Bike Locking Case #1

28 10 2010

My Big Dummy locked during a coffee stop...

I use lots of different locking strategies with my bikes depending on the circumstances of each situation.  I tend to be lazy so I carry and use as little locking equipment as I feel I can get away with.  I haven’t had a bike stolen in years so I must be using reasonable precautions.  I’ll be sharing my thoughts on specific locking situations over the next month or two.

In the photos above/below I was riding my Big Dummy around town picking up and dropping off various items in a big To Do List push.  I stopped at a cafe for an espresso and muffin.  Since I was only going to be inside for a few minutes I decided to just lock the frame to a metal railing next to the cafe. My wheels weren’t locked and the rear is a $1500+ Rohloff so that could be expensive, but trying to get the rear wheel out of a Big Dummy is a PITA if you know what you are doing because of the Xtracycle bags.  I didn’t think anyone would even notice there was an expensive hub on the bike, care about a Rohloff and then go to the trouble of trying to steal it.

If I was going to leave the bike for a longer period I’d add in a heavy duty cable through both wheels that joins up with the chain lock.  That would be reasonably secure given the threat in Victoria BC for bike theft.  Someone could still steal my Brooks saddle or other components, but at least the bike itself would be secure.

Kryptonite chain and padlock...

One thing you can’t see in this picture is that there is a patio full of coffee drinkers sitting in view of the bike who saw me ride up on it and walk inside.  I’m confident that if anyone tried messing with my bike someone would make a fuss on my behalf – especially in a bike friendly town like this.




15 responses

28 10 2010
Ty Smith

Good post Vic, but I think I can suggest something you should really consider, which is locking skewers. There is a great company in Canada called Pinhead that makes the ones I use:

I found out about these through the San Francisco Bike Coalition. Basically, it makes it nearly impossible for a thief to take your wheels, seat, or headset. All you have to do is lock your frame with a small U-lock and you are good to go. This won’t work with a tikit, but works great for all regular bikes. I have left my bike in some pretty shady areas and had no problems since I got the skewars.

28 10 2010

@TY – funnily enough I got two sets of the Pinhead QRs to try at the beginning of the summer and I still haven’t gotten around to installing them on any bikes yet. I really should do so on my Big Dummy since the Rohloff is expensive.

BTW – I see no point doing the security QR thing on a Tikit….I just never leave mine locked anywhere. It always comes in with me.

28 10 2010
Ty Smith

They really do make your bike very secure, so you should give them a try. It is only a very high-end thief who can beat that system. The key makes it pretty easy to turn and does double duty as a bottle opener. Not as easy as a quick-release of course, but so what? I loved being able to lock my big bike anywhere by the frame with a small Ulock and not having to worry abot anything.

I never leave my tikit unattended myself, but I thought I would add that comment since so many tikit people, like me, read your blog.

28 10 2010

@TY…I’ve put the Pinhead box on my desk…not quite installed, but everyday that I avoid doing it the box will mock me…lol…I should cave within a week…=-)

28 10 2010

I like the Pitlocks (and have them on my LHT) which are also carried by a Canadian company…

28 10 2010

hey Vik, I’m way off topic,
but have you seen Salsa’s new Mukluk?
what a beauty

28 10 2010

Why won’t locking skewers work with a Tikit?

30 10 2010
Michael Perry

Also off the topic of locking, can you tell me where you found that seat tube/frame bag?

30 10 2010

The frame bag is from Porcelain Rocket – semi custom. It’s very well made and uber handy:

30 10 2010

Hey Vik,

Why not just use hose clamps over the quick release lever? I imagine these lockable skewers have just a handful of designs, and crafty thieves probably have them. Like the mid 60’s, my brothers Ford key would start his buddies Chev.

30 10 2010

I have the same bike w/that hub and have found the very small unlocks work well to secure the back wheel to the frame. Someday I’ll get skewers I suppose, but I can wait.

31 10 2010

I’ve t two different styles of lockable skewers and the keys are quite different. You’d have to acquire, cart around a lot of keys to have a shot at opening one and then you’d have to mess around trying them until you [hopefully] lucked out.

I think the hose clamps are a good idea. Anyone can open them, but it would discourage a grab and go thief.

3 11 2010

@Ken – I think the Pinhead skewers will work with a Tikit, but you’d have to cut them down if there was too much of the threaded portion of the skewer excess due to the narrow hub width on the Tikit.

4 11 2010
J B Bell

I’ve not been impressed with the Pinhead product. the keychain loop on the key separates very easily, so you may find your key has disappeared on you when you didn’t notice. It’s also difficult to operate as you have to keep a lot of lateral pressure on it as you’re turning, a real recipe for skinned knuckles.

The Pitlock is just a better product in every way. I have a pair on my LHT. Very nice not to have to worry about locking anything but my frame, and using a solid, short Kryptonite Evolution lock. Pricier though, about $100 in Vancouver. The hose-clamp strategy is super-cheap and not, I think, one to casually sneer at.

It all depends on the kind of thieves that operate where you are, of course. Here in Vancouver we don’t have much component theft, but a quick-release undefended is of course a very easy heist.

5 11 2010

@JB – I haven’t any issues with the Pinhead key slipping even when torquing down the last few turns with some force. I’d be interested in seeing the Pitlocks, but with MEC selling Pinheads for $45 I’ll probably stick with that brand for the cost and follow on service I can get locally from MEC.

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