If you weren’t aware, COVID has inspired a huge surge in all outdoor recreation, including cycling. State Bicycle Co. has many models SOLD OUT before shipments arrive. This has also caused a shortage of used bikes – which makes disposing of stolen bikes easier than ever. A bike listed for sale on Craigslist may be sold in a few hours, often before the owner discovers it missing.
First, invest in a decent bike lock. Sorry, the visual deterrent of a Dollar Store lock isn’t going to slow down a thief. Every hardware store sells bolt cutters that slice through standard padlocks like butter! SBC stocks some of the best rated locks. Many quality locks include a theft protection policy (see the individual lock registration process.)
A cable lock might work for a 5-minute coffee stop, but if you’re locking up overnight or for a long period of time, you’re going to want to get a U-Lock or something stronger.
Cheap locks INVITE thieves!
Second, learn to use the bike lock correctly. EVERY part of your bike needs to be locked. If it can’t be locked, remove it. The MAIN thing to remember is to lock both wheels AND the frame of your bike. DON’T get lazy and lock just one wheel – the rest of the bike will be gone when you get back. The chart below shows the right and wrong ways to use your locks. And yes, this includes those stops along the way that should only take a “minute”.
If you have quick release wheels, consider detaching the front wheel and taking it with you. You may need a heavy-duty lock AND a cable to reach everything. The same goes for quick release seat post clamps – take your expensive saddle and seat post with you!
It should also be obvious that you need to lock your bike to something VERY secure. Have you ever seen a cable lock looped over a parking meter or street sign? NEVER just lock two bikes together and hope they will be there when you return. Likewise, don’t lock your bike to a movable sandwich board sign or even a small tree. A thief will steal your bike just to humiliate you.
Finding a secure bike rack may be a challenge in some neighborhoods. That is your responsibility. Look not only for a place to lock your bike, but also for a well-lit area, preferably with plenty of friendly pedestrian and vehicle traffic. With a little extra time, a thief can remove bolted on wheels, saddles, even handlebars – NOTHING is safe! If your workplace doesn’t have a secure bike rack, ask the management to install one. In the meantime, ask for permission to bring your bike into your workspace or a designated area – and then lock it there!