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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I have a good U lock that I use for my commuter/utility bike, but it seems like such a hassle to bring it with me on long solo rides on the roadie. But then when I have to go into a store to pick up water or a snack and have to leave my bike unlocked in front of the store, I end up being so nervous and twitchy that I think it's not worth it (at times I also run outside to see if everything is OK, making the store clerk suspicious).

Anyhow, do you guys always carry some type of lock on any ride? What locks do you suggest (small and light is my concern)?
 

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iamnotfilip said:
I have a good U lock that I use for my commuter/utility bike, but it seems like such a hassle to bring it with me on long solo rides on the roadie. But then when I have to go into a store to pick up water or a snack and have to leave my bike unlocked in front of the store, I end up being so nervous and twitchy that I think it's not worth it (at times I also run outside to see if everything is OK, making the store clerk suspicious).

Anyhow, do you guys always carry some type of lock on any ride? What locks do you suggest (small and light is my concern)?
I always carry a little cable lock in the seatbag. Enough to secure the bike for a few minutes in a visible spot in front of a store, to address precisely that issue.
 

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Don't leave it.

There you go.

I just take it into the store if I am desperate. 7-11's don't care. They do laugh at my shaved legs.
 

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Argentius said:
There you go.

I just take it into the store if I am desperate. 7-11's don't care. They do laugh at my shaved legs.
If I am with a group, we usually leave them outside and no one bothers with them. Plus out of the group I think my speedplay pedals and tiny seat are the least welcoming to someone trying to make a dash.

When I am by myself I will pull the bike inside. The cyclists in my area give the Quickie Marts great business so they are always willing to work with us.
 

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The theft protection you use should be proportional to the threat. For instance, you would more likely use a U-lock in New York City than in some country town in Vermont. And locks aren't guarantees against theft, just a deterrent. If someone sees your bike is locked they might be ABLE to break the cheap lock but it may take too long or not be worth the hassle so they move on. And, a lock of ANY type deters those who might steal your bike on a sudden impulse.

That said, I carry a 6' coiled cable lock with a combination padlock on long rides. It takes up most of a jersey pocket which can be a factor on long rides, but it's worth the peace of mind. There are smaller cable locks out there, just know that they're not much of a deterrent in high crime areas. For the best theft protection, definitely lock your bike, and secure the frame AND both wheels to a fixed object.

If I'm on group rides, when we take turns guarding the bikes while the others go into the store.

I know I won't feel as bad if my bike is stolen but with a lock I at least made an attempt to keep it safe.
 

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For "can't walk away with it" deterrence, check out those little lock-boxes they make for laptops and stuff.

It's just a THIN little steel cable -- I mean you could practically break it with wire cutters. But, you could not simply walk away with it, and they have a siren that wails loudly if the cable is cut.

No link right now, but I thought once of getting them for just what you describe -- in the jersey pocket.

Then I thought, screw it.

Get renters' insurance.
 

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OP, what kind of areas are you riding in? If you're out in the country, I wouldn't worry about it. Maybe in an urban / shady part of town, sure. Or a busy store on an interstate exit maybe.
 

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Unless you are riding in a seriously bad part of town, the lock is more about your paranoia than any real risk. Most folks really do leave other folk's stuff alone, particularly if it's right near the door - they never know when the owner is going to emerge, and foot traffic and eyeballs make it not worth the risk. If you are at a gas station or convenience store, they are so covered with survelliance video that no one is going to steal it. Sure, there's the guy with the ski mask and the gun, but he's headed for the cash register. Most of the time, I leave it at the door. If there's a bunch of kids hanging around, I'll wheel it in. I've never had to explain more than jerking a thumb in their direction. The kid or undocumented alien behind the counter isn't paid enough to care if your bike is in there.

If you do feel the need for security, all you really need to do is make someone pause just enough to stop an impulse grab. An ordinary padlock around the chain and a rear spoke keeps a bike from being ridden or rolled, and carrying it away is too obvious. If you don't like the risk that a thief will damage the bike by not seeing the lock, a lock through a chainring is a bit less secure, but more obvious. It won't keep it from rolling off, but will render it unrideable - which is probably enough.

Argentius mentioned the computer lock / alarm, and that's not a bad idea, either. Google Targus Defcon 1.

 

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Never have carried a lock, just trust my good luck. On the two or three occasions I felt that there could be a problem, I dropped the chain on the bottom bracket to prevent a ride-off. As someone said, people really aren't interested in bikes with ridiculously skinny tires and saddles.

For what it's worth, I had two good bikes stolen in my life—both of them in Europe. I guess they really know the value of a racing bike there . . . :D
 

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Helmet Strap

danl1 said:
If you do feel the need for security, all you really need to do is make someone pause just enough to stop an impulse grab...
I just buckle my helmet strap through the some part of the bike and attach it to a trash can, pole, whatever I can find, sometimes just through the front wheel. Visibility through the shop window is more important than the stoutness of what you buckle your bike to. As noted, the goal is to deter the quick grab. A watchful eye and the strap makes me feel reasonably secure unless I need to take an extended dump.

If someone wants your bike just about any lock light enought to carry on an extended road ride will be quickly defeated. On top of that, if they really want your bike they will wait until you have it unlocked and while you are standing there in your slippery shoes just kick the crap out of you and take it anyways.
 

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Why not just carry a spare waterbottle in your jersey pocket? Three should be good for 75 to 90 miles.
 

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Keeping up with Junior said:
I just buckle my helmet strap through the some part of the bike and attach it to a trash can, pole, whatever I can find, sometimes just through the front wheel. Visibility through the shop window is more important than the stoutness of what you buckle your bike to. As noted, the goal is to deter the quick grab. A watchful eye and the strap makes me feel reasonably secure unless I need to take an extended dump..
Exactly what I've been doing for many years. I've never lost a bike.

And in many instances, I roll my bike into the store.
 

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Discussion Starter · #14 ·
Thanks, guys all good suggestions. I live in Toronto, Canada, and the city has been known to have a bike theft problem for a while. Apparently these are not opportunists, or youth causing mischief but organized bike thieves. The root of the problem is some known LBS who buy (in fact hire these guys to steal) bikes, let them sit in their basement for a while and then sell them. Police have been working on these problems and last summer busted the most notorious of these guys with an undercover operation. But the point is police estimate 50,000 bikes get stolen each year in Toronto.

Regardless, I feel safe leaving it in most places for a short while. I also look out for places with windows where the bike is visible. I never thought of bringing it with me into a larger store as I always look out for small stores, with the counter close to the exit, wait for no one to be there and then quickly go in and out.

I like the idea of a dropping the chain onto the bottom bracket, although if hit by a bycicle thief, when he sees the pedals, he'll know that he can just outrun me carrying the bike with me in my bike shoes.

The helmet thing is neat, just a little more piece of mind, which is exactly what I'm looking for.

Cable locks, I've always considered, but I'm always loathe to carrying it and whenever I think of buying one, I feel that I'll never use it, and when it comes down to it, I'll never take it. The computer lock might be my solution if I find one without a big box.

Extra water bottle is out of the question. I don't like to carry too many things in my pockets as it warms me up too much, plus I drink and spray so much water on me in the summer, that 3 water bottles may not be enough on some rides.
 

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Nice that they caught him. But if the bike is $5k+ ....

would it be considered grand theft, thus more of a penalty? Just wondering since there are some prety expensive bikes out there. I'm glad they at lesat caught the guy but they should have put a pinareello prince under his arm for all the troubles he's caused. :) 50,000 bikes a year is alot of bikes.
 

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+1 cable lock

Out in the ex-beltway suburban NJ, there is not too much bike theft but while I am in a store for three minutes, it gives me peace of mind to have the cable lock on my bike. Especially if I am riding solo, which is half the miles.
 

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You could always pop your front wheel off and carry it with you. That would at least foil those tempted to ride it away.

or

Move to Wisconsin. More than once I have left the garage door open, I mean wide open, and left for the weekend only to return and find I still have all my stuff. Going into a C-Store is not a big deal here.
 
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