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  1. #1
    Senior Member cyclezealot's Avatar
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    Lock won't open and I am stuck.

    Don't let it happen to you.. The lock has not been a problem before.. Suddenly it just won't unlock..( A combination lock.) So my bike is on the edge of town locked to a stop sign after I took a little break for some food at a convenience store.. Here all stores are closed from 12:30 to 3:30 pm.. Hardware stores, bike shops... etc.. , .. I do have in my handle bar bag a 2 oz. bottle of chain oil.. I lube the thing up.. It won't open.. No tools to handle the job.. The police won't help unless you have papers showing the bike is yours. So I make some phone calls to wife and friends. No one near.. . So I am stuck on the outskirst of town for almost 3 hours, until the shops open..Its about a 15 minute walk to a hardware store.... I buy a metal hacksaw..It looks like it could rain, and all I have on is my bike gear... Ever happend to you.. I just lied about on the beach and helped intensify my bike tan..
    All I could have done is maybe oil up my combination lock a little more as a maintenance measure... .. At least I had on older bike clothes, so I did cool off in the sea once. ...
    Any suggestions as to fool proof bike locks. This situation was not fun and I wondered if I'd get home before dark.. Never has the lock been the least bit difficult to open. .I was sort of wondering if someone might challenge me from cutting thru the cable. That took about 40 minutes..... What is your choice of bike locks and do you fear this could happen to you.... In such a situation, just maybe bike registration might allow the police to offer assistance. That a good idea. ?.. I tolk the cut cable and lock home. It still won't open..
    Last edited by cyclezealot; 08-31-08 at 08:01 AM.
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  2. #2
    Portland Fred banerjek's Avatar
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    Most combo locks don't provide much protection. If you're using one of the kinds with a spin dial, get the type where the each number corresponds with a slot that lets the "key" through.

    BTW, why did you buy a hacksaw instead of lubricant? Also, most combo locks will smash open.

  3. #3
    Senior Member cyclezealot's Avatar
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    So you are saying Baner. I should have bought a Hammer? ... I have lubricant in my mini tool bag.. The dial spun freely after lubing the lock. Still would not open... Maybe I better get a U bolt on my most expensive bike... U bolt locks are so heavy? ... // Anyone could pick up a big rock and smash it open. Why did I not think of that.
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  4. #4
    Uber Goober StephenH's Avatar
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    If the hacksaw worked, that was probably the way to do it. That appears to be an uncommon problem, though. I used cheap combination locks on my locker in high school and in gym class, as did lots of other people, and I don't recall ever hearing of one freezing up like that.
    "be careful this rando stuff is addictive and dan's the 'pusher'."

  5. #5
    Senior Member cyclezealot's Avatar
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    The lock was only a couple years old. Always Worked just fine.. I brought the sawed off lock back home. I have been fooling around with it.. It still won't open. In turning the numbers , there might be a very slight glitch in the second from left number. But, its hardly noticeable.
    Last edited by cyclezealot; 08-31-08 at 09:57 AM.
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  6. #6
    Dead Men Assume...
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    I had a combination lock do that once...had to go to a hardware store and borrowed a pair of bolt-cutters.

  7. #7
    Senior Member cyclezealot's Avatar
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    I did Iron Mac.. I just had to wait for almost three hours for the one store to open... .. I was wondering if this ever happened to anyone else. This problem with bike locks. Makes me wonder about how I should secure my bikes in the garage. Hate to miss out on a group ride.
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  8. #8
    Senior Member onbike 1939's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by cyclezealot View Post
    I did Iron Mac.. I just had to wait for almost three hours for the one store to open... .. I was wondering if this ever happened to anyone else. This problem with bike locks. Makes me wonder about how I should secure my bikes in the garage. Hate to miss out on a group ride.
    Where you live the answer is the local garage. They are always helpful in these situations and would have it off in a jiffy with an Angle Grinder.

  9. #9
    Senior Member cyclezealot's Avatar
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    You know how they are in the lazy south.. It takes three hours to digest lunch.. Not sure of the garages. Wish I'd thought of that. It was in a small beach town...
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    ^ Since January 1, 2012

  10. #10
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    40 mins cutting thru the cable?

    ...sounds like you wasted a good bit of time and a good cable...
    Should have cut thru the combo lock instead. Those locks are cheap and you can hacksaw thru one in about 5 mins (cut through the body casing on an old one once to see how the insides worked, they're really simple devices).

    P.S. did ya know they Really aren't secure? Get a nice U-Lock. Or at the very least get a cable with integrated keyed lock in the end(this isn't great either, but its better than a combo lock at least)

  11. #11
    Every day a winding road spinnaker's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by cyclezealot View Post
    The police won't help unless you have papers showing the bike is yours. ......

    .I was sort of wondering if someone might challenge me from cutting thru the cable. That took about 40 minutes..... What is your choice of bike locks and do you fear this could happen to you.... In such a situation, just maybe bike registration might allow the police to offer assistance. That a good idea. ?.. I tolk the cut cable and lock home. It still won't open..
    OK let me get this straight. if you go to the police they won't offer any help yet they will ignore "someone" hacking away on a lock of "someone's" bike.
    "The world is a dangerous place to live, not because of the people who are evil, but because of the people who don't do anything about it."

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  12. #12
    Randomhead
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    Quote Originally Posted by spinnaker View Post
    OK let me get this straight. if you go to the police they won't offer any help yet they will ignore "someone" hacking away on a lock of "someone's" bike.
    there is a video of a guy "stealing" bikes on youtube. One of them is right in front of a cop.

    When I was a bike mechanic, we had a giant pair of bolt cutters for this problem. The funny thing was that people would bring in a bike with a lock on the seat and want it cut off. So we would get out the giant bolt cutters and take it off for them. Invariably they gave the impression that they thought we were bike thieves because we knew how to do that.

  13. #13
    Senior Member Michigander's Avatar
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    I suggest a company called American Lock if you want a reliable paddlock type system. Extremely durable and reliable. I've used them with 2 or 3 companies, and they never cause any problems. Not as durable as a U lock, but that goes without saying.
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  14. #14
    Senior Member cyclezealot's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by xenologer View Post
    40 mins cutting thru the cable?

    ...sounds like you wasted a good bit of time and a good cable...
    Should have cut thru the combo lock instead. Those locks are cheap and you can hacksaw thru one in about 5 mins (cut through the body casing on an old one once to see how the insides worked, they're really simple devices).

    P.S. did ya know they Really aren't secure? Get a nice U-Lock. Or at the very least get a cable with integrated keyed lock in the end(this isn't great either, but its better than a combo lock at least)
    I have thought about a U bolt.. What has stopped me is aren't they bulky, maybe heavy and I'd have to take off one of my water bottle cages??...Plus, crime is not too huge a concern about here.. I have felt the odds are such , this is enough to ward off the kinds of the kids who perform such thefts.
    About the hack saw.. It was a cheap saw with a a blade that could be used to cut Velvetta cheese.
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  15. #15
    Senior Member cyclezealot's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by spinnaker View Post
    OK let me get this straight. if you go to the police they won't offer any help yet they will ignore "someone" hacking away on a lock of "someone's" bike.
    I did not pursue a police solution fully. Mostly I felt I had to wait for the hardware store to open.. A police officier passed by once during my time frame... He just said there is nothing he can do.. Others I've known of having their bikes stolen had to provide a serial number in order to re-claim their bikes.. My assumption in this case.. If a cyclist were to find himself in this situation, you'd have your serial number in your purchase papers, should you have kept them...
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  16. #16
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    If the middle number doesn't feel correct, try the combo # one higher, then one lower on that number.

    It is possible for the internal tumbler to slip, not allowing proper alignment. The most it would slip by is maybe three digits. Usually the middle number, sometimes the last number. The middle number can be either plus or minus, the last number is usually plus.

    Not experienced on portable padlocks before, only on safe doors, yet very similar internals.

  17. #17
    Senior Member cyclezealot's Avatar
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    I am afraid one morning when due for a club ride, a combination lock will again fail.. I'd hate that to happen..I lock 3 bikes together in the garage, since I incessantly worry about my expensive road bike.Maybe I should switch to a lock using keys over combination locks. / About my old lock does not matter anymore. The cable is now cut in half.
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  18. #18
    Senior Member wahoonc's Avatar
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    I prefer key locks over combination locks. On a couple of my bikes I have the dutch style wheel locks from Axa, along with the optional chain. It has several advantages, over a regular lock and cable. The lock is permanently attached to the bike, and the key stays in it when it is unlocked.

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  19. #19
    Every day a winding road spinnaker's Avatar
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    I'd like to know how many others have this same problem. I also have a combo lock. I have never had a problem. I have always thought it was safer than taking the chance of losing the key.
    "The world is a dangerous place to live, not because of the people who are evil, but because of the people who don't do anything about it."

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  20. #20
    Hey guyz? Guyz? Wait up!! Siu Blue Wind's Avatar
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    This was not on my bike but on my locker at work. I've used the same Master spinning combo lock for many many many years.....since Jr. High school. I've used it for the side fence at home through rain and freeze and never oiled it....and then brought it to work. It used to NOT UNLOCK at times and it was because the tumblers must have shifted. The middle number was off by one or two and after a while I just pretty much put it to the vicinity of what the number is...it would open.

    Till one day the whole spinner thing just fell off.

    It was officially dead.

    So I bought another one.
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  21. #21
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    I sort of had that happen - I have a cylinder style combination lock with a built on cable that I leave attached to the bike rack at work. That way I don't have to carry it around since I'm just going straight from home to work and back. Theft is really not a problem on our corporate campus and we have security guards so it's just keeping the honest people honest. Anyway, one morning it would not open. There is a way to change the combination and I'm not sure if somehow I accidentally did that or somebody else was messing with it and did that but as I had long since lost track of the instructions and it had no brand or model name on it I was stuck for a while. Then I noticed that it had a patent number and I was able to track down the instruction through the patent number and reset the combination. It's been sitting outside attached to that rack for like 5-6 years now. Still works. I know if I had a key lock I would forget the key and be screwed. As it is I have a spare key lock that I use if I need to run to the store and half the time I find that my wife has taken my keys instead of hers and so I don't have the key anyway.
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  22. #22
    Senior Member staehpj1's Avatar
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    Is this a lock that you can pick a combination on? Maybe some wise @ss got it open and changed the combination?

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