September 30, 2011

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How to prevent your bike being stolen

Always use a quality U lock or chain (never a cable lock); Use two quality locks when necessary; Lock through the triangle and lock the rear wheel to the frame; Ensure your bike isn't in the top 20% in terms of value and desirability. For all tips and details see:

Adrian 140 days ago

Multiple locks

I use two to three thick cable locks. I have come bake to my bike and the bike on ether side of me were stolen, but mine was there because it was more of a pain in the ass to cut all three. I feel it wouldn't take that much longer to actually cut three locks, but I think they look at it and just don't want to bother.

Garret 210 days ago

Quickly securing seat, panniers etc..

I made up a few cables out of shark fishing leaders, it is very hard to cut and has a 1000 lbs+ tensile strength. Both cables weigh nearly nothing and live in the bottom of my handlebar bag. Great for slipping through the seat rails, pannier attachment points, and even the vent holes on my helmet. Not for all day out of sight security for sure, but a inexpensive, lightweight way to stop the opportunistic thief who wanders by.

Joe Bieniecki 273 days ago

It's situational;

I carry an RV cable lock on the bike all the time -- 6' long, 9/16" thick, for those sudden impulse stops that may come up on the commutes. When I KNOW I'm going to a destination that requires lock-up (work does not, the bike goes in the building with me), I slap the chain/padlock combo on the bike. It's just too heavy to carry when I don't need it.

MarkB more than 1 year ago

My method

My modified Sheldon Brown method:

Tom more than 1 year ago

Lock through the triangle!

While it makes intuitive sense to lock the rear wheel and the downtube, it's kind of unnecessary. As long as you put the lock around the rear wheel at some point inside the rear triangle, you should be fine.

Angry Sam more than 1 year ago

Triangle Locking

When I was a courier/ messenger, a long 'U' lock went through the front wheel and around a fixed object into the main triangle. I was never at a particular pick-up / drop for more than 10 minutes, and this is a good temporary locking position. It's also fast on, fast off. With the key lanyard round your wrist, the lock can go from holster to locked on bike in under a minute. With an expensive bike you can go to full chain locking, through both triangles and both wheels around an object, but to me, for short stops, that's unnecessary. more than 1 year ago

What part of Frame?

When you secure your bike with the strongest lock to the saddle tube, be aware that it is suddenly easier to saw through the tube. By removing the saddle first, and reinserting it later, the thief conveniently stabilizes the damaged part of the frame.

Re the Dutch lock, I have one, they are extremely convenient and actually quite hard to break, but obviously only secure your bike against riding away, not against carrying it away. So they are only good for the shortest of hops into the baker's or a café where the bike stays in sight. - Yes, you won't even leave your bike unlocked when it stays in sight, lest you think you can beat the thief riding your own bike...

Thomas Arbs more than 2 years ago


The lock is still attached to the wheel and there's no way you are easily cutting through that, and it makes the bike unusable anyway.

Wut? more than 1 year ago

but it's really heavy

I knew of someone who left his dutch bike witht he wheel lock outside his apt while he went in for lunch. He came back to find it had moved about 3 feet and was tossed in the bushes. While I def don't want my bike tossed int he bushes- I will say you can't get far carrying a bike with the wheel lock locked. especially if it's a steel dutchie type…

MamaVee 261 days ago

the 40 lb rule

There's an old rule that your bike and lock together must weigh 40lbs. You got a swanky 20lb road bike - you need 20lbs of chain and ulock. You got a 38lb crapbike, you need a 2lb craplock. The main things to remember - ALL locks can be beaten given enough time and always lock your bike near a NICER bike.

Jonathan Peterson more than 2 years ago

40lb rule

This means I need to find a -12lb lock for my city bike! The wheel lock works great on it, as it's too heavy for anybody to want to carry away, even if they did want to steal it.

Eric Berg more than 1 year ago

40 lb rule

Looks like I need to remove 20lbs from my Orange Krate and get a lock that weighs nothing. Maybe a shoe lace will do the trick.

William Nye more than 1 year ago

40 pound Rule

You only need to lock near a bike with an easier lock than yours to break open, doesn't have to be a nicer bike, although that helps!

David White more than 1 year ago

dutch lock?

Can anyone comment on the efficacy of the dutch lock? That's the one that's mounted on the back of the frame and slides through the rear wheel.

Sue more than 2 years ago

frame lock

The frame lock on my dutch gazelle kept it from getting stolen once the thief cut through the chain which had locked the frame and front wheel. They were so unfamliar with the frame lock (in LA) that they abandoned the theft in progress because a bike that heavy that you can't roll off isn't worth the effort (according to them).

M more than 1 year ago

bike locking

I replaced my QR skewers with locking-type units, and carry a LARGE, THICK U-lock and finger-thick cable whenever I even THINK I'll have to park the bike. Whether alone, or with the kids, the cable loops through the wheels, around whatever anchor is there, and the U-lock traps the front triangle of my bike. There is very little slack in the cable when I'm done.

One time, some thug watched me lock up four bikes as he walked to his car; he kept repeating, "That's a PEEWEE HERMAN LOCKUP!" Annoying, but he wasn't getting the bikes!

I go fewer and fewer places where I could take the bike inside, so "scoping out" available lockup spots has become an art. Is mine/ours more difficult than the next one over? ALWAYS, sometimes more so than a motorcycle!

Mark B. more than 2 years ago

why lock it carry it!

Why bother , get a Brompton and take it with you!

R.simpson more than 2 years ago

rear wheel only

The lock needn't enclose the frame--you can secure the frame by locking the rear wheel within the rear triangle. There is no way to pull the rear wheel through the rear triangle, and you can use a smaller lock this way (and smaller locks are harder to force open). You'll still need a cable if you want to secure the front wheel, of course.

O. Emry more than 2 years ago

more locking strategy

I carry a U-lock + cable combo and I usually lock the front wheel and frame with the u-lock and use the cable to secure the rear wheel and seat (I like my Brooks saddle and wouldn't want it stolen, either). Kim G is right on about being harder to steal than the next bike. Another way to be harder to steal is to replace quick release wheel skewers with locking skewers and quick release seatposts with locking seatposts. I lock up in NYC fairly often and knock on wood, so far so good....

Bud more than 2 years ago


My problem with the big chain is they usually weigh almost as much as my bike. I don't want to carry it.

Dwayne more than 2 years ago

Chain Locks

You can wear it as a bandolier and pretend to be Chewbacca! Droids don't rip peoples' arms outta their sockets when they steal bikes.

NotAshamed more than 1 year ago

Unnatural selection & locking strategy

You don't have to make your bike impossible to steal, just more difficult than the next one over. Sounds harsh, but... I look for a nicer bike than mine (easy to find) with a worse lock, and I park mine next to that. I spent an entire semester locking up next to a Jamis with a cable lock through the front wheel only (I did say something to the owner when I eventually ran into him).

Kim G more than 2 years ago

Locking Bicycles

There is not a chain or cable that cannot be broken. Basically, you are attempting to keep the honest person - honest.

Joe Lorentzen more than 2 years ago

Which wheel?

If you are only capable of locking through the frame and one wheel, make it the back wheel, since it's more expensive to replace, than the front.
Nobody pays any attention to another person (thief) at a busy bike rack. I go for the less occupied place to lock, up, since a thief will stand our more there.

Colin Bryant more than 2 years ago

O-lock / wheel lock

Remember to buy a bike with an integrated o-lock. That way you only need to carry one lock for the frame and front wheel.

Also consider a good, heavy (15kg+) bike, which will be less attractive to cut and-and-go thieves.

James Twowheeler more than 2 years ago