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  1. #1
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    Best way to lock your bike in the city?

    Hey guys!

    Long time lurker, first time poster here.

    I currently use a single speed bike, which I built from scratch, and I use it to commute around the city every day.

    After realizing my old lock was becoming rusted and wobbly, I decided to purchase a new lock. I did some research and purchased the ABUS Granit Futura lock.

    I love the size and weight of the lock, but due to its small size I am unsure as to what the best way to lock up my bike is. So what are your suggestions for locking up a commuter bike in a large city? I would like to have something through both wheels (as I just spent a lot of money upgrading them)!

    Thank you!

    TL/DR - What is the best way to lock up your bike with a small lock

  2. #2
    Graybeard wrpeterson's Avatar
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    Sheldon Brown has some thoughts...

    Bill
    Submarines once, Submarines twice...

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    Well, if you want to lock your wheels you'll need a bigger lock. Or better, a second lock of another type, such as a Kryptonite NY Chain. Go to the KryptoniteLock website for lots of info on locking up a bike. (I am not a shill for them, just a user.)

  4. #4
    PatronSaintOfDiscBrakes dynaryder's Avatar
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    Good infographic:
    correctbikelock.jpg

    Basically,you want to make sure that both wheel and the frame are locked. If your seatpost has a quick release,you'll want to replace it with a bolt.

    C'dale BBU('05 and '09)/Super Six/Hooligan8and 3,Kona Dew Deluxe,Novara Buzz/Safari,Surly Big Dummy,Marin Pt Reyes,Giant Defy 1,Schwinn DBX SuperSport/Qualifier,Brompton S6L,Dahon Speed Pro TT

  5. #5
    coprolite fietsbob's Avatar
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    depends on Which City ..

    I liked the Chain Link fencing and steel pipe towers that they built in the breezeways of the down town
    Eugene Community college campus , you hung your bike up by the front wheel and then closed It
    in the gate with the U lock. Or a serious Padlock .. under a security cam that had (?) EPD monitoring.

  6. #6
    Senior Member Brennan's Avatar
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    I wrote a blog post on bike theft prevention that might be of use:

    http://roamblog.blogspot.com/2013/09...revention.html

  7. #7
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    Quote Originally Posted by Brennan View Post
    I wrote a blog post on bike theft prevention that might be of use:

    http://roamblog.blogspot.com/2013/09...revention.html
    Thanks for sharing...

  8. #8
    bored of "Senior Member"
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    What research did you do that led you to buy and even "love" a specific model without having an answer to this?

    +1 to the Sheldon method + accommodations for valuable peripherals.

  9. #9
    Senior Member gregjones's Avatar
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  10. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by wrpeterson View Post
    Sheldon Brown has some thoughts...

    Bill
    +1
    Life is good O^o

  11. #11
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    Thank you for the helpful tips everyone! Much appreciated

  12. #12
    ex-everything. soze's Avatar
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    Cable lock to a guy named Tony who wears a pinky ring.

  13. #13
    Member Gezman's Avatar
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    I use 2 feet of log chain and a solid steel pad lock . Lol it was free and it works , heavy as all get out but I'd rather have this than nothing at all .

  14. #14
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    I have two kids living pretty much full time at a major university in major city urban environment. They both have nice vintage road racing bikes with hand built wheels that are their university bikes. The bikes stay outside 24-7 most of the school year. Bike and laptop theft are the #1 and #2 thefts around campus. There are *many* bike carcasses torn apart in various stages of theft visible. Here's what we do:

    Permanent locking:
    Two Kryptonite Evolution locks - one long shackle ("9"), one short shackle (5"). The short shackle goes through the front wheel and around the down tube. The long shackle goes through the back wheel and around the bike rack Sheldon Brown style. When they go to class or wherever, they leave the small shackle locked around the bike rack and take the long shackle one with them. The locks are keyed alike - you can order them from Kryptonite that way.

    Away at class or on an errand:
    They use the long shackle lock and lock the bike to the rack Sheldon Brown Style. They don't specifically lock the front wheel.

    The bikes are set up with a full set of Pitlocks (this set). These are *very* difficult to get undone without having the key. This locks down the wheels, the seat post (seat has a leash on it) and the fork.

    We've basically had two bikes on campus like this for 3 straight years with no problems. Other bikes have been cannibalized and stolen right along side of them. No problems here.

    These are really nice bikes too - way better than most of the junk you find around universities but they are old. One is a classic Motobecane racing frame set up with Campy (low end groupo of the day) as an example. We've found that they (obviously) ride a lot better but they hold up and are more reliable as a ride for the kids. So I'm pretty confident in this method.

    You don't have to have a pick proof lock, you just have to have one that is tougher than the one next to it. Odds are too that 80% of the people riding bikes in the city don't have the most basic clue about how to lock a bike. It's child's play and 10 seconds for most thieves to get any bike they want due to the crappy locks and locking that most people use. They are not going to waste time on a bike like mine that is going to be a lot more trouble and then they can't do much easily with (like sell quickly) when all it's parts are secure too.

    May not be the best method, but it's worked for us for a lot of years in a tough environment.

    J.

  15. #15
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    10 seconds and a cheap hacksaw and the sheldon brown method fails. lock up your frame, not your wheels.

    http://www.cyclelicio.us/2011/sheldon-lock-video/

    i consider 2 u-locks (and possibly a cable for the wheels) to be the minimum hardware for locking up my bikes for an extended period of time (e.g. more than 5-15 minutes). i also have a throw away shopper i lock up with a single u-lock.
    Road rash is a precious gift. Road rash is your friend. Bask in it, appreciate it, love it. Above all, learn from it. --Robert Hurst

  16. #16
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    It's not a bad idea to lock the frame. But if we're going to open up to destroying the rear wheel, then why not open up to cutting through the frame? Either way, we have the thief carrying away a bike for parts and salvage value, not riding away something that can be sold as is.

    I tried cutting through an old taco'd MTB wheel less as a myth buster and more as an experiment to confirm the binding claim. It was far harder than I expected it to be. In my test, I was coming from the inside out. Perhaps that matters?

    Anyway, I'm a big fan of the small ulock because it doesn't give the thief lots of angles and play to work with. And it's a nice bike frame space in that video for the hacksaw to get in.

  17. #17
    Senior Member NOS88's Avatar
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    I have to agree with JohnJ80. Using Pitlocks does lock down the wheels. Using the entire Pitlock system makes it much harder to take parts from your bike. This makes using your small u-lock much safer. Yet, if a determined, knowledgeable thief wants your bike, there is little you can do, but slow down the process.
    A conclusion is the place where you got tired of thinking. - S. Wright

  18. #18
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    For years I have used a method to deter thieves and move to the next bike. It is crude; it works well on top of being inexpensive. All you need is some heavy duty clear packing tape and some scrap paper. Write your name and phone number in permanent ink on small sheet of paper and stick it on the bike with clear packing tape. Don’t be hesitant in making the label impossible to remove. Placing one on your bike is good, placing them everywhere on your bike is great. I have them on the seat, the rims, seat post, racks, multiple places on the frame and anywhere else you might find the space and need. I have not had a bike stolen since I started doing this.
    P.S. in a recent article in Bicycling magazine they referenced this same method for addition safety in bicycle locking.

  19. #19
    aka Tom Reingold noglider's Avatar
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    I never thought of that thrlskr. Not sure it would prevent theft. A lot of bike thieves are not rational or smart. They'll steal a bike without thinking of how hard it will be to sell.

    It pays to know your area, what kinds of theft are common, etc. In the suburbs, a cable lock often suffices. In some cities, you need the best devices possible, and you should still not leave the bike out for longer than necessary.
    You don't read my signature anyway, do you?

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  20. #20
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    Quote Originally Posted by slcbob View Post
    It's not a bad idea to lock the frame. But if we're going to open up to destroying the rear wheel, then why not open up to cutting through the frame? Either way, we have the thief carrying away a bike for parts and salvage value, not riding away something that can be sold as is.

    I tried cutting through an old taco'd MTB wheel less as a myth buster and more as an experiment to confirm the binding claim. It was far harder than I expected it to be. In my test, I was coming from the inside out. Perhaps that matters?

    Anyway, I'm a big fan of the small ulock because it doesn't give the thief lots of angles and play to work with. And it's a nice bike frame space in that video for the hacksaw to get in.
    Bike thieves want "easy". If you make it hard, they'll pick another bike. Just make sure you always lock your bike where there are other bikes. And always find the nicest bike with the poorest locking job to park yours next to.

    There are, of course, profoundly stupid bike thieves who would cut a frame or a rear wheel and destroy most of the value of the bike they are stealing but I think there is probably a darwinian component to making sure these guys are the least likely bike thieves. They either starve or get caught.

    J.

  21. #21
    Senior Member Eric S.'s Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by dynaryder View Post
    Basically,you want to make sure that both wheel and the frame are locked. If your seatpost has a quick release,you'll want to replace it with a bolt.
    There is a link above to Hal Ruzal's YouTube videos. In one of them, he mentions using an old piece of chain to attach the seat to the frame. I've been doing that since I saw it.

  22. #22
    Vegan on a bicycle smasha's Avatar
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    +1

    my only critique of hal's video is that the key-hole is facing the wrong way. if someone else locks their bike to the other side of the post, he might not be able to get his key into the lock.

    this is why you DON'T want to use the sheldon brown locking method - https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=H9fLtdZyX-A

    these decal kits are actually impressive - http://www.bikeregistry.com/estore/index.php
    "When I see an adult on a bicycle, I do not despair for the future of the human race." - H.G. Wells

  23. #23
    Senior Member TiBikeGuy's Avatar
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    The locks probably cost more than the bike.
    Ride Safe - Be Alert, Be Seen, Be Predictable

  24. #24
    Senior Member gregjones's Avatar
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    Cut the one u-lock holding the whole mess to the bike rack and you've got twenty bucks at the recycle yard.

  25. #25
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    Quote Originally Posted by smasha View Post
    +1

    my only critique of hal's video is that the key-hole is facing the wrong way. if someone else locks their bike to the other side of the post, he might not be able to get his key into the lock.

    this is why you DON'T want to use the sheldon brown locking method - https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=H9fLtdZyX-A

    these decal kits are actually impressive - http://www.bikeregistry.com/estore/index.php
    I don't buy the video on defeating the Sheldon Brown method. Cutting a rim under tension is not that easy in my experience (by a long shot). Furthermore, the thief would have destroyed the value of the bike (the rear wheel is going to be the majority of the bike's value), it would not be rideable and therefore, not sellable quickly. That all said, if you can get part of the frame into your lock, that's going to be better.

    With portable grinding tools, a well equipped thief is not going to have much trouble with any lock these days. But that's a pretty motivated thief and "professional" thief.

    Another piece that makes sense is to use two locks - a U lock and a cable lock. That requires two different sets of tools to defeat.

    But, as I've said before, we have about 7 bike-years of locking nice bikes up 24/7 at a major urban university with no problems using the Sheldon Brown method and pit locks. Our bikes are just a royal PITA to any thief who wants to rip a bike off. There are much, much easier and more profitable targets. Based on experience, I'm pretty confident in our methodology.

    J.

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