So here’s how I generally lock my Sturdy Commuting Bike (click to enlarge):
Essentially, this is Sheldon Brown’s method, using a D-Lock (or, if you like, U-Lock) to secure the rear wheel of the bike to a good sturdy, immovable object. Said object needs to be some sort of hoop, or tall enough, so that the bike can’t simply be lifted, lock & all over the top of it.
When you first look at Sheldon’s method, it seems wrong. Surely, all you have to do to steal the bike is remove the back wheel? Not so – it’s impossible to get the back wheel through the rear triangle, so by securing the rear wheel like this, the rest of the bike’s also locked.
I also use a secondary chunky cable lock to secure the front wheel, and provide a little more visibility to the fact that this is a locked bike.
Using two different types of locks is a great way to deter thieves, as they’ll need to use two different sets of tools, and take twice as long to do the job. Of course, to go the whole nine yards on this, the cable shouldn’t just be secured to the D-Lock, but should have its own separate lock. But this is my sturdy commuting bike – it’s heavy enough as it is without adding yet another lock, and it’s a pretty cheep bike (has to be, as it gets left in all sorts of places!)
Looking in detail at the U-Lock:
I’ve also not gone for the smallest lock I could get, but it’s still considerably smaller than some.
This is a vulnerability, as it means there’s sometimes space to get a bottle jack in there, which is the vulnerability in most D-Locks. However, this does give me a little more flexibility about what I lock my bike to, as it’s quite rare to find stands / racks / posts that are suitable for the smaller, harder to break locks.
Anyway, here are the key points for locking up like this:
- The lock secures the rear wheel to a suitable post
- Make sure the lock is within the rear triangle of the frame, and that way, the rear wheel cannot be simply removed.
- Spend about 10% of your bike’s value on the lock to protect it
- Smaller D-Locks are harder to defeat than big ones
- A secondary cable is used to secure the front wheel