Things to Consider when Choosing a Bike Lock

Every cyclist, regardless of where or when they ride, knows how important it is to protect his or her bike, and pay close attention to bike security. Whether you’re a daily commuter, a brief errand-runner, or a fitness conscious sport rider to your riding locale, choosing the right lock is absolutely imperative.

The Sport Rider and Quick Errand-Runner

Whether you’re an urban or rural rider, if you’re riding for exercise, you probably don’t encounter many times you need to stop and lock your bike. When you do, often it’s for a quick errand or to grab another bottle of water. If this sounds like you, you’re best option is a cable lock.
Cable Lock
Cable Lock
Cable locks are lightweight and easily transportable. They can coil around your bicycle or fit easily into a bag and they generally use an attached combination lock. Unfortunately, these locks are not so difficult to break with a bolt cutter or other tool, so they aren’t ideal for more than a short time, especially in high-risk areas. On the bright side, they’re normally the least expensive locks available and can be purchased at any sporting goods or bicycle store.

The Commuter

If you’re living in a city and ride a bike daily to work, you need the right lock to protect your bike all day long. Most bike locks are not entirely foolproof, but some provide more protection than others.
U Lock
U Lock
A U Lock can be an effective lock for a commuter if you choose the right one. Most importantly, it needs to fit snugly on your bike so that a thief cannot fit a crowbar or other tool in to break it open. While it is heavier than a cable lock, it is far more effective due to it’s ability to withstand abuse. It can be easily transported, although the rigid design makes it slightly less versatile than a cable lock. U Locks tend to vary in price, but getting one that is thick and strong should outweigh price considerations in high risk areas.
U Locks can also be supplemented with a cable lock to provide extra protection and loop the wheels into the lock. This added measure may deter a thief from choosing your bike, as picking or breaking multiple locks is time consuming.

The Everywhere Urban Rider

Chain Lock
Chain Lock
When the U Lock just won’t cut it and you’ve seen too many carefully protected bikes swiped from behind their owners’ backs, it might be time to consider a chain lock. These locks are nearly indestructible and while they add an extra five pounds to a biker’s load, if the bike will be left unattended in a high risk area, this is the right lock.
The lock works well with all types of locking locations, from a bike rack to a fence to a tree. It also allows the cyclist locking flexibility. Chains are covered with plastic or tubing to prevent scratches to the bike frame. Also, if the chain does not include a lock, take care to choose one that is as strong as the chain you choose, for the lock is often the weakest link.

The Nervous Cyclist

If you still remain nervous about leaving your bicycle unattended, or if your bike provides quick release features for your wheel and seat, you can consider skewers that are easily installed and act as a deterrent for thieves in a hurry. While the skewers are less strong than other locking mechanisms, they slow down the process and add an extra layer of protection.
Wheel and Seat Skewers
Wheel and Seat Skewers
When locking your bike always take care of the way you use your lock. While a strong lock is important, the locking style can be just as significant. Some cyclists choose a combination of locks or locks and skewers, while other cyclists rarely leave their bikes unattended.

Other Steps to Protect Your Bike

Bike Registration Tags
Bike Registration Tags
Always assess the potential for theft before locking your bike, choosing well-lit public areas with high traffic to further deter a thief. Never leave an unlocked bike unattended. You may choose to remove a wheel or the seat if you have a place to store them. You should also register your bicycle (which you can do for free) and receive tags to affix on your bike. Should your bike ever become lost or stolen and then found, it will be easily identifiable and synced up to your contact info on your account page.

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