In my last post I mentioned that my first bike was stolen. This reminded me of one of the most important accessories you need to buy along with your first bike: the best bike lock you can afford.
One of the reasons my first bike was stolen was that I’d bought a cheap cable lock from Walmart. (I’d also left my bike in a sketchy place for a good couple of hours, but that’s another story!)
Getting back to the cable lock, I didn’t know this at the time but these just don’t do a good job of keeping your bike safe. They are easily snipped with cable cutters and bike thieves and junkies will target bikes locked up with cable locks because they’re so easy to steal!
Do yourself a favor and get a good lock as soon as you buy your first bike. It’s better do some research and spend a bit more money now, than to loose your bike and your lock and maybe even your enthusiasm for cycling later on.
You don’t even have to spend a lot of money! After my first bike was stolen I bought a Kryptonite Kryptolok Series 2. I can’t remember how much it cost but it wasn’t more than $40. I’ve still got the same lock and I’ve not had another bike stolen. So it sure does work!
Kryptonite have a great reputation for custom care and their locks seem well made. Mine works as well as the first day I bought it and it must be nearly four years old now! But there are other brands like OnGuard and Master Lock that you could check out too.
I chose a U-lock because they were recommended as being the most secure and practical way to keep your bike safe. (And I chose the Kryptolok because it has lots of security awards.) You could also use a thick chain. Just don’t buy a cheap cable lock from Walmart!
Once you’ve got yourself a lock, you need to make sure you know how to use it properly. There’s a ton of useful information online. This is a pretty straightforward guide with good advice.
The most important thing to remember is: always fasten the lock around the frame. This might seem obvious but I see so many bikes where the owner has only locked the front wheel to the the bike rack. If you do this, a thief only has to un-attach the front forks from the wheel to walk away with the rest of the bike. So remember, always fasten the lock around the frame, one wheel and the bike rack!
But the bottom line is: make sure you buy a good lock as soon as you buy your bike. And budget for the lock when you’re deciding how much to spend on the bike. They say you should spend 10 – 15% of the cost of your bike on a lock, but I think you should spend as much as you an afford. Better to be safe than sorry!