Author Topic: Bike locks  (Read 5998 times)

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Offline cotterg3

Bike locks
« on: April 04, 2011, 09:58:24 pm »
To what extent I lock my bike and secure my gear is an issue I struggle with when planning for a tour.

The bike is my ticket home, so on one hand I'm tempted to bring a heavy U lock with thick long cable for the wheels or to wrap around a tree. On the other hand, even if my bike is well protected, all the gear strapped on the bike can still be easily lifted (and would probably be more irritating to replace than the bike itself) which has me tempted to just go with a smaller cable lock.

I'm curious what other touring cyclist bring with them in terms of locks/cables and how that decision affects the extent everyone is willing to leave their bikes unattanded for short periods of time.

Offline John Nelson

Re: Bike locks
« Reply #1 on: April 04, 2011, 10:15:52 pm »
You might try searching, because this is an oft-discussed topic. The discussion runs long and people come down on all sides of the issue. Simply put, different people have different tipping points between weight and cost and risk and worry.

I think most people agree that how much you protect your bike and gear depends on circumstances, most significantly where you happen to be at the moment. Also keep in mind that locks aren't the only way to protect your gear. You can bring your bike inside, have a buddy watch it, or watch it yourself. With a little effort, you can usually bring your bike into more places than you might expect.

There's no perfect answer.

My personally? I lean towards a more minimal approach, with a very lightweight lock and try not to leave my bike in risky-looking places any more often than I have to. I also tend not to worry much in general, so I just sometimes trust in the goodness of my fellow man and hope for the best.

Offline cotterg3

Re: Bike locks
« Reply #2 on: April 04, 2011, 10:55:52 pm »
Ah yes, the search button. I always seem to forget about that.

Indeed it depends. I am looking specifically in the context of 12+ day plus tours where a variety of situations are to be expected (including semi urban areas and touristy spots).

Thanks for your input, I was curious to see if there would be an overwhelming response of either horror stories or 'haven't had a problem yet' responses which may sway my opinion one way or the other. For the record, I typically use a medium gauge cable lock and leave the bike for extended periods during the day, but not overnight.
« Last Edit: April 05, 2011, 01:54:52 pm by cotterg3 »

Offline Tourista829

Re: Bike locks
« Reply #3 on: April 04, 2011, 11:15:26 pm »
I agree, light weight. I use a Saris 8 foot single loop 10mm lock. I like it because I do not need a key to lock it. It is also light weight. I have an Axa style lock to secure the rear wheel on one of my bikes. I thought it worked for short, runs into the convience store. However, in lieu of how easily they can be picked with a finger nail cutter file, I no longer depend on it.

Offline dombrosk

Re: Bike locks
« Reply #4 on: April 05, 2011, 05:34:28 am »
My personality tends in the direction of minimizing risk.  For example, I've never believed the advice that the stock market was a secure place for retirement savings...   ;)

Despite that, before last summer I toured with a lightweight combination cable lock, and tended not to worry. For me, a lot depends upon where I'm planning to ride.

But last summer, during a month of mixed urban/rural touring in Europe, I switched to my usual urban setup of a U-lock with a cable to wrap around front wheel.  On impulse I added a lightweight cable designed to keep my quick release seat attached.  (Akita Seat Leash Cable Lock, 3 oz,  - $4 at REI)

This setup felt completely secure until I hit Amsterdam, where even the oldest, rustiest one speed bikes had locks much more secure than mine.  At that point I visited a local bike shop and added a key-lock chain that gave me more attachment options than my U-lock.
« Last Edit: April 05, 2011, 05:37:09 am by dombrosk »

Offline RussSeaton

Re: Bike locks
« Reply #5 on: April 05, 2011, 04:48:36 pm »
My touring has been in Europe and the USA.  I'm not sure I took a lock on any of my tours.  Its been a few years so I may have forgot what I carried.  I recall visiting a museum for a day in Munich and leaving the bike outside in a visible area.  Unlocked.  Bags and bike were still there when I returned.  In most hostels and motels I took the bike into the room at night.  For going into stores I put it right outside the building in clear sight in a traveled area.  Not around the corner in an alley where no one could see it.  I visited Amsterdam.  I think I rode straight to the hostel and put the bike away and then roamed around on foot.

Offline johnsondasw

Re: Bike locks
« Reply #6 on: April 06, 2011, 02:27:22 pm »
I use a 6' cable with combo lock and a 4 ' light weight cable with a combo lock--I don't want to deal with keys.  I always take essentials into places with me--wallet, phone, etc.  I try to always park the bike in a spot I can see from inside the restaurant or store.  Obviously, if you have a partner, all this is easier. 
May the wind be at your back!

Offline bogiesan

Re: Bike locks
« Reply #7 on: April 07, 2011, 09:55:34 am »
Whatever you decide to tote, I suggest a combination lock. Keys are easy to lose.

david boise ID
I play go. I use Macintosh. Of course I ride a recumbent

Offline Westinghouse

Re: Bike locks
« Reply #8 on: April 11, 2011, 01:27:41 pm »
You should always be security conscious whether it is in regards to your gear or your person. Lots of bike thefts are snatch and run, sometimes with the cyclist present and watching but too far away to catch up with the thief by the time he gets going. Any time you walk away from your bike, lock it. It's much better to be safe than it is to be sorry.

Offline litespeed

Re: Bike locks
« Reply #9 on: April 11, 2011, 06:35:10 pm »
I use a Bell lock with a 6' cable and four-digit combination. Quick and easy to use. As I recall I bought it at Wal-Mart. It's heavy but would take big bolt cutters to cut. My bike with gear is the most expensive thing I own that isn't real estate so I lock it up whenever I can't see it for more than a few minutes. To the best of my knowledge no one has ever tried to steal it but the cable is as big as my finger and would discourage most any thief.

Offline Westinghouse

Re: Bike locks
« Reply #10 on: April 12, 2011, 01:49:56 pm »
A lock is good for one thing only. And that one thing is to keep an honest man honest.

Offline PeteJack

Re: Bike locks
« Reply #11 on: April 13, 2011, 02:40:10 pm »
A lock is good for one thing only. And that one thing is to keep an honest man honest.

Amen to that. The CTC of the UK's magazine had a (presumably ex) professional bike thief tell how he did it. It more or less boiled down to: there's nothing much you can do to stop a determined thief taking a bike in less than 3 minutes. His recommendation was a hardened chain and lock. There is a even device called a "bottle jack", a miniature hydraulic jack, that busts open D-ring locks. Having said that I think the likelihood of getting your bike stolen while touring is quite small although it does happen. My guess is the the the main danger is from kids taking bikes as a prank. To prevent that I carry a cheap combination lock cable thing for the times I have to leave my bike where I can't see it

Offline mucknort

Re: Bike locks
« Reply #12 on: April 13, 2011, 05:08:45 pm »
A lock is good for one thing only. And that one thing is to keep an honest man honest.


A thin, long cable and lock will do that.
If you are really paranoid about theft, then go ahead and lug something like the Kryptonite New York lock with you: