How to Lock a Bike Without a Rack Properly (2023 Guide)

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To lock your bike ​in the street, follow the easy steps below:

  1. ​always try to lock the frame (not just the wheel!).
  2. keep the lock as far from the ground as possible.
  3. make the lock as difficult to access as possible.

​If you own a bicycle like I do, you are probably accustomed to the pain of locking it outside, and sometimes too without a rack. As I have been an avid bicycle rider, I usually don’t face problems when locking it to a rack.

​Your presence here is hinting at the same problem, which is why we will cover How to Lock a Bike Without a Rack Properly. My solutions are easy-to-perform and do the work in one go.

​While we are aware of the rising theft incidents, there is nothing that can guarantee a 100% successful security. However, the different tricks are totally worth the time and hassle as they scare the thieves away, or else buys enough time for the people to notice that something is wrong.

Security by using a lock

​Invest in a U or D lock: first of all, you should have a good and sturdy lock which can be bought off from a local store. The lock is reliable and extremely convenient for it is easy-to-carry but does the job efficiently.

​Secure your frame with a lock: find a strong, immovable attachment that is firmly rooted to the ground such as a pole and take advantage of it. Secure the rear wheel of the bike by looping the U lock around its rim and then looping it around the frame, after which secure the lock around the tough object to firmly glue the bike to it. This technique is often called Sheldon method as Sheldon Brown invented it.

​Use a cable: buy a bicycle cable for it comes extremely handy in times of desperate need. Tie the cable around the front wheel and the frame to secure the bike. It is not best of the methods, but locks the bike and make it static, which can buy you enough time.

​Use dual-locks: loop around two different locks through the rear wheel and the frame and front wheel and the frame. It enhances the security and assures complete protection.

​Use a smaller U lock: the smaller the lock is, the harder it is to maneuver it and break it open by using a crowbar. Smaller locks tend to be stronger.

​Remove the front wheel: if you have time, remove the front wheel as many bikes boast quick-release wheels for the purpose. Pop off the wheel from its position and then tie it with the frame using a cable.

Buy a heavy chain: heavy chains are obviously heavyweight but are reliable enough to give them a try. Use two heavy chains around each wheel to maximize the security.

​Lock the saddle/accessories: many thieves might just be looking for a bicycle seat or wheels. So, don’t forget to tie down the accessories with a cable or a heavy chain. Tie around the cable through both the wheels and then loop through the saddle rails to secure it.

Security without a lock

​If you don’t have a lock at an instant and cannot turn back to get one. Feel free to try out these ideas and be confident that they are capable of their job.

​Take a wheel with you: if you are parking outside of your friend’s house, then take off the front wheel of the bike and simply take it inside with you. A thief cannot possibly carry the bike for longer without a wheel.

​Pull out the chain: before leaving the bike, pull off the chain from the rings and keep it with you or in the bracket shelf.

​Carry a helmet: firstly, always wear a helmet and secondly, you may use its straps for tying around the wheel with the frame tube. When a thief will move the bike, the strap may get tangled and secure the bike there as it is.

​Change the quick-release system: if you’re not ready for removing the wheels and tying them to the frame every time you park somewhere, then simply change the quick-release system and make your wheels permanently attached by using nut bolts or secure skewers.

Additional tips to secure your bike

​As the definitive solutions to locking your bike without a rack are already mentioned, there are some basic tips that make a huge difference in regards to the security. They may not seem important enough, but they do play their part really well.

​Planned parking: parking of the bike should always be per-planned and thought beforehand, especially if you’re lagging behind in the ‘lock’ department. If you’re at a cinema, park a block away because vehicles in front of the cinema are vulnerable as thieves know they have ample amount of time.

​Park in a crowded place: park your bike where people usually move on foot. This is crucial as then they pay attention to their surroundings and may prevent a potential theft from happening.

​Don’t take risks at home: when you return to your home, it is highly recommended to not take risks and simply get your bike inside. If you plan on parking it in the garage, invest in a good-quality ground anchor to chain the bike to. Otherwise, install a wheel hook on one of the walls and hang your bike vertically, which also saves up space and time.

​What bike locks to consider?

Truth to be told, there are multiple choices available as the market is growing. But we just can pick any product just because it’s nice looking or cheap. You can take a look at our varieties of guide we have been producing since one year through our own testing and research.

Folding Lock

Folding locks are not new in the town, however, they took sometime to become popular. They offer good level of security and sometimes affordable too. Read this in-depth review guide on folding lock for more information.

Chain Lock

Some people prefer chain lock over folding lock. while it’s not necessary to stick with only one type of lock, we can assure that there is not much difference you will see. Chain locks are made from a large number of steel links that are usually kept inside a cover to offer proper protection to both your lock. Read more about the best chain lock here.


I know it is hard to keep track of everything and secure your belonging but at the end, it is worth it. All the methods are worth trying to save the mishap because a bicycle is greater of a blessing than we consider it to be.

If there are no racks, then that is not a problem anymore. The above solutions are better at securing your bike without causing much hassle.

The mere one-time investment in a lock, chain, or cable can save your bike for good. So, give them a try and make your life easier.

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