How to lock your bike (properly!)

Hopefully you’ve already read about how to choose the best bike lock. And you’ve got a good idea what level of security you need, the type of lock that’s right for you and the differences between the major brands.

But it’s not just about the lock!…

Lots of locks
OK, but they’ve forgotten to lock the frame to the rack!

You also need to know how to secure your bike properly. Because whichever lock you choose, if you don’t use it properly, your bike will be stolen.

So in this guide I’ll show you several ways you can lock your bike. (And several ways you should never lock your bike!)

Why several different ways? Because locking your bike isn’t just about security, it’s got to be convenient as well. And by the end of the article you’ll be able to make an educated choice on which one provides the best balance of security and convenience for your circumstances.

If you’ve already got a lock I’ll show you how to get the best out of it. If you haven’t got a bike lock yet, even better. Because thinking about how you’ll secure your bike can help you choose the right lock.

Different techniques favor different locks. So make sure you’re familiar with the options below and try to think which one will be best for you at home and in your neighborhood before you buy a lock.

The guide is divided into three parts based on the three places where you’ll likely be locking your bike: in the street, at home and at work or college.

Part 1. Locking your bike in the street

A bike locked badly in the street will disappear very quickly. Luckily, thinking carefully about where and how you lock your bike in the street can go a long way to prevent this happening…

Where should I lock my bike in the street?

Although the type of neighborhood you live in will effect this, there are some general tips which you should always try to follow…

Tip 1: Choose a busy place

Try to choose a busy location with lots of people walking past. If it’s an area well covered by CCTV, even better. Other people and CCTV make thieves nervous. They’d much prefer to be hidden away while they “work”.

Busy street
Busy places are good!

Choose an place where lots of other bikes are already locked up. Ideally in the middle of a group of bikes rather than on the end. This serves three purposes:

Firstly, there’s bound to be badly locked bikes more tempting to a thief than your well-locked bike. Secondly, lots of bikes crammed together give a thief less room to maneuver and use their tools effectively.

And thirdly, the comings and goings of other cyclists may disturb them and if anyone is going to challenge a bike thief, (and lets face it most people just walk on by), its going to be other cyclists.

Busy bike rack
The middle of a busy bike rack is the place to be!

Tip 2: Choose an immovable object

A bike is only as secure as the object it is locked to. So make sure you always choose a fixed, immovable object that’s not easily broken.

Sheffield stands
These “Sheffield” stands are cemented into the ground and super secure!

Check the bike can’t be lifted over the top of whatever you’ve attached it to. Or that the object can’t be easily unscrewed or dismantled. Avoid trees, aluminium or wooden posts, sign posts, scaffolding and chain link fences.

If you choose metal railings, try to get the lock around as many railings as possible. But ideally the immovable object would be a specially designed bike rack that’s cemented into the ground.

Tip 3: Don’t give thieves clues

If you’re going to the cinema, the leisure center or anywhere else where you might be away from your bike for a significant time, consider locking your bike a couple of streets away.

Why? If a thief sees you locking your bike and then going in to any of these places they’ll know they’ve got a fair bit of time to work on your bike.

Tip 4: Take extra precautions

If you know an area is dangerous, avoid it. Or if you can’t avoid it, take an extra lock. And don’t leave your bike for too long!

 A summary of where to lock your bike in the street:

  • choose a busy area with CCTV
  • lock your bike in the middle of lots of other bikes
  • always secure your bike to a fixed, immovable object, ideally a bike rack
  • don’t lock your bike outside places you’ll clearly be for a long time
  • if you know it’s a high theft area, take an extra lock

How should I lock my bike in the street?

Although a lot will depend on what sort of bike you’ve got, which lock you use and where you secure it, there are certain tips you should always follow…

Tip 1: Lock your frame

Always lock your frame to the immovable object. If you only secure your bike through the wheel, a thief will simply remove your wheel and walk off with the rest of the bike. This may sound obvious but it happens all the time…

Badly locked bike!

Tip 2: Keep your lock off the ground

Try to keep the lock away from the ground. If it’s on the ground, a thief can use a hammer to smash the lock against the hard floor and this will break cheaper models. Also, the closer it is to the ground, the easier it is to use the floor for added leverage in a bolt cutter attack like this.

U-lock away from the ground
Keep your lock away from the ground. But off the top tube.

However, also avoid the top tube. If the lock is around the top tube of the bike, a thief can use the frame itself to try to break the lock by lifting and twisting the whole bike. So, ideally the lock should go high up around the down tube or the seat tube.

Tip 3: Make the lock difficult to access

Try to make the lock as difficult to access as possible. If you can position it so the key hole is facing downwards even better. This will make it more difficult for a thief to attack the lock or tamper with the locking mechanism.

Tip 4: Fill the inside of a U-lock

If you’re using a U-lock, try to fill as much of the space within the U with the bike and the thing it’s attached to.

Filled U-lock
No room inside this U-lock for a bottle jack

The most common way that the better U-locks are broken is with a bottle jack which is inserted into the space within the U. If there’s no spare room inside the U, a thief can’t use this method.

A summary of how to lock your bike in the street:

  • always lock the frame (not just the wheel!) to the secure object
  • keep the lock as far from the ground as possible
  • but avoid locking around the top tube
  • make the lock as difficult to access as possible
  • if you use a U-lock. to fill as much of the U as possible

Four ways to lock your bike in the street

Making use of those general tips, here are four popular ways to lock your bike on the street. Which one suits you best will depend on how expensive your bike is and which locks you have.

1. Locking your bike with two locks

A bike locked with two U-locks
Using two U-locks

The most secure way to lock your bike is with two locks. And ideally to a bike rack that’s cemented into the ground. The first lock should go around the back wheel, the frame and the bike rack. The second should go around the front wheel, the frame and preferably the bike rack as well.

This means the frame is secured in two places and both wheels are secured to the frame and the bike rack. Some people suggest that you should use two different types of lock because this requires a thief to carry two different types of lock breaking tools…

A bike locked with a chain and a U-lock
Using a chain and a U-lock

I like to combine a chain lock with a U-lock. I leave my bike out in the street all night. And as I secure it in the same place every night, I leave a heavy chain lock permanently attached to the bike rack so I don’t have to carry it around.

I depend solely on the U-lock in the day. But if I know I’m going somewhere risky or a place where it might be left over night, I can always take the chain lock with me.

However, it’s worth mentioning that if you choose to leave a heavy lock in a public place, you run the risk of an aspiring thief using it to practice his art.

Or even worse, if a thief’s clocked your bike, he might sabotage the big lock while you’re away, forcing you to use only the other, smaller lock when you return. Whereupon he will pounce on your compromised security. So be careful!

I should also add that in the photo above, the chain is actually far too loose and could be maneuvered close to the ground where it would be vulnerable to bolt cutters.

2. Locking your bike with one lock and a cable

A bike locked with a cable and a U-lock
Using a cable and a U-lock

Another very popular technique is to use one decent lock and a cable. Attach the U-lock or chain around the rear wheel, the frame and the bike rack as above. Then push one end of the cable through the front wheel, pass one loop through the other loop and secure the first loop to the main lock.

The advantage of this method is that the cable is very light. So you’re saving a huge amount of weight over using two proper locks.

Of course, the problem with this method is that the cable is the only thing securing the front wheel. And as I’ve mentioned before, since all cables can be snipped through in next to no time, they offer zero practical security.

You might as well tie it up with string! On top of that, threading the cable through the bike in a tight, busy spot can be a right hassle. And although they’re light, they’re quite bulky and not so easy to carry around.

However, many people think the visual, psychological deterrent of the cable is enough. And if your bike has cheap wheels that don’t use quick release skewers, then this might be the case. I don’t like this method though and I definitely don’t recommend it for quick release wheels.

3. Locking your bike with one lock and a removed front wheel

A bike locked with a U-lock round both wheels
Removing a wheel to use one U-lock

Attach the U or chain lock around the rear wheel, the frame and the bike rack as above. But also around the front wheel which you’ve removed from the front forks.

This certainly ensures that both wheels and the frame are secured with one good lock. And if you’re using a U-lock it’s going to be full of more stuff and therefore less susceptible to a leverage or bottle jack attack.

However, bear in mind that this method requires a standard or larger sized U-lock. And using a chain instead would be very fiddly. To use this method you’ll also need quick release wheels, which means you’ll have to do it everywhere you go to prevent the wheel being stolen.


Both of the last two techniques attempt to resolve the problem of how to secure the front wheel when you only have one lock. This is especially important if you have quick release wheels which allow you (and anyone who wants to steal them!) to remove your wheels very quickly without the use of tools.

For me, quick release wheels (and saddles) are more trouble than they’re worth. How often do you need to remove your wheels? Better to replace the quick release mechanism with normal nuts or secure skewers. This makes your wheels much harder to steal and in some cases negates the need for a second lock.


4. Locking your bike with the “Sheldon” method

A bike locked using the "Sheldon" method
Using the “Sheldon” method

Sheldon Brown, the renowned bicycle expert, advocated securing just the rear wheel to the bike rack, using a U-lock somewhere within the rear triangle of the frame.

He maintained that by using this method, you don’t need to secure the frame to the bike rack as well because the wheel cannot be pulled through the rear triangle. One of the advantages of this method is that because you’re only securing the wheel, you can usually get away with a smaller, lighter u-lock.

However, I’m not sure about this technique, especially for more expensive bikes. Apart from the fact that with some effort, a dedicated thief could saw through the rear wheel to remove the lock, I can also imagine an opportunist thief not realising the bike was properly secured and causing significant damage to your bike while they tried to remove it.

However, if for whatever reason you can’t maneuver your bike into a position where you can lock the frame as well, I think this technique is OK for short periods.

Part 2. Locking your bike at home

It’s worth remembering that while street theft gets all the attention, over 50% of stolen bikes are taken from the owner’s home. That means from the front or back garden, from a shed or garage on the property, or from inside the house or flat itself.

What can you do to prevent this? Well, although bike security at home is often more challenging than bike security in the street, there’s still plenty you can do to protect your ride.

Let’s look at each of these areas of the home in more detail…

Keeping your bike inside your house/flat

Inside your house or flat is undoubtedly the safest place to keep your bike. However many people are either unable or unwilling to share their living space with bicycles.

Maybe they (or more often other family members!) don’t like the idea of big, wet, dirty machines cluttering up their home. Maybe they don’t like the hassle of dragging a bike into the building. Or maybe there just isn’t enough space.

If space is the issue, there are plenty of companies now offering storage solutions for bikes inside the home. Such contraptions vary hugely in design and price. But at the end of the day they all amount to something you attach to the wall or ceiling to hang your bike from.

A clean bike in a clean house
The fantasy

They look great in the adverts but the stylish bikes in the adverts are never covered in 3 months of London street grime.

A muddy bike in a house
The reality

However, if you can fit your bike in your house and there are no problems with it being there, this is definitely the safest place to keep it.

Keeping your bike in communal spaces

If you live in a flat with shared communal space inside the building, it can be tempting to leave your bike there (often in the hallway, just inside the front door). But in reality, this is a very unsafe place to store anything.

Bikes in a communal hallway
Bikes in a communal hallway

Usually there’s nothing to secure your bike to and because it’s not your space, little opportunity to install something. So in the end, your unprotected bike sits in the hallway waiting for someone to forget to close or lock the door and someone else to stroll off with it. Because one things for sure: no one else in the building is thinking about keeping your bike safe.

One DIY solution is to fill a large bucket with cement and stick a ground anchor or an old u-lock in the wet cement to set. Voila, you have a pretty heavy anchor you can leave in the hallway to secure your bike to.

I have a friend who added some plastic flowers to the top of the bucket to make it look less intrusive to the other residents of the building! Now admittedly this will only slow down, rather than stop a committed thief. But it will foil many opportunists.

Keeping your bike in a shed or garage

If you’re lucky, maybe you have a garage or a shed at home. And if you can’t keep your bike inside your house, then this is the next best alternative.

Usually, garages are more secure than sheds. However, you should never, ever leave your bike unlocked in either one. Remember, over 50% of stolen bikes are taken from the owners home, so no matter how safe it feels, this is where you bike is most at risk.

Finding something suitable you can lock your bike to in a garage or shed can be a challenge though…

Bikes in garages

Garages have the advantage of concrete floors and brick walls. This makes it relatively easy to install a ground anchor which you can use with a heavy chain to secure your bike.

A garage!
Garages are not as secure as they look!

Just like locks, anchors vary widely in levels of security and price. Luckily they’re also rated by Sold Secure and ART, so it’s easy to find a good one.

The Best Bike Ground Anchors

Ground AnchorModelSold Secure scoreArt scoreCheck Price
Kryptonite Stronghold Ground AnchorKryptonite
Stronghold
Bicycle Gold
Motorcycle Gold
Ground Anchors Gold
4Check price
Abus WBA 100 Ground AnchorAbus
WBA 100
Bicycle Gold
Motorcycle Gold
4Check price
Oxford Anchor Force Ground AnchorOxford
Anchor Force
OF440
Ground Anchors GoldCheck price
Oxford Brute Force Ground AnchorOxford
Brute Force
OF439
Bicycle SIlverCheck price
Oxford Terra Force Ground AnchorOxford
Terra Force
Bicycle Gold
Motorcycle Gold
Ground Anchors Gold
Check price
Pragmasis Torc Series II Ground AnchorPragmasis
Torc Series II
Bicycle Gold
Motorcycle Gold
Check Pragmasis
Pragmasis Double Doofer Ground AnchorPragmasis
Double Doofer
Ground Anchors GoldCheck Pragmasis

Ground anchors can usually be attached to the floor of a garage and are best used with chain locks. Since you don’t need to worry about carrying these chains around, get the thickest chain you can afford. But make sure the chain is not so thick it won’t fit through the shackle of whichever anchor you choose.

Bikes in sheds

Wooden sheds don’t usually have concrete floors which makes installing a normal ground anchor difficult.

A shed!
Wooden sheds are easily broached (Superior shed by Crane Garden Buildings)

You could rip up a section of the floor, dig a hole into the earth below, fill it with concrete and add a anchor such as the Oxford Terra Force to set in the wet concrete. However, this is a lot of work and may be completely unpractical.

Luckily, Pragmasis now offer a “shed shackle” specifically designed to give you something secure to lock your bike to in a wooden or metal shed or bike store. I think these are great.

They’re relatively cheap, practical and easy to install. Whats more, if you couple one with a good chain, a thief would have to virtually demolish your shed to steal your bike.

Keeping your bike in the garden or yard

If you don’t have a garage or a shed but do have space in your garden or yard, consider buying a specially designed bike storage unit. The best (and most expensive) are made by Asgard.

Asgard bike storage
Asgard bike storage. Very secure. Very expensive.

If there’s no space for a storage unit, then you’ll have to keep your bike in the open air. In this case, if you’re able to install a ground anchor somewhere in your garden, then do it.

Maybe there’s a patch of concrete to attach an anchor to. Or you could dig a hole in the earth, fill it with wet concrete and add a Oxford Terra Force to set firm. Or you could use the bucket trick I suggest for communal spaces.

Whatever you do, don’t leave your bike unsecured in your garden no matter how private or out of the way it might seem.

Part 3. Locking your bike at work

Many workplaces now offer private spaces where you can leave your bike if you’re commuting. This is great news!

Obviously the security levels in these places will vary. But the most important thing to remember is that if anyone other than you has access to the space, you should lock your bike as if you were locking it on the street.

Work bike storage
You still need to lock your bike in here!

It doesn’t matter how small your office is or how secure the space seems. If other people have access to it, there’s a very real chance of it being compromised at some point.

While I was living in London I lost count of how many times bikes were stolen from office lock ups than seemed impregnable.

Wrapping up

Buying the best bike lock is only the first step. You need to know how to lock your bike properly too. And you need to lock your bike properly everywhere: in the street, at home and at work or college.

In the street, locking your bike to a strong, immovable object in a busy area with lots of other bikes and CCTV cameras is a great start. But make sure you lock it in the right way too: locking the frame and the wheels, keeping the lock off the ground, and making sure you fill as much of the space inside a U-lock as you can.

If possible, use the same techniques you use in the street to lock your bike at home or at work. It doesn’t matter how secure your home or work environments seem, never leave your bike unlocked. At home, often there is nothing really secure to lock your bike to. If this is the case, it is certainly worth investing in ground or a shed anchor.

Of course none of these precautions will protect your bike if you use them with poor quality locks. In the street you’ll need a good U-lock or a portable chain lock. At home you should use the thickest, strongest chain you can afford. If you’re not sure which is best for you, check out my simple guide to choosing the right bike lock.

 

71 thoughts on “How to lock your bike (properly!)

  • August 5, 2015 at 10:05 pm
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    I can also imagine an opportunist thief not realising that bike was properly secured and causing significant damage to your bike while they tried to remove it.

    Exactly what I thought when I first read about that method.

    Reply
    • August 12, 2015 at 11:20 am
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      Yes, I do think that if someone other than Sheldon had suggested this method it would be criticized much more.

      Reply
  • February 7, 2016 at 12:01 am
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    Just wanted to say thanks for the most informative, common sense bike security website I have ever come across! Brilliantly done; hats off to you sir, I will recommend this site to everyone I know who has an interest in bike security. Thanks again for all your hard work!

    Reply
    • February 7, 2016 at 12:10 am
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      Thanks Chris! I’m really glad you’ve found it useful.

      Reply
  • March 23, 2016 at 7:46 pm
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    Almost 43 and bought the first bike I intend to ride a lot. I say first bike, because I have an old Bianchi Mountain bike in the garage with enough dust to choke a herd of cats…ah well, best laid plans from 20 years ago. Your site has been a godsend. I intend to use your advice for purchasing a lock and for the method by which I lock my bike. Keep the articles coming!

    Reply
    • March 23, 2016 at 8:15 pm
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      That’s really great to hear Sway. Positive comments like this will keep me writing!

      Reply
    • May 14, 2016 at 11:33 am
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      Sway, your comment “…enough dust to choke a herd of cats…” was hilarious! LOL!

      Reply
  • April 8, 2016 at 9:27 am
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    Thank you really much! I had my bike stolen about 3 months ago, and now I finally got a new one recently. After realizing the mistakes I’ve made back then, and reading your articles one more time, I feel much better prepared and protected than before. Thanks!

    Reply
  • April 11, 2016 at 3:03 am
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    sadly, i’ve seen so many new and nice bikes locked using #3 where the front wheel was removed and U-locked by a few spokes. good intention but not done right. I also don’t like using #4 because i think there’s a good chance of getting the back rim trashed by someone trying to remove the bike or even accidentally falling/leaning against it.

    Reply
  • May 16, 2016 at 8:16 am
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    I have a question regarding the best way to secure my bikes. I have two bikes that I secure to a wall using an OnGuard 8019 Chain (as recommended by your good self). I’m able to pass the chain through the wall mount and through both frames and rather than have the shackle hang loose at the front, I attach it to either the top tube or seat tube of the rearmost bike. I think this keeps the shackle in an awkward position (behind one bike) and fills it too – is this a good way of securing both bikes?

    Cracking site, keep up the good work.

    Reply
    • May 16, 2016 at 9:36 am
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      Hi Wayneski

      Yes I think that’s a great tactic! Anything to keep it inaccessible and as far from the floor as possible is good. And as you say, filling the shackle is a great extra precaution.

      Cheers!

      Reply
  • May 19, 2016 at 2:54 pm
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    Great post bud, I’m about to get a bike and I’m probably going to get the kryptonite forgetaboutit lock for peace of mind. I’m also thinking of either spray painting the entire bike black (its a specialized) or using electric tape to cover the brand

    Reply
  • June 27, 2016 at 8:23 am
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    Hi, I have a question regarding securing a Fully MTB.

    The bike racks at work here are very low (like this one: https://media.ziegler-metall.de/images_sh/620×465.png/.img/KAT0/026/390/originalf.png), so I use to park my bike with the rear wheel parallel to the bike rack, then I use an U-lock to secure the tail and the rear wheel to the bike rack, additionally I use a Onguard cable to secure the front wheel and the saddle.

    So far, so good, but at is a Fully MTB, the tail of the bike is screwed to the frame, and given enough time, a thief could remove the tail and steal just the front of the bike (which would be a good bargain for him because it is a Pedelec).

    What do you think, is this a realistic scenario? The place is only accessible by workmates and is CCTVed (but no recording, only real-time-monitoring).

    Reply
    • June 27, 2016 at 9:44 pm
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      Yeah those bike racks are rubbish!

      To be honest, I would recommend 2 locks. Is there a way to secure the tail to the front with a mini u-lock?

      I’ve seen loads of bikes stolen from places that are “only accessible to workmates”. If a thief wants to get in they will. And they know that bikes locked in these places are likely to be locked less carefully (if at all).

      Reply
      • June 28, 2016 at 9:51 am
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        I will check this out, maybe a good idea. At the moment I simply use an additional chain lock (Abus level 8) that came with the bike to secure the frame to the bike rack, but of course I would feel better if I could properly secure the frame with the more robust U-lock.

        Reply
  • June 28, 2016 at 4:21 pm
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    I just bought my boys new bikes and got Kryptonite series 2 mini-7 with 4′ Flex Cable. We live in the suburbs and they will have to get creative at times with where to lock their bikes when going to the stores, etc. Do you have any experience with the mini’s vs. a standard sized u-lock and how difficult it is to lock up your bike? Just wondering if the mini will be big enough to fit around stuff. Thanks.

    Reply
    • June 28, 2016 at 8:05 pm
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      Hi Stacey,

      It really depends on what sort of street furniture you have in your area. Mini u-locks work best in places where there’s plenty of bike stands like these.

      They’ll also work well with thinner street signs and possibly street railings and some trash bin legs. But obviously they are much smaller and your boys options will be more limited with mini u-locks. Street lamps for example are a no-no.

      The Kryptonite Series 2 Mini-7 is a good lock for low risk areas. So you’ll probably be OK if the bikes aren’t too fancy. I would recommend giving them ago and then if your boys struggle to find places to lock their bikes, sell them and get the bigger Kryptonite Kryptolok Series 2 Standard.

      What they definitely should not do is be tempted to pass the cable around the bike and an immovable object with the mini u-lock merely holding the two ends of the cable together. I’ve seen people doing this before and it’s a sure fire way to get your bike stolen.

      I would also recommend replacing any quick release skewers on the wheels and seats with skewers that have hex nuts. I talk about this more here. It’s just an easy thing you can do to discourage casual theft.

      I hope that’s helpful!

      Carl

      Reply
  • July 5, 2016 at 3:50 pm
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    Wow and thanks. Very thorough analysis and rich in detail. I wondered why I had read prior about not locking by the top tube and have now learned why from your article. Much learned here and enjoyed reading it. Cool.

    Reply
  • July 7, 2016 at 6:04 pm
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    hmmmm…just noticed that wheel locked in the photo is still worth stealing. that’s probably a $200+ deal there — a radially spoked wheel and what looks like a kevlar armadillo tire. And it’s all locked with a fairly cheap, single side locking kryptonite lock.

    I made a trip to Toronto not long ago to visit someone. When i first got there, i was on my way down a major street with 50 yards of sidewalk bike racks where a fairly well built/pricey single speed bike caught my eye. On my way home, just hours later, I saw a front wheel where that bike had been locked. what a shame. Well, it obviously caught the interest of a thief the same way it caught my eye.

    Reply
  • July 11, 2016 at 11:13 am
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    After reading through this great site, I pay a lot more attention about locking my own bike, but also about other bikes. And it is shocking to see how many people do not pay attention how to properly lock their bike.

    First of all, the majority still uses cable locks. Second, they do not secure their frame, but only one wheel (preferably the front wheel which is so easy to remove) to a fixed object. And third, even those guys who got themselves a good lock just put it around the front wheel and their own frame so you can just carry it away.

    The funniest thing I saw lately was a $2000 Scott MTB “locked” with a Abus GRANIT X Plus 540 to a pole which was only 3 ft high. So bike thiefs are still happy around here…

    Reply
    • July 11, 2016 at 8:04 pm
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      Haha yes it’s shocking how some people lock their bikes. I saw a nice single speed bike this weekend locked to a thin tree with a u-lock and cable combination.

      Locking it to a tree was a bit dubious in the first place. But even more so was using the u-lock to lock the front wheel to the frame while the cable locked the bike to the tree. Those cables can be snipped in a second and while the bike couldn’t be riden away, it could easily be carried off.

      I got a photo. I’m thinking of starting a rogues gallery of badly locked bikes on the site!

      Reply
    • July 14, 2016 at 6:01 pm
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      Yeah, i’ve seen bikes “locked” over short posts too. I saw a bike downtown a few weeks ago locked around the seat post…and a QR seat clamp. LOL. and last weekend I watched a girl unlocking her bike which was secured by the threadless stem only so you could slide off the stem with a 4/5mm in 5 seconds and ride away with the whole bike.

      Reply
    • February 26, 2017 at 8:59 am
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      You sort of confirm what I’ve been thinking: My bike needn’d be locked perfectly – just better than equally desirable bikes around it.

      Reply
      • May 13, 2017 at 5:51 am
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        Brings to mind, when your in the Jungle with a friend and you see an approaching hungry lion you do not have to do not have to try out run the lion. Yet be dam’d your you can out run for frien. (Ok, may be previous friend).

        Reply
  • July 12, 2016 at 10:04 am
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    I really would love such a gallery, and I think I could get enough contributions 😉

    Reply
  • July 14, 2016 at 5:53 pm
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    A gallery would be good. It would be so easy to find a bike that’s barely locked. It’s one thing to see a bike with a crappy lock, but it’s really bad when you see a bike with a good/expensive lock that’s not used right. One thing i see all the time is a big Ulock+cable combo where the U lock is functionally nothing more than a padlock on the cable.

    Reply
  • August 10, 2016 at 12:59 pm
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    > Remember, over 50% of stolen bikes are taken from the owners home, so no matter how safe it feels, this is where you bike is most at risk.

    I suppose that this number is always going to be very high because:

    a) many bikes stay in the owner’s home for very long periods of time, for instance during the winter months or simply because the owner bought it and then proceeded to not use it very much.

    b) most bikes stay in the owner’s home during high-risk periods, such as during the night.

    So though I think your statement is technically correct, I think the risk is not necessarily related to the owner’s home being an inherently more risky place to put your bike. It’s just that most bikes spend most time there.

    Other than that, I have read most of your articles over the last few days as I am buying the nicest and most expensive bike I’ve ever owned and would like to keep it for as long as possible. Thanks to your fantastic site, I’ve made my choice in locks and feel confident it’s a good choice. Thank you so much!

    Reply
    • August 10, 2016 at 6:42 pm
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      Yep I think you’re right Kjetil. But don’t forget “home” also includes the garden and the shed/garage where people are often a little less careful than they are in the street.

      Reply
  • August 11, 2016 at 2:43 am
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    Hi there, I have been reading and reading and reading on your website and have to say a huge THANK YOU for compiling all of this information. I had my bike stolen a few weeks ago from the front railing of my house, with a Kryptonite Evolution 9 lock, and the light was on too! So, in my search for answers, I was so grateful to come across your page. I know what I should have done differently now, but am thinking about the future. To keep my new bike out of site I am planning on leaving it in the garage, but can’t decide what kind of system to lock it to. You recommended a number of floor-mounted options, which use a chain to secure the bike. I would be happy to get a heavy-duty chain to do the job, but you also recommended not having the chain too close to the ground…so what’s a guy to do? I am also considering getting a full-on bike rack like those on the streets, and mounting it to the concrete floor, so that I could use 2 different U-locks to secure it, but it’s a pricey option. What are your thoughts? Any advice would be appreciated!

    Reply
    • August 11, 2016 at 8:04 pm
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      Sorry to hear about your bike Paul. Any idea how they defeated the Evolution? It’s a really good lock. Was it left overnight?

      Regarding the floor-mounted options, you make a good point. It’s impossible to keep the chain away from the floor if your attaching it to a floor mounted ground anchor!

      However, in case you were thinking about attaching something to the wall instead: generally I still think it’s better to use the ground as it’s likely to be more solid and will therefore hold the anchor more securely.

      There’s a big difference between a chain that’s secured with loads of slack trailing all over the floor and a tightly secured chain where only the links that connect with the anchor are close to the floor.

      If you keep the chain nice and tight through the anchor and round the bike, it will still be very difficult for a thief to get it in a favorable position for bolt cropping. And impossible for them to attack it with a hammer.

      If you’re really worried about bolt croppers, go for a 16 mm chain like those from Pragmasis and Almax. If these are unavailable then the Kryptonite New York Legend is another great chain. It’s not guaranteed to be bolt cropper proof but I’ve never heard of it being cropped.

      If you can afford and can be bothered to get a full on bike rack, then that would work well. But I’d be more inclined to spend the money on a really good ground anchor and chain. You could always add an alarmed disk lock too.

      Hope that helps!

      Carl

      Reply
    • November 30, 2016 at 8:46 pm
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      Paul, if you are going to keep in a locked garage bolted to the floor you might as well get a chepo night vision cctv pointing at it – door. Should anyone break in, they should be greeted by a sign – Gotcha! Police on the way. Everything is expected to act as a deterrent…

      Reply
    • May 13, 2017 at 6:09 am
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      Consider adding alarms, I have a $12,00 dollar custom e-Bike built on a Cannondale Scalpel frame all top racing components. Surely I lock it up every time I get off the seat, yet most all locks can be cut. Heck if it is garage you are providing the poser for an angle grinder and a good thief knows what blade to use

      My solution was to place an audible alarm on the lock then senses all vibration and screams with the typical car alarm sounds.
      OK that was stage 1, stage 2 activates my IP security cameras and and immediately feeds video feeds to my cell phone.

      Reply
      • May 13, 2017 at 6:13 am
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        By the way, more and more public places offer WiFi, so even while I shopping of dining my android phone and tablet receive the alert

        Reply
  • August 12, 2016 at 5:49 pm
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    That is great advice Carl, thanks again. In terms of how they beat the lock, I think it may have been sawed. There was no clean break or burn marks, so I guess really big bolt cutters could also have done it. You were right though that Kryptonite has great customer service, because I got a 3-yr guarantee on the lock and it looks like they may compensate me for the theft! I am in the process of filing a claim with them. We’ll see how it goes.

    Thanks, Paul

    Reply
    • August 13, 2016 at 3:30 pm
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      Good stuff Paul. Let us know how you get on with the compensation. I think some people think the never pay out. So it would be good to hear that they do…

      Reply
  • August 21, 2016 at 9:28 pm
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    I have one of those cheapy rubber looking u locks, and I have only been locking my front wheel to a secured object. DUH! Thank you for letting me know to lock the wheel and frame to something, to place the lock up, and to GET A STRONGER U LOCK!

    Reply
  • August 25, 2016 at 8:50 pm
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    Having bought a very expensive bike today I found your site to be highly informative in helping me decide on best security in locking it. Well done.

    Reply
  • August 27, 2016 at 8:24 am
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    Regarding ‘3. With one lock and a removed front wheel’, would the Abus 230mm standard work in most situations binding both wheels to a pole or do I have to go with the 300 which seems huge. I can’t test in shop as its all packaged together, though a rough fit the 230 seems close, but what’s peoples real world experience?

    Reply
    • August 28, 2016 at 8:43 pm
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      Hi Rusty,

      I’ve used a 230 mm lock in the photo. It’s tight but it will usually work with a Sheffield stand like the one in the photo. And a tight fit makes it more secure.

      However, it can be tricky if there’s another bike locked to the the other side of the stand. So it’s often best to look for an empty stand!

      Carl

      Reply
  • October 1, 2016 at 10:53 pm
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    Is it ok to put it on the Balcony and then secure it with a Ground Anchor?

    For the other ways, it is alright, but I just got one problem – where do I lock it at school? The problem is that, yes there is a place where people lock bikes there just in front, but I heard a lot of students complaining that their bikes have been stolen.
    The other option is to take it in the school entrance, since there are cameras…but then i got no where to lock it. Idk if it OK to actually HIDE it in the back garden or should I lock it close to the street to a fat metal rack? Thing is, that whole place is quite a challenge for bikers…and quite a lot of thieves lurk around there i was told… it is a freaking $1000 bike and it really falls on the eyes of people especially with its colors. It is not gonna be easy to protect it…that is for sure.

    Reply
    • October 3, 2016 at 11:45 am
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      Hi,

      It’s hard to answer some of these questions without more details!

      I think a private balcony is usually a pretty safe place to leave your bike especially if it’s secured to a ground anchor! Be careful installing the ground anchor though. Usually, locking the bike to the blacony railing with a chain would be enough.

      I would never depend on hiding a bike to keep it safe. It’s almost always better to secure it in the open with a really good lock than to hide it somewhere without any lock. So if you can’t find anywhere to lock it in the school, you’d be better off in the street. But are you sure there’s nowhere to lock it on the school premises?

      If you have to lock it in the street and you know a lot of bikes have been stolen from the area, make sure you buy a really good lock. Sold Secure Gold. ART 3 Stars. Or consider buying a cheap beater bike to use at school!

      Hope that helps,
      Carl

      Reply
  • October 17, 2016 at 12:04 pm
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    I have just purchased a Tebco Transporter electric trike. What/how would you recommend locking?

    Thanks for a great site! I’m in Australia and secure cages for bikes are becoming popular around our city.

    Reply
    • October 17, 2016 at 9:20 pm
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      Hi Ozzie,

      Nice bike! They’re pretty expensive no? If you’ll be using the electric motor most of the time you could probably get away with a heavier chain which you could carry in the back. And then slip the chain through the triangle at the bottom of the frame.

      Cheers
      Carl

      Reply
  • October 21, 2016 at 4:54 am
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    Hi,
    Thanks for sharing an amazing content to secure my bicycle. You explained each and every step in a very detailed way so that any of your viewer needs to go to some other blog for searching some other information related to bike security. Very well done the job, and you rocks, dude. Great work. I will be very grateful if you could also tell me about what kind of locks will suit my need. Thanks in advance.

    Reply
  • October 23, 2016 at 8:14 pm
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    Great Site & Outstanding advice. Living in New York City, I will likely save a nice chunk of change — not to mention, grief — by virtue of finding you.

    Now to my question:

    What are your thoughts on the burgeoning ‘Newtech’ gadgets hitting the marketplace, such as ‘Smartlocks’, ‘Bike Alarms’, and those hideable ‘GPS Stickers’, among others?

    Thank you for all you do!

    Reply
    • October 24, 2016 at 11:31 am
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      Thanks Darren!

      I’m suppose I’m instinctively skeptical about the “Newtech” gadgets. I generally feel that they’re adding layers of complexity that don’t solve the fundamental issues of weight, portability and security.

      (And for Smartlocks, I won’t review and recommend them until their security has been tested by the independent experts)

      However, I’m trying to keep an open mind. Just because they don’t appeal to me, doesn’t mean they won’t appeal to others. And I’ll definitely be reviewing them in detail in the future.

      Reply
  • November 21, 2016 at 4:00 am
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    Hello there,
    A few months ago I had mentioned that I had a claim pending with Kryptonite as my bike had been stolen from the front of my house. Well, a few weeks ago I got a cheque in the mail from them for the value of my bike! So, if you ever wondered if it was true, YES, THEY DO PAY. Granted, I did have to jump through many many hoops to submit my claim, but I think with their new sign-up system they are trying to make it easier. Just thought I would let you know the good news.

    Reply
    • November 21, 2016 at 6:24 am
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      That’s great news Paul! Thanks for letting us know, I think many people will find that reassuring.

      Were you able to provide them with the compromised lock?

      Reply
  • December 11, 2016 at 4:47 am
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    What a great site & congratulations. I’m about to get Forgetaboutit / Kryptonite bike lock & a computer for one of my daughters for Christmas. So glad I came across this site as none of the others I saw showed where to place a bike lock that will render the bike relatively secure.

    2.6kg is a fair weight to carry but what the heck.

    I’m going to have to get another for my use so will spread out the cost.

    Will the weight of the lock have any affect on the rim / spokes or am I over-thinking this.

    Thanks Jim K

    Reply
    • December 11, 2016 at 10:33 am
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      Hi Jim,

      Yes you’re right: 2.06 Kg is a heavy weight to be carrying about every day!

      Make sure you’ve thought about how your daughter will carry the Fahgettaboudit around, because it doesn’t come with a frame mount and if she puts it in her back pack she’ll definitely feel it. Remember, it’s the same as carrying 5.5 cans of Coke around.

      Having said that, the weight shouldn’t affect the rim or the spokes since it usually secures with a tight fit and the weight tends to be spread across all the other things its touching.

      I hope that makes sense!

      Carl

      Reply
  • December 14, 2016 at 2:40 pm
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    A really interesting read with much good advice. Thank you for the site.

    Peter

    Reply
  • January 21, 2017 at 7:54 am
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    How can I properly secure a trike when pole attachments are too big for a chain?

    Reply
  • January 21, 2017 at 7:56 am
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    Plus, what other recommendations do you have for protecting my trike.

    Reply
    • January 21, 2017 at 9:29 am
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      Sure Monette! Can you post a link to a photo of what your trike looks like?

      Thanks,
      Carl

      Reply
      • January 22, 2017 at 11:30 am
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        Sorry, I can’t. I have not yet purchased it. I plan on purchasing the 20″ Trifecta Adult Size Single Speed Folding Tricycle from walmart.com. I live in a high crime area and wanted to get ahead of the game by purchasing all things related. There are no bike racks where I go, only large square poles.

        Reply
        • January 23, 2017 at 6:47 am
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          Mmm sounds like you might need a chain then. And if you’re in a high crime area you should look for Sold Secure Gold level of security.

          The Abus CityChain 1010 (85 cm) is a good choice if you’re concerned about weight. But the links are only 9 mm thick. The Abus Granit CityChain
          X-Plus 1060 (85 cm) has 10 mm thick links and is a fair bit more secure. Both of these are available in longer lengths if 85 cm isn’t quite enough for your trike.

          Abus locks can be expensive though. So a cheaper alternative would be the Kryptonite Evolution Series 4 1090 which is also a little longer at 90 cm. It’s also available at 160 cm!

          My favorite high security portable chain in the Kryptonite New York Noose. It’s super secure because it’s 12 mm thick. But because of the noose design it can be quite short (75 cm) but still long enough to get around your bike and a pole. Check out my review here for more details.

          If you’re worried that that’s not enough protection then you could pair the chain with a mini U-lock that could just lock the trike wheel to the frame so that even if they cropped the chain they couldn’t cycle off with the bike. In which case the OnGuard Pitbull (14 mm) or Brute (16.8 mm) would be a good, economical choice.

          I hope that helps!

          Reply
      • January 22, 2017 at 11:31 am
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        Sorry, I can’t. I have not yet purchased it. I plan on purchasing the 20″ Trifecta Adult Size Single Speed Folding Tricycle from walmart.com. I live in a high crime area and wanted to get ahead of the game by purchasing all things related.

        Reply
  • January 27, 2017 at 7:38 am
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    in Chicago I used to use the street lights to lock my bike needed a 3.5 foot chain it was a grade 8 hardened chain from the hardware store and an american 700 padlock worked well cables no go as a primary but I always have something called a seat leash installed on my bikes I had that happen bike seat getting stolen the cost of replacing it was not the issue it was the pleasure of riding it without a seat so I spend 10 dollars to secure a 15 dollar seat

    Reply
  • February 23, 2017 at 9:27 pm
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    It seems like the “anchor disguised as a pot of flowers” could be made very classy – and even heavier – by using a nice large terra cotta pot, and filling it most of the way with cement. If you left the top few inches free, you could plant real plants – something sturdy and unkillable like spider plants indoors, or cheap annuals like marigolds or alyssum for outside.

    Reply
  • March 12, 2017 at 4:28 pm
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    Really helpful site, thanks. Just bought a Kryptonite forgetabouit to start commuting to the local station. Fingers crossed !

    Reply
  • April 4, 2017 at 3:05 am
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    Another good tip is to lock your bike in front of window. At my gym, it is nice to have the bike rack in front of the large window. Robbers are much lesser willing to take the chance and you get to scope out your bike. Also bicycle alarms are a good deterrent. You can connect a cheap padlock alarm to your u-lock or chain lock so when it is moved, it will sound off a 100-110 decibel alarm. I would consider that more of secondary deterrent. There is also a bully pager alarm u-lock which is more a primary lock. The u-lock isn’t as strong as a kryptonite but when touched or tampered with, the alarm sounds off and you get paged to a remote.

    I got a kryptonite combination cable lock, onguard bulldog u-lock, kryptonite new york standard u-lock, kryptonite new york noose chain lock and a bully pager alarm u-lock. I don’t use them all at once. I also crazy glue ball bearings into some of my bolts so a thief can’t just use an allen wrench to steal my seat or handlebar and I use hose clamps on my quick release wheels.

    Reply
    • May 13, 2017 at 6:22 am
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      Wow, simply amazing tips. Surely I discovered many of them on the internet yet had I found this post earlier it would have saved me hours.
      My hat is off to you in honor and respect.
      Thanks again. Happy Peddling to You!

      Reply
  • May 16, 2017 at 4:50 pm
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    Hi Carl

    I’m really struggling to find a U Lock that will fit any Carerra mountain bike, the width of them is too small to go around a post, the frame and back wheel. It looks like it needs an internal measurement of about 15/16cm, but the U locks I have looked at with this width are not rated high enough for my peace of mind!

    Has anyone else posed this problem, or do you know which lock would be best for this type of bike. I’m going to use the Abus skewer locks for the quick release wheels, and wondered if doing this meant we could remove the need to put the lock through the back wheel as well?

    Many thanks for any help in advance.

    Neill

    Reply
    • May 17, 2017 at 6:01 am
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      Are you sure it needs to be so wide Neil? Which model is your bike?

      I know mountain bikes can be a bit tricky. If you’re sure your measurements are correct and you can’t find a suitable lock, then you have 2 options.

      1. Use the Sheldon technique, where you just lock the back wheel to the post, but going through the rear triangle.
      2. Use secure skewers (like the Abus ones you mention).

      I’m increasingly enthusiastic about secure skewers. No, they’re not as secure as a U-lock around your wheel. But in 95% of cases they provide adequate security.

      And because they mean you only have to worry about the frame you can use a much smaller (and therefore lighter and easy to carry) lock.

      So as long as you’re not leaving your bike for very long periods of time and your wheels are not super expensive I’d say secure skewers like the Abus ones are a good choice.

      I hope that helps!

      Reply
      • May 17, 2017 at 6:26 am
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        Hi Carl

        Thanks for this, I had been thinking about just locking the frame, as we are using wheel locks.

        The bikes are a Carerra Vulcan, Vengeance and kids Luna. Even the Luna needs a really wide lock, in fact it’s a bigger gap than the adult bikes.

        The other thought I had was something like the LiteLok, although I’m not 100% convince of its durability and practicality.

        Let me know if you have any other thoughts now you know the bike type. We are not likely to be leaving them for extended periods of time but do live in a high risk area, or at centre parcs, again could be high risk!

        Thanks again

        Neill

        Reply
        • May 17, 2017 at 7:28 pm
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          Looking at the pictures of the Carerra Vulcan online, I would have thought that if you came in at an angle (rather than straight on) you’d be able to get a standard sized U-lock around the rear wheel, the frame and a bike rack?

          The Litelok is good choice. I’ve used it for a few months and found it pretty durable and practical. Bear in mind though that it doesn’t provide much more internal space than a standard sized U-lock.

          But if you can afford the extra cost, I would say secure wheel skewers and a smaller U-lock just for the frame would be the best option. And that should provide enough security for your circumstances.

          Reply

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