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Lock it up!

new bike

Several months ago I got rid of or rather donated my old bike since I really wasn’t using it all and it was just sitting in our house, taking up space. I’ll admit, it was a poor purchase on my part. I should have really thought through what I wanted and bought a better quality bike. Live and learn eh?

Instead of running out and buying another one, I did some online research to figure out what type of bike I needed/wanted. We are a one-car household, which means that if one of us has the car (and that’s usually Matt), then the other is left without a way of getting around, except on foot (that would be me). Since this isn’t always an option and there is no way in hell we could afford another car (and honestly we really don’t want two), I need some sort of slightly faster mode of transportation than my feet.

This means I would need a hybrid bike that I can ride on the road or on trails, is light weight, and has several gears with good brakes. The one thing I did find while reading a lot of stuff online was that when buying a bike, you really need to look at what you, the individual, need it for and then choose it based on those needs. Also? There are ALL sorts of bikes out there. Who even knew? (Honestly I didn’t.)

Another thing to keep in mind is that when you are going to buy a bike, buy it from an actual bike store. NOT from Walmart, Dick’s Sporting Goods, or any one of those types of large stores. You get what you pay for. Literally. The cheaper the bike, the more it goes down in quality. In the DC metro area, we are really lucky to have a bunch of bike stores around us that not only will help you with choosing a bike, but also provide regular maintenance on it. I personally bought my bike from Spokes Etc. Bicycles, but they are local only to Northern Virginia (however, anyone in the DMV can go to them). I’d recommend searching bike shops near you (if you are looking for one) and reading reviews about them.

If you do happen to purchase a bike and live in an urban area where you will be parking your bike in various places, then you’re also going to need a couple of items to make sure it doesn’t get stolen. On an almost weekly basis, I see sad stripped down bikes like these all because the owners didn’t lock them up properly (and because bike thieves pretty much suck).

stripped wheels

stolen bike body

In the top photo, someone stole both wheels off the bike from a metro station in Northern Virginia, and in the second, someone took the entire body off of the bike, but left the wheel.

If you’ve taken the time and money to buy your bike, trust me, you don’t want this happening to you. So what do you do then you ask? Again, after doing copious amounts of research on the interwebs, here’s what I found:

  • Change out your quick release skewers that are on your bike wheels to ones that lock such as these. (I personally went with Pinhead.)
  • Get a bike seat lock so that no one can remove and take it (yes, they do this).
  • Buy a U-lock (or two) with a cable. I recommend Kryptonite, OnGuard, or Abus. (I personally went with the Abus. German engineering guys, can’t beat it.)
  • And lastly, if you want to go the extra mile, replace the headset on your bicycle handlebars so that no one takes those either (yeah they like to take it all).

How do you lock up your bike? Rule of thumb, go by the price tag of the parts on your bike (1. body, 2. rear wheel, and 3. front wheel) and always lock your bike up to something that is locked into the ground and isn’t a short pole because bike thieves can remove your bike by pulling it over the pole.

First using your U-lock, connect your rear wheel to your bike body to the item that you are locking it to. Then take your cable and snake it around your bike body, through your front wheel and back to the U-lock (the cable has two loops to it that go into the U-lock). Lock up your U-lock and you are good to go! Here’s one video (out of so many) on how to lock your bike up.

It’s quite the fuss to lock up your bike, but it’s more costly if it gets stolen. Also pretty heartbreaking. Oh and of course, don’t forget to remove any easily removable items off your bike like lights and baskets. Thieves will take those too.

Questions? Comments? Did I miss something?

4 Comments Post a comment
  1. dawn #

    Well done! That bike isn’t going anywhere…unless you are riding it of course! 😉

    September 17, 2015
    • Marie #

      It better not!! 🙂

      September 17, 2015
  2. So sad, those photos of leftover bikes :(. Heartbreaking indeed! Very good tips on how to properly lock up your bike! I rode my bike everyday to the Metro in Taipei and I locked it minimally with U-lock of wheel only. It never got stolen. Maybe there are more bikes there? Maybe we give each other some decency since lots of people’s only mode of transportation is their bike. PS You ready for the commuting headache during the Pope’s visit?

    September 17, 2015
    • Marie #

      It really is sad. It’s crazy how many bikes around here get stolen, especially when locking them in DC or at a metro station. Super nuts.

      I am so not ready for the Pope’s visit. I actually might be working from home on one of the days he’ll be here. I expect metro will be an utter mess!

      September 17, 2015

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