Imagine riding around town and you decide to stop at a restaurant that will not let you bring in your folded bike. You are left with two options, either leave or lock up the bike. How do you lock up the folding bike while you are having lunch? I have done some research and have come up with several answers to this question.
How do you lock up a folding bike? You want to capture as much of the bike as you can, to include a stationary object, when you are securing a folded folding bike. The three main types of lock to do this are a chain, folding lock, or long shackle u-lock. Of course, the more secure way is to take the folding bike with you. We will talk more in-depth about each of these locks and the why and how you would take it with you below.
What is a chain lock? A chain lock is made up of a series of steel links. The links are usually covered to protect the bike frame and paint from scratching. A lock is also part of the chain lock system and it can be part of the chain or a standalone lock. Chain locks come in a variety of thicknesses and lengths. This flexibility allows you to chain your bike to a larger variety of objects.
Advantages – Since chain locks are relatively long it makes it easier to secure the folding bike or bikes at more locations. You could secure two bikes with one chain. Chain locks are also flexible and that makes it easier to transport them while you are riding your bike. Chain locks have an advantage in their ease of use because of their flexibility and length.
Disadvantages – Bolt cutters are the most common tool used to defeat bike locks and in order for you to prevent someone successfully using bolt cutters to cut your chain lock you would have to have a chain lock at least 16 mm thick. The problem is that you now have about a 10 pound chain to carry around when the bike is not locked. Generally speaking, chains at 16 mm are then used as stationary chains at home or work and are not carried with the bike rider while riding their bike.
I have made a review of the top 5 Chain locks, you can find them here.
What is a long shackle u-lock? A long shackle u-lock is like a giant padlock with two separate parts. The u-shaped shackle comes in different lengths and thicknesses. The locking mechanism is small in relation to the shackle and when locked forms a d-shape.
Advantages – The best U-locks are half the weight of the same thickness chains used for securing your bike. A long shackle u-lock is easy to store in a carrying bag mounted to the folding bike. The long shackle u-lock is lighter than other locks so it does not add much weight to carry on the bike. The other advantage to a long shackle u-lock is that they are less expensive than chain locks since there is less material needed to build a u-lock versus a chain lock.
Disadvantages – A prying tool can be used against U-locks that cannot be used against chain locks; such as a crow bar or a hydraulic bottle car jack. It may also be easier to get started cutting a long shackle u-lock with in angle grinder because it is easier to hold down than a chain.
I have made a review of the top 5 long shackle u locks on this page.
What is a folding lock? A folding lock is a series of long metal plates that are connected by rivets. The rivets allow the lock to form different shapes. This allows you to lock your bike to more things. The folding lock when folded becomes very compact and makes it easy to carry.
Advantages – One advantage of folding locks is that they give you more flexibility when it comes to shape for locking. Another advantage is their small, compact shape when being stored. Folding locks are also relatively lightweight compared to chain locks and folding locks.
Disadvantages – The disadvantage of a folding lock is that they are not as secure as a u-lock because they have more vulnerabilities. The rivets and joints can be attacked and if the lock is damaged it may not be able to be folded or used as it was intended to be used.
I now have a page that compares some of the most popular folding locks for bikes here.
- Carry It With You
One of the reasons this makes a great commuter bike is that you can store it in a small place at the office, in your trunk, or at home. Another thing to consider is that all locks can be defeated. Locks are more of a deterrent than anything else. Someone who wants to steal a bike will take a bike that is easier to take before one that will take more time and effort.
What other things should you consider when locking your folding bike?
Lock your folding bike to an object that cannot be moved nor easily cut. Lock your bike where it can easily be seen by the public. When possible lock both wheels and frame to the object. Leave as little space inside the lock as possible to make it more difficult for the thieves to use their lock cutting tools. Keep your lock off the ground. You should remove any other valuable accessories that you attached to the bike while riding.
What should you do after purchasing your folding bike?
If your police department has a bicycle registry service you should have it registered with them. You can have your name engraved on the bike to make it more difficult to sell by a thief.