On Monday, I’ll be riding my bicycle to work as part of our “Get There” project for the Connecticut Post. The concept is simple: Get to work without a car. A few of us Post reporters will be doing just that next week. They’ll be taking buses and Metro North. I’ll be the only one using human-powered transit.
To commute by bike, you’ll need a couple things besides a bike –– a serviceable floor pump and a pretty good lock. Let’s talk about the lock.
If you want to keep your bike, you’re going to have to learn a thing or two about bike locks.
When you buy a bike, it’s a good idea to have at least $40 to $130 left over for a good lock. I’m always amazed at all of the cheap, almost useless bike locks that I see at railroad stations.
One particularly ineffective lock type is the cable lock, even the thick ones. These can be defeated with a hacksaw or even a pair of wire snippers in about 6 seconds. I know because I’ve done it. And cheap chain locks can be cut without much trouble, too. Remember, you’re buying time. Most bike thieves will pass up a lock that they figure will take more than 10 minutes to defeat.
If I can make a blanket statement, you can’t by a good bike lock for less than $35. Even on-line.
So, if you want your bike to be waiting for you at the end of the workday, get yourself a nice, hardened steel, flat key U-lock, or a heavy-duty hardened chain lock. The type of lock you get depends on where you plan to lock up your machine. U-locks are great for bike racks, but are useless if you have to lock your bike to a light pole. So scout out parking spots for your bike and figure out how you’re going to secure it. If you can get away with a “mini” U-bolt, like the Kryptonite New York Fahgettaboutit Mini, so much the better. Mini U-locks can’t be defeated by so-called “leverage attacks” (i.e. car jacks) because there’s no room for a sufficiently powerful jack.
As for chain locks, my favorites are the Abus Steel-O-Chain 880 (good), the Kryptonite New York Fahgettaboutit 1415 (better) or the Abus Granit City 1060 (even better, but hefty).
Also, make sure you’re locking up the frame to the rack, not just one the wheels. You don’t want to return to find your front wheel, minus the rest of the bike.
You can use a “looped cable” in conjunction with your main lock to secure your front wheel and seat. Or, a separate armored cable with a built-in lock. Using an armored cable lock, like the Abus Milleninioflex 896, along with your U-lock, will make your bike very difficult to nick because different tools are needed to defeat these two different locks.