View Full Version : Locking Bikes... Methods & Reasons...

05-11-2008, 04:01 PM
On the Workplace Advocacy (http://bikeportland.org/forum/showthread.php?t=1850) thread that I started, I noticed a tangent that opened up on locking methods and availablity... I think that it deserves its own thread...

Remember, bike thieves can read the forums too. So, don't provide your address, SSN# or anything usefull to thieves like that.

So, How do you lock your bike? Where do you lock your bike? (ie: to a tree, provided bike rack, company supplied storage room, etc) Where don't you lock your bike? Why?

Myself, I use a OnGuard Bulldog U-lock and a 7' Kryptonite cable. At home, I keep my bike inside (had a locked bike stollen off the front porch in Ashland (recovered)). At work, I don't have a bike rack in view from my station (or resonably closeby), so I use a large tree, which has a dedicated lock and cable secured to it 24-7. I don't lock my bike when I go into fast food restaurants (Chipotle', Wendy's, etc, and mostly I don't get hassled), or Shopping (Freddies, WinCo, etc.) since I keep my bike with me. I'd rather keep my bike w/me than to have to strip down all the lights, etc, and put them back on. I have been known to walk out of places were I was asked to lock my bike up and never come back (you wouldn't ask me to lock a babystroller up outside, and my bike doesn't cry, make loud noises, or release biohazardous materials).

Rubberside Down!

05-11-2008, 10:01 PM
I am glad to see this topic...It seems to me that most people don't use U-locks they way they are meant to be used.
here is a link to sheldon browns site with the appropriate way to use one.


http://www.sheldonbrown.com/images/locktechnique1.jpg (http://www.sheldonbrown.com/lock-strategy.html)

and since folks tend to use them the wrong way they also get really large and cumbersome ulocks that are unwieldy and actually making it easier for folks to take their bikes since it gives the would be thief more room for leverage.

ok rant over :D


05-12-2008, 02:10 PM
When I don't have an appropriate rack, I prefer a large industrial-sized gas main on a commercial building.

Ya feeling lucky today, punk?

05-12-2008, 02:27 PM
Back in the Dark Ages, I brought my bike into the building and parked in a little used (and little-known, the landlord thinks bicycles have syphilis) storeroom.

Now that one of the bike lockers became available, I use that when I'm at work. It's secured with a hardcore Brinks padlock.

When I secure my bike visibly, I do the following:

I find a highly visible and immobile structure. Gas main is generally not very visible, but it has its own advantage: it blows up people who f--- with it.
I remove my front lights and cycle computer and place them in the tail bag. My rear lights are attached to the tail bag. Then I remove the tail bag.
Kryptonite U-lock goes around the Immobile Object, the frame, and the rear wheel. I wrap the Kryptonite cable to the front wheel then secure everything with the U-lock.

I don't secure the saddle. I know I should, but that hasn't seemed to be a big issue here in Portland. Also, you'd need a wrench, a second wrench, and a heavy duty screwdriver to remove my saddle, which--in turn--is probably worth $40 tops, including the seat tube.

A few more tips: try to "fill" the U-lock so that someone can't get a jack in there. Also, make sure it's neither too high (allows twisting with a lot of torque) or too low (purchase against the ground).

05-12-2008, 05:05 PM
Normally, I'm just locking my bike at school. The school has huge gates between all of the buildings, so I just lock my bike's frame to the middle (non-moving part) of the gates. Our school has just one measly bike rack, and it's the wavy kind packed full of beaters. By avoiding this rack, I also avoid the after-school rush to get off of the campus, thus avoiding a careless person from scratching my bike or something of the like.

I have also chosen a spot that I pass numerous times each day, that way I can check on my bike without going out of the way. As a result of being in such a spot, it would be pretty noticeable if someone tried to steal it.

I'm also not too worried about anyone stealing my parts as my bike is sitting in the middle of the campus on which the only people are students. However, when I lock my bike somewhere that I might be leaving it for a while, or where it would be a little easier for someone to make off with a part, I usually take car to put the U-lock through my rear tire and frame and, obviously, an object to which I am locking my bike. I then put a cable lock through my front wheel, the frame, and a loop in my handlebars. Just to make sure nobody tries to make off with my saddle or rack, I also ran a braided stainless steel cable through my rack, frame, saddle post, and saddle. While it's not theft-proof, I think the additive effect of all of these locks with dissuade a would-be thief when there are less secure bikes just a few feet away.

And since we're talking about locks, I also have a lock for honest people on my pannier. It doesn't really lock down anything that you couldn't just open in another way, but at least honest people will think twice if a pannier is locked. Or so I hope.

05-12-2008, 06:44 PM
I've got a locker at work (bring your own lock).

If I stop on the way home, I might take the bike in with me (Winco) or lock it up outside (New Seasons, Freddies) with a u-lock and a cable lock. I don't strip it, but I'll take my briefcase in with me.

05-14-2008, 05:23 PM
It turns out that I may park my bike in what could be the safest spot at my entire school.

On my way to third period today, I noticed that somebody had ripped out my new Obama spoke card (http://www.obamaspoke.com/). I told security about it, and they reviewed their security camera footage. By the end of the day, they not only had found footage of the person ripping the card out, they happened to have him look directly into the camera.


Not only is my bike locked where I can see it multiple times a day, it's also under the constant eye a security camera, all whilst being just outside of the door from the security office.

05-14-2008, 07:44 PM
Not only is my bike locked where I can see it multiple times a day, it's also under the constant eye a security camera, all whilst being just outside of the door from the security office.

Sorry to here that your bike was vandalized... Great to here that the culprit was caught!!!

Someone once stole all the brake pads on my bike back in Highschool... I started parking it at the local college, and walking the final block... I never found out who did it, but I had my suspicions...

05-16-2008, 01:03 AM
Sheldon Brown says, "Just leave the lock at work, locked to whatever you normally lock your bike to." Sheldon has obviously never been to where I work. There are a few bike racks, and one -- that wouldn't hold more than 8 bikes -- has no less than 30 U-locks on it, all from people who do exactly what Sheldon says, and then either lose the key or just forget about it and don't care. It really makes the rack look trashy and I wish people wouldn't do (or recommend to others doing) it. At my old school, locks left attached to bike racks were routinely cut off with a welding torch. I'd hate to spend $40 on a lock, leave it somewhere, and come back the next day to a steaming pile of worthless metal.

I also disagree with his locking strategy, but I'll leave that discussion for another time... In short, do it the way your lock manual (which you kept or at least read, right?) says -- those guys have actually thought about it and have some experience in the form of feedback from their customers.

It does add weight to carry a lock; I know because I ride everywhere with my Kryptonite NY (http://www.kryptonitelock.com/Products/ProductDetail.aspx?cid=1001&scid=1002&pid=1193) attached to the bike. It probably weighs 6 or 8 lbs. But I get used to it, it keeps me in better shape anyway, and then I have my lock whenever I need it and don't happen to be locking to that one particular place. Or to think of it another way, how many people here have trailers or panniers? Or at least a couple pounds worth of lights/batteries/accessories? A lock really isn't any different, in my mind. If you want your bike to be lighter, lose a few pounds. It's cheaper than that carbon-and-ceramic ultra-lightweight speedster and just as effective. :)

I lock my bike to a rack, tree, fence, signpost (only if I'm desperate), or whatever's convenient. The nice thing about not having a traditional U-lock is I can lock to trees. I make sure to include the frame, and a wheel if I have room. I don't bother stripping off my saddle bag, lights, seat, or odometer, and it's never been an issue for me even when parking in shady areas. At home, my bike stays inside with me. It stays in better shape out of the weather and temperature variations, plus it's pretty hard to steal that way. After that whole ballpoint-pen thing, Kryptonite replaced the actual locking part of my lock and it now uses a different style of key.

Also, what's with these people not locking their bike at all (!) or using a cheap combination cable lock (which is almost as bad)? Don't they realize I could cut those locks with my fingernail clippers, not to mention that it's trivial to discover the combination in under a minute? (There are a few good combination locks, but they're the exception not the rule.)

05-16-2008, 01:15 AM
Just thought of this... City of Portland has a bicycle room inside with a separate outside door (locked via keycard). There are some racks on the floor, but most of the bikes hang vertically on the wall mounts.

It provides a way to get out of the weather while getting out of rain gear, taking off packs/panniers, etc. Plus the bikes are secure and dry during the day. It's a great system and I wish more employers had something like it.

06-05-2008, 09:18 AM
I had three different bikes stolen from downtown portland before I got a bike locker. One was stolen from PSU, one from in front of Standard Insurance and one from a rack that was about 5 feet from where a security guard in the Smart Park (a misnomer if I ever heard one) sat 24/7. His response when I asked if he had seen what happened to my bike: "I'm paid to watch the cars, not your bike."

I will NEVER lock my bike up outside downtown again. In other places I either take it in with me when I can or use a cable and a u-lock.

06-05-2008, 10:02 AM
I'm pretty lucky. I work in the Portland building and as Tait mentioned we have a key card access only garage with bike parking. I realize it's still possible to get things stolen but I feel pretty secure. Most of us must feel the same way judging by the number of lights, helmets and computers people leave attached to their bikes.

06-05-2008, 11:03 AM
Did the security guard tell you that he actually saw your bike being stolen? If so, I'd seek a legal consultation; it's possible he and his firm may be civilly liable for the replacement cost of your bike...


...and one from a rack that was about 5 feet from where a security guard in the Smart Park (a misnomer if I ever heard one) sat 24/7. His response when I asked if he had seen what happened to my bike: "I'm paid to watch the cars, not your bike."