5 Ways to Keep Your Bike Safe Without a Lock

At one time or another, most cyclists leave their bikes unsecure. Whether it's for a quick trip inside a coffee shop during a weekend ride or a pit stop to use the bathroom, it's an unnerving feeling to leave your precious bike out in the open without a lock.

While these tips aren't meant to replace a bike lock, they're useful in slowing down a thief long enough for you to react.

Use these five tips to keep your bike safe when you need to step away.

More: 10 Things I Learned From Being Hit by a Car

Out of Sight, Out of Mind

There are two rules of thought here. You can put your bike in a less visible place where thieves are unlikely to see it, or leave it in a place that's more visible but where you can keep an eye on it.

If you want to leave it in a less-visible spot, stash it behind the coffee shop or convenience store, away from teh entrance. If you plan on staying inside for awhile, it might be best to keep your bike next to a window and close to the door, where you can see it at all times. If you can keep your eyes on it, you might see trouble coming and have time to react.

Take Off the Front Wheel

Remove the front wheel and carry it with you when you have to go inside. Unless the thief has a car, he'll have to carry your bike to get away. If you're in good shape and can take off your cycling shoes quickly, you've got a good shot at catching up—unless the thief happens to be a 5-minute miler.

More: Do You Need Bike Insurance?

Remove the Chain From the Chainrings

Most thieves are just looking for opportunity. The act itself often is unplanned. If you remove the chain from the chainrings and lay it on the bottom bracket shell, riding away will be impossible unless the thief notices it first.

Undo the Quick Release Levers

The same thought can be applied with your wheel's quick-release levers. Undo them both and take the rear wheel slightly out of the rear dropout. If a thief tries to hop on and take off, the wheels will come off the plan, literally.

More: Review: 3 Bike Locks for Commuters

Use Your Helmet Straps

If you're out on a long ride, you're probably traveling light.  But one thing that you'll always have to use are the straps on your helmet.

Find a pole to rest your bike on, and on the side that's leaning on the pole, use the helmet straps to fasten the rear wheel to the seat tube of your frame. The thief won't see the helmet, and the straps will get tangled in the wheel. He or she will crash, which should give you enough time to get outside and deal with the problem.

If all else fails, run outside and yell. There just may be a good samaritan waiting to save the day.

More: Cars Versus Bicycles: Where's the Justice?

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About the Author

Marc Lindsay

Marc Lindsay is the Cycling Editor at Active.com. When he's not at work, you can find him riding his bike. That is seriously all he does.
Marc Lindsay is the Cycling Editor at Active.com. When he's not at work, you can find him riding his bike. That is seriously all he does.

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