Quick Tip: Hang Your U-Lock Key-Side Down

If you are anticipating rain while your bike is locked up, try to orient your lock in such way that water will run out of the lock cylinder.   This may make it harder to access the keyhole, but it will help prevent corrosion.

The problem is worse in the winter, when my lock picks up some of the road salt, but I have made it a habit whenever I lock my bike.   Speaking from personal experience, it is not fun spraying a lock with PB Blaster with the hope that my bicycle will be freed from a life of being locked to a bike rack.

If you use your lock on a daily basis, you probably don’t have much to worry about.   But if you find that your bike is locked up outside for extended periods of time, make sure any water can run out of the lock cylinder!

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0 thoughts on “Quick Tip: Hang Your U-Lock Key-Side Down”

  1. Ghost Rider says:

    In the photo above, the water will run down the legs of the “U” and into the locking body…I know this because every time it rains, I used to pour a cupful of rusty water out of the lock when I unlocked it. Now, I hang the U -lock the other way (flat bar facing up) and I take advantage of the rotating keyway cover that many locks now come with.

  2. Marko says:

    I know my Kryptonite evolution mini u-lock has a rotating cuff to stop water from going into the lock.

  3. Gavin says:

    In the photo above, never mind rain, the lock will be easily defeated with a bottlejack. Bye bye bike.

  4. david in fla says:

    Keyside down has caused more rust than keyside up for me. My Kryptonite has a keyhole cover, but like the first reply said, water runs down the lock and into the holes in the base. I disagree with this recommendation wholeheartedly.

  5. Matth says:

    In the winter I’d highly suggest you put a few drops of chain oil in the key hole. It’ll prevent the lock from rusting and most of all… jamming/freezing.

  6. NoTrail says:

    What? People ride in the rain? 🙂

    Actually since I’ve always locked my bike up inside, I don’t really have any perspective on this topic. Other than recommending that others lock their bikes up either indoors or under some form of shelter (if given the option).

  7. christomapher says:

    Gavin- there are also numerous other ways to defeat a U-lock, but I don’t think anybody was asking about that, considering the subject.

  8. Gavin says:

    Christomapher- I was merely pointing out that if a reader sees that picture, on a commuting site like this, they may assume it’s ok to lock your like in such a manner.

  9. Ghost Rider says:


    yep, we (well, some of us) ride in the rain. In summertime Florida, it is almost a given that one will get caught in the rain either going to or coming from work. It is nothing that anyone looks forward to, though…that’s for sure — especially since Florida is the lightning strike capital of the U.S.

    @Gavin, for that matter, someone could come along with a big pipe wrench, dismantle that pipe fitting and slip away with the bicycle, bringing it home to saw away the U-lock at their leisure!

  10. Shiny Flu says:

    @ Gavin:
    From memory JoelGuelph posted a pictorial commute on RBR and said that although his bike is locked as so, it’s just in front his office window.

  11. Ryan says:

    Locking your bike up that way would require 3 locks. What about your wheels? That also looks like a gas pipe. Bottle jack or pipe wrench? I don’t know if I would use those.

  12. NoTrail says:

    Ghost Rider – Yes, I realize people ride in the rain. I’m one of them. Just making a little humor.

  13. Ghost Rider says:

    Me too, dude. At this time of the year, it can be pretty pleasant to get out there in the rain, as long as there’s no lightning.

  14. Coelecanth says:

    Oil isn’t a good solution to corroding locks. It picks up grit and because the tolerances inside a lock are so fine that it could just make the problem worse. The best bet is powdered graphite, available at any hardware store, usually in the lock and key section.

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