Securing your bike
The best advice for locking a bike in an urban area is to use two good locks of different types and to ensure that both frame and wheels are locked directly to an immovable object (such as a Sheffield stand). For information about the different types of lock and their merits, visit the locks page.
If two good locks would be too heavy and the bike is regularly locked at the same location (e.g. a workplace), one of the locks can be left at that location, locked to the cycle stand, but be sure to check it is not tampered with.
The reason for using two good locks is to prevent the wheels being removed from the frame. It’s also a good idea to prevent the seat post and saddle being removed, by replacing any quick release with a conventional nut and bolt. Take your lights with you, if they come off.
Sheldon Brown’s locking technique
There is a technique for locking the frame by locking the wheel rim with a D-lock, through the rear triangle, to the parking stand. The advantages of this are two-fold: it secures the rear wheel and the frame with a single D-lock and it can be done with a small D-lock. This is how Sheldon explained the technique. He refers to a U-lock, which is just a different name for a D-lock.
The best U-locks, if you must carry one on the bike, are the smallest… A U-lock should go around the rear rim and tire, somewhere inside the rear triangle of the frame. There is no need to loop it around the seat tube as well, because the wheel cannot be pulled through the rear triangle. A U-lock should go around the rear rim and tire, somewhere inside the rear triangle of the frame. There is no need to loop it around the seat tube as well, because the wheel cannot be pulled through the rear triangle.
There is a photo of the technique half way down this page on his site.
Quick release means easy to steal
Quick release wheels and seatposts are designed to be easily removed from the bike but this means they’re also easily stolen when the bike is parked. The solution is to replace quick release skewers and bolts with ones that need a tool to release them. Allen bolt skewers and seatpost bolts are readily available in bike shops and online.
Ugly bikes are less attractive to thieves
Thieves target bicycles that will be easy to sell on, so they prefer shiny, new-looking bikes with a recognised brand. For this reason, some cyclists deliberately make their bikes look unattractive by covering the brand with electrical tape or by wrapping old innertubes around the frame tubes. Read more about this at the BikeOff website.
Bike thieves like privacy – so park in a busy place
When deciding where to park your bike, you might be tempted to select a back street or some other place out of the way. However, bikes in these places are more vulnerable to thieves. Bikes parked outside a busy building or on a busy street are less likely to be targeted because they are overlooked by people more of the time – a principle known as natural surveillance.
There is more about natural surveillance at the BikeOff website.