Security in the city.

You hopefully don’t own as many locks as this.

You hopefully don’t own as many locks as this.

I hate locks. Looking through our bike bin, we have a bunch of them for our family. Not because I’m a lock collector. It’s because different situations have different lockup needs. I suppose I could use one lock for everything but I don’t. Here are my 3 lockup strategies.

1. Cable Lockup. Cafe’s are about the only place I use a cable lock. I only do this when I can see my bike the entire time, ideally when there’s nearby outdoor seating. Any cable lock can be cut fairly easily so I’m always cautious about using them. Light versions are small and easy to carry in a jersey pocket or seat bag. You can wear heavier ones around your waist. When biking with friends, using multiple cable locks might make things slightly more secure. Truth is I don’t trust any cable lock when it’s out of my sight. A friend had his heavy cable lock defeated last year, locked merely feet from a busy brewpub door. Be wary using a cable.

2. Chain Lockup. This is usually a highly visible place with passerby traffic like a pub front. I use a heavy Kryptonite chain lock. It’s likely as secure as a U-lock but way easier to lock 2 or even 3 bikes together. I confess I don’t always worry about locking the wheels (my bad). BTW: My chain lock weighs more than my U-lock. It’s also a pain to carry around. Ugh. Like I said, I hate locks

3. U-lock. This is the only way I feel safe when I have to leave a bike in a poorly watched area. I never like to lock up in these places but sometimes you have to. Weakness; It’s hard to lock up more than one bike with a U-lock. And it’s a pain to secure a front wheel. On the plus side, my mini U-lock fits in a back jeans pocket.

Any lock can be breached and bike theft does happen in the GR area. Take a good picture of your bike and a picture of the serial number too. If your bike gets nabbed, make a Police report ASAP and shout out on social media. Stolen bicycles sometimes show up on Craigslist, Offer-Up or Grand Rapids Bicycle Swap. There are usually a couple interesting recovery stories each summer. A friend even spotted his stolen bicycle being pedaled and followed the rider until he stopped and asked why. The alleged thiefs response: "I just found it on a street”. It was given back instantly and the “thief” walked away leaving the rightful owner holding the handlebars of 2 bikes.

I wish we didn’t need locks. I hope your bikes are always safe and secure.

U-lock combined with a looped cable for the front wheel.

U-lock combined with a looped cable for the front wheel.

Or you can always just take your front wheel with you.

Or you can always just take your front wheel with you.