A U-lock, also known as the D-lock or shackle lock, is shaped like a horseshoe with a removable bar on the end which locks into place to secure the bicycle. If a U-lock is your only lock, make sure it is locking both wheels and the frame, even if that means removing one of the wheels to make it fit in the lock. Park the bicycle near a secure object, like a signpost, bike rack, metal fence post or other fixed object. Slip the U portion of the lock around both wheels, the frame and the chosen object, keeping the lock as close to the bicycle and high off the ground as possible. Click the lock into place, ensuring the key's opening is facing down so it's less accessible for a hurried thief.
Chain or Cable
Chain or cable locks work by wrapping around the bike and securing it in place with a padlock. Park the bike near a secure object. Snake the chain or cable through the front tire, rear wheel, around the frame and finally around the object. Chains and cables give a little more leeway for picking your fixed object, as it can be thicker than an object that has to fit into a U-lock. Keep the chain or cable attached to the bicycle as snugly as possible and its lock as high off the ground as you can.
U-Lock with Chain or Cable
Using two locks, such as a U-lock with a cable, secures your bike even more and makes it appear difficult to steal. Park the bicycle near a secure object, then slip the U portion of the U-lock through the frame, front tire and the object. Before attaching the bottom of the U-lock, hook up the cable. Run the cable through the back wheel, around the bike frame and the bottom of the saddle. Insert both ends of the cable into the U portion of the U-lock and click the bottom into place.
In addition to properly locking your bike, a few other tips will help deter thieves. Remove anything from the bicycle that a thief could easily remove, especially the saddle. Make sure the fixed object is tall enough so the thief can't simply lift the locked bike off the object. Make sure it's thick and sturdy enough that the thief can't break or cut through the object, like a small tree, wooden or chain-link fence.
Article Written By Ryn Gargulinski
Ryn Gargulinski is a writer, artist and performer whose journalism career began in 1991. Credits include two illustrated books, "Bony Yoga" and "Rats Incredible"; fitness, animal, crime, general news and features for various publications; and several awards. She holds a Master of Arts in English literature and folklore and a Bachelor of Fine Arts in creative writing with a French minor from Brooklyn College.