Wednesday, 7 November 2012

Keeping your bike secure in town

Bicycles are expensive and desirable items that get stolen all the time. It's coming up to Christmas so it's even more of a good idea to learn how to lock your bike securely. You don't want to come back from Christmas shopping to find your pride and joy is now some thief's pride and joy/quick buck.

First off, you need a good quality D-lock, the smaller the better. The smaller it is, the harder it is to prise the lock apart. This is because it is harder to get a crowbar or car jack into the open space in the lock, especially when the secure bike rack and frame of the bike is also in there.

A secondary lock is probably also needed to secure the front wheel and/or saddle if it's easily removable. A lighter duty cable lock is all I use, and is admittedly the weakest link. The way I see it is that it's cheaper to replace a front wheel or saddle than it is the whole bike.

Let's see how to secure the bike with a D-lock

D-lock securing rear wheel and frame
As you can see above, the D-lock leaves no room in it to be forced open. The U-section of the lock goes around the bike rack, in the rear triangle of the frame and over the rear wheel. Nothing can be removed here without cutting the wheel, frame or bike rack. The lock I use is shown in the link below. It's a great lock, not too big or heavy and the cable is really heavy duty. I only use the cable on weekend rides where I need to lock 2 or 3 bikes up. The smaller cable fits in my back pack easier.

Now let's look at the front of the bike

Securing the front wheel and saddle
I've used my cable lock by passing it through the front wheel, around the bike rack and through the rails on my saddle. This isn't fool-proof, as the saddle could be unbolted from the rails and the seat post and saddle would be freed. I should have wrapped the cable twice around the bike rack to make it harder for potential thieves to gain any purchase on prising it open. Unlike the D-lock however, a cable lock is prone to bolt-cutter attacks.

The whole picture

A fully secured bike
When the bike is secured as above, you can go about town safer in the knowledge you've probably prevented your bike from being stolen. But remember! If a thief is determined, he'll have the right tools, so nothing is 100% safe from being stolen. Park in a busy and well lit area of town and try not to be too long if you are parked in a less than desirable part of town. Always remember to remove any lights and pumps too.

One last thing...

Below you will find a map of secure bike racks I have used in Bishop Auckland and Spennymoor. I'll be adding to this map in future so keep it handy. If you would like to add any bike parking, get in touch or leave a comment below. Also, any tips you may have for securing your bike leave below in the comments section too.

Thanks for reading and here's to stopping bike thieves!

View Secure Bike Parking in a larger map

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