Locking your bike correctly

UPDATE: For a more comprehensive guide see:

The video below is of NYC bike mechanic Hal Ruzal showing how to lock a bike in public and how many people lock their bikes in flawed ways. His previous videos on the same topic can be found here and here. The same advice applies to locking your bike in Dublin.


Crime prevention advice by the Garda Síochána / Irish police (no longer on their website) recommends that you consider the following:

  • Always lock your bike, even if leaving it for a few brief moments.
  • Lock your bike to an immovable object e.g. a metal railing or lamppost. Be aware, if using a lamppost, of the possibility of lifting the locked bicycle over the lamppost. [also be aware of lose sign posts]
  • Lock your frame and wheels if at all possible.
  • Where bicycles parks are available, use them.
  • Take all accessories and easily removable objects with you.
  • Consider replacing quick release levers with normal nuts and bolts or with special locking nuts and bolts.
  • Do not leave / park your bike in isolated, dark or dimly lit places
  • Try not to leave / lock your bike in the same place every day.

The same Garda document gives the following advice on locks:

D locks / U locks – are rigid steel locks in a D or U shape. They are generally heavy and strong, though the strength can vary and is normally reflected in the price. There are limitations as to where these locks can be utilised e.g. they may not fit around many lampposts.

Cable locks
– are flexible and can be used in many situations. Cables, of course, can vary significantly in both weight and strength. Invariably, cheap and thinner cables can easily be cut and so should not be used as a sole locking method.

Chains and Padlocks
– will also vary in both weight and strength. Heavier ones can be awkward to carry around and manoeuvre around frames and lampposts or railings. Good quality hardened chains and padlocks do offer good security. It is important, however, to keep the chain and lock off the ground/pavement or against walls when your bike is secured as the chain or lock can easily be broken with a sledgehammer or cold chisel if resting on these areas. Similarly, keep your chain wrapped as tightly as possible around the frame and the immovable object that you are locking it to – this can help to stop thieves from inserting ’jemmy’ bars into spaces and gaps and forcing the chain or lock apart. For similar reasons, closed shackle padlocks are recommended in preference to open shackled padlocks.

Click locks
– are not very common. They are generally fixed to the frame over the rear wheel, under and close to the seat. They lock your wheel to the frame, thereby stopping somebody from simply riding away but offer no protection from somebody picking up the bike and walking away with it.

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