I have read recommendations to lock both the bike's frame and wheel. That's quite easy to do on larger racks, such as Sheffield stands.

The place I work in, however, has a floor mount rack to store bicycles, with semicircular shaped supports. If I park the bike with the rear wheel on the support, the derailleur gets a bit bent, which I believe may damage it (am I wrong?). If I park it with the front wheel, my U-lock will only manage to lock the wheel, which is not a good choice since it's quick release.

Under these circumstances, is there a technique to securely lock it without damaging the bike?

The rack I mention is similar to the one below, but it has no bolts. The rack is similar to this, but circular shaped

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    Those racks are just bad jokes and offer no means to secure a bike decently. The more they are prone to cause damage to a parked bike. I've seen so many in that kind of rack with bent front rims. Just good for storing your bikes in your private locked garage or cellar. – Carel Oct 14 at 18:07
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    If you have a kickstand it might be possible to park your bicycle with the bottom bracket directly over the rack where the U lock might be long enough to lock it. If the rack is close enough to a wall you might be able to lean the bike on the wall (i.e. perpendicular to the rack) and lock it. – Michael Oct 14 at 18:39
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    Get a cable. One long enough to loop through the U lock and through the frame. – Daniel R Hicks Oct 14 at 19:02
  • @DanielRHicks bikes secured with just a cable through the frame are very easy to steal. – Chris H Oct 15 at 8:23
  • @ChrisH - Depends on where you are. Folks in our town don't generally walk around carrying bolt cutters. In other cities they carry power saws. – Daniel R Hicks Oct 15 at 11:48

In a situation like this, I usually don't fit any of the wheels in the support; instead I park the bike over the rack and just to the left or right of a loop, so that the lowest part of the frame is in close proximity with the loop. I then lock the frame and a wheel with a single cable (a U-lock might not work). Alternatively, you can place the rear wheel next to the loop (with the loop on the left side so it doesn't clash with the derailleur), and pass the U-lock through the wheel, straddling the chainstay and thus locking the frame as well.

In short, just forget about the fact that the rack is designed to accommodate a wheel in a certain way. Use it as a piece of metal you can lock your bike to.

Keep in mind though, that by parking your bike next to a loop, instead of in it, you're taking a bit more space and making it a bit more difficult for others to park. Something to bear in mind if the rack is often full.

Also, as others pointed out, that doesn't look like a very secure rack. That doesn't necessarily mean you shouldn't use it; you choose how well you want to lock your bike depending mostly on how common bike theft is in your area, how attractive a target your bike is (especially in comparison to other bikes similarly locked), and how much risk of having to replace it are you willing to accept. I lock my bike on a rack just like this every night, but it's on a communal yard, not right on the street, and the bike is cheap.

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    Note that being the least desirable bike on the rack doesn't help if you're the last person to leave making yours the only bike on the rack. – David Richerby Oct 15 at 10:58

You definitely do not want to bend or misalign your derailleur, so you are right not to park your bike with the rear wheel in the rack.

Your only option is to use a long, thick cable or chain to thread through the rear wheel, rear triangle, front wheel and rack. Using more than one cable or chain and adding a u-lock through the rear wheel multiplies the number of things that have to be cut. If you can leave locks and chains in place at work you wont have to carry them with you.

I hope the provided rack is somewhat more sturdy than the one in the example picture you posted. That one is not designed for security as the uprights can obviously be unbolted. If you want to lock up your bike securely you may want to look for an alternate location.

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    Last para - the rack isn't even bolted to the ground. Three strong motivated dudes could pick up a rack with 6 bikes locked in and load it into a ute/flatbed/trailer in seconds. I've seen a 500 kg motorbike stolen by two guys with a shovel handle, through the locked front wheel, lift, and walk down the road. Its not hard if you're brazen. – Criggie Oct 15 at 8:49
  • @Criggie see comments on the question - pic is of a similar rack, not the actual one, – Argenti Apparatus Oct 15 at 11:17

For the longer term, ask your employer to provide proper bike parking.

The device you picture is completely unsuited to parking bikes.

  • As you've observed, it's impossible to securely lock your bike to them. If your bike is stolen, your insurance will refuse to pay up unless it was securely locked. Parked there, it wasn't.

  • The one shown in the photo is even worse: the only thing you can thread a lock through can just be unbolted from the rack's crossbars. (The question has been edited to point out that the photo is just an example and not the actual rack, but this is something to bear in mind when evaluating these racks.)

  • These racks damage wheels. Parked bikes inevitably get knocked and bashed and these racks put all of that force into bending the wheel.

You mention that you don't want to just lock by the front wheel because you have quick releases. Unless you have some kind of security skewer, you shouldn't lock by the front wheel anyway: standard axle bolts can be undone with a spanner in seconds. Even with security skewers, you're relying on the thief not having the right tool, though admittedly that's a safer gamble.

Use one lock to mount your front wheel to the stand, and another lock to mount your front wheel to your frame. You'll want both to be good locks for thiefs will need to cut only one of them to steal (most of) your bike.

One thing you can do easily if you have to use this rack is to replace your QR skewers with security equivalents. I use pinhead because they came with my hybrid and I could get them for my tourer to use the same key. Just remember to keep the key on you if you might have to remove a wheel.

My rather long D lock would reach half way to the frame, while securing the front wheel, so if I had a rack like this in work, I'd leave one lock there and carry another on the bike, using the two locks to form a chain.

If that's a photo of your bike, you have several other small things to do.

  • Its a folding bike, the protector below the Bottom Bracket tells me that. So fold it up and lock both wheels to the stand, or if its big enough get your D lock through the front wheel, through the back wheel straddling a stay, and then into the rack.

  • I have a folder, and one simple defence is to simply slightly undo the main clamp and to lower the bars. Noone's going to be interested in a "damaged" bike with a whacking great bend in the main frame.

  • Another option is to remove the front wheel and lock it beside the rear wheel - this works on non-folding bikes too. Downside is much more wear on the forks where they touch the ground, and disks tend to suffer alignment issues on frequent insert/removes.

  • Finally you can always NOT use this rack - fold your bike and take it inside with you. Its not a problem until someone complains - "ask forgiveness, not permission" but don't block anyone's way or any fire escapes, and don't drop oil/grease/water anywhere inside.

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    Comments on the question state it's not the OPs bicycle. – gerrit Oct 15 at 10:21
  • @gerrit I never saw a comment that said that. The question was edited to say it but several hours after this answer was posted. I think the answer is still useful, since a lot of the advice is general and people who come to the question in future might just see the picture and not read the question closely. – David Richerby Oct 16 at 7:28
  • @DavidRicherby Perhaps the comments were deleted after it got edited into the question. Anyway, I agree that this answer has useful content. – gerrit Oct 16 at 9:21

I frequently have to park a bike "backwards" in this kind of stand, i.e. with the rear wheel in the stand. Then, I lock the rear triangle to the stand, which might be a bit fiddly depending on the length of your lock. If there is no better spot to lock your bike, this might work for you.

Note that, depending on the stand and your bike, there is a simple fix for the risk of bending your derailleur (hanger) that is mentioned in the answer by Argenti Apparatus: Shift to the smallest cogs before putting your bike into the stand. On the stand where I lock my bike, this leaves one or two centimetres of space between the stand and the derailleur.

However, you might run into clearance issues with your disc brake rotor, if you have one. So be careful if you first try this method!

  • Strictly speaking, I don't "have to" park the bike there, but this is by far the most convenient option... – anderas Oct 15 at 16:31
  • Having only a centimetre or two of clearance sounds like you'd be quite likely to bash the derailleur anyway, unless you were very careful every time. – David Richerby Oct 15 at 18:02
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    I've had stands like this at work, with triangular shapes on the side rather than the pictured flat-tops. For some bikes, the stand wedges between disk rotor and spokes. – Criggie Oct 15 at 18:23
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    @Criggie right, the disc rotor is more of a problem in my case. – anderas Oct 16 at 5:53

If you find yourself in the company of a halfling and an ill-tempered dragon, remember that you do not have to outrun the dragon; you simply have to outrun the halfling.

Likewise, when locking your bike, you don't have to lock-out bicycle thieves, you just have to out-lock the other bikes.

If a thief is hell-bent on stealing your bike, they will bring a portable grinder with a diamond blade. But thieves rarely do. That is because they're creatures of opportunity. They will usually steal for maximum profit with minimal effort and risk.

Since your front wheel is quick releasable, lock that to your frame with a good U-lock. If you're worried about your back wheel, get a second U-lock and lock that to your frame as well. Yes, that means your bike can be picked up and carried away, but that involves more risk to the thief since they will be recognisable as stealing a bike for longer.

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    Pick up the bike, put it in the back of a van, close the door. Recognizable as a stealing a bike for all of five seconds. Also, there might not be any other bikes that are easier to steal, as the photo in the question demonstrates. (By the way, that photo is just an example, not the asker's actual bike.) – David Richerby Oct 16 at 17:17
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    @DavidRicherby sorry, I'm Dutch. There's always another bike. – SQB Oct 16 at 17:21

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