When you’ve found your perfect bike, the last thing you want is for it to be stolen. The most direct way to stop theft is a lock.
Types of lock
There are several options in locks, starting with the choice between a combo or key lock. Then you get to look at the grade and style of lock that’s right for you.
A basic light cable lock is extremely versatile, and can enable you to lock your bike to almost anything, from a rack to a tree. A light lock is also easy to carry around, though at the trade-off of security: lighter locks are also easier for a thief to cut through. A light cable lock is great for emergencies only, when you don’t plan to be out of eyeline of your bike for more than a few minutes; if you’ll only be locking it up to run in somewhere for a moment or two. It is significantly better than nothing.
A jointed lock offers significantly more protection than a light cable lock, while preserving the versatility. Jointed locks are the same or similar cable to a light cable lock, but covered by armoured steel links for additional security. They are almost impossible to cut through without lots of time and special equipment. The length and flexibility makes it possible to use a jointed lock to lock your bicycle around a wide variety of objects.
A U-lock can offer the strongest protection, but at the cost of some versatility: you need to find a bike rack or fence to lock it to. There are varying grades of U-lock, starting at the approximate strength of a jointed lock and going up from there.
Locking skewers are a way to secure the most easily removed portions of your bicycle – the wheels and seatpost. Most come standard with either quick-release or bolt-on skewers. Quick-release skewers allow for quick adjustability in seat height and easy removal of wheels for transport, but also quick and easy removal of those parts by a thief. Bolt-on skewers take more time to remove, but doing so requires only simple tools. Locking skewers, however, require tools specific to locking skewers to be removed, making it significantly more difficult for a thief to abscond with your wheels and seatpost.
Where you store your bike is also a part of theft prevention – it is much more secure indoors, in your home or a secure bicycle storage area.