BikePGH!

Love your bike. Lock it right.

This topic contains 229 replies, has 71 voices, and was last updated by  Benzo 1 day, 2 hrs.

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BradQ

Private Message

May 25 2011 at 4:26pm #

If there is any doubt about how easy it really is to cut a cable lock, read on.

http://urbanvelo.org/why-cable-locks-suck/

Seriously, you can cut them with pliers.


orionz06

Private Message

May 25 2011 at 4:52pm #

What is the alternative that will secure both wheels and the seat?

If one is to judge Kryptonite as THE standard, their cables are thinner than what I use and suggested for low to moderate crime areas, the only areas in which my bike has been locked, and even then it was for minimal amounts of time.

I do agree that cables are easy to cut, but chains and U-locks are as well. If it came to me losing the ability to keep the bike indoors where only co-workers have access I don’t think I would commute anymore, I don’t trust a nice bike to be outside for very long, regardless of the locking method.


cburch

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May 25 2011 at 5:29pm #

u lock through the frame. cable through everything else that matters with the looped ends in the u lock. also a length of bike chain looped through one saddle rail and one of the seat stays is a great way to leave your qr seat both safe and adjustable.

the only “easy” way to get through a decent and properly used ulock is an angle grinder and the crack/meth heads in the burgh dont use them. if we had pro bike thieves like philly or nyc that might be different.


Rina

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May 25 2011 at 5:31pm #

When it comes down to it, a determined thief can pretty much always steal your bike or your car or break into your home given sufficient time and opportunity and the proper tools.

All you can do is try to make it less attractive to them. Use multiple methods of locking and good locks; pick the places where you lock your bike carefully (i.e. not to street signs that can be easily dismantled); try to lock your bike in high-traffic areas where a thief can’t work unobserved; and try not to leave your bike parked for long periods of time in high-crime areas.

If you still get robbed in spite of all that–well, at least you tried.


cburch

Private Message

May 25 2011 at 5:40pm #

an effective, if morally murky, way to make sure your bike isn’t stolen is to lock properly near poorly locked bikes.

you don’t have to outrun the bear. just the other campers.


dmtroyer

Private Message

May 25 2011 at 6:21pm #

@brad I see bike thieves whipping out their park tool cable housing cutter all the time.


cburch

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May 25 2011 at 7:24pm #

all it takes is a pair of angle cutters. they don’t even need to be that sharp.


Italianblend

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May 28 2011 at 6:42pm #

As some of you may know I am new to biking, but this free-for-all theft makes me sad. =( Can’t enjoy anything anymore without having to think of someone stealing your stuff.


robjdlc

Private Message

May 28 2011 at 7:07pm #

Its only a free-for-all if you don’t lock it right. As this thread has repeated, if you lock smart with a U-lock, you’ll be fine. Its the folks who dont heed the advice that get their stuff stolen, in most cases.


Italianblend

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Aug 19 2011 at 12:40am #

Hi guys, a question about u locks.

I have a bulldog mini, and it’s pretty small so I’m not sure I can put it through my tire and frame, unless I do it in the rear frame which is thinner and runs along the side of the wheels. Is this an okay place to lock it? It would go through the spokes and not the actual wheel. I have been locking it just by the middle frame only. I assume this is going to be okay when I lock it at work, as it will be on a camera anyway, and I don’t anticipate anyone messing with it.

Also, this is going to sound like a dumb question, but I am going to Myrtle Beach in a few weeks and I was going to rent a bike. I am not checking luggage, just a carry-on. Would I be allowed to put the u-lock inside the carry-on? I highly doubt it, but I was just curious.


humblesage

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Aug 19 2011 at 12:56am #

I haven’t seen a mini used in any other way than you mention. You can always get a double-thick cable or chain (heavy) from a bike shop to strap through your wheels and seat when you need more long-term parking. That’s what I’ve done for years and I think it just scares people off looking at the tangled mess of loops that happens when I’m in a hurry.


Marko82

Private Message

Aug 19 2011 at 1:00am #

Use the Sheldon method.

http://www.sheldonbrown.com/lock-strategy.html

If you have a quick release front hub you may also want to use a cable too.

Not sure about the TSA, maybe try and call ahead.


rsprake

Private Message

Aug 19 2011 at 1:13am #

Leave a cable lock at work locked to the rack and you can lock your front wheel with that if you are worried. I think you are ok locking up to anything that is a part of the frame. I’ve personally never had any luck with the Sheldon method and a bulldog mini.

As for the lock and TSA, are you sure that the rental place won’t be giving you a lock to use? In my experience the rental places supply a lock.


humblesage

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Aug 19 2011 at 1:57am #

Minis are too short for the Sheldon usually. Rear triangle is often too wide.


pistat

Private Message

Aug 19 2011 at 5:23pm #

I can almost always do the Sheldon method with my Bulldog Mini. On my cross bikes I can also usually lock my front rim alongside the rear this way. Sometimes I have to lock through the front wheel’s spokes, but that’s better than nothing. On my beer-getter I don’t even bother locking the front – hasn’t been stolen yet.


John

Private Message

Aug 19 2011 at 7:19pm #

Also usually lock with the sheldon method with a older model bulldog mini.

I have brought U-locks in carry-on. Usually get a thorough search of my luggage, but never had a problem. Trying to bring a set of allen wrenches too, though? Forget it. :P


randy

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Aug 19 2011 at 8:18pm #

Good info and funny as all get out : http://www.streetfilms.org/hal-grades-your-bike-locking/


humblesage

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Aug 20 2011 at 2:11am #

“Also usually lock with the sheldon method with a older model bulldog mini.”

Seems to depend on your setup and what you lock to. It looks like there’s only about 5 inches to work with there. Maybe it’s just my fender/rack combo getting in the way back there. It’s cool to know that it IS possible though. ;)


pinky

Private Message

Mar 19 2012 at 1:12pm #

I’ve been using an ancient U-lock. This morning the key snapped in half, which leads to some questions:

Is the Bulldog Mini still everyone’s favorite lock? What should I look for when I go shopping for my replacement?

Secondly, what can you do with an old U-lock with a barely functional nub of a key? Seems like I should be able to do something creative with it instead of just pitching it.


salty

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Mar 19 2012 at 1:40pm #

Might be worth taking the key to the hardware store to see if they can still duplicate it.

I think the bulldog mini is a bit too mini for some situations. I have one but I usually use a normal size ulock nowadays which is easier to deal with – it works on thicker poles and I can often get the frame and the wheel. The argument for the mini is it’s harder for a thief to get a jack inside but I have never heard of that happening in pgh.


chefjohn

Private Message

Mar 19 2012 at 1:44pm #

damn pinky that sucks. i too used the same ancient u-lock for about 15+ years until the day the key broke off at work leaving me stranded. unfortunately there was nothing of my key left that was usable and i had to call a friend with a cordless grinder to come and cut the damn thing off. i went and bought a krypto mini and have been very happy with it. it is a little harder to lock up the crossbike with properly because of it’s diminuitive size but it seems to work fine with the rest of the fleet. plus it takes up much less space in my bag and is much lighter.

as for suggestions for uses for a busted lock, i’m coming up empty.


jonawebb

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Mar 19 2012 at 1:49pm #

Just saw “We Need to Talk About Kevin” so your question brings all kinds of horrible images to mind. And then there’s the end of “Inglorious Basterds”. Anyway, I supposed you could use it one last time, to attach together two things that you wanted to keep locked, perhaps as a prank, at least until somebody with an angle grinder comes along.


pinky

Private Message

Mar 19 2012 at 1:51pm #

This is what the key looks like now (note it was already repaired with tape):

I’m thinking a full-size U-lock is a good bet for me since my commuter is a MTB. I’ve read about people breaking bigger locks with a jack, but I’ve also never heard of it happening in the Burgh.

That’s a huge bummer chefjohn – as soon as it snapped I was like “Oh #*%” but I think it’ll make it though the day before being retired to the big bike rack in the sky.


pinky

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Mar 19 2012 at 1:55pm #

Hmmm. A prank you say? Totally thinking of U-locking a coworker’s chair to his desk.


chefjohn

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Mar 19 2012 at 2:00pm #

good one pinky!


Mick

Private Message

Mar 19 2012 at 3:02pm #

There is possibly some kind of serial number on the key, which woiuld allow the company to replace it.

I’m not sure if that works for very old locks. It seems to me that if Kryptonite give a lifetime guarantee for their locks, they would be responsible for a broken key for a long time.(but not a lost one)


asobi

Private Message

Mar 19 2012 at 3:40pm #

Any thoughts on mounting brackets for u-locks? Ideally it’d be nice to secure the mini u-lock to the seat post, and have a separate mounting bracket on each bike, but I’ve never found a good secure mounting bracket to buy.


edmonds59

Private Message

Mar 19 2012 at 3:48pm #

If that’s the cylinder type key, you should be replacing that lock regardless:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=o-LWGJzglho&feature=fvwp&NR=1


Pierce

Private Message

Mar 19 2012 at 4:29pm #

Kryptonite has a decent mount and when it breaks they’ll replace it for free.


Pseudacris

Private Message

Mar 19 2012 at 4:32pm #

@pinky: I have an OnGuard Mini Pitt Bull U Lock. It comes with a ton of keys and works well, but it is usually not possible for me to lock a wheel & frame onto the rack, so I supplement with a long cable for my wheels & seat. I have a mixte frame and full fenders.

@asobi: Portland Designworks has a new small front basket with a slot for holding the U Lock. The basket seems overpriced to me, but the slot design is interesting & maybe you could invent a mod with a pipe and some plumbing hardware and rubber to cut down on rattles. Or, super velcro strips – tie it to the frame that way?


salty

Private Message

Mar 19 2012 at 5:27pm #

+1 to what edmonds said – replace that lock regardless.

I have one of those sitting around my house and I have no idea what to do with it. I couldn’t even give it away with a clear conscience.


pinky

Private Message

Mar 19 2012 at 6:15pm #

Yeah it’s a long overdue replacement for me. I knew it was a crappy lock but always counted on the whole bear/camper perspective since there are so many more poorly locked bikes.

Though if I can get it to reliably lock and unlock with a pen, my broken key problem is solved right? :)


rsprake

Private Message

Mar 19 2012 at 7:32pm #

I think the u-locks you will find at any fine bike retailer are going to be good. I prefer on guard myself, the mini is too small but it’s a breeze to unlock and lock again compared to the kryptonite lock I have.


jonawebb

Private Message

Mar 19 2012 at 7:52pm #

For a while Kryptonite was giving replacement locks to anyone with the old tubular-keyed lock, I think as a result of a class-action lawsuit. It was a pretty good deal (one of the only times I got any direct benefit from such a lawsuit), but I think they eventually caught on that they’d greatly increased the value of the old locks and stopped.

Now I have the high tech key that looks like a rectangle with two pairs of notches cut in it, surrounding an angled piece of metal. Never understood how they managed to make a key that looks so completely generic.


StuInMcCandless

Private Message

Aug 27 2012 at 12:37am #

With four posts in 24 hours about stolen bikes, it’s time to top this old thread.

EDIT: My daughter is trying out a bike version of “The Club” for her new bike at college. Said it cost her all of $5. It looks a bit like a U-lock, only more square.


J Z

Private Message

Aug 27 2012 at 12:57am #

^ They have those @ Big Lots. If someone decided to go that way, I would suggest the Ultra Bike Club with the flat key, vs. the version they’re selling with the cylinder. I’ve seen them have both. Kinda small, though.


scott

Private Message

Oct 9 2012 at 3:29pm #

Top


scott

Private Message

Oct 9 2012 at 4:36pm #

Andy Sheehan from KDKA is doing a story on bike thefts in Pittsburgh and tried and true ways of deterring it. I just finished going over all of the common theft scenarios. Not sure when the story will air, but probably in the next few days.


Anonymous

Private Message

Oct 9 2012 at 8:36pm #

Personally I just use two ulocks. Typically sheldon method with back wheel and front wheel to the frame (and if possible to something else). I’ve never had a problem with this method in and around boston for about 10 years and now a few years in pgh.


pinky

Private Message

Oct 10 2012 at 12:27pm #

Just a thought on stolen bike message board threads – and feel free to disagree with me on this.

This seems to be a typical pattern for stolen bike threads:


Someone – My bike got stolen from x it looks like y

Someone 2 – How was it locked?

Someone – Cable lock/not at all/inside blah blah

Someone 2 – Cable locks suck/You should always lock your bike/Never leave your bike there etc etc.


Now I understand that we want to know how the stolen bikes were locked, so that we can keep an eye on what is trending for how far bike thieves will go. But do we think it’s necessary to always say “cable locks suck” or “never leave your bike unlocked”?

I find it a wee bit grating that someone comes here for help and gets a sort of “You should have known better” response. Or is that just me?

If it’s just me, please carry on. Just thinking about community and such.

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