I have been biking for transportation and pleasure the whole time I've lived in Chicago, and I'm familiar with the basics of locking up and storing my commuter bike.

Yesterday I added a Yuba Mundo to my stable because I'm getting rid of my car and I'd like to still be able to go places with passengers. I rode it to the grocery store and was just barely able to lock it to the bike rack there, and only because one whole side of the rack was free.

A U-lock won't fit around both the frame and a locking-post because I can't get the frame close enough to the locking-post. I've been using Kryptonite cables to tether it to a post, and then locking the U-lock through the cable, frame, and front wheel. I also plan to cover it with a tarp when it's parked on my patio, to keep birds off it as well as to hide it a bit from would-be thieves. Next to the giant tubes of the Yuba, the Kryptonite cable looks like a little thread.

I can't park this thing indoors because it won't fit inside most places (including my third-floor walk-up) and it has me laying awake at night worrying that the cable will be cut.

What other steps besides locking it to itself, cabling it to a post, and covering it with a tarp should I take to ensure the safety of my bike, both at home and out and about?

  • 1
    A chain style lock? – paparazzo Jun 16 '14 at 13:49
  • Are chains more secure than Kryptonite cables? What should I look for in a chain? – beth Jun 16 '14 at 14:06
  • Kryptonite has chain style locks. I would go by the Kryptonite web site. – paparazzo Jun 16 '14 at 14:13
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    Have you looked at the long shackle locks that Krypt puts out? – BPugh Jun 16 '14 at 15:23
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    Kryptonite seem to think that their chains are more secure than cables, see their web site – PeteH Jun 16 '14 at 19:56

I'm answering my own question because I took a combination of the steps above, plus some other steps.

  • I took steps to make getting it back in event of theft more likely:
  • I figured out a hardware setup
    • Heavy chain (the Fuggedaboutit lock+chain) for locking the frame to a post, instead of the flimsy cable.
    • Tethered the seat to the frame with a small cable
    • Normal U-lock for locking the front wheel to the frame.
  • I'm hoping to deter based on looks also
    • Covering up brand-name info with a unique combination of stickers
    • Chose a bright, unusual color when I bought it
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  • 5
    Your point about insurance is the most useful. I think you have to assume that no lock will protect your bike completely. I think you also have to assume that, if the bike gets stolen, the police will be next to useless - with the best will in the world they have better things to do. My advice is to make sure you read the policy - it's probably not just the lock, it could be things like what you lock the bike to, how long you lock it for etc. Don't give your insurance co the chance to wriggle out of paying up. – PeteH Jun 16 '14 at 20:14
  • Good point about the insurance stipulations. I have had decent luck with police in past bike theft situations, probably because my bike was registered and I reported it immediately. I've also heard that cops who are also cyclists can be more helpful than others. – beth Jun 16 '14 at 20:30
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    If you want to further fortify it, you can replace bolts with security bolts: bicyclebolts.com – Alan Gerber Jun 16 '14 at 21:30
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    Take a look at the new solutions being created using Bluetooth Low Power Beacons (the iBeacons for iOS or the Qualcomm beacons), to alert you when your bike your bike gets out of range. Some of those tentative products will be coupled with accelerometers as well, so they'll be able to tell you if someone is moving your bike. Unfortunately, Bluetooth Low Power is still a very early emerging standard, if you have an Android phone, it probably doesn't support it yet. Only the very latest Android phones support it. Note that the battery of a low power Bluetooth beacon should last around 2 years. – Stephan Branczyk Jun 16 '14 at 23:09
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    Note that the smaller beacons are about the size of a quarter and cost about $5 wholesale (although I think I've seen one bike theft solution, free app included, that will be sold for $30). – Stephan Branczyk Jun 16 '14 at 23:13

I would go both ways. A nice ulock plus a chain. If the ulock cannot attach to the rack then just use it to lock the rear wheel. If you have nothing to attach to then use the chain for the front wheel. If the ulock will attach to the rack then use the chain for both wheels.

How to Choose Your Bicycle Security

We also recommend using two security products rather than just one as this will usually drive a thief to choose another target.

Kryptonite has an anti-theft protection. It is free the first year. If you buy one of their locks you might as well sign up.

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If you are looking at U-locks there are possibly larger ones available. Kryptonite for example has a "standard" Evolution series 4 which has a 4in x 9in shackle. Then they make variations with a short shackle: Evolution Mini-5 (3.25in x 5in) and a long shackle: Evolution series 4 LS (4in x 11in). Each will have benefits and drawbacks, and your application might require something beefier: New York Legend Chain.

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  • I used a motorbike U-lock for a long time because those are available in bigger sizes (although these day most seem to be small and lock onto the disk rotor, which DOES NOT WORK for bicycles - it's too easy to damage the rotor plus they easily unbolt) – Móż Jun 17 '14 at 0:09
  • The Fahgettaboudit chain looks to be thicker than the Legend. – beth Jun 18 '14 at 18:56

You could also try 2 D-locks, 1 round the hard point, 1 round the frame or back wheel, and interlinked to form a chain. I suggest long thin ones, of 2 different brands so the keys are dissimilar and you don't get confused.

It doesn't look easy to pick up (though easier than a bakfiets which was what I imagined when I saw the title), so making it non-ridable is also helpful - take the saddle indoors perhaps. The old technique of taking off the front wheel and locking it to the back wheel also slows down a ride-off thief, as does any form of lock fixing the front wheel to the frame (yes, ideally to a hardpoint as well)

With respect to the patio, could you fit a ground anchor into a heavy concrete parasol base and lock to that?

You will probably end up with 2 locking setups - keep the heaviest stuff at home, but have some means of locking it up while out as well.

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  • I can't modify the patio, but there are posts that hold up the fire escapes and balconies that I can lock to. I'm actually not as worried about locking it at home. It's in a fenced area with many other peoples' bikes, some of which are never locked at all. Locking the front wheel to the frame is a good idea, removing it will solve the problem I have now which is that the fender makes it too big to put a normal U-bolt through the wheel and the frame while it's attached to the fork. – beth Jun 18 '14 at 18:50
  • That all sounds good. I wasn't advocating modifying the patio, just obtaining something that might be rather hard to shift if you have to remove it -- something like this: amazon.co.uk/Sturdi-25KG-Concrete-Parasol-Base/dp/B004VQOWCG with the sort of bolt sold for attaching to your garage floor for lockoing a bike to. – Chris H Jun 19 '14 at 16:38

Note that if you use a U-lock on the rear wheel inside the bike frame (e.g. close to the seat post frame), then you only need to lock the wheel and not the frame as well. Because the lock and the wheel are inside the rear frame triangle, the frame is effectively locked as well. This is just a suggestion because it might make it possible to use a U-lock.

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  • 2
    This is true for most all bikes, however the Yuba is much wider in the back than usual. It has fold down running boards and maybe the extra tubing for racks and strength to make it wider. Since he can't get the frame close enough to the post (assuming he is locking down or top tube), then chances are he isn't going to be able to reach it from the wheel. However, a longer lock or chain than he has now could work. – BPugh Jun 18 '14 at 15:05
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    You are exactly right about the integrated running board tubes making it too wide. It also has a double kickstand that makes it hard to get close to things. Also, minor correction, but I am not a "he". – beth Jun 18 '14 at 18:49
  • @betherwisser sorry, everybody is a "he" to me unless obvious, and I tend to gloss over usernames. Symptoms of working in the IT field perhaps? Saves me a few key strokes in the end. Wikipedia didn't help find a neutral either: en.wikipedia.org/wiki/… – BPugh Jun 19 '14 at 15:33
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    "ze" is an acceptable neutral that retains the benefit of saving you a keystroke. – beth Jun 20 '14 at 18:41

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