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  1. #1
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    Locking Strategies

    I saw a new post up about locking strategies locally. And I am wonder, how do you lock/secure your bike? Where do you park? And what other precautions do you take.

    Our local tips:
    How not to get your bike stolen in Oakland?or anywhere | Live Work Oakland

    These tips included 2 u-locks! OMG, that sounds like way too much stuff to carry!

    Here is my current strategy:
    Kryptonite mini u-lock > around the frame in the rear wheel triangle (I've got a step through frame)
    Cable for the front wheel
    Small cable for seat (I've got a Brooks saddle) and helmet
    Wheel locks from Pinhead

    I generally park in front of my coffee shop, my neighborhood, and downtown. I haven't biked to work often. The first time, I brought my bike up, but it hardly fit in the elevator. The next time I parked on the street, fully locking with the cables. I don't think bike theft is an issue in my work city. Most bikes I see have cheap combo cable locks. And basic locks on cheap chains. Rarely is a u-lock used, and most of the u-locks are the $10 ones from Walmart. I figure my bike should be safe.

    In my neighborhood, I usually just use the u-lock, if I am out for a short time. There are plenty of really pricy bikes around, with people who haven't even locked the wheel, and have mid-range big u-locks. So I figure if they feel OK, I am safe. Downtown, I am a little more cautious. I do a quick scan of the other bikes and locks, paying particular attention to the other leather seats. I decide to be more secure than my neighbors. Most people just have u-locks, and nothing on their seats. If I am going to be out a while, I use the secure bike lockers, if available.

    So what's your lock strategy? Do you use tow locks? Is theft an issue in your area?

    I am thinking of getting the pinhead seat lock, but I keep forgetting! It doesn't seem to be in stores, and I don't want to buy the wrong one.

  2. #2
    Senior Member gregjones's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by jade408 View Post
    Most bikes I see have cheap combo cable locks. And basic locks on cheap chains. Rarely is a u-lock used, and most of the u-locks are the $10 ones from Walmart. I figure my bike should be safe.

    So what's your lock strategy?
    I think you are using the most effective strategy already----lock your bike better than the others ones around it.

    You're right about the lots to carry, I started to get what I thought was the ideal lock and then found out that it was 9 pounds. That would be fine if I locked up in one spot every time and could leave the lock and chain at the parking spot.

    I use a Knog lock. Purely because they're scarce around here and I don't think the local thieves have enough initiative to deal with it.
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  3. #3
    Super Moderator tractorlegs's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by gregjones View Post
    I think you are using the most effective strategy already----lock your bike better than the others ones around it.
    Good advice. The point is not to lock your bike to the point where no one can steal it (no locking system is unbeatable imo) - lock it to the point where it would be the hardest to take, and the thieves will move to easier pickings.

    I lock the frame with a Kryptonite U; I lock the wheels and frame to the same immovable object with a thick, expensive cable; and when I have my Brooks on the bike I use a leash. The advantage of the U-lock/Cable combination is that a thief would have to break two types of lock to get my bike, and why bother if the expensive bike next to mine is not locked as well?

    Another advantage I have is that I ride a Giant Escape 2 - a $420 aluminum special. Don't get me wrong, I love this bike and it is nimble and strong - but who's gonna steal a Giant Escape??!?
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  4. #4
    Senior Member tarwheel's Avatar
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    I park my bike in a rack at my office (our bldg has several) that is screened from street view and has a security camera aimed at it. The camera is monitored during the day. I lock my bike to the rack using a Kryptonite NY U lock through the rear wheel and frame, with a 4-foot cable looped through the front wheel and the U-lock. I've been using this technique for 2-1/2 years with no problems so far. At least one other bike has been stolen at my building during that period, but it was parked at a more visible rack along the street and locked with a small cable.

  5. #5
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    I live in the city and recently bought a mini U-lock like those used by bike messengers. Sure is nice how small it is but it won't fit on half the poles I try to lock to. Shoulda bought a larger model.

    Also it helps to not have a very nice bike.

  6. #6
    Senior Member alan s's Avatar
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    I leave my locks at work. For me, in a safe indoor garage, I go with a u lock and heavy duty cable/padlock. Unfortunately, there are no other bikes in the rack, so it's mine or nothing if a thief wants a bike.

  7. #7
    Senior Member badrad's Avatar
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    I gave up on bike locks and just bought a folding bike. It goes into the office, gym, restaurant/coffee shop without any problems or questions.

  8. #8
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    I use two locks, a New York Fahgettaboudit U-Lock that will normally go through the back triangle of the bicycle and a I also use a Hiplok that will go through the frame and either the front or back tire. I have pinheads on my front wheels so I'm not too concerned about it.

  9. #9
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    The idea of making your bike the most difficult one to steal is key.

    What we do is put PitLocks on the wheels of all our bikes and then lock them with a U-lock to a substantial bike rack or object through the back triangle or wheel using the Sheldon Brown method.

    This has protected two nice road bikes for the last three years at a major metropolitan university with no issues. Bikes have been stolen from right next to them and no problem with ours. U lock is the orange Kryptonite U Lock. Pitlocks are on front and rear wheel, seat and stem cap.

    J.

  10. #10
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    Luckily I live in an area where bike theft is practically non-existent. The only thefts are those of unlocked bikes in the city, a.k.a. thefts of opportunity.

    If I did live somewhere where bike thiefs were prevalent, I'd do u-lock through the rear wheel and frame with a heavy cable lock looped through the front wheel and u-lock. In high theft areas, I'd supplement that with a chain attaching the saddle to the frame and park it next to nicer-looking bikes.

  11. #11
    Super Moderator tractorlegs's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by spivonious View Post
    If I did live somewhere where bike thiefs were prevalent, I'd do u-lock through the rear wheel and frame with a heavy cable lock looped through the front wheel and u-lock. In high theft areas, I'd supplement that with a chain attaching the saddle to the frame and park it next to nicer-looking bikes.
    I would change that to "cable looped through the front wheel, frame, and whatever immovable object the U is attached to". Then if somebody targeted your Trek they would have to break the U and the cable. Just a suggestion . . .
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  12. #12
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    Quote Originally Posted by tractorlegs View Post
    I would change that to "cable looped through the front wheel, frame, and whatever immovable object the U is attached to". Then if somebody targeted your Trek they would have to break the U and the cable. Just a suggestion . . .
    Ha, yeah that would make it harder, although if they have tools to cut through a u-lock, cutting through a cable would take a couple of seconds.

  13. #13
    Senior Member jrickards's Avatar
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    I must admit that I don't really see how pitlocks can prevent a bike from being stolen although it would make its resale that much lower if the person who buys it from the thief can't remove the wheels or other components for maintenance. I suppose that if you used the appropriate tool to remove the front wheel from the bike and locked it beside the bike, without the tool, the front wheel couldn't be re-installed but other than that, the pitlock doesn't really seem to be much of a deterrent.

    I agree with the double lock strategy but I don't live in an area with a lot of theft so I can get away with a decent U-lock to an immovable object. I'd use the U-lock through the rear wheel/frame to the object and then a cable (either a combination cable or cable plus padlock) through the front wheel/frame and the object again or just the front wheel/frame. My seat is not an expensive model so I don't need it locked nor do I feel that I need to remove the seatpost.
    A word to the wise ain't necessary - it's the stupid ones that need the advice. Bill Cosby

  14. #14
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    I just use a kryptonite Evo Mini for the frame, and locking skewers for wheels and seat. I find it a hassle to have to lock the wheels with a cable or second u-lock, so I've been relying on the locking skewers. My mini u-lock locks the top tube to the bike rack or street sign pole. I ride my bike with the mini u-lock in my back pocket. Very quick and convenient. I don't even notice that it's there.

    Nothing has been stolen in over two years and I've locked up easily 1,000 times throughout Washington, DC. If I have a wheel stolen say once every five years it'll be worth it for the convenience of not having to bend down and thread a cable through my wheel every time I lock up. This is especially true because I often carry a backpack. By only locking the top tube I don't have to bend over with a backpack on my back. I really don't think thieves are going to bother with trying to defeat locking skewers, especially during the day, when there are tons of bikes with quick release wheels and standard 15mm nuts. Maybe if you have a really nice wheel or a Brooks saddle.

    Regarding the seat, you could lock the seat to the frame with a bicycle chain, like below. Do it once and keep it forever locked. That's what I would do if I had a Brooks. Screen Shot 2014-06-05 at 3.43.11 PM.jpg

  15. #15
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    My post above is for day-time locking. If I were to lock a bike up overnight outside I'd probably use two u-locks. I'd keep one of the u-locks attached to the bike rack at my home base locking location and just carry one lock throughout the day.

  16. #16
    Senior Member jpatkinson's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by jrickards View Post
    I must admit that I don't really see how pitlocks can prevent a bike from being stolen ...
    Pitlocks are on my commuter to prevent a thief from stealing the wheel, not the bike! I have the front wheel and ahead lock in place so that when I lock the frame and rear wheel with my Abus 6500, I don't need to worry about returning to find my bike with a missing front end!

  17. #17
    Senior Member TransitBiker's Avatar
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    I've been looking to replace current U-lock with 2 new ones plus a hardened "anchor chain". I don't mind the weight, each lock is about the weight of a 20oz bottle of water, which i usually carry 3-4 of anyways.

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  18. #18
    Senior Member Northwestrider's Avatar
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    For commuting my suggested strategy is to commute on a close to beater bike, and then lock it the way you already do.

  19. #19
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  20. #20
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    there is a guy across the street from me who leaves his bike outside day and night no lock. It is a decent bike. I still lock mine to an immovable object and just a cable lock as it it right outside my door and someone is home most of the time. When we went away for a few days I stored the bike in the house.

    Also at work there are two other guys who occasionally ride and neither locks their bike. Yet again I still lock mine to the immovable object and use a cable lock. At work they can check a security camera if the bike was stolen. I do not want the hassle of the bike being taken, so the lock is my deterrent.

  21. #21
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    Quote Originally Posted by essiemyra View Post
    there is a guy across the street from me who leaves his bike outside day and night no lock. It is a decent bike. I still lock mine to an immovable object and just a cable lock as it it right outside my door and someone is home most of the time. When we went away for a few days I stored the bike in the house.

    Also at work there are two other guys who occasionally ride and neither locks their bike. Yet again I still lock mine to the immovable object and use a cable lock. At work they can check a security camera if the bike was stolen. I do not want the hassle of the bike being taken, so the lock is my deterrent.
    FYI if you ever move to an urban center, a cable lock just won't do. You're lucky to live in such a low-crime area.

    A New York news station locked up a "bait bike" with a cable lock to see how long it would take to get stolen. 16 minutes after it was locked, a thief came in with bolt cutters and broke the lock within ten seconds.

  22. #22
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    Besides Pits for the wheels, headset, and saddle the widest Krypton-U-Lock on the market, I also use crazy glue on all the Allen-head bolts like racks and fenders, seat bolts etc. make sure to carry at least an ounce of nail polish remover (Pink in color) a sharp knife so you can soak then dig the glue out for maintenance or repairs. Take a old 700c inter-tube cut 1/8-1/4 width strips place over the handlebars where you can squeeze the brake using the oversize rubber bands for a quick stop parking brake and finally get a Velcro strip 12 inches long 1/2 inch wide and lock your front wheel to your down-tube store the strap right where the down-tube meets the neck of the bike another quick stop emergency brake. For the last 10-15 years I've been riding this way never lost a bike nor parts there of.
    Luck is never a factor, and there is no know security...get over it, move on.

  23. #23
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    Quote Originally Posted by darkstar173rd View Post
    I also use crazy glue on all the Allen-head bolts like racks and fenders, seat bolts etc. make sure to carry at least an ounce of nail polish remover (Pink in color) a sharp knife so you can soak then dig the glue out for maintenance or repairs.
    Funny you mention this. A week or so ago I started a thread on how to epoxy ball bearings into allen head bolts. After doing some research I decided I'll be going with super glue instead of epoxy to facilitate the removal of the ball bearings using acetone.

    I'm intrigued to hear that you've had great success filling allen head bolts with nothing but crazy glue. I may try this as well. How long does it generally take to remove the crazy glue from a given allen head bolt? Do you ever have issues with getting all of the glue removed? I want to do it right so that I don't strip the bolt heads. Thanks for your help!

  24. #24
    coprolite fietsbob's Avatar
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    So what's your lock strategy?
    My step 1, I Dont live in Oakland ..

    Frame mounted Ring lock and lockup chain , made by AXA to work together .

    another bike Abus folding lock more convenient than U lock
    + a chainlock for when the object being attached to is further away..
    Last edited by fietsbob; 06-07-14 at 08:53 AM.

  25. #25
    aka Tom Reingold noglider's Avatar
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    My strategy is not to lock my bike often at all, and when I lock it, I lock it only briefly.

    I have a Kryptonite chain and lock combo, and it weighs eight frickin pounds. I wish I had bought two U locks instead. They would weigh less than this!
    You don't read my signature anyway, do you?

    Tom Reingold, noglider@pobox.com
    Residences: West Village, New York City and High Falls, NY
    Blogs: The Experienced Cyclist; noglider's ride blog

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