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Old 09-01-07, 08:35 AM   #1
TruF 
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Techniques for locking two bikes

Hi folks,

New rider here, still trying to figure out some logistics. While getting used to cycling, my husband and I find that having a destination for our rides is more likely to get us out and about. The grocery store, restaurant, farmers market, etc. Locking up the bikes always feels a bit awkward. We have a u-lock and a cable lock, both big enough to accommodate both bikes. My husband is less worried about this than I am, and thinks just the cable lock is sufficient in most situations. I'm the one who wants to lock our bikes more securely, but I have no idea what the best way is to do this. I've seen articles about locking one bike, but any tips on locking two bikes?
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Old 09-01-07, 07:07 PM   #2
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I'm looking forward to the responses. We'd like to do the same thing but not have to carry around a heavy u-lock on our already-heavy bikes.
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Old 09-01-07, 10:15 PM   #3
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Hi Yen,

Happy Labor Day! I just read a technique about locking bikes that can probably work as easy for two bikes as for one. I already have a cable lock that I carry on my bike, and Steve carries the u-lock, so I think this technique from REI would work for us. Here's the bit that sounds like a decent plan:

Multiple-Lock Method
  • All locks can be broken. Your job is to present an illusion of above-average resistance, convincing a thief that stealing your bike will require too much effort.
  • Use a maximum U-lock or chain lock in conjunction with a cable lock. Chances are a thief will see two locks and move on to another victim.
  • Set up the U-lock around your front tire, frame and some fixed object.
  • Then snake the cable through your rear wheel, saddle rails, frame and the U-lock. You may still walk away feeling wary, but you'll know that you did the best you could.
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Old 09-02-07, 07:21 AM   #4
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Whatever you use to lock the bikes, there are 2 other things to take with you when away from home on a bike. (vacation style). Copy down the serial # (it is stamped into the bottom bracket housing on your bike) and take a small snapshot. Both can be given to the police to assist them in a possible recovery. You will get more attention for "this bike is missing" as different from "my bikes gone".
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Old 09-02-07, 09:01 AM   #5
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Great article, TruF! Thanks
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Old 09-02-07, 09:52 AM   #6
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Yes, great article! Thanks Truf. I see there are lots of other articles there worth reading so I've bookmarked the Cycle Expert Advice page for future reading.

In addition to the small snapshot of the serial # that maddmaxx suggests, take multiple photos of the bike from different angles, including close-ups of scratches or other unique markings. They would provide even more description to the police, and also give your insurance company proof of other items lost (computer, saddle, etc.) in the theft. After our home was burglarized a few years ago, the insurance company asked if we had a photo of my digital camera that was taken. Odds are, most of us don't have a picture of our own camera unless we took it for insurance/recovery purposes. Still, I dug through the hundreds of stored digital photos until I found one that a family member had sent to me showing me holding the camera in my hand!!! I was able to crop it to show that it indeed was the one I was claiming in the report.

A close friend of mine who works in law enforcement urged me to also inscribe my DL# on every valuable.
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Old 09-02-07, 10:39 AM   #7
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My brother and I used to tour together a great deal. We found that parking the bikes next to each other in opposite directions allowed us to get the seat tubes of the two bikes closer together. The U-lock would go around the fixed object (typically a street sign post, parking meter, etc.) and the two seat tubes. We used two cable locks to run through the wheels and a point on the frame. As TruF pointed out, all locks can be broken. Hence, we took the approach of trying to make the theft of our bikes as one that would take some time and effort, and would have to occur in a place where others could see the thief's attempts. Finally, if we were stopping somewhere for more than a few minutes, one of us would periodically go back and stand next to the bikes for two or three minutes to let anyone who might be watching and planning that the owners were nearby too.
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Old 09-02-07, 03:18 PM   #8
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A lock is a theft deterrent, not a guarantee.
Park bikes head-to-toe. Put cable around non-movable object (post, etc) and run cable through both sets of wheels.
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Old 09-02-07, 03:58 PM   #9
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Do what you would to keep one bike from being stolen, but do it twice. That's not joking, I just don't see any magic tricks that are better for 2 than for one.
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Old 09-02-07, 07:21 PM   #10
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I guess the better question is: Why lock both bikes together? Why doesn't each of us lock our bike separately? I worry sometimes that seeing our two shiny new bikes locked up together is like putting a sign up that says, "Two bikes for the effort of stealing one!" The advantage to locking both together is cost and weight of the locks themselves: I carry the cable lock and he carries the u-lock.
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Old 09-02-07, 08:18 PM   #11
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Don't worry so much about this that it spoils your riding. There's an old saying that all bikes weigh 30 pounds, because if you have a 15-pound bike, you need a 15 pound lock, a 20-pound bike gets a 10-pound lock, and if you have a 30-pound bike, you just lean it against the wall and walk away.
A $300 bike just isn't that likely to be stolen, and a $3000 bike is really almost impossible to secure against a serious thief. Get a decent lock, lock the bike as well as you can and quit worrying about it.
In addition to the things already mentioned, you might consider leaving the bike where you can see it or at least check on it. You mentioned farmers' markets--we ride to one almost every Saturday, and we lock the bikes to a light pole at one end of the booths, where we can see them from most of the area and it looks like they might belong to somebody working nearby. If we stop for coffee or lunch, we look for a table or post outside the window where it's visible from inside, or one of us will go in and order while the other watches the bikes. It's also helpful NOT to have the best bike in the rack. I worry a lot more since I retired my 20-year-old Trek in favor of a $2300 Atlantis. If I'm going to a movie or something where the bike will be out for awhile, I often ride the Trek. You can often find good, usable bikes in places like the Salvation Army for much less than $50 and use that when you're in doubt. I scored my wife a Specialized Hard Rock for $10 and put on road tires, and around town she likes it nearly as well as her "real" bike. It's a little heavier, but it works fine and if somebody boosts it, we're only out about 25 bucks.
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Old 09-02-07, 08:27 PM   #12
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In over a quarter million miles of bike riding have never had a bike stolen (so far).
If they want your bike, they can get it. It's like worrying about burglar breaking into your house/car while you're not it in it. How often has that happened to you?
Most things we fret/worry about never happen.
Now go out and ride . . . and quite worrying!
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