In front of my gym there is front wheel bike stand that means a regular D lock will not be able to reach from the stand to the frame.

enter image description here

Around the corner is some Sheffield style locks but they are out of the view of the gym - meaning easier for criminals.

I am wondering what is the best approach for locking in a situation like this.

Should I invest in a long chain as a second lock to reach the frame.

Would a thin cable be suitable?

Is it better to go with a Sheffield even if it is not in front of building.

  • 1
    Can you push your bike "through" the stand a bit, so that only the rear of the front wheel is in the uprights? Ideally you need your locks to pass through the stand, the front wheel, the frame, and the rear wheel.
    – Criggie
    Commented Jul 3, 2020 at 10:21
  • 1
    I think this question has too many different angles for a simple answer. But the simplest would be, more security (longer, heavier, more locks) reduces practicality. Some people feel it would be worth it, others don't. Depends on the bike and level of theft.
    – abdnChap
    Commented Jul 3, 2020 at 10:42
  • 1
    Also, most thin cable locks as just a waste of money. In most cases, either the cable is thin and easy to cut or the lock mechanism is easy to break. They're fine for securing wheels AFTER the frame is secured with a proper lock, but not as a lock itself.
    – abdnChap
    Commented Jul 3, 2020 at 10:43
  • 1
    In these cases I resolved to simply lock my bike (as in use the lock to lock the back wheel to the frame). Locking the front wheel to the bike stand could result in potential thieves demounting the front wheel and the bike being gone. Sure, my solution could lead to the bike being carried away, but those stands are awful anyway. On the other hand, since you got a viable solution around the corner, go for it. You can lock back wheel and frame to the sheffield bike stand and have the maximum of protection. In the end locks are only able to delay theft, not prevent it.
    – Erik
    Commented Jul 3, 2020 at 11:43
  • 1
    If you've already got a U lock, add a cable with loops on both ends. Either use the U around down tube and front wheel, with the cable looped through the stand and then hooked by the lock, or use the U lock to lock the wheel to the stand and then use the cable to lock the frame. Commented Jul 3, 2020 at 11:58

7 Answers 7


The same racks were installed "temporarily" at my local station at the beginning of the year. This is somewhere where a bike with only a cable lock is unlikely to last a week of commuting before being stolen.

It's often possible to put your back wheel in these racks, being careful of the rear derailleur (you may need to select a very high gear). Then a long D-lock can reach to the chainstay, possibly even through the wheel to the opposite chainstay. My kryptonite series 2 won't go through the wheel as well, but my masterlock will. I also use a cable to the front wheel. I considered using 2 D-locks, one locking the wheel to the rack, and the other locking the frame to the first, but didn't do it in the end.

Putting the back wheel in makes things a little awkward for other users - but so does overlapping handlebars when every space has a bike parked forwards. So try not to park right next to someone.


I think this asks for a two locks system.

One locks the back wheel to the frame, a ring shaped lock will do that but any shape lock will work.
The other lock should be a longer chain or cable, with which you lock the front wheel to the frame and both to the stand or your wheel to the stand and then frame. Or an other fixed point if it is available instead of the stand.

When the stand gets full it gets hard to get near the front wheel, so think about how you place your lock, so you can undo it even when there are other bikes in the way.

There are also ring locks which come with a cable, they look like they will work for this but most are just not long enough. You will need to look for a cable lock or a sturdy cable to be used with a separate lock, meant to be used on bicycles. Or a long chain, which is meant to be used for locking up bicycles or other objects, with a lock or with a separate lock.

I use a cable lock which has the lock build in, my best friend uses a cable with loops on both ends. With that cable, she can feed one end through the loop on the other end, and then she can use her D-lock on the frame, one wheel and the loop of the cable.

Having two different locks make a thief look for an other bike with only one lock, especially when the other bikes look to be as good or better than yours. It has saved me a bike several times, as most bike thieves are specialized in one kind of lock only, or only carry the tools for one type of lock only. A cheap extra lock was left on the bike while the more expensive 'main' lock was broken.


If you're leaving the bike only for a short period of time, be a rebel and use a nearby streetsign instead of the front wheel bike stand. A mini U-lock reliably makes stealing the bike extremely difficult when locked to a streetsign pole.

However, I once made the mistake of storing a beater bike semi-permanently locked on a streetsign pole. It stayed there for a month. Then it disappeared after some street work (renewal of pavement) was done in the place where I had it locked. I tried to find it and found it near a garbage site hundred meters away from the streetsign. A crank was bent and a brake braze-on was cracked. I suppose the pavement layers though it was an abandoned bike, removed the streetsign from the pole, raised the bike on top of the pole and dropped it on the ground.

So, if storing a beater bike for a long amount of time outdoors, your safety is in numbers: store it in a place where there are lots of bikes.

When locking my main bike, I'm always using a streetsign pole.

Streetsign poles are ubiquitous. You can find one anywhere.

  • 2
    In some areas locking your bike to a street sign is a violation of ordinances. Commented Jul 3, 2020 at 22:04
  • 3
    Some street sign poles can just be lifted out of the hole, so in those cases this is not particularly secure.
    – jpa
    Commented Jul 4, 2020 at 7:27
  • 1
    @jpa sheldonbrown.com/images/locktechnique1.jpg -- more secure when done properly than just locking the rear wheel to the frame.
    – juhist
    Commented Jul 4, 2020 at 7:29
  • +1 for recommending storing it in a place with lots of bikes. I like to add, make sure your bike has a lower price to lock quality ratio than average.
    – Hjan
    Commented Jul 4, 2020 at 16:39
  • @Hjan ... or be otherwise uninteresting to thieves. Like being heavily customized. Or registered. Or both. Anything that makes the bike easily recognizable and/or totally out-of-fashion should reduce the retail value for the thief drastically. Commented Jul 4, 2020 at 20:42

In some cases, and I think also in this one, it's possible to park the bike forwards but anyway with the rear wheel in the stand, by lifting the front wheel up onto the wall. This has the advantages that you can easily access the lock even when other bikes are on both sides, the handle bars are out of the way of the others, and the derailleur is tilted forwards by the wheelie-position, so it won't clash into the bars of the bike stand.


In my local area unfortunately most bike stands are like these (better stands are very rare).

What I usually do is lift the front wheel over the stand and turn the handlebar sideways, so front wheel is in on the other side of the stand and bike frame is right above stand. Then I lock the stand and frame with chain lock (D lock might work if it is particularly large one).

It is a bit of an asshole move (it makes it harder for people to park their bikes on both sides) but I prefer it for security purposes.

If there is not enough room on the other side of the stand, I just use the street pole method that other answer suggested.


You could get a modern GPS tracker and hide id somewhere on the bike.

  • 1
    GPS trackers are expensive and seems like it would be a hassle to keep charged, pay monthly fee, etc. which I would prefer to save for bike insurance.
    – vaughan
    Commented Jul 4, 2020 at 13:46
  • 2
    The problem with GPS trackers is that once your bike has been stolen, what are you going to do? You (hopefully) still know where your bike is, but are you really going to go down to some criminal's house to try to confront the thief/thieves and demand your bike back? If you call the police, how likely are they to agree to do that for you? Much better and less risky IMHO to prevent the bike from getting stolen in the first place, if possible, than to try to recover a stolen bike. Commented Jul 5, 2020 at 0:17

If you don't want to opt for some other bike stand (like street signs), you have two options for locks that can help:

  1. Cable lock. Generally not really hard to destroy, but they definitely allow you to connect bike stand, front wheel, and frame. If you invest in a long cable lock, you'll also be able to connect the rear wheel as well. Or wrap it around a tree, etc. This is definitely the convenient option.

  2. Folding bar lock. Definitely more robust than the bike stand itself, but less flexible, shorter, and heavier. A short one may have problems reaching the frame from the bike stand, and even the long ones cannot reach the rear wheel. As such, you would need to turn around your bike, or similar, if you want your rear wheel protected.

My choice for a somewhat valuable bike is to combine the two: They require different tools for breaking open. The folding lock may stop the guy with the cable cutter, and the cable lock may stop the guy with the angle grinder.

There is a limit to what locks can do though: These bike stands are rather weak, they are not made of hardened lock steel. A thief can easily destroy the stand itself with a bolt cutter or angle grinder. So, if you park a top end bike with top end locks in one of these, you may find that the bike disappears anyways.

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service and acknowledge you have read our privacy policy.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.