BikeCommuters.com

Tag Archive: locking bikes

Bike Rack Faves – LOCKitUP!


"Look, this rack was nice enough to grow a roof for me!"

Yello mighty Bike Commuters!  Mir.I.Am here working double duty as a green “snarchitect” and cycle lady today.  As the U.S. Green Building Council’s LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) rating system is becoming more and more prosthetic… err, prolific in the states and abroad, snarchitects and designers are incentivized to provide more bike racks and showers for cycle monsters in their buildings.  Here in Honolulu, all new construction projects that are publicly funded are required to meet a minimum requirement of LEED Silver rating.  An easy way to contribute towards achieving a LEED rating for a building is to provide secure bike rack parking close to the building entrance and showers for a percentage of the occupants!  Not all LEED rated buildings are required to provide this amenity, but it is usually included… (secret fist pump under my desk each time I get to nerd out and specify bike racks at work!)

Crowded "Bike" bike racks in Waikiki

Of course, as bike commuters, we know that the statement “If you build it, they will come (by bike and then take a shower)” is not necessarily true!  New racks and showers for buildings may not transform cities into Mini-Apples overnight, but it’s a chest-bump in the right direction.  As we all know, not all bike racks are created equal, and not all cyclists are equally enthusiastic about showering after a commute…   Sometimes I spice it up at work and arrive looking like I drank a bottle of Sriracha on the way over and don’t change into my office attire until my 4:00pm meeting, but that’s just me!  SRIRACHA FACE!!!!  Witch hazel in your swamp crotch isn’t for everyone.

Architects and builders listen up, straight from the mouth of the cycle monsters, here are some of our fave bike racks that help us commuters LOCKitUP!

Most Bikely Bike Rack: Dero Bike Bike Rack – nothing screams bike rack like a bike-shaped rack!  These are the ones installed by the city and county of Honolulu around the island.  They can hold up to four bikes unless some idiot has locked their moped to it illegally.  It works well in situations where you have lots of long skinny space, like sidewalks.  I like them because the height of the “wheels” makes it easy to tie up your steed through the rear wheel and triangle of the frame.  I have seen some bikes fallen over next to these racks that have been only loosely cabled.  My only gripe is sometimes the are positioned a little too close to the street side and you have to squeeze in between parked cars ad the rack to try to get to your bike.    http://www.dero.com/products/bike_bike_rack/bike_bike_rack.html

Easy to spot from faraway, functional for multiple locking points, AND fun for Japanese tourist photo ops!

Green is the new Black Rack: Dero Recycle Rack made from 96% Recycled steel rebar!  As you can see, the racks come in two shapes: bush or tree.  Always a plus for bush-hugging architects like myself.  (I’m over hugging trees, that’s so 2010).  Steel rebar rack holds up to two bikes. The loops onthe tree seems small to me in the photo as I’ve never used one personally.  However the steel rebar has a much smaller diameter than most racks so maybe they would work well for cycle monsters using mini U-locks for their frames.  This is a smaller rack than most and requires only one connection point to the concrete, which could be advantageous for designers with tight space planning requirements.    http://www.dero.com/products/recycle_racks/

From the Dero website… where’s the lock!?

Stealthy Designer Bike Rack: Forms+Surfaces  Olympia Bike Rack is a nice choice for a bike rack that can double as a bollard!  For designers that want something more discrete and architectural (read: no wavy racks or fence racks), Forms+Surfaces also carries a variety of options.  Maybe this one is a little too discrete, but seasoned bike commuters know how to lock it up in any situation (in a tree, top of a chainlink fence, handrails or my favorite is a fat crippled horse). I personally prefer anything with a vertical post so I can loop a cable through the front wheel, helmet, and use the vertical post to secure the frame and the back wheel in my U-lock.  http://www.forms-surfaces.com/olympia-bike-rack.  Looks like the slot in the center leaves room for pedals and keeps your ride on all two wheels.  Ooooh, rack envy:

Who taught this doofus how to lock a bike!?

What Makes a Nice Rack: And because it is 1:30 am Pacific Grandma Time and I only have one brain (currently maxed out on MSG/noodle/rice overload), here is a cut and paste to an article for those of you interested in reading about how to choose a nice bike rack for your next building.  Check it out if you have the energy to click here.  If you have a lot of energy and some friends over, you can read it aloud since reading is not really a spectator sport.

Ok Bike Commuters, paste some links into the comments box if you have any opinions on your hometown racks, your fave place to LOCKitUP around your neck o the hoods, or maybe what you don’t like in a rack!  Us architects and designers would be much obliged….

(Properly) Lock your bike.

A while ago, our own staff writer Elizabeth shared this video on Facebook. It’s a good primer for learning how to lock your bike up, and Hal has a great personality. He’s really looking for just a few things: Your wheels and saddle should be well-secured, and the frame itself should be securely held to a large stationary object with a heavy-duty U-lock or chain. He has some other tips, too. Watch this:

I do risk analysis and other security-type stuff for a living. In the suburbs, some of this stuff can be a bit overkill. San Francisco, LA, Detroit, Chicago and NYC have some pretty mean streets where the traditional axiom is that it’s not a question of if you will have a bike or parts stolen, it’s when it’ll happen. Bicycles are a commodity on the street. Pretty much any working bike can be traded for $25-$50 worth of… *ahem* “goods” and “services” on the black market. It doesn’t matter if it’s a bike-shaped-object from the department store or a high-quality cyclocross bike with fenders, racks and lights. That being said, knowledgeable thieves are willing to put a lot more effort, risk and planning into really nice bicycles that can be parted out or sold to a fence for a bigger payday.

Hal’s comment on quiet streets generally holds merit. Thieves prefer to hide in plain sight, and chaos is king. They can thrive on predictable activity as well if they’re sure they have plenty of time to work on your bike without being noticed. Make sure your parking spot isn’t too far out of the way.

Cable locks are okay for holding your wheels or saddle together, or for quick in-and-out errands, but totally useless if you will be leaving your bike unattended for more than a few minutes at a time. Hal said that you can’t steal a bike when the owner’s right there watching it, so being able to wheel your bike right into your office is the best policy, but a lot of us don’t have that luxury. I bought a length of heavy-duty towing chain that required a 36″ bolt cutter at the hardware store to chop it from the spool, then passed it through an old mountain bike inner tube so it doesn’t scratch up my frame. It’s probably 10 pounds worth of chain, so I leave it at work, and I lock it with a quality lock that has a shrouded, shim-proof hasp. It’s long enough to pass through both wheels, the frame, and a bike rack.

Security is hard, though, and thieves’ motives are hard to predict. It’s true that security devices only buy you time. I’ve experimented with almost every kind of bicycle lock imaginable, and all of them can be broken in just a few minutes by someone who has been casing your bike. Usually, thieves are looking for something easy to steal so they can sell it or trade it quickly to get what they really want. If your bike is more secure than the bikes around it, you’re probably safe. If someone really wants your bike specifically, it’s pretty hard to keep it safe. Maybe it’s the only bike around. Maybe it’s the nicest one on the block. Maybe they want the challenge, or maybe they’re your evil twin whose mission in life is to foil your bicycle commuting adventures.

Regardless, if you ever thought that no one would want your bicycle, or that you could leave it unlocked and unattended for just a bit, you’re probably wrong.

Editor’s note: we have a couple of other security strategy articles that may be of interest to you. The first covers lock considerations — the real gold is in the comments area. Take a look at it by clicking here. Also, thanks go out to dedicated reader/curmudgeon Raiyn for reminding me of this article in the comments area below.

The other article covers wheel security and retention strategies…wheels can be incredibly easy to steal and the loss of just one wheel will, of course, leave you stranded. Check out that article here.