Lock Your Bike Up

Lock your whole bike, not just the rim and tire!

Megan posted this photo on her Flickr site and boy did it catch me off guard. Having seen many wheels or frames left rotting due to mis-lock use I’ve never seen spokes cut out of a wheel to get the bike.

Here are some great resources for locking technique’s, reviews and photos:

How to lock your bike with cartoon descriptions
Kryptonite’s Tips
Lock reviews from 2006 (outdated but still a good resource)

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26 thoughts on “Lock Your Bike Up”

  1. Bill says:

    Wouldn’t it have been easier to just open the quick release?

  2. Arleigh says:

    I would assume it was a bolt on wheel or with locking skewers.

  3. Ringer says:

    Man oh man. That would be almost comical if it weren’t so downright nightmarish. And Malicious. Think about it: someone brought wire clippers (or tin snips) and purposefully, methodically went to town on those spokes. That’s frightening.

    Thanks for the reminder…

  4. Dylan says:

    Whether or not you cut the spokes, you still need to remove the hub!

  5. John says:

    I form a figure-8 with my cable lock passing through the frame, both wheels, and rack. I then use my U-lock to attach one wheel and the frame to the rack. So far, so good.

  6. Jon Grinder says:

    Maybe it was a Phil Wood hub, or something…

  7. Arleigh says:

    What’s interesting as you look at the picture more. If that rim was cut off of whatever hub. The hub would then have to be unbolted from whatever inorder to be released as the rim runs inside of the fork legs and rear stays. So I would agree with Jon to say that the person could release the wheel and chose to steal the bike and hub.

  8. Mike C says:

    Thief had a tool for cable locks, not U locks.

    When the only too you have is a hammer…

  9. ohio biker says:

    My guess is the thief figured out how to
    remove the hub from the fork only after
    they had already cut the spokes.

  10. Ghost Rider says:

    Maybe someone else stole the bike by releasing the wheel, and came back for the hub? I’ve seen plenty of bikes locked by front wheel only…even bolt-ons will only slow down a determined thief for a few seconds.

  11. Adam says:

    I am always surprised how people leave their bikes about. Some are “locked” to objects that are easier to compromise than the lock!

    As an example, locking your bike to a road sign probably isn’t such a hot idea. Most signs are bolted at the bottom. A couple wrenches are all that’s required to remove the sign post. Easy pickings.

    Not that I do this, but the general rule is to use (at least) two methods of deterrence: in this case a u-lock and a cable. The idea is that the tools to compromise each of the methods are somewhat different. I dunno how well bolt cutters work on cable. Any ideas?

    It’s the nature of physical security that you can’t prevent a theft (without extreme measures) – only slow it down or deter it. Unfortunately, this applies to bikes too. More-so because they require portability.

  12. Kevin says:

    I have to admit that when I was in college I stupidly locked my bike to a sign in front of my GF’s dorm over night. It rained all night long and when I got up the next morning someone had simply lifted the sign out of the mud and made off with my bike. I seldom leave my bikes outside anymore.

  13. Cafn8 says:

    I have been lucky enough to have never had a bike stolen. However, in college I once went out to find that while both wheels and frame were still securely locked to the rack, someone had removed the front wheel (which was secured by a thick cable to the U-lock which was around the rack the rear wheel and the frame). Apparently, realizing they couldn’t get any of the major components, they took the front quick release SKEWER. A souvenir for a frustrated thief?

  14. burnsey says:

    More reason not to commute with expensive bikes. Plenty of inexpensive decent bikes available on any day. I do lock mine, and run a second thin cable thru the seat, etc to keep that stuff from getting pinched as well. I also don’t leave my lights on the bike. Yeah, I spend a few minutes locking and unlocking, but so far so good.

  15. jamesmallon says:

    U-lock through the front frame triangle, front wheel and a solid object; cable through the back frame triangle, rear wheel, saddle and a solid object. Never overnight, rarely all day, always somewhere with major foot traffic. Good luck so far.

  16. cycle16v says:

    It’s probably a good time to remind everyone to register your bike at http://www.nationalbikeregistry.com

    Not that it would stop your bike from being stolen but it may be your last hope to ever get it back and not get put on the police auction block.

  17. John says:

    I can never find information when I need it. So what I did was I took several photos of my bicycle, including the serial number. I emailed all of this to my GMail account complete with a description of the bike with my serial number. This way I know where the information is and I can email it to law enforcement need be.

  18. Franklin says:

    That person had a lot of time on his hands to cut all those spokes. Also I was walking around University of Alabama this weekend and was shocked to see how many people just locked up the front wheel. Of their bike. Saw a few locks with a wheel attached. Makes you wonder if they say anything during orientation about locking up your bikes correctly.

  19. Johnny says:

    Be careful with the thin cables for seats. My needed-to-be-replaced-soon-anyway seat got swiped while it was locked in plain view in December. The thief cut the wire and made off the the pogo-stick that I always hated, but I had to leave my bike in my office until I got a new seat. I don’t know why someone would go through all that trouble for a worn-out seat and then leave the computer on there…

    A guy in my apt building leaves his bike with a U-lock through the spokes in the rear wheel, which only prevents a thief from riding it away. Bikes get stolen from that room (including mine two years ago), and his is STILL there. I’m stumped.

  20. Anonymous says:

    If you gotta lock just a wheel, lock the rear wheel, inside the rear triangle. Then they’ll have to cut the wheel itself apart to get your frame. If you have a locking skewer on the front, it’s pretty effective.

  21. Mr. DNA says:

    Anon 20: It takes about 30 seconds with a hacksaw to defeat that method. In response to the time required to cut the spokes- it doesn’t take much longer.

    The key things to remember are that if a thief wants your bike, he’ll get it and the nicer it is, the more likely it’ll get stolen. If you can’t live without your bike don’t put your trust in a lock. If you need to lock your bike outside in shifty areas don’t use a nice bike. That’s pretty much it.

  22. Fritz says:

    On my TODO list: shoot video of cutting through a rim to see if it’s actually possible. People who’ve tried it say it’s very difficult.

  23. Mr. DNA says:

    a guy on Fixed Gear Gallery posted a video of that a couple of months ago. It took just a smidgen more than 25 seconds, starting at the tire and cutting through the rim. Difficult does not mean that someone won’t do it.

  24. Fritz says:

    Mr DNA: I missed that one and can’t find it now. Any idea what I should search for? I’d love to see that video.

  25. cyclotourist says:

    This was mentioned by anonymous #20, but it’s basically the Sheldon Brown method: http://www.sheldonbrown.com/lock-strategy.html

  26. Spence says:

    Good photo educational.

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