A Beginner’s Guide to Bike Locks

In November 2014, Oxford County Cycling Committee teamed up with the non-profit organization Transportation Options to develop cycling routes that would appeal to Ontario cyclists. The routes vary in length, and some estimate that they will be ready to launch in 2015.


Additionally, the county encouraged local businesses to offer cycling amenities such as healthier food options, bike locks, and water bottle refills. The routes and the amenities will transform the area into a prime cycling destination.

Whether you are a local resident or a cycler visiting from afar, these new routes will likely provide plenty of fun and enjoyment for you and your friends or family.

However, even the safest routes in Ontario present their own risks. If you don't use caution with your bike, someone could steal it while you refill your water bottle or grab a healthy snack. If you plan on biking popular routes in Ontario, consider purchasing a proper lock for your bike.

Types of Bike Locks
Bike locks come in all shapes and sizes, and they each have their own benefits and drawbacks. If you're not sure which bike lock to choose, check out the types below.

Cable Locks
Cable locks use a length of cable that you can use to secure to a nearby bike rack. Many cable locks have springs that automatically coil the cable when needed, making them easier to carry. These locks are ideal for low-risk areas and for use in combination with other locking mechanisms. However, they offer little protection against a determined thief. A quick snip with bolt cutters can cut through smaller cables without much fuss.

Chain Locks
Chain locks function much like cable locks in that you can loop them around a bike rack or post to secure them. Depending on the chain's thickness, you could use a chain lock in higher-crime areas because it resists hacksaws and chisels. But if the chains consist of weaker metals, or if the lock itself is small and weak, thieves can easily cut through the lock with bolt cutters. And chains weigh a lot, which can make them awkward to lug around.

U-Locks
U-locks (also known as D-locks) are among the most popular bike lock type due to the security they offer. These u-shaped locks resist hammers and chisels. Additionally, they limit the space that a thief can insert a crowbar and leverage the lock apart. Better still, bolt cutters don't stand a chance against the hardened steel.

However, keep in mind that u-locks can prove hard to carry and use, as the rigid shape will only fit around a set size. And smarter thieves could crack the digit combination on the lock by looking for gaps between the numbers.

If you live in a high-crime area, consider using multiple means of locking your bike, such as a u-lock that uses a combination code and a u-lock that needs a key. Have a professional locksmith cut spares of your keys in case of accidental lockout.

Seat / Wheel Skewers
Some bikes come with quick-release wheels and seat posts. This enables you to quickly remove and replace your wheels in the event of a flat tire. However, it also means that thieves could quickly steal your wheels at moment's notice.

To minimize theft, wheel skewer locks replace quick-release posts, and they require a special steel key to wrench open. This makes it tougher for thieves to make off with your expensive V brakes or custom saddle.

Additional Factors to Consider
Before purchasing a new lock (or locks) for your bike, you'll also want to keep the following factors in mind.

Size
The smaller the bike lock, the less room a thief has to manoeuvre. But if a lock is too small, it won't fit your bike, and it will limit the locations you can lock your bike at.

Maintenance
Some locks seize up if not properly maintained—sometimes with your bike still attached. Certain locks require regular lubrication to function properly, and you may want to use a good water repellent to prevent corrosion.

Anti-Theft Guarantees
Some bike locks come with anti-theft guarantees. While this may add to the initial price tag, these guarantees ensure that you can receive compensation should a thief manage to get past your security. For example, the San Quentin Shackle comes with a theft-replacement guarantee of $4,000, while the Kryptonite New York Fahgettaboutdit mini U-lock comes with a theft-replacement guarantee of $4,500.

Be sure to read the fine print for these guarantees before purchasing your new lock. Some guarantees require you to register for the offer within 15 to 30 days of purchase, and if you fail to register within that period, you void the guarantee. And some guarantees expire within a year, so if a thief happens to break past the lock after that date, you won't receive compensation.

As you keep these factors in mind, you can find the right lock for your bike and your budget. With a little extra care, you can rest assured that your bike will stay safe as you hit the upcoming trails.

Affordable Lock is a locksmith in Markham that is a source for trusted security products. Call 905-477-7618 if you need locksmith services or have any questions regarding how to keep your property secure.


Affordable Lock is a locksmith in Markham serving the Greater Toronto Area, including Scarborough, Aurora, North York, Newmarket, Richmond Hill, Vaughan and Stouffville. With over 30 years of experience, we pride ourselves on looking after your commercial or residential locksmith needs. Affordable Lock’s showroom in Markham showcases a wide selection of keys, locks and an assortment of other security products for your home or business. Whether you are looking to upgrade your home or business’s security, or solve security issues, Affordable Lock Services Inc. in Markham is here for you! Give us a call today.

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