We’ve all been there - you’re ready to grab your trusty bike for a ride, only to realize you’ve lost the keys to the bike lock!
Fret not, as this article will guide you through which steps to take to improve your chances of finding them, key replacement options in case you don't find them, and sensible measures to help prevent any future key loss.
- Act fast if you lose your bike lock keys - check common locations, reach out to recent acquaintances and locate your spare key (if you have one).
- Most big lock brands offer a key replacement service, if you've got your key code.
- Prevent future key loss by organizing/storing your keys safely and attaching a Bluetooth tracker to your key ring!
Immediate Steps to Take When You Lose Your Bike Lock Keys
It’s important to act quickly when you realize your bike lock keys are missing. The longer you wait the harder it may be to recover your lost keys and unlock your bike.
So, what should you do right away?
Check Common Locations
First, retrace your steps and check the place you last saw your keys and the most common areas that you keep them.
It’s easy to overlook obvious spots when you’re panicking, so take a deep breath and methodically search your home, office, or any other places you’ve recently been.
Places where your bike lock keys might be:
- Dropped on the floor in the area around your bike
- Dropped on the floor in the area where you last took your hands out of your pockets! (front doors, shop counters etc.)
- In a different pocket
- In a pocket of a different item of clothing
- At the bottom of a bag/purse
- Handed in to a local shop, office or police station after someone found them
- In your car
- On your work desk
- At the bottom of your laundry basket
- In the washing machine
- In the waste bin
Keep in mind that a little patience goes a long way during this process!
Contact Recent Acquaintances
Next, reach out to friends, colleagues, or anyone you were with before losing your keys. There’s a chance they may have picked up your keys by accident or noticed them lying around.
Remember, the more people you contact, the higher the chances of finding your keys.
Locate your spare bike lock key
Most bike locks come with at least one spare key, so you should probably have one somewhere. Unless you're already using the spare because you've lost the first one!
If you do have a spare key, and it's the last one, now might be a good time to get another copy made.
Which brings us nicely to...
Bike Lock Key Replacement Services
Every decent bike lock manufacturer offers a key replacement service. In fact, this is another reason to buy your bike lock from a well known brand. If you buy a cheap bike lock from some unknown brand off Amazon and then lose your keys, good luck getting a new key!
Lock Registration Schemes
Usually, the manufacturers have a bike lock registration program, where you're encouraged to register the bike lock model and key code (the number that identifies the exact variation of your key), through their website, as soon as you buy the lock.
To order a replacement key from the lock manufacturer, you will need to supply them with your key code. And if you've already provided it as part of the registration process, you save yourself the panic of wondering what you did with it!
You can still order a replacement key if you haven't registered your lock, as long as you have the key code. But it's a good idea to register in advance. Below are links to the registration forms of some of the big lock brands:
Using Key Codes
Key codes are unique codes provided by the bike lock key manufacturer to identify which key variation matches your bike lock. These codes are often printed on the keys themselves or on a card that comes with the lock.
Yes, you read that correctly: sometimes the key codes are only printed on the keys. Which you have probably lost. Without taking a note of the key code.
This is obviously why you should register your bike lock as soon as you receive it. But plenty of people don't.
Anyway, if you need a replacement key, and you do have your key code, all you usually need to do is follow the instructions on the manufacturer's website...
Kryptonite Key Replacement Service (Key Safe Program)
Kryptonite offers a service called the Key Safe Program, which will provide your first set of replacement keys for free. However, this service is only available for the following Kryptonite locks:
- New York Fahgettaboudit U-Locks and Chain Locks
- New York U-Locks, Chain Locks, Disc Locks
- Evolution Series 4 U-Locks
- Disc Locks, Evolution Mini U-Locks
- KryptoLok Series 2 U-Locks
- Hardwire Cables and Kryptoflex Cables
If you don't have one of these Kryptonite locks (or have already received a free first set through the Key Safe Program), don't worry, you can still order replacement keys. You'll just have to pay:
- 1 key is $12
- 2 keys are $20
- Each additional key after that is $5
- Kryptonite offers free worldwide shipping on all replacement keys.
To order your replacement Kryptonite keys, you just need to send your key code and address details through the website.
Note: in both cases, you will need your key code to order replacement keys it this way. No key code, no replacement keys! The key code is engraved on each key (not particularly helpful if you've lost your keys!). But it is also printed on a small plastic tag that comes on the key ring.
If you are in the US or Canada, and don't have your key code and never registered your lock with Kryptonite (doing this would involve giving them your key code), then you're very lucky! For such customers, Kryptonite also offer a Lock Out Replacement service.
With this service, you mail Kryptonite the lock for which you have lost the keys, and they send you a brand-new replacement lock with new keys. And if your lock was an old model, they will replace it with an updated model!
It's not free of course, but you'll pay less than you'd pay for a new lock. The prices are available here, and the full details of the steps to take advantage of the Lock Out Replacement service are here.
Abus Key Replacement Service (Keyservice)
The Abus key replacement service is more simple. There are no free first sets and no option to send the lock in if you've forgotten the key code. The cost of replacement keys from Abus are:
- $12.99 per key
Once again, you will need a key code to order a replacement key. The key code is usually engraved on your Abus keys. And with some locks you get a plastic card which has the key code printed on too.
If you need replacement keys but don't have a key code, then Abus can "sometimes cut you a new key based on specific photographs of your spare key from very specific angles". So all is not lost.
OnGuard Key Replacement Service
The official OnGuard key registration and replacement service is only available to US customers. Like a lot of OnGuard stuff, it's all a bit basic. You can register your lock online if you have the key code (it's printed on a small plastic card that comes with the keys), and the lock model name.
But there's no way to order replacement keys online. If you need new keys, you just get a phone number that you need to ring to order them (800-213-4561 ext.1). And remember, this is for US based customers only!
If you're in the UK, there's at least one online service that will cut you replacement keys if you have the key code. The prices (excluding VAT) are:
- 1 key is £13.90
- 2 keys are £12.51 each
- 5+ keys are £11.68 each
One good thing with OnGuard though is that you usually get a ton of keys when you buy the lock. My OnGuard Pitbull Mini came with 5 keys, for example. So you'd need to really make a mess of things to lose all those!
Foldylock Key Replacement Service
For Foldylock keys, if you have the key code that came with your lock or have already registered your lock online (which requires the key code), then you can order replacement keys here.
There is no option to enter the key code when you order, so a customer service agent will contact you about that later.
The price of replacement Foldylock keys are:
- $25 for 3 keys
MasterLock Key Replacement Service
There is no MasterLock key replacement service! If you need a replacement key (and you have either a spare or the key code that came with your lock), they advise you to take it to a local key cutting service to get your new keys cut.
Litelok Key Replacement Service
You can order spare keys for the regular Liteloks here, if you have the key code that came with your lock (the code is engraved on the keys, which is not very helpful if you've lost the keys).
The price for replacement Litelok keys is:
- $20 for 2 keys
If you need spare keys for the Litelok X3, these are special Abloy keys and can be ordered here if you are in the UK. If you are in the US you will need to get in touch with Litelok directly to order X3 keys. The price in the UK is:
- £25 per key
Hiplok Key Replacement Service
You can also order replacement Hiplok keys online, as long as you have the key code. Like some of the other manufacturers, the key number is only engraved on the key, which is not much good if you haven't already registered your lock and have lost all the keys.
If you do have the lost key code, you can easily order replacement keys here. The price for new Hiplok keys is:
- $14.34 for 3 keys
DIY Methods to Unlock a Bike Lock
If all else fails and you still can’t find your bike keys or get a replacement, there are some DIY methods you can try to unlock your bike lock. However, these methods can be tricky and time-consuming, so they should be considered as a last resort.
I have written a more complete guide on how to open a bike lock without keys.
However, most of the methods will only work on crappy locks. And if you've got a crappy lock, that's reasonably easy to open without the keys, you should probably invest in a better bike lock!
Lock Picking Techniques
Lock picking involves using a tool to manipulate the pins inside the lock to open it without a key. There are various lock picking techniques and tools, but they're all based around using a tension wrench and a picking tool in conjunction.
You can find plenty of videos on YouTube to help you get started. But remember that lock picking requires patience and the right tools. You should probably practice on locks you don’t need to open to avoid causing any damage.
If you do manage to pick your bike lock open, I recommend that you don't use that lock to secure your bike again. Buy a better one!
Seeking Professional Help
When all other options have been exhausted, it’s time to seek professional help. Local bike shops and locksmiths can provide assistance in unlocking your bike lock and getting you back on the road.
Local Bike Shop Assistance
Local bike shops can be a great resource when you need help getting your bike lock open. The knowledgeable staff can offer advice and assistance, as they likely have experience with various bike lock types and situations.
Before heading to a bike shop, be sure to bring your lock (if you can) and any relevant details, such as the make and model.
Hiring a Local Locksmith
If a local bike shop isn’t an option or they can’t help with your specific lock, consider hiring a local locksmith. The cost of hiring a locksmith can vary depending on the type of lock and the complexity of the job, but it's likely to be much more expensive than your local bike mechanic.
Before hiring a locksmith, gather necessary information about the bicycle lock, such as the make and model, and the key code if you have it.
Measures to Prevent Future Key Loss
Learning from your lost key experience is important. Implementing preventative measures can help you avoid losing keys in the future and save you from the stress and frustration of not being able to unlock your bike again.
For example, you can keep a spare key in a safe place, or you can invest in a keyless bike lock or attach a tracker to your keys.
Organizing Your Keys
Organizing your keys is a simple but effective way to prevent future key loss. Consider grouping your keys based on frequency of use or using key wallets, keychains, or DIY wall mounted key organizers to keep them all in one place.
Storing Spare Keys
Having spare keys can be a lifesaver when you lose your main key. Store your spare keys in secure locations, such as your car’s glove compartment, an office drawer, or a lockbox. You can also give a spare key to a trusted neighbor.
Attach a Bluetooth Tracker
Consider attaching a small Bluetooth tracking device such as an AirTag or Tile to your key ring. This will enable you to easily locate your bike keys through your smartphone should you lose them again.
It's not a super cheap option. But if you're a serial key loser, it's probably a wise investment!
In conclusion, losing your bike lock keys doesn’t have to be a nightmare. By following the steps outlined in this blog post, you can efficiently address the issue and get back to riding your bike in no time. And don't forget prevention - organize your bike lock keys well, store spare keys safely and think about a tracker, to avoid future problems.Enter your text here...