Alright -- this question isn't so much about locking up a bicycle.

What are effective, practical ways to securely keep a bike, especially if you can't take it inside?

Some points or ideas that would be worth commenting on:

  • 3rd flight stairwell railing vs. underground parking garage bike rack
  • Insurance
  • Making the bike look ugly (saran wrap + duct tape)
  • Component locks
  • Registration
  • Other ways to deter a thief, or reclaim lost property or the value of it
  • Too late for you, as a brand new, shiny and desirable bike is on its way. Given you are parking next to other bikes, all you need to do it make those bikes more desirable, and yours will safe. For the first few months - the other bikes are safe. When you bike gets stolen, I suggest replacing it with an old hack with good condition running gear. Sorry for being a pessimist......
    – mattnz
    Commented May 23, 2013 at 8:26
  • Thanks @mattnz, I've already seen that, but my question probes a little deeper about other aspects of bicycle security such as location, insurance, practicality, lighting, etc.
    – Matt
    Commented May 23, 2013 at 13:46
  • @Matt, you might be able to create a new question that focuses on just one of the aspects that you list in your comment. A more narrow focus would probably avoid concerns about duplicate questions.
    – amcnabb
    Commented May 24, 2013 at 19:15
  • 1
    Even with the edit, this question might still be a duplicate. There are already questions about locking bicycles, effectiveness of uglifying bikes, effectiveness of registration websites, locking bikes in busy or quiet places, deterring component theft, etc. Consider creating a new question about a topic that hasn't been covered.
    – amcnabb
    Commented May 24, 2013 at 21:31

1 Answer 1


Matt, this has got to be one of the most asked questions on here, have you searched through previous questions yet? That should give you some decent ideas.

All I will add is that you mention insurance. Your insurance company will likely have a list of approved locks - I'd suggest its going to be far more worth your while to consult that list than to ask a question on SE (much as the advice here is generally very good!). My betting is that the insurance co's list will contain big, heavy, hardened chains, so yes, the chain would probably be worth the weight (and the cost) if it means the difference between your insurance paying out or not.

Also your insurance will probably stipluate that the bike gets locked to something "immovable" - might be worth seeing if you have anything that might fit the bill in your basement, if not seeing if you can get permission to sink an anchor. I have heard stories of people locking their bikes to a bike rack, only for thieves to unbolt the bike rack from the floor! You may also want to find out whether your basement is considered a "public place", from the ins co's perspective, because they may place limits on the amount of time a bike could be left there. And, if its left inside, whether that would change things.

The sad fact is that if someone decides they really want your bike there's probably not a lot you can do about it - try not to get too attached to it, it's just a chunk of metal after all, and make sure you take sufficient steps that you will be compensated in the event of theft.

I suggest you go read some policy requirements.

  • The search feature of Stack Exchange apparently needs some work... I did numerous searches and sorted questions by votes and relevancy and all sorts of stuff but found nothing related to my situation. (Notice the "Related Questions" over here to the right are only mildly related, and I've read most of those already.)
    – Matt
    Commented May 23, 2013 at 13:39
  • Thank you for your tips about the insurance. I'll look into it.
    – Matt
    Commented May 23, 2013 at 13:40
  • the question that @mattnz points out looks like it contains some pretty good advice. If that didn't turn up in your search then yes, looks like the search feature isn't good.
    – PeteH
    Commented May 23, 2013 at 13:49
  • Most of the questions I turned up were about locking bikes in garages, bike trailers, what to do if your key is jammed in your lock or your lock is broken (mechanically)... etc...
    – Matt
    Commented May 23, 2013 at 13:54
  • 1
    @Matt - You are right that the search facility sucks. Commented May 25, 2013 at 12:01

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