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You waited really long to get that latest bike and now that you have it, you are raring to go to places and show it off to your friends. While you may be excited to go on adventures or just take it out every time you go to the grocery store, make sure you get a good cycle lock to protect it from thieves.
New bikers often ask me ‘where to put your bike lock while riding’ so that it does not interfere with the ride. Well, if you are cycling within the city for small errands or just casual biking, I would suggest carrying a small lightweight lock that you can put around the handlebars.
If you go mountain biking or camping where you need to leave your cycle for a longer time, carry heavier metal locks in a backpack. As they are bulky, attaching them to the cycle may give you an uncomfortable ride. As a mountain bike doesn’t come cheap, make sure you carry a good quality lock that can safeguard your valuable belonging while you take a break.
Reasons To Put A Bike Lock
The reason why it’s so important to lock your bike while you go to the public toilet or the grocery store is that bicycles are prone to getting stolen. Features like lightweight, easily transportable, and customizable that are so convenient for bike owners are also beneficial for the thieves. As a result, unfortunately, there’s an increasing number of cycle thefts in various parts of the world.
It takes only a few minutes for someone to lift/ ride away with your precious bicycle and later change it to look like new. They are also resold pretty easily, making it a quick and easy way for some unscrupulous people to make money and tracking down the thieves is not an easy thing, thus they are often seen as ‘assumed loss’.
If moving inside the town, we suggest that you always park your bike in a place where you can keep your eye on it. If you need to go to the toilet or inside the grocery store, you may ask someone to watch your bike. However, these methods are not foolproof and you may still end up getting your cycle stolen.
Thus, it’s always wiser to carry an appropriate lock that you can put on your bike, whether you park it for a few minutes or more than an hour. The problem arises when you need to store that lock while riding as the heavy lock may interfere with your comfort level and performance, and a very small lock may not solve the purpose.
After extensive research and based on my personal experience, I have put together some solutions to help you store the different types of locks. Read on to find ways to store them without causing discomfort to you or hampering your performance while riding.
Heavy Metal Locks
The passionate city riders or adventure seekers with high-end mountain bikes need powerful U-shaped iron locks or the old chain locks to protect their investment. These metal locks are bulky, hence they add a lot of weight to your bicycle wherever you keep them and they also take a lot of storage space. It is not practical to hang them around the handlebar, wheel, or seat post.
Most cyclists prefer to store their bike locks in a backpack, saddlebag, tote bag, basket or any other container that is often stored at the rider’s back or the cycle itself. To be frank, there’s no easy method to carry these heavy locks. If they are too heavy and/or take a lot of space then there’s not much you can do about it.
When you use a heavy and bulky lock, you have a greater responsibility to store it in a suitable place. There’s no easy trick here so choose your lock wisely.
Small-sized or Cable Locks
If you rarely leave your bicycle parked outside for too long or your bike is of low-market value, you may consider buying a lighter and inexpensive lock. This may make your cycle less secure as compared to the heavier locks, but you will not have storage or performance issues.
You can find some popular cable locks (see Amazon) in the market that may sacrifice to some extent in terms of security, but they compensate this with their increased mobility. As these locks are significantly lighter and small in size, they don’t add any extra weight to the bicycle.
The cable locks are good at putting around the cycle. You may easily put them around the bike frame, handlebar or seat post. You may keep them in a saddlebag, small bag or basket. The under-seat-pouch is also a good place to store. As these small-sized locks can be put anywhere, they look really great.
However, the cable locks are not completely reliable and you might have to face some real security concerns. At the end of the day, the rider has to choose between two options – total mobility or complete security. While the cable locks allow you to move around freely, they are not the best security for your bike.
New Generation Locks
In the age of technology and innovations, companies are trying their best to come up with solutions for the problem of security and mobility. This ensures that you don’t have to choose between the two and can have the benefits of both in one lock.
These days, the market is full of a wide range of new locks that promise to give enhanced security along with no compromise in mobility. So, you can now have both instead of choosing one over the other. These are especially useful for bikes that are too expensive to risk their security plus you can’t afford to hamper your performance with a heavy lock.
Some of these innovative locks (see Amazon) mix the cable design with the typical U-lock iron metal by mechanical joints. They often use different types of synthetic metals in the place of iron to create a new style of lock that is strongly-built, extremely flexible, and affordable too.
Even though a breakthrough in the bike locks maybe around the corner, today there are several drawbacks in each model. The customers need to consider various things before getting one, and find easier ways to carry the lock.
Five Mistakes To Avoid When Locking A Bike
No matter how sturdy and expensive your bike lock is, just having a lock does not guarantee the security of your bicycle. There are a few things you need to keep in mind and some things you must avoid to ensure its safety. Here are a few tips to help you:
#1. Putting a cable lock on an expensive bike
If you live in a high-theft area or you regularly need to leave your bicycle locked for several hours, we suggest that you avoid a cable lock. Invest in a good quality U-lock like this instead because the cable counterparts can be easily cut like butter, no matter how muscular they look. So, don’t risk the security of an expensive bike in the hands of a cable lock.
#2. Locking your bike to insecure items
When you need to go into the grocery store for about an hour, never rake chances by simply locking your bike in the parking area. Always attach it to some secure items such as a street lamp or a sturdy street-sign. Avoid locking through insecure things such as an easily removable signpost, tree branches that can be cut, or building scaffolding that can be removed.
#3. Locking a removable part of the bicycle
Cycle parts like the seat post, fender, and that plastic thingy on your bike may be easier to lock through but be careful. These parts are easy to remove and a cunning thief can separate this part from your bike in a flash. To be on the safer side, at least lock an immovable object or not easy-to-separate part of the cycle. If it’s a big bicycle, we would suggest that you lock through a wheel or the cycle frame.
#4. Causing inconvenience to others
Well, in an attempt to find a secure and safe place to lock your bike, don’t forget to respect your surroundings and other’s privacy. You cannot lock your bike to someone’s gate or handrail without seeking permission. Avoid getting into any trouble and find better places to lock your bike without causing inconvenience.
#5. Abandoning your bike for a long time
No matter what kind of emergency you may have, it’s never a good idea to abandon your bicycle for an extended duration. If someone stole important parts of the cycle or damaged it beyond control, donate the remaining parts to some non-profit organization. Even if a cycle was cheaper to replace, never abandon or else it becomes an eye-sore for others.
Is it a good idea to lock your bike to trees?
Trees appear to be a safe and secure item to lock your cycle, but there have been cases when thieves cut down trees to steal a bike. Locking to a tree may also damage the branches, bark, and stress out the tree. Hence, it should be taken as the last resort if you can’t find anything else. We would suggest that you walk a little further to find some metal items to lock your bike.
What are good things to lock your bike up to?
If you need to lock your bike in a neighborhood that lacks dedicated parking, we suggest you look for locking posts and bike racks. If these are not available too, then sturdy street signs and street lamps are good options. Just ensure that the signs are at least 6 feet tall or have a bulky head so that a thief can’t lift a locked bike over it.