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8 Tips about Bicycle Safety Locks

Learn about bike safety locks from Silk Road Cycles' Brendon Nicholas in this Howcast bicycle repair and maintenance video.


Okay. So now we're going to talk about locking up your bicycle in New York City. This is definitely one of the highest cities of theft, for bicycles especially, so you want to make sure that you secure your bike 'cause you don't wanna come out and have your wheels missing or your frame missing or your entire bike missing 'cause that is never fun.

So let's go through the different locks. So in New York City you want to make sure you're getting a lock that's usually around $60 or more and basically what that's gonna assure is that you have the proper security rating. So all the locks are made out of different materials. If you get a lock that's too cheap it's gonna be really easy to break. Here at the shop with the tools that we have some of these locks can break really, really easily, so you want to make sure that you get a lock that's $60 or more usually. So this is our most common lock. It's a U-lock which are very, very strong. It's not very big. The bigger that you go in locks the lower security rating they get 'cause it's easier to put like a crowbar in there or like a car jack, something like that and break them open. So let me demonstrate how that works real quick on this bicycle. Legally you're not supposed to be locking to signs or a street post and things like that, but a lot of the times you don't have any other option, so just make sure that the sign or post has something at the top of it so somebody can't lift your lock up and over and take it right off. Also never lock to scaffolding. Scaffolding can be undone.

Never lock to trees 'cause it hurts the trees and also the trees can be cut if they're small enough. So basically what you want to do is you go up to the rack and you take your cable, unwind the cable, and you're gonna put it through your front wheel and weave it through the hole here. And then you're gonna take your U-lock and you want to make sure that you're locking to the frame, or if you want to protect your back wheel a nice thing to do is to go inside this triangle, so you have a back triangle on your bicycle, and you can actually go through. Make sure you're attaching to the actual rack and go through and attach to the wheel. Attach to the actual rim and then put the cable on, make sure it's locked, give it a nice tug, make sure it's locked securely. Basically what that does is it locks your back wheel with the U-lock and your frame because even if you took the wheel off it can't get outside the frame just 'cause you're inside the triangle, so it's a nice way to lock it up. Or you can just, if you're going into a store really quickly, you can lock up just to the frame and hope that your wheel is still there when you come back. We recommend a lot of people get these pinhead locks. Basically what it is, is it replaces the quick release and uses a key mechanism to keep 'em safe.

That's a really nice thing because then you don't have to use this cable. You can just have the pinheads on. Make sure you keep the key with you in your repair kit and just lock the frame and basically your wheels and your frame will be locked, and make sure you have the seat chain and don't leave it out for very long. In New York City or most cities, you don't want to leave your bike out for more than an hour or two and you definitely don't want to leave it out overnight if you don't have to. What you want to do is you want to lock down anything that is easily taken off, so your wheels, your frame, and your seat post, and just don't leave it out for very long. That's how you lock your bicycle.

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