Saturday, February 13, 2010

Chinese New Year gift from ST

Astoundingly, the Straits Times is on a roll with their articles on bicycling. Today's newspapers' lifestyle section comes with an article on how you should lock your bicycle, and it tests five locks for its durability under attacks from a bolt cutter. This article shatters myths, presents facts, and screws up at times.

This is probably the best guide you can ever come across on how to lock your bike from ST. The Do's and don'ts make sense. I learnt a new thing today: how to avoid lockpicking. The basis of it is just to make everything freaking inconvenient for the thief. The picture is clear enough, I'm sure, for you to read what it says, plus you probably have a subscription to the newspaper.

Of course, if you look at Method one, it is actually blooper-filled. Look at that pole. Do you really want to lock your bike only to come back and found the thief has tabao-ed your bike home so that he could saw your locks off OTOT? Don't make this mistake of locking to a pole that is short, your thief could just lift it off the ground, clearing the pole and getting a free bike. Given a choice, too, I would find a better place where you can loop the front lock around another pole. Such as a fencing. Locking your bike to itself always puts the risk of the thief taking away your bike so that he can do it at his own time.

Now, to the right, five tests were done on five different locks. It dispelled one myth that I always believed: that cable locks cannot be cut by bolt cutters. Well, wrong. Terrible to know, but so far, online literature still states that it is safer to use a double-lock (U lock plus cable lock) combo. The U locks here are portrayed as invincible: they were not broken. Not even the Kryptonite-Trek U locks. Of course, trawling through forums, I have read that they are not invincible. Some Singaporeans have had their bike stolen despite using these higher security locks. Of course, the main text mentions that no lock is theft-proof.

It's an interesting read for people who have an established system for their bike's security and absolutely critical that you read it if you still use a cable lock. If so, plan to spend at least 20% of your bike's value, at least, on security if it is meant to be locked outside.


  1. Whats annoying are those bike racks that only fit your front wheel. Like those found under HDB flats.

  2. Indeed. The town council or whoever in charge should stop installing any more of that. I believe those are called bicycle stands which are not meant for securing bicycles.

    But really, for commuting, it is not suitable to do method 2, which I think make the bicycle very attractive to thieves because it must be of value that the owner is willing to take the trouble to lock it in such a way.

    The issue is really not the lock and how you lock, but the look of your bicycle and its relative attractiveness among others in the vicinity to the thieves to risk to steal.

  3. Cannot agreed more with those useless bicycle stands. Its probably why its so easy for thieves anyway!

    Good Lock with Good method will definitely deter though. Any either combination is just not safe.

    Of course the greater the value/looks of the bike the most motivated the thief.