Biking as a leisure activity or sport will occasionally require stopping along the way while riding, it is expected that you would want to ensure that your bike is always well secured. An excellent way to protect your bike from thieves is to get a bike lock. It's not just enough to get a lock; it is equally essential for you to know how to use it effectively. If you get a bike lock, but you don't know the best way to lock a bike, then it would be easy for it to get stolen. Even when it's appropriately locked, it doesn't eliminate the risk of theft. However, it's best to take precautionary measures to avoid unfortunate circumstances.
There are many different ways in which you can lock your bike, and in this guide, we will educate you on the best way to lock a bike.
Places Where You Can Lock Your Bike
Seeing as a bike is a popular means of transportation, it is necessary to identify the key sites where you can lock your bike before moving on to the best way to lock a bike.
1. At Work
In many workplaces, provision is made for bike riders who commute to work on their bicycles. Several businesses offer private spaces for employees to leave their bikes. The level of security in these places may vary, and this is one reason why you should know how to lock your bike. Although the location and of your workplace can contribute to how safe your bike is, the risk of your bike being stolen is dependent on other factors. As long as fellow employees and other people have access to the place where your bike is kept, there is a chance that it will be tampered with. Knowing the best way to lock a bike will come in handy.
2. In Your Home
Another place where you can store your bike is in the house. It might seem like your home is the safest place to leave your bike but unfortunately, it isn't. Although a majority of bike thefts occur on the streets, bike thieves have been known to steal bikes right from home. Knowing the best way to lock a bike will as well reduce the risk of your bike being stolen right under your nose. Whether your bike is stored in a shed, in the garage or the back garden, there is still a chance of it being stolen.
It is, therefore, necessary to use a bike lock even when your bike is stored in the garage.
3. In the Street
Despite the high risk, this is one of the most popular places to leave a bike. To reduce the chances of your bike being compromised in the street, it is necessary to think carefully about where you decide to leave your bike.
When locking your bike in the street, be sure to choose a busy place where other bikes are locked. Crowded areas would make a thief nervous, and so a bike thief would try to avoid such areas. Choosing a location with an active CCTV camera is an extra precaution that can help reduce the risk of your bike getting stolen.
4. On Roof Racks
Another favorite place where you can lock your bike is on a roof rack. If you ever entertain the idea of getting a roof rack for your bike, ensure that you only purchase a roof rack of the best quality.
Note that having your bike safely latched to the roof of your car doesn't ensure its absolute safety. If you have to stop by the store or gas station halfway through your trip, ensure that there's someone left in the car to serve as a lookout. Potential bike thieves will stay away from your bike when there is an occupant in the vehicle.
Now that you are familiar with the places where you can lock your bike, we will move on to some important principles on locking a bike.
The Best Way to Lock a Bike
As crucial as bike locks are, having one without the essential knowledge of how to use it will count for nothing. When a lock is mounted close to the ground or isn't tight enough, your bike will become an easy target for potential bike thieves. The primary reason why you should lock your bike is to ensure its security and protect it from theft. Another critical factor that should not be ignored is convenience. A bike lock secures your bike, but you shouldn't mount it in such a way that essential parts of the bike are damaged in the process. The following tips will help you to understand the best way to lock a bike.
Tip 1 - Choose a Solid and Immovable Object
The safest place to lock your bike is next to a solid object. Objects such as bike racks, railings or an iron bench are perfect options. If you decide to lock your bike next to a pole, consider shaking it first before attaching your bike to it. This is to ensure that you have chosen the sturdiest object in sight and any slight movement should indicate that it is not sturdy enough. When choosing a place to lock the bike, It is equally important for you to make sure that anyone cannot just lift your bike or dismantled easily.
Tip 2 - Keep the Lock Way Above the Ground
This is an important tip to remember. A lock placed close to the ground can be easily compromised by a bike thief. With the use of a hammer or a similar tool, a potential thief would only have to hit the lock on the hard ground to break it open.
Tip 3 - Use a Double Lock
This is the safest and most secure way of locking your bike. With two locks, you can lock every part of the bike to the object chosen. You can choose to use two U-locks, or a U-lock combined with a cable or chain lock. If you decide to lock your bike next to a bike rack, you should use the first lock to secure the back wheel and frame to the rack. The second lock should go the other way round, starting with the front wheel, to the structure and round the bike rack, in this way, your bike is well-secured, making it difficult for potential bike thieves to make away with it.
Tip 4 - Choose a Smaller U-lock
A favorite way for bike thieves to dismantle a U-lock is to insert a bottle jack into space within the lock or apply some leverage and pry it open with a crowbar. A smaller U-lock is not only more comfortable to carry around; it provides a potential bike thief with less room to manipulate the lock. If you cannot get access to a smaller U-lock, try to fill up space within the lock with the bike and whatever object it is attached to.
Tip 5 - Pay Attention to More Expensive Components
This depends on the type of bike you ride. More expensive bikes might have wheels that cost more than the entire bike when sold alone. Such elements which carry a big price tag often attract the attention of experienced bike thieves who are aware of its value. For this reason, it is best to lock by value. This means that you should pay more attention to these expensive parts when locking your bike.
Tip 6 - Remove Accessories and Make Your Bike Unattractive
A bike without lights or a seat would be unappealing to a bike thief and so removing the objects mentioned above when locking your bike in a public place will ensure its added safety. As much as you would love to decorate your bike to suit your tastes, a flashy bike will act as a neon sign calling out to potential bike thieves. Try to avoid any additions that would attract unwanted attention from unsavory characters.
The first step to take towards ensuring the security of your bike is getting a good quality bike lock. Cheap does not necessarily mean quality just as expensive models do not translate to best quality. It is therefore vital for you to do enough research before choosing the best lock for your bike. As important as a bike lock is, getting one is only the first step. You are required to know how to lock your bike properly in any location.
While locking your bike, remember to choose a crowded place where other bikes are parked. Stay away from objects which can be manipulated easily and make sure you lock your bike to a robust and immovable object. Keep the lock above the ground and go for a smaller U-lock to reduce the amount of space left within. Using a double lock as an extra precaution will go a long way in protecting your bike from theft.
Remember that no matter where you leave your bike, on the street, at home or even at work, there is a chance that it will get stolen. This is why it is important to follow the best way to lock a bike tips outlined in this guide.