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Like your bike? Then lock it right!

Guest Post by Teal Kreuger, Doug’s Spoke N’ Sport

While bike thefts may be down this spring and summer because of COVID, bike thieves have not gone away. And with offices, stores, and malls open again, and the start of another school year just around the corner, there’s no better time to make sure your lock and locking technique are on point. In this guest post Teal Kreuger, a salesperson at Doug’s Spoke N’ Sport, shares his tips on how to keep your ride safe. Doug’s is one of our Friends of Cycling sponsors.

Types of Locks:

U-Lock

Generally, the best security for dollar value will come from a U-lock. They’re constructed of solid steel and difficult to cut without a grinder. The down sides to U-locks are the difficulty in mounting them to some bikes and the lack of flexibility in the locks shape causing it to be more difficult to find locations to lock up the bike.

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Figure 1: Various U-Locks

Chain Locks:

Chain locks provide comparable security to U-locks with increased flexibility in their shape. Price wise chain locks will usually cost more than U-locks at a similar security level but are easier to find locations to lock up and/or lock up multiple bikes. When buying a chain lock ensure that the links are hardened steel to better resist cutting with bolt cutters. Most chain locks will be sold without mounts but can easily be coiled around the handlebars or seat post.

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Figure 2: Various Chain Locks

Folding locks:

Folding locks will usually be the most expensive option at a security level but are the easiest to mount on a bike and the lightest. They work like a combination of a U-lock and a chain lock; solid bars that fold into a small package that will usually mount on a bike in place of a water bottle holder. Their ability to change shape like a chain lock makes them easier to find locking locations or lock up multiple bikes.

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Figure 3: Various Folding Locks

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Figure 4: Folding Lock Unfolded

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Figure 5: Folding Lock Mounted to Bike

Cable locks:

Cable locks are constructed of braided steel and are usually the cheapest but least secure options. While the cable as a whole may be strong the individual strands are not, and it takes very little time and equipment to cut through them. Cable locks should only be used to lock up bikes for short periods of time in well populated areas or in conjunction with another lock to secure the wheels.

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Figure 6: Cable Lock

Wheel Security:

Wheel theft is a fairly common occurrence in Saskatoon and an expensive problem to remedy; a set of wheels with tires, tubes and gears will cost upwards of $200 on the low end. Fortunately reducing your risk of wheel theft is both easy and affordable. Most wheel thefts are crimes of convenience; the ease of removing a quick release wheel means it takes only moments to steal, as a result a heavy lock is not required. Simply using a looping cable, cable lock or security skewers should be sufficient.

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Figure 7: Keyed and Non-Keyed Security Skewers

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Figure 8: Various Loop Cables

Locking Up Your Bike:

To best mitigate your risk of bike theft one should lock the frame and rear wheel using a good lock onto something secure and use a secondary security option to secure the wheels (see above). The bike’s frame is the most expensive part on it and should be secured with a U, chain or folding lock.

The bike’s rear wheel is the second most expensive component and should be secured with the same strong lock as the frame if possible; if not possible the rear wheel should be secured with the same lock or option used for the front wheel.

When choosing a location to lock to make sure the object is solid and to large to more or permanently fixed in place; trees that can have locks fit around them are generally thin enough to snap and if you’re using a sign post make sure it is bolted or cemented to the ground.

In general, remember your lock is only as secure as whatever it is locked to. Lastly, make sure the bike is locked in a well trafficked location and never under any circumstance leave your bike locked up outside overnight; the more alone time you leave someone with the bike the easier it is to steal. If you have any other questions about bike security give us a shout at Spoke n’ Sport for more information.

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Figure 9: Bike Locked with U-Lock and Loop Cable

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Figure 10: Close Up Secured Rear Wheel and Frame

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Figure 11: Close Up of Secured Front Wheel

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Figure 12: Bike Locked with Folding Lock and Skewers

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Figure 13: Close Up of Secured Rear Wheel and Frame

Figure 14: Close Up of Secured Front Wheel

And don’t forget to register your bike with the Saskatoon Police Service. See our recent blog post Love your bike? Register it with Saskatoon Police Service

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