If you are going to bike anywhere and leave your bike outside, you need the equipment and knowledge for proper locking so that your bike is there when you return. While no bike security system is 100% effective, you want to do whatever you can to make stealing you bike harder than the next bike. If your bike looks inconvenient to steal, there is a good chance a thief will look somewhere else. Following are some practices to help stop or at least slow down thieves.
4. What to lock – the most important item to secure is the bike frame, the most valuable part of the bike. Next in priority is the rear wheel, and then front wheel. Options for securing wheels include:
Helmet theft is relatively low so unless you have an expensive helmet it is common to run the helmet straps through the ulock or one of the cables. If you would rather not risk helmet theft and do not like carrying around your helmet, there are collapsible helmets that take up one third of the space in your backpack or bag. Bike specific backpacks often have a helmet bracket on the outside for hooking on your helmet without fumbling with straps or making room inside the pack.
Remove all lights, bike computers, navigation devices, and cell phones when leaving your bike because they do frequently get picked off the bike if a passer by sees them out in the open. Most have a a bracket that stays on the bike and the capability to slide off the device to put in your pocket or bag and remounted when getting back on the bike.
There is innovation in the bicycle lock industry as manufactures study how thieves breach their locks and make appropriate adjustments, so it is a good idea to upgrade your equipment every few years. The latest innovation are locks with the ability to lock and unlock via bluetooth on your cell phone--no key required. Stop and go fast and easy. There has also been advances in GPS tracking of bikes to aid in recovery of a stolen bike.
Don't be that person who says they would love to bike places but is afraid to leave their bike outside--get the right equipment and practice safe locking and enjoy eco friendly, fast and efficient, two-wheeled transportation.
Sharon Kaminecki and others comment on adventures in bicycling and other stories