5 Tips for Properly Locking Your Bike in Public

5 tips for properly locking for your bike
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Imagine coming back to where you parked your bike, only to find it gone—stolen in broad daylight. 

Bike theft is a common and frustrating experience—a bike is stolen every 30 seconds and 90% of bike thefts go unsolved—but it doesn’t have to happen to you.

And with a few simple steps, you can significantly reduce the risk of your bike being stolen. 

In this article, we’ll share 5 easy yet effective tips for properly locking your bike in public. These tips are very simple and straightforward, and will help ensure that your bike remains safe, no matter where you leave it.

5 Tips for Locking Your Bike in Public

Use a High-Quality Bike Lock

The quality of the lock you use to secure your bike matters because the higher the quality of the lock, the more difficult it is for thieves to break. 

Good bike locks, like U-locks, are made from hardened steel and have a thick diameter, which is very hard to cut with common tools like bolt cutters. These locks are designed to withstand a lot of force, so they are much more secure than cheaper options. 

Great locks use features like cut resistance and sturdy locking mechanisms to keep your bike safe even in high-risk areas.

If you want the sturdiest bike locks available, check out top brands like Kryptonite and Abus. They have some of the best bike locks on the market. These companies use strong materials and advanced locking technologies to create locks that are both durable and secure. 

Lock Your Bike Frame and Wheels

There are good and bad bike locking techniques. Bad locking techniques (like locking only a wheel or the bike frame) will make it easy for a seasoned bike thief to steal your bike. 

If you only lock the frame of your bike, a good bike thief can easily remove the wheels and steal them. Similarly, if you only lock a wheel, the thief can take the rest of the bike and leave only the wheel you locked behind. 

By now you may have guessed that a “good locking technique” requires that you lock both the frame and wheels. This makes it significantly harder for someone to steal any part of your bike.

One effective technique I like to use is the Sheldon Brown locking method. This involves using multiple bike locks. 

You first use a U-lock to secure the rear wheel and frame to an immovable object, and then use a cable or another U-lock to also secure the front wheel. Locking your bike this way makes it a lot more difficult for even the best of thieves to steal any part of your bike. 

Lock Your Bike to an Immovable Object

Your bike is most secure when you lock it to an immovable object like a metal gate, a metal pole that’s secured to the ground or a tree. This is very important because some bike thieves won’t bother with the bike lock if they can steal the object your bike is attached to. 

For instance, if you lock your bike to a sign post that can easily be removed, a thief can take both the post and your bike. 

Immovable objects like trees and fences can be good for securing your bike, but avoid small trees, weak fences, or anything that can be easily cut or tampered with, because they provide little to no security.

And if necessary, use a cable lock and a U-lock to lock both wheels and the bike frame to the immovable object, this adds an extra layer of security. When locking your bike, the goal is to make it as hard as possible for a thief to steal any part of your bike without the right tools and a lot of effort.

Lock Your Bike in Well-Lit, High-Traffic Areas

One of the reasons why it’s important to lock your bike is to discourage thieves from making an attempt. So, locking your bike in well-lit and busy areas will effectively discourage thieves because people will be watching. 

Naturally, thieves prefer to work in the shadows where they’re less likely to be seen, so you want to avoid such areas.

You can even look for locations near security cameras or places where people frequently pass by, because activity around your bike make it a less attractive target for thieves.

Use Multiple Bike Locks

I already mentioned that locking your bike with multiple locks is far safer than using just one lock. Your bike is an investment and needs to be protected, so invest in quality locks.

It’s always best to combine a U-lock and a chain or cable lock, this setup will make your bike a much tougher target.

Bike thieves often carry tools for one type of lock but not both, so multiple locks will be more difficult for them. 

Also, breaking a bike lock is hard enough and takes time and effort. And using multiple locks increases the time and effort required to steal your bike, which will discourage any thief.

They’ll be more likely to move on to an easier target if they see that your bike requires more effort to steal. 


What type of locks is best for bikes?

U-lock are the best type of bike locks because they’re made of hardened steel and are very difficult to break with common tools like bolt cutters. 

They provide a strong and secure way to lock both the frame and one wheel to a solid object. Their U-shaped design also makes them resistant to leverage attacks, where thieves use a crowbar or other tool to force the lock open.

Another good option is a chain lock made of thick, hardened steel links. These locks are flexible and easier to use in situations where a U-lock might be difficult to fit around both the bike and the object it’s being locked to. 

What is the best bike lock that cannot be cut?

No bike lock is completely immune to being cut, but some are significantly harder to break than others. U-locks made of hardened steel, with a thickness of at least 16mm, are extremely difficult to cut with hand tools. 

Chain locks with thick, hardened steel links (10mm or thicker) and a high-quality locking mechanism also offer excellent protection. These locks can be heavy, but their durability makes them worth the extra weight. 

Which bike lock is better: key or combination?

Key locks are generally more secure than combination locks because they have more complex locking mechanisms and can be harder to pick. 

High-quality key locks from reputable brands have features like disc detainer mechanisms, which provide extra security against picking and drilling.

Combination locks are convenient because they don’t require you to carry a key, but they’re usually easier to crack. They can be vulnerable to methods like shimming or simply guessing the combination. 

However, some high-end combination locks have advanced features to prevent these types of attacks. For most people, a key lock is the better choice for security, while a combination lock might be suitable for less risky situations or as a secondary lock.

Wrapping Up

Investing in high-quality locks, choosing secure locations, and using effective locking techniques will deter thieves and protect your bike.

Following these tips for properly locking your bike in public can significantly improve the security of your bike, so it doesn’t become a statistic in the growing number of bike thefts. 

Stay vigilant, lock your bike properly, and enjoy the confidence that comes with knowing your bike is safe.

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