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So I lost the key to my U-lock

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So I lost the key to my U-lock

Old 12-19-06, 09:46 AM
  #1  
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So I lost the key to my U-lock

Ok, simple first. I locked my bike up, double - a u-lock in the rear triangle, and a cable lock through the front wheel and frame. I go shopping, I come back. I've lost the u-lock key. This is the only one of my various locks that I don't have 2 keys for in 2 places. So

Q1 - How am I going to get the damned thing off? It's parked in the street.



Now, the rest of the story. I bought this bike for £20 - it's an old Raleigh 531 tourer. Got a cheap pannier set, and renewed the bar tape, and had my perfect load hauler - almost. It had quill pedals, I have wide feet, and the quills became painful after about 30 mins. It also had plastic toe clips that bend easy, and reflectors covering the little dealy that you flip the pedal with. Result: I had more trouble clipping in than I've had since I was 13 and riding clips and straps for the first time. So, last week, I think I'll swap them out - I've got some old single sided touring style pedals, nice and wide. In removing the pedals, I strip one of the threads. Damn! Never mind, I get a complete Shimano 300 gruppo on ebay for about $20, thinking I'll filch the cranks (and the bits I need for some other bikes) and sell the rest, making my money back. The stuff duly arrives, but oh no! One of the pedals is stuck in the crank. Never mind, I like the pedals in that group, so I just install it with those pedals. I also transfer my best light set (which has been on a bike I never ride at night - go figure). Off I go downtown - it's all really good now....I lock the bike up.......and lose the key.

Q2 - Is this bike cursed?
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Old 12-19-06, 09:51 AM
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if i had hard evidence that the bike was mine (like a picture of myself with it) i would explain the situation to the nearest police or fire station. for one thing they often have tools for this sort of thing (like an angle grinder) and for another, then you don't look like you're stealing the bike. this may or may not be an issue where you live.

and no, the bike is most certainly not cursed.
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Old 12-19-06, 09:55 AM
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Is the lock cylindrical or traditional? Picking a lock is actually quite easy. Depending on the model, you may also try shimming the lock, or simply doing it theif style and cutting it with a hacksaw or bolt-cutting diagonal pliers. It's not like you're going to re-use the lock if you don't have the key.

If the lock is a nice, expensive one, You could call a locksmith as well. He might be able to pick the lock and make a new set of keys.
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Old 12-19-06, 10:08 AM
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The lock is one I got for nothing with a bike I bought to flip, (hence only having one key) so I'm not too bothered if it gets killed. I just talked to the police, and they said just take the receipt for the bike (which I do have) down with you, in case anyone asks. They've also recorded it on their computer system.
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Old 12-19-06, 10:14 AM
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check around again, retrace your steps. I've thought I lost my keys many times. They ended up being in a pocket and I had missed them twice.
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Old 12-19-06, 10:15 AM
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Stage 1: What's it locked to? When I steal bikes, the first thing I look at is did the guy lock his bike to something I can disassemble with a wrench. (Just kidding, I wouldn't really disassemble public property).

Stage 2: If its an old Kryptonite with the cylindrical key, then learn to do the Bic pen lock picking trick.

Stage 3: Can you fit a car jack inside the u-lock without mangling the bike? Cheaper u-locks can be busted by expanding the jack.

Stage 4: Angle grinder. This works on even the best U-locks. Be careful not to gouge the bike with the grinder.
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Old 12-19-06, 10:16 AM
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Originally Posted by Falkon
check around again, retrace your steps. I've thought I lost my keys many times. They ended up being in a pocket and I had missed them twice.
+1

The one time I thought I had lost my key, it was in the pocket of the pants I had worn to work. Usually, I keep it in my panier, but that day I just slipped it in my pocket.
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Old 12-19-06, 10:22 AM
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Not a solution now, but I recently bought a U-lock that came with five keys (I was amazed) and a registration number so that I can order a duplicate if I lose all five. I suppose there is no chance you know the person you bought it from and he has some sort of lock registration.
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Old 12-19-06, 10:35 AM
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an on guard? Yeah, I got the same brand. Great locks!
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Old 12-19-06, 10:43 AM
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Originally Posted by Falkon
check around again, retrace your steps. I've thought I lost my keys many times. They ended up being in a pocket and I had missed them twice.
I'll second that. I carry the valet key to my car when I'm on bike rides so I don't have to carry house keys or the giant remote fob for the car, and I've managed to lose it twice. Both times, I retraced my steps and found it... once by simply riding back down the bike path and keeping my eyes open.

It's worth a try.

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Old 12-19-06, 11:44 AM
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I immediately retraced my steps all over town - nothing doing. When I got home, I emptied every pocket (of course, I went through them by the roadside too) - nothing. So, it's me and the hacksaw tomorrrow. I mentioned it to the Police, and they said to take any evidence of ownership, but didn't think I'd be likely to get any hassle. Which is sad, when you think about it.....
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Old 12-19-06, 12:52 PM
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Here's your chance to make a documentary. Have someone film your recovery from a discrete distance. Document how many people challenge you. Review the video to watch people's reactions.
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Old 12-19-06, 02:48 PM
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I hacksawed my own lock off my bike in Montreal once. (having lost the key) Two women walking down the street asked me if it was my bike, and one said "I hope you're not stealing". I told them it was mine and that was good enough for them. If they hadn't been convinced I could have shown them that I did have the key to my apartment, which was right next to the place I parked the bike.
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Old 12-19-06, 03:12 PM
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Originally Posted by Sammyboy
a u-lock in the rear triangle
I suppose you checked to make sure the key isn't in the lock?
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Old 12-19-06, 03:40 PM
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Originally Posted by robtown
Here's your chance to make a documentary. Have someone film your recovery from a discrete distance. Document how many people challenge you. Review the video to watch people's reactions.

Its been done. Guys used hand tools, power tools, you name it,in crowded streets, even in front of the police, in New York. Nobody challenged them. The only person that even talked to them gave them advice on how to cut the lock.
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Old 12-19-06, 06:07 PM
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Another option might be to contact a locksmith. For a price, a locksmith probably has the tools to pick the lock and open it. It might save you from curious glances from passing people as well as police cars stopping by every five minutes.
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Old 12-19-06, 07:56 PM
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So I read this thread at lunchtime today and thought about how much that must suck to lose a u-lock key. Tonight I'm out doing some shopping, only about 3 miles from house but 3 miles further than I feel like walking home. I go to unlock my bike and while the key turns, only one side of the u-lock is releasing (Masterlock that I got real cheap). WTF? I ended up sitting there for about 10 minutes turning the key back and forth and yanking on thing. Meanwhile, probably 100 people walked by seeing me do this and none stopped to say anything (I got more hassle for walking out of the store with a purchase not in a bag). Finally, the thing decides to release and I breathe a big sigh of relief and get to continue on my shopping trip, only the next time I locked up I used my cheap cable lock. Now to figure out what went wrong with the lock. Anyone else ever have a problem like this?

[edit] As I sit here and try to recreate what happened with the lock, the only thing that I can think of is that somehow the U was being pressed on in such a way as to make it bind in the locking section. I've proved that if the key is turning, the lock pawl are releasing so the only logical explanation is that the U was getting stuck on something else, or I'm a moron. Probably the latter. [edit]

Last edited by joejack951; 12-19-06 at 08:03 PM.
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Old 12-19-06, 08:13 PM
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Sprinkle some powdered graphite into the keyway and into all the moving/locking parts.
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Old 12-19-06, 08:13 PM
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Originally Posted by Frankenbiker
Another option might be to contact a locksmith.
I kinda already suggested that
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Old 12-19-06, 09:02 PM
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Originally Posted by ax0n
Sprinkle some powdered graphite into the keyway and into all the moving/locking parts.
I've verified that all of the moving parts work like they should. I really think it was just the moron end-user causing the problem.
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Old 12-19-06, 09:19 PM
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Old 12-19-06, 09:33 PM
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Originally Posted by joejack951
I've verified that all of the moving parts work like they should. I really think it was just the moron end-user causing the problem.
It's always possible, but locks do act differently sometimes when under a load. It's possible just the shackle was jammed at an odd angle, though.
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Old 12-19-06, 11:17 PM
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Originally Posted by joejack951
I've verified that all of the moving parts work like they should. I really think it was just the moron end-user causing the problem.
Could moisture and cold weather created the problem you described? Don't blame yourself until you have exhausted all other possiblilities.
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Old 12-20-06, 01:03 AM
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more praises to my onguard lock. I bought it while out of town, because my cheap ulock wasn't going to cut it. I love it. I have keys for it on three different rings. They give you plenty of back ups.
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Old 12-20-06, 01:35 AM
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Go cut it. It'll take about 10-15 minutes. I doubt anyone will stop you.
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