What is the best way to use a bike lock?  If you have taken the time to get a bike lock you obviously think that your bike is worth protecting from theft.  So now take the time to get the best out of that lock by knowing the best way to lock a bike.

ONE bike, ONE lock
Sheldon Brown – bike guru – recommends a small U-Lock through your back tire within the triangle of your rear frame as the “ideal” way to lock a bike

This is the simplest of bike locking situations and the ideal is to use a small U-Lock creating the hardest situation for a thief.  Put that U-Lock through the back wheel within the rear frame triangle (see first photo below), locking it to a fixed object.  This makes removing your back wheel impossible.  If small U-Locks don’t work for you (tyres too fat, fixed objects vary too much in width) use a larger U-Lock or a cable lock in the same way but include part of your frame.  See the 3rd photo below.

Using this rear triangle method the thief’s choices are to break the lock or cut through your rear wheel…If you think your thieves have angle grinders to cut through wheels then buy a slightly larger U-lock and include the frame.  If you need to include your front wheel because it has a quick release or you live in a high crime area, choose the next method (one bike, multiple locks).

When you are locking your bike up at home to prevent theft, use a chain lock (best security rating) or you can leave your lock at work then use a chain lock (remember these are heavy so can not be carried around with ease on a bike).

Using the rear triangle. Bike locks. goRide

Rear triangle bike locking method

U-Lock fixed to a bike rack. goRide

Small U-Lock through rear tyre within triangle

Coiled combination bike lock fixed to large lamp post. goRide

Cable lock through rear wheel & frame, within triangle and around large fixed object.

ONE bike, MULTIPLE locks

If you are leaving your bike in a known bike theft area you may feel better using the two lock method – one U-lock and a supporting U-lock or cable lock.  The first U-lock is secured as above through the rear frame triangle.  The second lock secures the frame and front wheel.

MULTIPLE bikes, ONE lock

For this group riding situation you will need a cable lock and preferably a long one – 1.5m plus.  We like the 1.8m or 2.2m ones.  Thread the cable through the rear wheel within the triangle made by the frame of all your bikes and then around your fixed object.

One bike, multiple locks.  Best way to lock a bike. goRide

One bike, multiple locks

One lock, multiple bikes.  Best way to lock a bike. goRide

Multiple bikes, one lock

MULTIPLE bikes, MULTIPLE locks

In this scenario you have choice – would it be better to lock them individually or together?  This depends on what type of locks you have to choose from and how many fixed objects are around.  If everyone has a small U-lock it may be better to use the one bike, one lock method.  If you have only one decent fixed object this won’t be an option so secure one bike to the fixed object and the rest to each other via U-locks or long cables.  Long cable locks work really well to lock bikes to your car when you are transporting them.

Multiple bikes, multiple locks. Best way to lock a bike. goRide

Multiple bike, multiple locks with free space on an easy to use fixed object – bike rack

Multiple bikes, multiple locks.  Best way to lock a bike. goRide

Multiple locks, multiple bikes with one fixed object.

get Safe and goRide –  The Best Way to Lock a Bike 

Thanks for reading. Used together our stories, resources & products support you to achieve and develop as a rider.

Related Resources:

Support & Solutions:  Bike Bells, Bike Lights, Bike Locks

Bike Lock Buying Guide

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