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How to Lock a Bike on a Bike Rack: The Best Way!

How to Lock a Bike on a Bike Rack
Written by Cobie Brown
Last Update: August 16, 2023

Whether your bike is a basic one or a flash one, you don’t want to come out from work to find it has been stolen.

Bikes are among the most stolen items all around the world. Protect your bike by following our tips for securing your bike and deterring thieves away.

How to Lock a Bike on a Bike Rack?

Things you need

  • U-lock
  • Cable reinforced lock
  • Good quality lock
  • Unattractive bike

Step 1: Lock your frame

Lock your bike frame

Your frame should always be locked to an immovable object. When you secure the bike through the wheel, thieves simply take the wheel off and walk away with the bike.

Step 2: Do not let the lock touch the ground

Make sure the lock is not touching the ground. When a lock is on the floor, thieves can smash it against the floor using a hammer, cheaper locks will break as a result.

It also gives leverage when thieves are using bolt cutters.

Step 3: Make the lock hard to get to

Locks should be as inaccessible as possible. Inaccessible locks are harder to breach.

And it will be even better if the keyhole faces downwards.

The locking mechanism will be harder to tamper with this way.

Step 4: Fill the inside of a U-lock

How to Lock a Bike on a Bike Rack - Fill the inside of a U-lock

When locking the bike with a U-lock, fill up as much space as possible in the U with your bike plus what it is being attached to. No room means they cannot use a pry bar or bottle jack.

Tricks and Tips for Locking Your Bike on a Bike Rack

Get an ugly bike

Get an ugly bike

Bikes can also be enticing because of their appearance. There are ways of making your bike look less expensive and more subtle.

Things such as expensive parts, accessories like lights, and computers are all enticing to thieves.

Choose outdoor bike racks of the right type

Choose outdoor bike racks of the right type

In the case of metal railings, make sure the lock is wrapped around as many rails as possible.

You can pick a specially designed bike rack such as one that riders access with a code or key or one that is cemented to the ground and is secured.

Steer clear of clues for thieves

When you’re headed to the movie theater, or somewhere you’re planning to be gone for a long period of time, lock your bike up a couple of blocks away.

The moment thieves see you lock your bike and go into a place like that, they know they have a lot of time to work on it!

 Always use three points of locking contact

Bicycles should be secured with three points of contact, as recommended by the Association of Pedestrian and Bicycle Professionals.

Secure the frame of the bike to the rack, but do not forget the front wheel. If given the chance, criminals will take just a wheel.

Buy a proper lock

Buy a proper bike lock

Cheaper, flimsy locks are often made of low-quality materials that can be quickly cut or sawn. In most cases, the materials used to make a lock determine how strong it is.

Register your bicycle

You can make the recovery of your stolen bike easier by taking good-quality photos of your bike, along with the serial number or even the receipt.

You can enter your bike details into the online bike register using this information. These sites compare your details to those of bikes recovered by the police and suspected to be stolen on sites such as eBay.

Use more than one lock

As well as securing your bike, the longer and more effort it seems to take to steal it will often deter theft.

U-locking the frame along with a chain and a cable-reinforced lock for the wheels is common and effective at deterring thieves, causing them to seek out easier targets.

Choose a busy place

In public, if you have to leave your bike, make sure you lock it somewhere you will be able to see it.

If this isn’t possible then lock up the bike in a busy place where heaps of people pass by. Thieves are less likely to steal a bike in this case.

Find a bike rack that is not movable, like a sign or a tree

Find a bike rack that is not movable, like a sign or a tree  

A bike’s security depends largely on the item it’s locked to. The safest option for locking your bike up is usually to use a solid object, such as street furniture that can’t be moved or sturdy railing or benches.

Make sure your bike is locked up in an area with CCTV surveillance 

Make sure your bike is locked up in an area with CCTV

If you want to lock your bike, a high-traffic area that is well-lit, well-monitored by CCTV is ideal. You should refrain from securing your bike near common loitering areas.

Report thefts immediately, not just to the police  

A good first step is to contact the right authorities and report the theft. Third-party online marketplaces, including Craigslist, eBay, and Facebook Marketplace, attract thieves who list stolen bikes for sale.

Where to Put Your Bike Lock When Riding

First you need to know what not to do as a simple mistake can do great damage to you and your bike.

  • Do not wrap your lock around the bike frame as it may bring unwanted situations.
  • Do not keep your lock in your hand as it may reduce your control over your bike.

You can do the following things to carry your lock…

  • The best place is a bike lock mount as it is specially designed to carry the lock.
  • You can put it on a basket or pannier though it is bulkier than a lock mount.
  • A backpack can be a good option as it is practical and comfortable.
  • On your destination if you go there frequently.


Q. Do Bike Racks Get Stolen too?

Ans: Yes, the bike rack itself can get stolen if you do not secure it properly. You will get many types of locks to secure your bike rack as many companies sell these locks nowadays. Research a little to get a proper decision on what type of lock will match your bike rack.

About the author

Cobie Brown

Born and grew up in Colorado, I chose to work in the field of what I liked most, biking. I’ve been working as a full time mechanic in the cycling industry for over 13 years. I started BMXing when I was just a 6-year-old kid and got hooked from the very first day. Then I started riding and not a single day went by since then that I didn’t touch my bike.

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