How to Lock a Bike Without a Rack – 15 Ways That Provide Safety

Reviewed by
Last updatedLast updated: April 21, 2021

Riding a bike is not only great exercise but also great for the environment. By riding a bike instead of using motor vehicles as transport you’re lowering your carbon footprint and making a difference to the future of our planet.

Unfortunately, no matter how good your intentions are, the world is filled with people who take things that don’t belong to them. So, you need to make sure that you lock up your bike safely to prevent it from being stolen.

There are bike racks situated in most public shopping centers and parks, but what happens when one isn’t available? How do you keep your bike safe?

In this article, we will look at how to lock a bike without a rack and give you ideas on how to keep your bike safe from sticky fingers.

What to use as a bike rack when there is none

Bikes are light and easy to pick up and take with you, which makes them very vulnerable to being stolen. If you find yourself in a place where there is no bike rack available there are other ways that you can secure it.

Look for something that can’t be moved or tampered with, such as a strong tree trunk or street pole. Ideally the item should be cemented to the ground.

Public space

Be aware when leaving your bike in a public place. If the place doesn’t have much foot traffic, your bike could easily be stolen. In an overcrowded area, no one will notice if someone is tampering with it.

Safe places to lock it include:

  • Park benches or permanent public seating
  • Sturdy trees
  • Metal non-removable structures

Transporting your bike will be much easier if you use a truck bed bike rack instead of simply throwing the bike in the back of your truck.

City streets

How to Lock a Bike Without a Rack - 15 Ways That Provide Safety

City streets are one of the most dangerous places to lock up your bike. These areas get very busy, and no one pays attention to what others are doing, so it can be stolen very easily. If you need to park your bike on the city street, it’s advisable to get a cheap bike that doesn’t look very valuable.

A bike that isn’t worth much won’t be worth stealing. When locking up a shiny new bike, no matter how securely, chances are very high that it won’t be where you left it when you return.

Allen key skewers are some of the best options for keeping your bike safe. It’s a good idea to remove the lights and the seat. This can help deter potential criminals.

Always use a u-lock and a solid chain thicker than 12mm. If you use a thinner chain it can be cut with bolt cutters.

Some of the newer locks on the market such as thelshare Bike Lock allow you to use an e-code to lock up your bike. This links to your SmartPhone and can be shared with family members.

There are no combinations or keys so your bike will be much safer.

Lock the bike to:

  • A solid unmovable object
  • Street furniture
  • Lamp posts
  • Signage

Always lock your bike through the frame. If you lock it through the wheel, it can easily be removed and you can say goodbye to your bike.

Do you need to transport your bike or multiple bikes? It’s a good idea to use a spare tire back rack that can transport up to three bikes safely. There is also no need to stress when transporting your bike if you use hitch bike racks. They’re practical and simple to use.

Own yard

How to Lock a Bike Without a Rack - 15 Ways That Provide Safety

When storing your bike in your yard, you still need to take safety precautions and lock up your bike. Ideally, park it in a locked garage. If you must leave it in your yard, make sure that it’s out of sight for anyone that passes your front gate.

Whenever possible, lock the bike to the piping of your house and then cover it with a tarp so it’s not visible to prying eyes. Alternatively, use these secure options to lock it to:

  • Something solid in your yard that can’t be moved easily
  • A secure fence or railing that doesn’t have street access
  • Invest in a bike vault or Lockerpod security solution
  • Wall-mounted bike holders

Use a safe storage solution such as a Bike Nook. It’s the greatest organizer to keep your bicycles protected from thieves and it prevent them being damaged by the weather.

How to lock a bike with a lock

When using a bike lock to secure your bike, it’s vital that you do it correctly. Get yourself the best bike lock you can afford, because it’s a smart investment, preventing the expense of replacing your asset. Then follow these tips on how to lock up your bike correctly.

  • Lock the frame: If you lock up the frame of your bike it’s much harder to steal it.
  • Keep the lock in the air: If your lock is lying on the ground, it can be smashed with a hammer and break. Having your lock on the ground allows the thief added leverage when cutting it with bolt cutters.
  • Avoid the top tube: When the lock is on the top tube the frame can be used to break the lock. A thief can simply lift and twist the bike until the lock brakes.
  • Use the seat tube: Remove the seat and secure the lock through the seating tube.
  • Make the lock hard the crack: The more difficult it is to unlock your bike, the less likely someone will take the time to steal it.
  • Watch out for locks with keys: Criminals know every trick in the book. They fill the keyhole with super glue to force you to leave it there overnight, and that’s when they make their move to steal it. Rather avoid key operated locks.
  • Use more than one lock: Ideally you should secure your bike using more than one lock. Also lock the frame as well as the wheels to something secure.
  • Use a u-lock correctly: Make sure there is no leverage by keeping as little space as possible between the lock and the item you’re locking it to.

How to lock a bike without a lock

If you don’t have a bike lock but need to leave your bike outside, then follow these tips:

  • Remove the front wheel: Take the wheel with you because a thief is less likely to want a bike that has a missing wheel.
  • Take off the chain: This will prevent the bike from being ridden away.
  • Undo the quick release levers: Undo both sets so when someone tries to steal your bike the wheels will literally fall off.
  • Use your helmet straps: Use the straps from your helmet to secure the rear wheel to the seat tube of the frame. This will cause the straps to be tangled in the wheels when they try to drive away.

Final thoughts

Keeping your bike safe can be done by following some of these tips. Always park your bike in a well-lit area that is busy but not crowded. Make sure the lock you use can’t be broken easily and that the chain is thick enough not to be cut off.

The harder and more laborious it is to steal your bike the less likely it is that a thief will bother stealing it. When parking your bike on a busy city street, use an older bike that won’t catch the attention of criminals. Remove the wheel and chain and lock the frame to something that can’t be moved very easily.

Do you have any additional tips on how to lock a bike without a rack that aren’t mentioned in the article? Leave your suggestions in the comments.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *