Your bike is worth the world to you, so you need to take precautions to make sure it isn’t a target for thieves. 529 Garage, a project designed to track bicycle theft, found that over 2 million bikes are stolen in North America each year. You certainly don’t want to take the chance that your bike could be next. No one wants to go through the hassle of replacing a bike, filing a police report, and going without their bike.
If you’re looking for the best way to secure your bike, the answer is a U-Lock. U-Locks are built for strength, and their design makes picking them much more difficult than other lock styles. Here’s the best way to lock your bike with a U-Lock to ensure maximum protection and let you breathe easy, knowing your bike is secure.
Lock Your Bike to Something Solid, Somewhere Safe
Your U-Lock is a powerful theft deterrent, but if a thief can simply cut the object you’ve locked your bike to, you’ll still lose your bike. Modern bike racks are generally solid and built thick enough to make bike thieves think twice. Always examine the bike rack to make sure it hasn’t been cut or tampered with previously, as this is another trick thieves will rely on for a quick steal.
If there isn’t a bike rack nearby, look for a solid object over six feet tall, with some thickness to it. Avoid street signs with bolts at the bottom. Finally, if you’re locking your bike to something on private property, be considerate of others and ensure your bike isn’t blocking the path of travel.
A well-lit area where others are is always preferable to a dark, private area. If a thief wants to steal your bike, they will have more difficulty doing so in a place with many people looking on. Don’t let the “crowd” make you drop your guard though, you need to make sure you’ve solidly locked your bike every time.
Make Sure You Lock Both the Frame and Rear Wheel
Simple economics: Your frame is the most expensive part of your bike to replace, so ensuring it is locked down is your priority. By that same logic, your rear wheel will be more costly to replace than the front wheel, so kill two birds with one stone and lock both the frame and rear wheel with your U-Lock.
Try to place the lock as low down as you can, and in a position that would make it difficult for a thief to attempt to break your lock. Always check to ensure the lock has been sealed before heading off on your errand.
Consider a Second U-Lock
Once the frame and rear wheel are safe, the next point of concern is your front wheel. While the front wheel is less expensive to replace, it’s still worth something to thieves, and should be protected. Many riders simply buy a second U-Lock and use it to secure the front wheel to the frame. If your U-Locks are long enough, you can hook one of them through the other to provide an additional layer of security.
A second U-Lock will also come in handy if you find yourself with no good options for locking your bike within reach of a single U-Lock. In this case, you can lock one U-Lock to the other and the second to your frame and rear wheel. Having a second U-Lock gives you more options for optimal security for your bike.
Taking precautions with your bike is not only smart, but it will save you the time and money a bike replacement would cost. In most cases, the thief is likely not targeting your bike specifically but is searching for bikes that are easy to steal. Make your bike a poor target for a bike thief by going through the steps listed above when locking up your bike.
Remember that bike thieves work very quickly, and lock your bike securely every time you leave it unattended, even if your errand will only take minutes. As the old saying goes “An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure”. By following our recommendations for the best way to lock a bike with a U-Lock, you will ensure your bike will be waiting for you when you return.