Hal Grades Your Bike Locking 3: The Final Warning!
It's Bike Month - which means there are scads of neophytes out there nationwide giving cycling a try. Oh goody! But, oh baddy - it also means more improper locking - and we all know there are predators just licking their chops at the thought of stealing all or part of your bike. So we want to do all we can to preach good locking technique and thwart thieves.
We need a sage in these times to remind us how easy it is to roll your bike. Once again enter the immortal, Bicycle Habitat mechanic Hal Ruzal to give us the straight dope in what he's calling "your final warning" in this last chapter of our exclusive trilogy. Let's hope the third time is a charm!
This time around Hal's not only grading bike locking ability of anonymous locker-uppers, but he also shows you how he secures his bike so you too can score an "A" (or at least have a decent shot at an A- or B+.) And if you love the humorous anecdotes and musings here, don't miss our first two chapters: "Hal Grades Your Bike Locking" and "Hal (and Kerri) Grade Your Bike Locking".
Hal Ruzel: [0:02] This is really good. This is great. This is awesome. I'll be riding a bike, sometimes in another town and they'll go, "Oh, you're the guy from the Internet. I know you." [0:12] There may be bed bugs underneath that cover.
[0:14] Seat collar that would be over here; that was taken.
[0:17] This is your third and final warning. We have the three strikes rule here.
[0:26] This is where I work. This is Bicycle Habitat. I've been a bike mechanic here since 1978 and it's still fun after all these years. You run into new problems and new adventures every day. You never know what you're going to see.
[0:37] Well, today I'm going to lock up a bicycle properly because there's always that grade how you lock up your bicycle, but maybe if I show you how to do it right first, you'll have a better clue about how this is done.
[0:47] First thing I'm going to do is make sure the pole that I'm locking my bicycle to is in the ground. Because a lot of these poles are loose or have a single bolt at the bottom that can be undone by any thief. The city has put in a lot of bike racks within the last couple years and I recommend you lock to those, but make sure they're in the ground also.
[1:08] Anything that you really want to come back to you, you should take off your bicycle. If you have an attachment to your water bottle, take your water bottle of the bicycle.
[1:16] I have chained down the seat. So that cannot be stolen so easily. I invented this in the early '80s, in 1980. When you're locking up a bike, the most valuable items are the frame, the rear wheel, and the front wheel.
[1:31] This is a cool U-lock. It's a square U-lock. It is extremely strong and quite expensive. So I come in like so and look at that! I got the rear wheel and the frame. I take my auxiliary cable, go like so, and you go like so. And look at that! My front wheel is now cable locked.
[1:59] Also, my front wheel has a special anti-theft device on it. It's not a regular Allen wrench, it's a pentagon-sized bolt here. Sometimes thieves can get money for handlebar assemblies, so what I've done here, I epoxied a ball bearing into the handlebars so that way you cannot loosen it with an Allen wrench. Now you have a completely safe, properly locked up bicycle.
Hal: [2:33] We're going to walk around now and the first 10 bikes we see, locked up, we're going give them a quick grade and we're out of here. Let's see. [2:43] Front wheel's not locked up, rear wheel's not locked up. If somebody was really energetic, you could take this off with a wrench, take the headset off, and pull the whole bike away from the pole-all that would be left would be that chain around the pole. This bike gets a D minus.
[3:00] This bike has had a calamity. [laughs] The locking job is an A, but it sticks in the ground. After it's been on the ground for a couple of weeks... They build buildings on top of graveyards sometimes and they don't know about it.
[3:15] It's two terrible locks. It's garbage and garbage. Front wheel's not locked. Seat is ignored.
[3:23] Well this one here, oh we've got square link chain, front wheel is locked, a decent master lock here, rear wheel is locked up, seat is locked up, and it's got an anti-theft skewer on the rear, the pole's in the ground, it has no resale value, and it's locked really well. So, a thief's not going to steal it because it's too much work to get no money. This bike gets an A plus. The combination of quality of bike and the locking of the bike -- this is the best job I've ever seen.
[3:57] The bike is locked to itself, which normally gives this bike an F in locking because anybody could carry it over their shoulder, but with that thing there, that's like the goddess of locking. You can't steal a bike with that on there. That's illegal and immoral and you'll be stricken down by a bolt of lightening if you were to steal this bike.
[4:16] The Schwinn has the seat locked properly, the rear wheel and the frame are locked to a secure pole, yet the front wheel... Bolt A, bolt B, you take it off and you got yourself a front wheel. It will work on any hybrid bicycle. I give this bike a C. I like the way the seats are secured, very cute. Bikes are bad and the locks are bad. So I'll give them the gentlemen's C. This would be the grade George Bush got in college.
[4:45] Now, if you steal these bikes, you may become rich because there may be coupon circulars in here, you may be able to get two pounds of bologna for dirt cheap. You got the bikes. You got the bologna. What more do you want?
[4:55] If I were a wheel thief, I could have four rear wheels. This one here, that one there, that one there, and that one there. They're just getting all Fs. It's like a total disaster.
[5:10] Here we have our $150 saddle not locked up. The back wheel, not locked up. I give this bike a solid D.
Man 1: [5:20] Now we are returning to your bike.
Hal: [5:21] We're returning to my bike. It looks there, but I've been joined. I've been joined by a bicycle and a whole mess of garbage. Welcome to New York! [5:30] All he's locked is his frame. His seat is insecure. His wheels can be stolen. This is a D minus. He was hoping my good locking job would camouflage his bad locking job. And he's hoping to hide behind the garbage.
[5:44] I feel good that I'm creating good bike karma by showing people how to lock their bikes properly and saving some people some money and aggravation. This is your third and final warning. So learn it this time, don't get your stuff stolen.
[6:00] I never thought, when I was growing up, A, I would see a bike lane, B, I would see a bike lane this wide, C, that they would ever take away a lane of parked cars to make a bike lane, and D, that I'd ever see a bike lane the color of Kermit the Frog-no way. This is great!