Instructables
Picture of How to lock your nice bike up at work
The weather is nice, so I have been mountain biking before work. The trails are empty, the world hasn't caught up with you yet and beat you down, so you have no excuses not to ride...

This presents a challenge in that I can't bring my bike in to the office.

This instructable will show you how to lock your nice bike up at a bike rack with a little bit more security than you might use for your commuter bike.

 
Remove these adsRemove these ads by Signing Up

Step 1: Parts

Picture of Parts
I will assume you already commute to work regularly by bike... I leave a Kryptonite NY chain lock at work on the rack outside.

I will bring with me in my camelback(actually a deuter bag but who cares...) a Kryptonite NY lock and two cables.

I use the short kryptonite cable for the seat, and a 6 foot long cable for the front wheel.

Step 2: Secure the front wheel

Picture of Secure the front wheel
Make a loop through the front wheel with the cable lock.

Step 3: Secure the fork

Picture of secure the fork
Take the cable that you just looped through the front wheel and go through the fork crown and arch, this will deter people from stealing you nice front shock.

Step 4: Secure the frame

Picture of Secure the frame
Loop the cable through the front triangle of the frame.

Step 5: Secure the seat

Picture of Secure the seat
Seats are expensive these days. So we'll loop a cable through the seat rails, this will help to deter people from stealing you seat and post.

Step 6: Coming together now...

Picture of Coming together now...
Now run the long cable from the frame/fork/front wheel through your rear wheel and to the U-Lock that connect the rear triangle to the bike rack.

Before you lock it, put the end of the small cable from your seat on this U-Lock too.

Step 7: Chain Lock

Picture of Chain Lock
Now I put the New York Chain Lock through the rear wheel, rear triangle and main triangle of the bike and then secure that to the bike rack.
1-40 of 45Next »
Dont let this be you!!!
0531111943.jpg
I'm suprised they even bothered. The whole bike couldn't be worth more than $150. I've bent crank arms on bikes like that just by climbing a hill.

Which also explains the super-cheap lock that could barely withstand a pair of wire cutters.
kjones53 years ago
Nice instructable.

However, that's a lot of gear to be hauling around on a "play ride." I always, always carry a combination lock in case I want to dip into a convenience store or some place for refreshment or a snack. Previously, I've been paranoid about someone simply riding off on my unsecured bike. No one would even give it a second glance.

Now, I can put a lock through a disk brake. It won't prevent someone from picking the bike up and carrying it off, but it'd look a little weird to passersby. It would prevent some little thug kid from simply jumping on and riding off. Also, if I catch him trying to carry it off I could run the little upstanding citizen down. If he's riding it, I have no hope in catching him.
al95954 years ago
FOX!
adamvan20004 years ago
I had the same problem with my bike being stolen, so what we did was went down to the hardware store, looked at the different thicknesses of chain, and asked which ones had to be cut on the floor mounted chain cutter with a four foot arm on it.  We got about enough chain that I can easily drape it over one shoulder and have another foot or so leftover.  Works great with one of those fully shielded Titanium Master locks.  With that lock, there's only room for two links side by side between the shielding.

I take that chain, loop it through the front tire, cross it over, then through the frame, cross it over again, and then through the back tire and around the back tire and back around the frame again, with the post being looped around somewhere in between the frame and the tires.  "If" (big if) they can cut the chain or the lock, then they can have the bike, in my thinking.  The Master lock itself leaves no room for pry bars or anything, and the chain took a grown man with a floor mounted chain cutter a significant effort to cut.  Not exactly something that would be cut with the bolt cutters most thieves carry around here.
Calorie5 years ago
Of course, the Japanese have already solved this problem.

If you are biking to reduce your carbon footprint those automated things don't help. Unless they are solar powered, which I doubt they are. Cool anyway.
You can make the statement that minimizing land usage is far more effective than a solar array. Increased urban density allows for lower transportation fuel costs. Using a bike is very low fuel cost. So I'm going to say that this little garage beats the silicon off an array anyday. Carbon emissions isn't all about where the power is made. That's the way we see it in America. Much of the Western world sees it as where the energy not be used. That is, conservation. Your better off with a mid-level fuel efficient car if you combine trips, keep the speed down, go easy on the throttle than you are with a hybrid. Keep in mind that they both use the same amount of tires and other consumables. The rest is about stop and go traffic, a basic level of planning and decreasing errands into a single trip if possible.
Thank you! very informative. I don't drive any kind of car but, i never thought about that.
Thanks for the compliment. The simple (and most profitable) story that is sold to us is that if everyone used a Prius the world would be a wonderful place. Would it help? Sure. But there is a reality that Americans have been taught not to like. And that is to use a bit less and use a bit more thoughtfully. There are several other policies that aren't as obvious, but energy rebates are huge winners. Things like rebates on insulating your house, or buying new A/Cs or more efficient refrigerators, etc. You measure the amount of energy saved by the number of power plants you do not have to build for 20 years. No one likes power plants near their homes. The programs are simple, cheap and cheerful...the manufacturers get money for me buying a new A/C, I get money back from the government and save cash on my utilities as well (which also stimulates the economy too) and the power companies get credit as if they had actually built a new plant. They get a slice of the rebate twice.
Calorie5 years ago
There are some very interesting comments about this subject. I can give you my experience from living in both the UK and the US.

In the UK I had a town bike (basically the kind of bike you might see in Amsterdam.) These are not the hottest of bikes, but very useful for running about, gathering shopping or the like. They are fitted with fenders and a rack as standard. If you are really lucky, they will also include a full chain guard for the hub shifter. Do not underestimate the usefullness of a fully enclosed chain guard. It saves you TONS of time in maintenance and cleaning dirty trouser cuffs.

Amsterdam Type Bikes

Mine was by giant, and was much cheaper than the Gazelles (by about 1/2) and came with all of the options.

Basically, they are comfortable and not too popular for the bike stealing types. I found mine to be an excellent purchase and quickly racked up 2,000 carefree miles in a year.

In the UK (well, in York at least) bike racks were plentiful and close to your destination. It was easy to zip into a shop and get what you wanted.

In the US, it is a bit different. Bike racks are rare. The distance to shops are far greater.

Deciding Factors:

Ease of Use:
I think the thing I found most important is convenience of the locking mechanism. This can be measured in weight, ease of deployment and ease of storage.

I too have a Kryptonite uber chain. I rarely used it as it is incredibly bulky and takes a bit of fumbling around to deploy.

However, the Kryptonite New Yorker 3000 U lock has been very good to me. It is very easy to deploy it. With a bit of time, I could lock my bike in 5 seconds flat. It was also easy to store.

Ease of Transport:
Again, the amorphic shape and high weight of the NY Chain is a great negative.

The NY 3000 was in comparison a feather weight.

The winner in the UK is the New Yorker 3000 U Lock. I could quickly deploy it without fiddling about.

In the US:
It's a draw. The chain does have the ability to wrap around non-rack structures easier. However, you can find a place to lock up with the New Yorker U Lock if you are remotely creative.

I think the thing that is most important is how likely you will actually lock the bike properly. If it is an amazing pain in the arse, you are less likely to bike.

For me, the weight, difficult to store nature, and long time to lock was the deciding factor. I had actually had carried both of them on my bike. The chain was stolen one day (because I did not use it and left it in the bike panniers.) I wasn't particularly upset to see it go. The U Lock never missed a beat.
roosta6 years ago
dont make your bike look like fort knox tho. if people see it and laugh cos its so over protected, they will just kick it to bits instead, leaving you with a very well secured hunk of twisted metal. ive had it done. i had a combi-lock trough the back whell, frame, seat, and front wheel and round the bike post, then a D lock securing the back wheel and frame to the post as well. admittedly it was half 2 in the morning when i returned to it, but it was still a loooooong trek home carrying what was left of my bike. (my ride was 13 miles to a city centre, so i had a 13 mile walk back as there were no buses running at half 2)
leebryuk roosta6 years ago
Well, I've seen similar. You must be in the UK. The spelling of centre is a clue. But more importantly I have never seen a bike kicked in any other place in the world. I lived in Glasgow for a while and it seemed like a hobby for the yobs. The loved to kick in rims. The British Police are too nice. American cops would of tazed them well and good.
There are some very interesting comments about this subject. I can give you my experience from living in both the UK and the US.

In the UK I had a town bike (basically the kind of bike you might see in Amsterdam.) These are not the hottest of bikes, but very useful for running about, gathering shopping or the like. They are fitted with fenders and a rack as standard. If you are really lucky, they will also include a full chain guard for the hub shifter. Do not underestimate the usefullness of a fully enclosed chain guard. It saves you TONS of time in maintenance and cleaning dirty trouser cuffs.

Amsterdam Type Bikes

Mine was by giant, and was much cheaper than the Gazelles (by about 1/2) and came with all of the options.

Basically, they are comfortable and not too popular for the bike stealing types. I found mine to be an excellent purchase and quickly racked up 2,000 carefree miles in a year.

In the UK (well, in York at least) bike racks were plentiful and close to your destination. It was easy to zip into a shop and get what you wanted.

In the US, it is a bit different. Bike racks are rare. The distance to shops are far greater.

Deciding Factors:

Ease of Use:
I think the thing I found most important is convenience of the locking mechanism. This can be measured in weight, ease of deployment and ease of storage.

I too have a Kryptonite uber chain. I rarely used it as it is incredibly bulky and takes a bit of fumbling around to deploy.

However, the Kryptonite New Yorker 3000 U lock has been very good to me. It is very easy to deploy it. With a bit of time, I could lock my bike in 5 seconds flat. It was also easy to store.

Ease of Transport:
Again, the amorphic shape and high weight of the NY Chain is a great negative.

The NY 3000 was in comparison a feather weight.

The winner in the UK is the New Yorker 3000 U Lock. I could quickly deploy it without fiddling about.

In the US:
It's a draw. The chain does have the ability to wrap around non-rack structures easier. However, you can find a place to lock up with the New Yorker U Lock if you are remotely creative.

I think the thing that is most important is how likely you will actually lock the bike properly. If it is an amazing pain in the arse, you are less likely to bike.

For me, the weight, difficult to store nature, and long time to lock was the deciding factor. I had actually had carried both of them on my bike. The chain was stolen one day (because I did not use it and left it in the bike panniers.) I wasn't particularly upset to see it go. The U Lock never missed a beat.
lol they need to be tazerd
roosta leebryuk6 years ago
agreed. other police forces in europe are trained like the army, and look like they would have no problem with clobbering you. ours look like hi-viz jokes. theyve gone too far with the "make the police look approachable". they should be kitted out like the SAS and have no problem with handing out beatings instead of ASBO's. words on paper do nothing, broken ribs make them remember.
leebryuk roosta6 years ago
I don't know if I'd go that far. Being of both cultures I would say that it is more of a British thing. The British are a resourceful lot when it comes to violence. From my experience there are those who revel in it. (Beware of Newcastle on a weekend night, or any night for that matter.) I really don't think any amount of arrest or police beatings would cure that. It just seems like violence is a part of the casual culture. Don't get me wrong, the US is soaked in the stuff but it is different. In the US it simmers under a lid. When things get violent in the US, they get real bad fast. You are actually more likely to be a victim of a violent crime in the UK than in the US (yes, that is correct.) However, you are more likely to be murdered in the US. Take your knocks in the UK, or beware the ultimate crime in the US. That said, murder is fairly rare in the US. Keep in mind the US is the size of the EU with a similar number of citizens and even more diversity.
xsmurf roosta6 years ago
I see it happening all the time in Montreal (Canada).
dominus19855 years ago
The only way to stop your bike being taken is to get the lock \ chain as high away from the ground as possible when locking the bike. When cutting quality chains like these it is impossible to cut them using both handles of the bolt cutter unless your the terminator, one handle must be placed on the floor an the other needs all your body weight bouncing on it to cut the chain. Keep the lock / chain away from the floor and higher up the bike and it stops theifs being able to do this. Disk locks and such wont stop the man with the van!
An even better way to lower the chances of your bike being taken is to get one of those U-locks for motorcycle front wheels; I saw one on YouTube where it has a super loud alarm(goes off for 45 seconds) if it's touched and not disarmed within 10 seconds. It's good to have if you work near where your bike is locked up, since you can hear it (hopefully lol). But eh, it might be expensive..
glorybe5 years ago
Thieves are usually lazy and poorly equipped. They rarely carry both a cable cutter and a chain cutter. So extra security can be had by using one good cable and one chain. This tip has saved more than one motorcycle from theft. I also had a lock that looked like a tube with a button on one end that would just fir through my drilled disk. Also I had a tiny pad lock that fit through the chain in such a way that a thief might not see it at all. So even if the cable and chain were cut the locked disk and the locked chain would keep the bikes from being driven away,
goodgnus5 years ago
Very thorough but a bit overkill. Fortunately I can bring my bike into my office. When I need to lock up I use this technique: Sheldon Brown's Lock Strategy and a single 4' cable to secure the front wheel, seat and helmet. I remove my quick release seatpost/seat and thread the cable through it and also thread the cable through my helmet after looping it around my front tire, then lock the other end of the cable in with the u-lock. Carrying anything else is just too much crap on my bike.
zzpza6 years ago
very good instructable! i'm glad is was a 'how to' and wasn't a 'how not to' as there are far too many of them on here already. i was a bit concerned that you were relying on the u-lock for the cables, until i saw step 7. :D
jaime99996 years ago
Bravo. A very secure scheme. Basically what I recommend. I didn't think of the fork-protection addition. One addition-- I thread my helmet (vent, not strap) through the cable, so I don't have to carry the bulky helmet while visiting/shopping/working/playing. Now: how to carry all that security gear equipment and be able to deploy it quickly and easily, to encourage getting into the habit of ALWAYS locking securely.
Asbestos6 years ago
Nice Instructible, but there are several redundancies which are 1) excessive, 2) don't actually contribute to the safety of the bike. First: Notice that the U-Lock is the most important lock. 1) If it gets broken, the bike can be taken away, 2) If it gets broken, the two cables are completely worthless because they are no longer attached to anything. So therefore, it's pointless to thread the cable through the frame. This doesn't do anything, because the U-Lock is already attached to the frame. Breaking the U-Lock would release the cable. So this isn't contributing anything. It's also pointless to use a chain to connect the rear wheel to the frame. Remembering that the U-Lock is tougher than the chain, attaching the wheel to the U-Lock is safer than using the chain. In your system you only have to break the weaker chain to get the rear wheel off. You can loop the U-Lock through the frame and wheel, or you can just loop it around the wheel so long as it is inside the rear diamond. If you do this, it looks at first glance like you could remove the frame, but actually, you would need to cut through the rims, which because of the circular tension are just as strong as the U-Lock. If you doubt that, that's fine, just attach both the frame and the rear wheel to the U-Lock. Finally, I would say that using a second cable to attach the seat is excessive, as the kryptonite cable you have can fit through the seat rails (this is what I do, and I have the same lock), The Kryptonite cable is stronger than that little cable you picture (and that so many people use), so using the bigger cable is safer. So you can get the exact same amount of safety by: 1) attaching the front wheel and seat with the cable, and 2) attaching the frame, rear wheel and cable with the U-Lock. Two locks total. It's faster, lighter, and affords precisely the same amount of security. Anyway, good idea having an instructible like this. I see so many badly locked bikes in the morning that have their wheels stolen by evening...
I see far too many bikes left unlocked altogether outside a place while people are getting things quickly, my stolen count today was 79, I could have picked up every one of those bikes, in fact there was a £500 cannondale sitting untethered and unguarded...
joe (author)  Asbestos6 years ago
Asbestos - I think you are missing the fact that I am using two separate locks.

I have a Kryptonite new york chain lock going through the rear wheel and through the bike rack see step 7 this means you would have to break the U-Lock with cables attached and then break the second lock the Krpytonite Nw York Chain Lock

The cable I have does not fit through the rails on my selle italia gel flite saddle on a thompson masterpiece post. Now I agree having two cables is a little extra to carry if you don't need them, but in this case I do.

-Joe
Asbestos joe6 years ago
Hi Joe, You're right, I didn't notice that the second chain was also attached to the rack -- I thought it was just the wheel to the frame. I think you are still better using the U-Lock to attach the rear wheel, though, since most (not all) U-Locks have higher ratings than most chains, and as a bonus are usually quite a bit lighter. Step 4 still does not add anything -- you have to cut the big lock(s) to get the frame, and if you cut the big lock the cable is free. I guess I'm probably lucky to have wide seat rails. It's very easy to thread the one cable through both my front wheel and my seat. In the end, you also have to balance in convenience. While it's true that having a big U-Lock AND a chain attached around the rack will be harder to break than just the U-Lock, you now have to lug two very heavy items when you commute, and this will quite likely lower many people's incentive to bike. A single U-Lock will stop all but the most dedicated and well-equipped thieves. And someone with the tools and time to break the U-Lock will also have the tools to break the weaker chain (although, of course, you are increasing the time they will need).
When you have an expensive bike, no weight is too much to give you absolute security. : P I know a lot of people leave their chains on the rack (where they work) and then only carry the U (or vice-versa). As for the U-lock being stronger than the chain- I don't think you're familiar with cold-hardened steel chain (aka the "Faghettaboutit" chain). Unless they have a lot of time on their hands to sit sawing through the chain with a power-tool in a public place, they aren't getting through one of those.
medium to large size bolt cutters versus Kryptonite Fahgettaboutit chain

29 seconds to cut the chain and not allot of noise.
Actually, if you have an expensive bike, the LAST thing you want to be doing is lugging around twelve pounds of U-Locks and chains! What's the point of spending $3000 on a feather-weight bike that you can lift with your finger if you then slap on pounds of chains to your back? Efficiency in weight needs to be considered when buying locks for the exact same reason that people choose to spend $1000 more for a fancy bike than a heavy bike. This is why most commuters have one lock, and possibly a cable as well. Any more weight and you may as well ride a motorcycle. A good U-Lock will stop anyone except people with power tools. Someone with power tools will cut the fughettaboutit chain even faster than they cut the U-Lock. Therefore the amount of protection you're adding is not worth the many extra pounds. And yes, if you're just leaving the chains on the rack at work, sure you could have twelve chains if you really wanted to. But most people ride their bikes to more than just one place.
(At least in my case) my "expensive" bike is a all-mountain bike, and thus weighs a ton anyway. I buy bike parts for durability, not weight. I often ride the aluminum steed into town (I don't have a road bike) and would be pretty darn pissed if someone grabbed a single part off the bike- if an extra lock can prevent this from happening- awesome.

I don't know where you're getting your info on U locks and cold-hardened chains- but my understanding (after researching the crap outta this after having a bike stolen) is that the metal on U locks is designed to *bend* rather than snap, so that pry-bar or brute force attacks are prevented. Unfortunately this softer metal also means it's more easily cut with a power tool. With a chain, however, you don't have to worry about pry-bar attacks (not enough space or leverage to really pry anything) so they are able to be made out of a MUCH harder (albeit more brittle) material. It would probably take 15 minutes and several blades to get through one of em, according to a UK bike magazine that tested a bunch of locks.

You might be thinking "hey, why does he care so much as to keep responding to these long-winded criticisms of a very valid locking system?" - well, I don't want people reading this to think that U locks are the "best lock." While Kryptonite makes a great U lock (the NY somethingorother), it's not the best.

Finally- why would I not mind carrying around gobs of heavy locks? Weight training : ) - Take them off when you're climbing the trails and you FLY.
dude i have a kryponite U-lock and its like unbreakable even if u use force on it......and if ur carrying a pipe around in a park 2 try to break it open its gonna look a tad bit weird
Don't fear bolt cutters anymore

If your bicycle is really worthwhile to you to protect get a good motorcycle security chain and high security lock.
ANY lock can be cut in a couple minutes with a battery operated dremel tool with a cutoff wheel. It is small, quiet, and relatively quick. Bolt cutters will go through most chains/locks and U locks can be opened with leverage provided by a 2x4 or piece of pipe. That said, if your bike is locked securely and the ones near it are not, guess who is going to be walking home. One point not made in this Instructable is that the bike should be locked in plain sight, where there is a lot of foot traffic and someone trying to jimmy the locks will be seen. That is the greatest deterrent of all. If you lock your bike under a rarely used stairwell you're asking for it to be stolen no matter how well you lock it. Finally, many people who ride quality bikes will make them look bad by covering the frame with duct tape, spray paint, etc. It takes even a trained eye some time to spot a good bike when it is camouflaged and buried amongst a bunch of walmart bikes. One more thing... if your main use for the bike is commuting to work on the street you really don't need quick-release on the seat post. Replace it with a stainless steel nut and bolt and the chances of your seat being stolen will drop considerably.
have you heard a dremel with a cut off wheel before? They are loud as he11! I used it to cut the gooseneck out of a broken scooter and my neighbors came over and asked me what I was doing... cutting the 1 inch gooseneck took a good 10 minutes, and that's a 1 inch hardened steel tube. Loud and not quick.
joe (author)  Mark Rehorst6 years ago
Oh Yeah Tyler thanks for bringing that up, you want to make sure your bike is locked in plain site.

I don't usually ride this bike to work, I ride a commuter bike with pinhead locking skewerson the wheels and seat collar. Still then I lock the rear wheel through the frame to the rack and then put the big new york chain lock through the frame and rack.

This is my commuter:

-Joe
IMGP2992.jpg
if a person really wants your stuff they will get no matter what you lock it up with. a pair of bolt cutters will end your security setup
you do all this work on your wheels when your bike computer is sitting helplessly on your handlebars, why. Also, dry and make this a bit more discreet, or people will think your a tool and cut the seal on you rear suspension, or cut your spokes, or unscrew your peddals, or scrach your paint job, or slash your tyres, or cut your brakes, or cut the material part of your seat open, or steal your handlebar grips, or break your chain, or bend your disk brakes...
rock it6 years ago
If you are leaving your bike in a place where you are worried about people taking your front fork (what, are they gonna disassemble the headset?), perhaps you need to move your bike to a more secure physical environment. I am jealous though about being able to ride a full suspension to work... I don't get that pleasure living in a city.
1-40 of 45Next »