How not to lock your bike

I have half a draft of a write-up filed away somewhere with directions for locking your bike well. But there’s honestly no single right way to do it, and no truly secure way to do it … and just writing about how it’s done bores me to tears. Reading it probably wouldn’t delight you much more.

It’s probably more useful, and definitely more fascinating, to look at the ways *not* to do it, and learn from others’ sometimes frightful mistakes. A friend started a photo pool of poorly (or unsuccessfully) locked bikes last year. I just checked in and found that it’s grown substantially. Please enjoy, below the jump, the pathos and can’t-look-away horror of bike locking gone bad.

If you do feel inclined (and patient enough) to write about how *to* lock your bike, please feel free to share your expertise (or your favorite links) in the comments. And feel free to add your own photos to this collection.

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2 Responses to “How not to lock your bike”

  1. Richard Masoner January 9, 2012 at 11:23 am #

    I use the Sheldon Brown method like so. Small lock is kind of key so there’s no room to fit a jack. It’s not foolproof, but I’ve locked bicycles outside all day in high bike theft locations of Santa Cruz CA and San Francisco CA with nary a bike theft (knock on wood!)

    Besides “HOW TO LOCK” and “HOW NOT TO LOCK,” demonstrating common lock busting techniques is also helpful. Most common seems to be simple bolt cutters used on cheaper locks and cable locks; easy to hide and quick to use. After that, jacks that are used to break open u-locks. Another technique used on bikes that are just locked through the top tube or down tube — twist the bike frame around until the lock breaks.


  1. An extension cord is not a good bike lock (seen at Broadway/Denny) | Seattle Bike Blog - January 9, 2012

    [...] of bad bike locking jobs, Elly Blue started a Flickr pool for the documenting of bike lock fails around the world. So if you spot any funny or [...]

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