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A Beginner’s Guide to Bicycle Locks in 2021

Beginner’s guide to bicycle locks: how to prevent bike theft and protect your bicycle.

Hundreds of thousands of bikes still go missing every year. According to Cycling UK from April 2015-March 2016, there were 327,000 incidents of bike theft in England and Wales

Of course, the best way to avoid getting your bike stolen is to never leave it unattended. However, this sometimes isn’t feasible if you’re riding to the shops, for a cheeky pint or to work and they don’t have secure bike storage. This blog runs through the different types of bicycle locks out there so you can choose a bike lock that works for you, plus there are some extra safety hacks at the end of the blog, we got you. 

Bicycle locked up on street

Types of Bike Locks

D Lock

You’ll see this one round a lot… D Locks consist of two parts - a U shaped metal tube and a straight bar with locks on top of it - creating a D shape (hence the name). They are very difficult to cut through and are often harder to pick than other locks. A great foundation lock to have and to use with other locks. 

Chain Lock

Made out of heavy steel links, chain locks are more flexible than D locks. Often the chain is covered with a protective sleeve which is there to help stop rusting or marking your bike. Chain locks either come with a key lock or a code at the end. This is a great lock to use in combination with a D Lock for better security and to lock up the wheels. However, they can be very heavy to carry around. 

Cable Lock

Similar to a chain lock, a cable lock is flexible and can weave around parts of your bike. It is much lighter than a chain lock so it’s easier to carry around. This does mean that they are much easier to cut through than solid metal locks. This is also a good one to use alongside a D-lock for better security. 

Anchor Lock

These are designed for indoor storage, like in garages and sheds and make sure the bike is always secure. They are secured to a wall or floor and you attach the bike with metal chains. This is convenient if you are storing your bike in shared communal facilities that could become compromised. 

bicycle on street

Extra tips for better bike security

Even with a good bike lock, there is still a risk of your bike being stolen, use our extra tips to ensure you’re doing all you can to help stop bike thieves from taking your bicycle.

  • Stick to high quality - there’s some things you don’t want to scrimp on and a bike lock is definitely one of them. Look for a silver or gold Sold Secure rating (Sold Secure is an independent, non-profit organisation based in the UK. They test and certify locks to make it easier to compare the security levels between different types and brands.) They start from around £20, which isn’t cheap but a worthy investment. 
  • Even if you’re leaving your bike for a few minutes, always use your bike lock. 
  • Use two locks. It may seem excessive but two locks are really better than one. If possible, use a combination of different locks at different parts of the bike. Place one lock around a wheel, the frame and your locking point. If possible, place the second lock around the solid object too.
  • Lock it to a solid, immovable object that has a closed loop so the bike can't be lifted over the top. Locking your bike to railings and street signs are a good place to lock your bike.
  • If your bike has quick release components (e.g. quick release wheel), make sure they are securely locked or replace them with lockable components. 
  • Lock up in a sensible place. Use secure bike parking if possible - there are often secure places that you can pay to use. If parking on the street, choose somewhere as public as possible with plenty of footfall around and CCTV cameras. Try not to leave your bike outside overnight.
  • Register your bike. Using a service such as Bike Register, who will physically mark your
  • bike with an identifying feature and link it to your identity on the police database. 
  • Ensure that the lock mechanism is as inaccessible as possible. For example, if you lock your bike to railings, position the mechanism on the other side where it can’t be easily reached by would-be thieves. 

Now that you know everything about bicycle locks and what bike locks are the best to purchase to be safe and secure - enjoy your ride!

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