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Lock your Bike

Biking through the UAC archWhere to Lock Your Bike

Your bike is only as secure as the thing you lock it to, so make sure you lock the frame of the bike to something immovable.

Always lock your bike to a solid object that it cannot be lifted over in a well-lit area with high foot traffic.

On campus, you must lock to a bike rack or risk getting your bike impounded. In the city, it is still best to use a bike rack.

What Lock to Use

Bike locks are a critical tool in a cyclist’s equipment. Locks can be as simple a padlock with a piece of chain or as complicated as a boutique engineering marvel made of exotic materials that costs a small fortune. There are trade-offs between security and price and weight. Generally, security is defined by the thickness of the shackle. Thicker is more secure, but thicker is heavier, and weight is the enemy of the cyclist. So what is the right choice for you?

U-Locks

U-Locks are difficult to cut with hand tools and are fairly reliable. They provide a good balance between cost, weight, and security.

Note: In the Bike Cave’s experience there is little security difference between U-Locks (of comparable thickness and material) based on price.

Chain Locks

The most secure locks are very thick purpose-built bike chains locks. These are usually the most expensive, but also the most secure. Unfortunately, they are very heavy and bulky, so they are best for stationary uses and in high crime locations.

Cable Locks

Cable locks are easy and quick to cut. Although they are often the cheapest they are are only sufficient for use in low-risk areas for very short lockups. They are a reasonable choice to use in combination with a U-lock to secure easily removed parts (e.g., seat).

How to Lock Your Bike

Always make sure to secure the frame of your bike to the bike rack.  Depending on your lock choice, you may be able to secure the frame and rear wheel or the frame and both wheels with a single lock.  If not, consider using a secondary lock.

Tips:

The less empty space inside of the u-lock or chain, the more difficult it is to break.

Try to position the lock off the ground with the keyhole facing down.

Keep your bike inside your house or apartment when possible.