don’t trust cable locks
  • D-locks, chain locks and folding locks are all better than cable locks. Cable lock might be cheap, light, easy to carry around and use, but they provide the lowest level of security.
  • At least don’t use it alone.

Use multiple locks/locking mechanism

Use more than one for higher level of protection.

  • Use another lock aside your D-lock, it could be another D-lock, a chain lock… for the optimal security.
  • One goes through the back wheel (or maybe both the back wheel and the frame with a larger but only slightly D-lock), with an immovable object. And another one goes through the front wheel (or maybe both the front wheel and the frame like the first one), with an immovable object.
  • And make sure you can’t detach the bike from the immovable object without unsecuring the lock, for example: Lifting your bike over the object! Make sure the object is solid too.

Outrun your neighbours

  • The method doesn’t guarantee you an absolute protection, but at least if your bike is more secure that its neighbours then when the thief has to choose one target, it must be the easier one. Make your bike the least accessible out of all targets!

Brand your bike

  • Show the proof of your ownership: Identify your bike with your name, initial, signature…

No lock is unbreakable!

  • The thing is, if you have a bike, there is a chance of it getting stolen. Locks only buy you some more time, buy a lock at least 12mm thick so it will take a while for the thieves to cut it.
  • Even if you lock it the most secure way, no one can ensure your bike won’t get stolen, but hey, you’ve tried your best! Brace yourself for the worst scenario.

Right way to park your bike

All thieves need to break your lock is time and the right equipments, if no lock is unbreakable, use these below methods to buy you some time.

  • Avoid parking your bike alone, park your bike amongst others’ where people and other cyclists will be leaving and arriving unexpectedly.
  • Park it outside a coffee shop or a grocery store… to make it look like you’re supposed to return at any minute.

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