Keep your wheels where you leave them: Bike Locking 101

Few things are more heartbreaking than coming back to find your bike is missing. It happens to the best of us, but there are extra precautions we can all take to protect our rides.

1) Lock both the front wheel and the frame.

Do you have a quick release front wheel? Make sure any piece of your bike that could come off is secured to something. If you’ve ever seen an abandoned bike missing its front wheel, or just an abandoned front wheel – it used to belong to someone that should have locked their wheel and frame together.

2) Inspect the thing you’re locking onto.

Could someone lift the bike over the top of that post? Take a few seconds to think like a thief.

3) Make sure your lock is sturdy.

Avoid cable locks. Every year during undergraduate orientation, we would take the first broken cable lock of the year and use it to show parents what kind of lock *not* to buy their children. Invest in a sturdy U-shaped lock. If you have trouble getting both the frame and front wheel in your U-lock, get a bigger one.

4) Consider your seat.

It’s not as depressing as having your entire bike stolen, but a missing seat will still ruin your day. Tighten your seat and post as much as possible, and consider a seatpost lock.
Fortunately, your local transit agencies are working to keep your bike safe while you’re out and about. Check out these funky (but secure!) bike lids at the Santa Rosa Transit Center.

When you have your bike with you on BART, look for these Bike Spaces. These just make it easier to have a bike – you still need to keep an eye on it. It’s better not to lock your bike while riding the train, too.

Looking for a little fun? Check out this StreetFilm series: Hal and Kerri Grade Your Bike Lock. What would you give your bike locking prowess?
If all else fails and your bike is stolen while you’re at work, don’t forget about Contra Costa County’s Guaranteed Ride Home program!

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