How to Lock Your Bike

Unfortunately, bicycle theft is a reality, but with the right lock and a little know-how, you can greatly reduce the chances of losing your ride. In this video, we’ll talk about the different types of locks available, the security they provide, and where and how to lock your bike up for maximum security. We’ll also give you a few key tips on how to recover your bike if it is stolen.

Types of Locks

There are a number of different locks which offer varying levels of security and convenience.


A very common type of lock is the cable lock. This is a lightweight, easy-to-carry, easy-to-use lock. But, a cable lock is also the easiest lock to defeat. With little more than a wire cutter, a bike thief can take your property from you! A cable lock is great at keeping someone from getting on your bike and riding away but it offers little to no real security!

Cable Bike Lock


The next level of security is a lightweight chain. Not all chains offer the same level of security and, while better than a cable, an inexpensive and lightweight chain can easily be defeated with a small bolt cutter!


The highest level of security comes from a heavy-duty chain. The links on these chains are hardened to make it very difficult to cut through. They are also shaped in a way that makes it very hard to get a prying device between them. Add to that a super strong locking mechanism and a heavy-duty chain gives you the most security when locking up your bike!

Chain Bike Lock


A folding lock offers much more protection than a cable lock or a lightweight chain. Folding locks are quite convenient as they fold up to be smaller and easier to carry than a U-lock while still offering a high level of security.

Folding Bike lock


The U-Lock is the standard of security for bike locks. With a heavy-duty shackle and reinforced locking mechanism, a U-Lock is going to provide you with a high level of security!

Bike Locking Do’s + Don’ts

Bikes are often stolen right out from underneath your nose. Follow these key guidelines for when and how to lock up your bike.

  • If you are going to store your bikes in a garage, be sure to secure them at all times! Make sure that you secure your bikes to a solid point inside the garage. Garages are the number one target for bike thieves! It only takes seconds for your bike to ride away, even if you’re close by!
  • Even if you are only be gone for “a second”, be sure to secure your bicycle. It only takes a second for a bike thief to get on your bike and ride away. If it’s locked up, they won’t be able to ruin your ride!
  • NEVER store bikes unsecured on a porch. These areas are targets for bike thieves, even though they are technically inside your house.
  • ALWAYS choose high-traffic, well-lit areas to lock up your bike.
  • Avoid signs that can be unbolted and removed
  • Use extra caution and secure with the highest level of lock while locking a bike up in a secure bike parking area like those found in apartment buildings or parking garages. These areas are actually targets for bike thieves and can provide a false sense of security to those using them.
  • Be sure to secure all of the parts of your bike. Use cables along with U-Locks or chains to secure your frame, wheels, and anything else that you want to leave behind. A common mistake that riders make is only securing one of the wheels. This leaves the rest of the bike vulnerable to theft. A thief can easily remove the secured wheel and make off with the bike’s important parts!
    • Loop the accessory cable around the wheel that you can’t secure with the U lock. 
    • Use another accessory cable to secure any bags, cables, or even saddles to keep them secure while you are gone.
    • Use a U lock or heavy-duty chain to secure the frame and the second wheel to a solid, secure bike rack.
    • Remember to remove any lights and electronics along with any other accessory that is easily removed!
  • Long shackle u locks allow you to secure the frame and both wheels with even more security than a cable.
    • Park the bike next to a solid, secure bike rack.
    • Remove the front wheel and place it near the frame and the rear wheel. 
    • Secure all of the parts using a long shackle u lock.

Help! My bike was stolen!

Remember, no bike lock is 100%. If a bike thief really wants your bike, they’ll get it. But, there are things that you can do to get your bike back should it be recovered.

  • Be sure to file your receipts for reference later
  • Record your serial number in a place where it can easily be recovered.
  • Take a picture of your bike and any distinguishing features.
  • Register with your local city if a registry is available.
  • Use any of the third-party bike registration sites if they are available to you.

Click here to check out our selection of locks or stop into any ERIK’S location to learn more.