Biking is considered exercise and a great option for those who want to avoid traffic. However, the downside to this commuting alternative is security.
Biking enthusiasts sometimes have to contend with leaving their bikes unattended, constantly worrying if they will be stolen, especially in areas that have not invested in bike racks.
Racks are a lifeline for the security of bikes. Does this mean your bikes aren’t safe without racks? Fortunately, the answer is no.
There are other ways to keep your bike safe if there are no bike racks nearby. It’s only a matter of mastering the art of locking.
How To Lock A Bike Without A Rack
If there is no rack around, you can secure the bike with a lock to a permanent and tall feature. If it is not permanent, make sure it is next to impossible to move it.
Look for a tree, sign pole, a permanent bench, and so on. If there is no place to secure your bike, make it difficult for a thief to steal it by locking the wheels with a lock or detaching the wheels if it comes with a quick-release feature.
Substitutes To Bike Racks
Bike racks are a great way to keep your bike safe. Still, you will not always find a rack in the vicinity.
That does not mean taking your chances and leaving the bike unattended. Numerous alternatives help you secure the bike while carrying on with your day.
However, keep in mind the surroundings and the makeshift bike rack. It should be steady enough and difficult to move.
It should also provide enough support for the bike. Trees, road signs, metal public benches, etc., are usually sturdy enough to lock your bike on.
Nonetheless, not all stationary features are ideal. A fence, for example, maybe immovable, but it can be easily broken if it is made of bamboo or old wood. Do not use an accessible parking space for your bike. It’s just not right.
The surrounding area should neither be crowded nor isolated. This way, if someone tries to take off with your bike, they will be seen easily.
Not to mention a crowded area blocked with a bike will inconvenience people and possibly get you fined.
Types Of Bike Locks
Bike locks provide security for our bikes. Nonetheless, they are vulnerable to theft, especially if you buy the wrong type. There are several bike lock designs in the market today. Some are more secure than others.
U-locks are the most popular and secure locks in the market today. They have been designed to resist theft mechanisms that use chisels, hammers, and lock picks. Another advantage is the different sizes that come with the design.
Depending on the size of your bike, you can purchase a lock that fits snugly around the bike, leaving little to no space. This way, a thief will find it hard to put tools through the space and try and break the lock.
2. Cable Locks
Although they offer security for bikes, they are not the most dependable locks in the market. Unlike U-locks, cable locks are susceptible to cutters and other theft methods.
That is why it is best for low-crime areas. Otherwise, you can use it as a combination lock with U-locks.
Chains are popular because of their heavy-duty design and ease of storage. They are the most secure type of lock next to the U-lock.
Chains make it easy to adjust the snugness depending on the size of the bike. This flexibility makes it effortless to chain the don’t and the wheel together.
Unfortunately, if you do not invest in an equally strong padlock, chances are you won’t find your bike where you left it. The heaviness of the chain can also pose a challenge to some.
4. Combination Locks
Combination locks are advantageous because they require a combination of numbers to open. You also don’t need to carry a key and risk losing it. However, they are not the strongest nor recommended locks for bikes.
5. Key Locks
Another type of bike lock is the key lock. As most keys go, they are either flat or round. Both work well but are recommended for low theft areas. Round keys locks are known to be vulnerable to theft.
Be careful when choosing this design. Double-check and make sure the designs are theft-proof.
How To Choose A Bike Lock
The unfortunate truth is that no lock is completely theft-proof. However, the general idea is to make it as close to impossible as you can.
Make the thing think twice before making a move on your bike. That is why choosing the right lock is crucial.
Before settling in a lock, decide on the following:
Bike users have different reasons for acquiring a lock. In some instances, it is not mainly about security.
The insurance company may require a lock to cover you. However, in most cases, it is about security. Depending on the purpose, you will decide which lock suits your needs.
The General rule of thumb is that the costlier the lock, the more secure it is. However, this is not always the case.
Some locks are just pricier because of their cool design and not functionality. Pay close attention to the described features.
Keep in mind your budget at the same time. You will find decent locks and pocket-friendly prices.
The only way to deter thieves from trying to steal your bike is to invest in strong locks. Thieves usually go for easy-to-steal bikes. So, if theft is the main concern, go for a strong lock designed to withstand theft methods.
However, if theft is not your concern, most locks would work in this situation.
Ease of use
Although security comes first in buying locks, sometimes it is about ease of use. A biker would prefer an easy lock to use while keeping your property safe. Admittedly, most adaptable locks tend to be weak.
Even so, with a little research, you can find locks that strike a good balance between security and flexibility.
Type of lock
There are different types of locks, as discussed above. When shopping for a new lock, look at more than just the price.
Go over the reviews before you decide to buy one. To keep your property safe, you must be willing to invest some money, but mostly your time.
Tips For Keeping Your Bike Safe
Apart from securing your bike, you can take steps to ensure safety when you leave your bike. A bicycle stand or any improvised alternative may not be in the vicinity. How else can you secure your bike? Here are some tips to help you.
Buy a decent lock
Bike locks come in a myriad of designs. Choosing the most secure one for your peace of mind is best. Heavy chain locks and U-Locks are great options, but combining them will keep your bike safe from thieves. Make sure you use more than one lock.
One lock can be tampered with, but two or more are a hustle to a thief. Remember, they always look for a convenient and easy target.
The lock should be made from quality materials. Ensure that the thief will have a hard time breaking or cutting it. In this regard, locks made from rope or cable will not do.
Lock wheel and body
As long as you lock the body or the wheel, the bike is safe, right? Wrong. Lock the body and the wheels together.
Choosing either or will only increase the susceptibility to theft. If the wheels are detachable, remove the front wheel and lock it with the rear one and the body of the bike.
Any detachable part of your bike should be removed—make the bike as undesirable as you can. The thief will not waste their time on a bike that is not fully assembled.
You should wind the lock tightly around the bike. Otherwise, the thief will find it easy to break it.
Additional Steps To Protect Bikes
Now that you have taken the necessary steps to keep your bike safe, some additional measures won’t hurt.
- Install a GPS tracker on your bike. If the locks fail, this will be a lifesaver when your bike is stolen.
- Just like your car, you can register bikes once you purchase them. Not only will it prove ownership, but it will also be easy to find a stolen bike as well.
- Avoid chaining your bike in a remote location or a crowded area. Bike thieves thrive in such areas.
- Ensure the lock is completely secure when you leave your bike. Do not leave its security to chance.
Riding a bike is convenient in many ways. The inconvenience comes in the form of theft. As much as we cherish bike racks, they will not always be there. Luckily, there are available options.
Trees, benches, and other items can serve as a rack when used correctly. Follow the steps above, and your bike will be secure.