I've started biking and see its potential for being able to go around the local area. But when you are running errands (biking to a store or the bank or something) you have to physically put it somewhere while you shop. The one time I ever did this was to pick a pizza. I put it in the place of a car, grabbed the pizza inside, and left. (I put a light lock on it) I don't know if this is proper or even legal. This is a very stupid question, but I can't find the proper phrasing for an answer.

  • 2
    Depends on local laws. Where are you?
    – mattnz
    Commented Jul 14, 2017 at 4:33
  • Totally depends on what's available around you - I've used a cable lock around a ~5 year old tree before, and once when meeting my other half for lunch, I locked my bike to the rear wing on her car cos there was nothing else around.
    – Criggie
    Commented Jul 14, 2017 at 7:16
  • Congratulations on getting 10k views on this question. Clearly it was not a stupid question !
    – Criggie
    Commented Aug 20, 2022 at 6:54

2 Answers 2


You have various options, mostly depending on your local regulation, facilities and length of your parking time:

  • Bike lockers enter image description here
  • Bike stalls enter image description here

  • Trees, poles or rails (ironically in the picture the bike is locked to a signal pole telling that bikes parked outside the allowed spaces will be removed) enter image description here

  • Bike parking spaces enter image description here
  • Building facade
  • Car parking space enter image description here

The last two are less recommendable, as

  1. your bike won't be linked to something hard to move (a thief can simply load it on a pickup and remove the lock with calm in a quieter place)
  2. it might be unlawful or impeding others (pedestrians, drivers)
  3. it might not be appreciated (I have seen bikes thrown in the bushes when left in the car space, and 3) understandably really pisses off car drivers)

I am leaving out naive or dumb other parkings enter image description here

which are possible but, well, do not praise your smartness (I have seen people locking their bike to a stranger's one)

  • 2
    Great answer. You should probably add "bike lockers" (google image search for this) to be complete.
    – RoboKaren
    Commented Jul 14, 2017 at 5:24
  • I love the bike lockers in my area, especially given the high crime rate here.
    – RoboKaren
    Commented Jul 14, 2017 at 6:17
  • 5
    Please don't park your bike in a car parking space. It's tough enough already being a cyclist on the roads and we really need to avoid making it even worse by being jerks to car owners. Commented Jul 14, 2017 at 9:30
  • 1
    If i saw a bike in a parking spot such as the photo, i may not throw it in the bushes, but i would certainly move it to the lined space to the left and then park there lol If i have to leave mine to run into a store where it will not be locked, i always put it in a horrible gear or cross chain it or click the shifter several times so that if someone does attempt to ride off its not going to go well and ill hopefully be able to run them down
    – Nate W
    Commented Jul 14, 2017 at 14:59
  • I'd be careful with any tree small enough to fit a U-lock around. At least in my city thieves will break/cut down smaller trees to steal a bike, which kills the tree and leaves you without a bike.
    – Jamie A
    Commented Jul 14, 2017 at 18:46

A secure bike rack is my first choice. Many business offer them.

I avoid cheap racks that are not as strong as my lock.

If there is a parking garage there will often be a bike rack in the garage.

Not all places want you to lock out front. One of the sports arenas in my town will have the police impound the bicycle if you lock in front of the building but they do offer a rack in the garage.

Careful with street poles as some pull out easily.

You don't want to just put it somewhere you want it to be there when you return. Get a good lock. A larger lock will give you more options.

Some businesses will let you bring a bike in. I forgot my lock one day and the grocery store let me shop with my bike.

One store I go to has nothing so I have to lock to a trash can.

I know this should not need to be said but don't block walkways or exits. Don't lock to operating equipment. I saw a guy lock his bike to a fire water valve.

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