Bikes & Trains
|Choosing a Cycle Lock|
All bike locks can be broken. Some will take longer to break than others, and some will require the thief to have extra tools with him e.g. bolt croppers. Both of these draw attention to the would be thief making his job more risky and consequently your bike more secure. |
There are loads of differing types of cycle locks, all at different prices. So which should you choose? The Master Locksmiths Association administer a scheme called Sold Secure that lists devices that provide a minimum level of security. At the top level are the Gold rated locking devices. These give you maximum security but may be too bulky or expensive for the average user. The Silver and Bronze levels may be lighter and cheaper but should still offer protection against the opportunist thief. When deciding on the level of cycle security you need, consider how much your bike is worth, where you will be leaving it, and how often and for how long it will be left locked up. You may even want to consider buying more than one type of cycle lock, which will make your bike more difficult to steal.
With regard to budget, you generally get what you pay for so be prepared to spend a reasonable amount on your bike locks. The more expensive your bike, the more you should be prepared to pay.
|Types of Lock|
D-lock / U-lock|
These are rigid bars of metal formed in a U shape, that lock into a barrel forming a D shape. Usually these are heavy and rugged looking. If using this type then the closer fitting the lock is around the bike, the more difficult it will be for an amateur thief to break the lock without damaging the frame. Although this type is often regarded as the most secure, the strength offered varies from model to model and is reflected in the price. Some can be easily opened using only a cap for a ball point pen, where as others require the use of a car jack. Since these locks can be broken consider using another type of lock along with this type.
Chains and Padlocks
Many cyclists believe that the safest option is to use a good quality, heavy duty, hardened steel chain combined with a good padlock with hardened shackle. The downside of this combination is that it is heavy, and very awkward to carry around. However, once you have established your favorite space you can leave your chain and lock there ready for use, without the hassle of carrying it back and forward each day.
These are more flexible, lighter and more easily handled than a chain. Consequently they are less secure. Cheap versions are easily cut through and shouldn't really be relied upon to keep a bike safe. However thin cables are useful for securing wheels, saddles etc. If you are using a cable, make sure you that the padlock is of good quality.
These resemble handcuffs, fixed to the bike frame behind your seat post. They lock through the rear wheel preventing it from being rotated. The idea being that no one can then cycle away on your bike. Unfortunately, they don't stop someone carrying your bike away. So if you must use this type make sure you use a decent lock to secure your bike to an immovable object.