Bicycle Security (Bike Locks & Best Practices)


Maximum Pace
Jun 1, 2010
Tokyo (Nezu)
My name is Pete and this is my first post here. While I've had a decent hybrid bike for quite sometime, I just recently purchased my first proper road bike, a 2010 CAAD9 that's been built up with the new internal routing 105.

I was with the person that James posted about the day his bike was stolen as referenced in this thread:

I am interested in hearing about the best locks & chains, and the best practices and procedures for securing your prized bike in and around the Tokyo area, especially when you are out and about during the day. What would you do if you wanted to break for lunch or needed to run in to store for 20-30 minutes to buy something? Of course one option is just not to do those things while you have your nice bike, but what if you needed to?

I understand that a determined thief given a little time will be able to defeat any locking mechanism, but what is the best that we can do without becoming prohibitively inconvenient? I'd also like to hear people's recommendations from a social engineering point of view, for example parking under a light or parking near other bikes that are nicer and and less secure than your own.

Thank you in advance for the feedback!



Maximum Pace
May 25, 2009
Hey Pete.

Welcome to the forums and looking forward to taking you out on the road next week. Big racing weekend this weekend so information maybe a little slow coming.

Ok, if you have two bikes which you do then leave the nice one at home for shopping trips, nothing worse than loosing a bike knowing that it could have been the crappy one (I know there is the urge to ride and show off the bling but one must resist.)

As for locks, I have two.

The first is just a flexy combination lock, this is used when going out on rides in to the mountains or at races when I need to leave my bike unattended. This is pretty simple and would probably only require some cable cutters to go through but deters the casual thief.

The other lock basically weighs more than the bike:

Although I've never used it on the Pinarello as its only used for races and training but has secured the KONA in Yokohama and Tokyo on numerous occasions.
Jan 14, 2007
Sometimes you have to leave your bike out for an hour or so... but always try and be nearby.

I try to have two cable locks if I prepare in advance and then it is easy to just lock it up anywhere. One is light weight and one is heavy duty.
If I have only one lock...
I leave the bike in a heavy gear or even take the chain off.
I have on occasion taken the front wheel with me.
I will attach my helmet to the cable lock, frame, and even a cable that supports a telegraph pole and tangle it up so that even if a thief wanted to steal that he'd have problems figuring out how to get it off.

I once went to the cycle show in Odaiba and my friend didn't have a lock. I offered to let him lock his bike to mine but he said...'no, it's ok, I'll just rise the seat so high that nobody would be able to ride it away'.
It then stood out like an ostrich at a chicken convention and yes, it got stolen...

therefore trying to make it look like you don't want it to get stolen is a sure way to attract the attention of a thief...

Make it look like you will be back in a few seconds but make sure if they do try and take it they will have a few steps and booby traps to confound them...


Maximum Pace
May 25, 2009
One thing you need to remember is that bike thieves come equiped, they know how to bust locks and they go looking for bikes that can be sold on....they are looking for parts not complete frames.

Tim's bike that got stolen is a prime candidate, old felt frame with full Dura Ace parts, as a complete bike they wouldn't of got much for it but the parts alone would have fetched a fair price used.

The best thing to do is lock the bike to something solid that the bike can't be lifted off. I've seen videos on YouTube of bikes attached to signs where the thieves just remove the sign and slide the bike off the poll.

secondly hiding the bike is not a good option, as it gives the thieves cover to remove locks, so you leave it in public view, the last thing thieves want is a audience as they try and cut the lock.

Remember that they don't give a damn about the frame so they are more than willing to cut through your precious carbon frame to get at the wheels and groupset.


Maximum Pace
Dec 14, 2006
One wire lock so that you can tie everything together with a bar lock (so wire cutters alone won't work) again with everything together. Thieves typically either carry a pair of wire cutters for cable locks or a mini-jack for bar locks: they hardly ever carry both, too much work.
Sep 2, 2009
I had my 2010 CAAD9 stolen last week. Was it you?


I find the best way to avoid getting bikes robbed is to never leave them ever. If you know you are going to be leaving your bike for a long time, take the cheap one.

Good advice in this thread, all the same! :D
Sep 2, 2009
The BMX riders in Sheffield always seemed to have some pretty amusing ways to protect their bikes;

1. The bike pile. Obviously not going to happen with our precious delicate angels, but when out on a large street session with a dozen or more people, laying one bike on the floor and literally throwing all the subsequent bikes on top until a huge pile of tangled metal is made always seemed to work.

2. One of my mates always tried to find fixed metal railings. He would then take his bars off, push the stem through the railings, and put his bars back on, on the other side. Took a minute of two, but worked a treat. For longer absences he would combine it with a lock.

3. Barbed wire rapped round the grips and saddle (I kid you not. Obviously removed when riding)