Your bike frame isn’t the only place you can put your bike lock when riding. There are better and safer places to keep your bike lock when riding to avoid it from falling off, damaging your bike, or hindering a smooth ride.
A 2019 survey found that throughout North America, more than two million bikes are stolen each year. Bike locks are an essential means of protection for your bike but, when you’re on the move, the dangling bike lock on your frame gets uncomfortable and can potentially distract you from enjoying a seamless bike ride.
Some cyclists keep their bike lock around their body, which is often more uncomfortable than putting it around your arm when riding.
But you might think, Is it important to have my bicycle lock with me? Well, if you don’t mind buying a new bike after every ride or, having no source of transportation back home when your bike gets stolen, then a bike lock is optional.
In other words, your bike lock must be with you always.
- U Lock (D Lock)
- Cable Lock
- Chain Lock
- Folding Lock
What type of bike lock do you have?
When it comes to choosing where to put your lock when riding, it’s important to consider both security and convenience. The best place to put your lock usually depends on the type of bike lock you have. Imagine putting your D lock around your waist and expecting to ride like the wind without the uncomfortable dangling (that might not be so achievable).
Each type of bike lock has its own advantages and disadvantages, so it’s important to choose the right one for your needs. Some common types of bike locks are;
- U Lock (D Lock)
- Cable Lock
- Chain Lock
- Folding Lock
U Lock (D Lock)
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U-locks are the most secure type of lock, but they’re also the heaviest and most difficult to carry around. They are called U locks or D locks because, yes, you guessed it, they are shaped like the letter “U” or “D”.
U Locks were invented as a stronger, much more secure means of protecting bikes from theft. D locks are like giant padlocks but lighter, that is why they fasten easily around your bikes for utmost protection.
How to use a U-lock properly
Most people who ride bikes know they need a lock to keep their bikes safe. But not everyone knows how to properly use a U-lock.
First, you’ll want to find a good location to lock your bike, then make sure that the lock has been properly lubricated. You’ll want to find a solid object your bike can be locked to, such as a bike rack or a fence.
Then, you’ll want to position the U-lock so that it goes through the frame of your bike and the object you’re locking it to. Once you have the U-lock in place, you’ll want to ensure that the keyhole is facing down so that your lock would be more difficult for thieves to tamper with.
There is a video explainer on how to use a U lock properly right below.
PROS OF U-LOCKS
- Easy to Use
Using a U lock is like using a basic padlock. It is so simple to use, you do not need anyone to teach you how to use it.
- High Level of Protection
Guarantees a high level of toughness and protection, which gives it a low chance of getting tampered with. They are known to be resistant to bolt cutters, picking, drilling, and leverage attacks.
U locks are sold at an affordable price, so it is readily available to cyclists conscious of bike security. They can go for as low as $19.
U locks are light in weight despite their appearance like giant padlocks, though they are made of hardened steel. High-security cheap D locks tend to use more plastic. That is why they are light in weight.
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CONS OF U-LOCKS
- May Dangle on Frame
When riding, u-locks tend to move around more. Over time, this can cause the frame mount to become loose.
- Difficult to Fasten
Putting it through certain places like lampposts or street lamps can be difficult. Anchoring U locks to fixed points can be difficult due to their stiffness and narrow length, making it more difficult to secure the lock to a fixed point.
- Awkward Look
D locks might appear awkward to carry around. Carrying around a padlock-shaped device isn’t a fashionable look.
- Outdoor bike cable lock with combination is best used as a bicycle lock and to secure other outdoor equipment.Note: Measure your door’s backset, cross bore and thickness to ensure you find the right fit.
- Cable bike lock features a preset, four-digit combination lock; Provides a basic security level that is best used as a theft deterent
- Bike lock is made with braided steel for flexibility, and includes a protective vinyl coating that helps prevent scratching
- Bike lock cable is 4 ft. (1.2 m) long and 5/16 in. (8 mm) wide in diameter
- Includes one combination bike lock cable
Cable locks are lighter and easier to transport but may not be as secure as U-locks. They are made from several thin steel strands that are often enclosed in plastic tubes.
Most cable locks don’t have key locks, they have combinations so you have a lower chance of losing the keys to your bike lock. All you have to do is remember the combination.
How to use a cable lock properly
A cable lock is best used alongside a more robust lock like a U lock. To secure your bike, loop the cable through the back wheel. Then, using the steel u-bolt of the U lock, pass the cable through it and lock it through the front wheel and the frame.
Below is a video that explains how to use a cable lock.
PROS OF CABLE LOCKS
Cable locks are lightweight, which makes them convenient to carry around.
- Easy to Use
Cable locks can be looped around every bike and placed to lock bikes easily.
- They can be used as extra locks to protect bike parts. Not only would your bike be safe, but your bike parts are also guaranteed to be secured from theft.
CONS OF CABLE LOCKS
- Less Secure
Cable locks are prone to attacks as they are very weak in terms of resistance. They can be cut through easily, making them an average bike security option. That means they have a low visual deterrent, criminals will not be discouraged from trying to cut the cables.
- Not recommended as a Primary Bike Lock
Cable locks cannot be used as a primary lock for bikes in high-risk areas because they can easily be tampered with. Purchasing a cable lock for your bike parts would do you more good than purchasing a cable lock as your primary bike lock.
- Keeper 712 Integrated Chain Lock features 7mm four-sided chain links made from 3t manganese steel
- Patent-Pending End Link Design secures chain to hardened deadbolt eliminating critical vulnerability and providing extra holding power
- High security disc-style cylinder is pick and drill resistant; resists most common hand tools
- Durable weather-resistant nylon sleeve prevents scratches to painted finishes and protects the chain against the elements
- With a 48-inch (120cm) chain length, the Kryptonite Keeper 712 is a flexible, compact and easy to use deterrent security
Chain locks offer a decent level of security while still being relatively easy to transport. Chain locks are composed of a number of hardened steel links that are often enclosed by a lock and a protective nylon sleeve. The lock can be a separate padlock, or it can be built into the chain.
Chain links are constructed with a premium, core-hardened steel alloy that is not overly brittle for dependable security. The edges of chain links are often rounded. But some security chains now feature links that are hexagonal or square. These are intended to spread the cropping pressure over a greater area and be harder for bolt cutters to cut through.
How to lock your bike properly using a chain lock
Always put your bike next to a stationary object and, loop the chain lock from the bike frame into the bike tires close to the stationary object.
Then, lock with a key if it is a key chain lock or clasp together if it is a combination chain lock. Chain locks provide more security when used with another lock that guarantees a visual deterrent.
Below is a tutorial video that descriptively explains how to use a chain lock properly.
PROS OF CHAIN LOCKS
- Can Secure Multiple Bikes
Chain locks have the ability to secure multiple bikes- Let’s say you’re commuting with your buddy and your buddy forgot their bike lock, chain locks vary in length and the longer ones can be used to secure two bikes at a time and prevent them from theft.
- High level of Security
Chain locks provide perfect security. If chain locks can secure two bikes imagine using them for just one, chain locks are made from hardened steel that is extremely difficult to cut through. Proper users of chain locks are less likely to be victims of bike theft.
CONS OF CHAIN LOCKS
Chain locks are quite expensive– They are made of high-quality steel and have high demand in the bike lock market due to their security, hence they cost more. A chain lock can go between $24 to $46 and in some extreme cases.
Most chain locks are heavy because of the type of steel used to make them; this makes them hard to carry around.
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Folding locks combine the flexibility of a chain with the security of a U-lock. They are also incredibly portable and lightweight, which instantly makes them a go-to among both urban and recreational bikers. You might be asking how secure a folding lock is compared to all these other bike locks.
Well, it depends, the folding lock can withstand practically any attempt at theft, but some folding locks that don’t hold up as well to attacks. To ensure that the fasteners will function even if they are tampered with by a thief, they utilize steel plate protection.
How to use a folding lock properly
Using a folding lock is a bit more complex than using the other bike locks in this list.
Firstly, you have to remove your lock from the harness, the harness is the casing or place where the folding lock is secured when it is not in use.
Then you use your key to unlock the folding lock. Unfold the lock and wrap it around your bike from the bike frame to the tires.
Below is a tutorial video that descriptively explains how to use a folding lock properly.
PROS OF FOLDING LOCKS
- Easily adjustable to fit into a backpack or bike basket
- Folding locks are light and portable
CONS OF FOLDING LOCKS
- Low level of security
They are typically thinner so drilling or shearing rivets may be used to unlock them. They do not provide the same level of security as chains or U-locks.
- They have an oddly shaped frame mount that wouldn’t be as secure on a bike frame.
Where to put the bike lock when riding?
If you are like me, you have probably wondered at least once where to put the bike lock when riding. I’ll be one of many to admit that it can be a bit of a pain trying to figure out where to put it so that it doesn’t get in the way while riding.
Luckily, I have figured out a few different ways to carry the bike lock so that it is not in the way, and I am going to share them with you in this section!
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Putting your bike lock in your backpack may seem like a no-brainer, but it’s a task that’s often overlooked. By taking a few seconds to do this, you can save yourself a lot of time and hassle later on.
Your backpack would be on your back while riding so it would save you the stress of adjusting the bike lock on the bike frame or adjusting your body to ride comfortably.
Not every lock can fit into your backpack though, but U locks and folding locks would fit perfectly and won’t be too heavy for you to carry.
- You are assured of not losing your bike lock while riding.
- It is hands-free.
- It is cheap.
- Not every bike lock can fit into your backpack and be comfortable for you to carry. Heavy and large-sized bike locks might be harder to carry around in your backpack.
- Carrying a backpack might hinder the comfort of riding. A backpack is an extra weight for some cyclists and might cause some discomfort around the shoulders or the back.
Do you think of yourself as forgetful? Carrying your bike lock in and out of the house may lead to you forgetting it when you need to go out on your bike.
Thus, it’s preferable to leave your bike lock in the bike basket rather than leaving it at home when hurrying out to go cycling for the day.
Some bicycles come equipped with baskets, but if yours doesn’t, you could easily purchase an installable basket.
- You would feel lighter when riding.
- You are sure your bike lock would not fall off
- You are assured of never forgetting your bike lock at home because, after every ride, it would be placed permanently in the bike basket.
- It might cost more money to purchase an installable bike basket if your bike didn’t come with a bike basket.
- When riding on rough terrain your bike lock and things in the bike basket are likely to fall off, because of the bumpy nature of the road.
Bike mount accessory
A bike mount accessory can be placed on your bike frame, be it under the seat or right in front of the handlebars, it depends on you.
It is not advisable to just put your lock on your bike frame because it can scratch the bike frame and make it loose over time.
Instead, a designated mount should be placed on the frame to avoid destroying the appearance or integrity of your bike frame.
Most modern bike locks come with mounts. It is advisable to get the mount that fits your bike lock to avoid the bike lock being loose and destroying the bike frame.
You can install lock mounts in a variety of locations on your bike’s frame, but you’ll have to decide which one is best for you based on the size of the lock and your riding style.
- Using a bike mount accessory can protect your bike frame from damage.
- It is more comfortable and about every bike lock can be placed in a bike mount accessory when riding.
- Using a bike mount accessory secures your bike lock from falling off.
- Bike locks often come with bike lock mounts.
- It might be costly to purchase a bike mount accessory individually. Bike mount accessories range from $17 and above depending on the brand.
- It can affect the weight and balance of your bike and make you feel a little heavy while riding.
Bike Pannier or saddlebag
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Carrying around bags to put your bike locks might seem tiring but I can assure you it is effective. If you need to bring items on your bike but don’t want to constantly wear a backpack, this is a fantastic alternative.
To prevent the lock from making items in your pannier dirty, you might want to carry a bike lock bag. If you have these goods on your bike, a pannier is a perfect method to transport your lock.
To prevent losing balance, the weight of the lock should be distributed equally throughout the bike. Ideally, try placing under top tube if it’s small enough.
- Panniers allow you to transport different items at once rather than carrying them on your back.
- They are small and light depending on what you put in them.
- They are easily affordable.
- You might feel uncomfortable if pannier through off the bike’s centre of gravity.
- Not every bike lock can fit into a pannier or saddlebag. Some bike locks are bigger and heavier, so they would be uncomfortable if they are placed in a saddlebag. Bike locks like chain locks, folding locks and maybe U locks (depending on the size) can be put in a pannier or saddle bag.
This is a possible solution if you think you have no other place to place your bike lock. When riding, you can put your bicycle lock on your bike frame by wrapping it around the handlebars, top tube, down tube, or even the seat post. Depending on the sort of bike lock you use and how you ride, this alternative can be secure.
- Can be very secure if the bike lock is kept properly.
- It is comfortable depending on the type of lock placed on the bike frame.
- Can damage the bike frame. Leaving your bike lock on your bike frame can scratch the bike frame and, if the bike lock is heavy, it can loosen the bike frame.
- Not every lock can be placed on the bike frame. Only locks like Cable locks and U locks can be placed on the bike frame, mainly with the use of a bike mount accessory.
Now, relax! I know it was mentioned that putting your bike lock on your body might be uncomfortable, but it depends on the type of bike lock.
Chain locks can be placed around the waist. Cable locks can be placed around your chest area while Folding locks and U locks can be placed in your back pocket.
This can be an alternative when you forget your backpack or any other possible bike lock holder to put your bike lock, and you have no other choice. It’s more of a DIY bike lock holder and you can never forget it because it’s on YOU.
A smart way to put your bike lock on your body can be to put it on a belt strap. Simply wrap your waist with the belt strap holder and properly tuck the lock within.
Because the lock is firmly fastened to your body, you won’t have to worry about it coming off. Consequently, you are still capable of riding safely.
- This alternative is quite secure if the lock is wrapped around you properly.
- You get to spend no money on accessories to put your bike lock.
- Using your body might be uncomfortable.
- If the bike lock isn’t well secured it might fall off your body.
- You can’t put every type of bike lock on your body when riding.
If you don’t have the right bike lock, then your bike isn’t safe, take your time to choose the right bike lock for you. Hopefully this article has helped to clear up any mysteries you have regarding the safest and most convenient places to carry your bike lock.
Keep these considerations in mind next time you’re on a trip, and never worry about where to put your bike lock while riding again!