All bicycles should be properly stored on a rack

I’m lucky to work for a good company who provides great facilities for cyclists including showers, towels and storage space for sweaty clothes. Oh I forgot, nearly 400 bicycle racks in the basement!

Bicycle Racks

The bicycle racks turn out to be not that great, unfortunately they are managed by the building management, whose main aim appears to ‘Fit as many bicycles in the space we have.’
This means we have bicycle racks which store the bikes vertically and in some cases with the racks backing on to each other in a very tight fashion that makes moving a bicycle around rather difficult.

I didn’t have a problem with the racks at first, I was using bikes with out mudguards but as I grew to dislike the dirt coloured stain in my arse area every time the ground was wet I quickly fitted mudguards on any bicycle I was regularly commuting on.

This however causes a massive problem with using the bicycle racks provided, the contact points are on the rear wheel as the bike is vertical and a loop over the front wheel. This causes obvious problems with any bicycle that has near full length mudguards as the bicycle rests most of its weight on the mudguard. I’ve so far broken/damaged 3 mudguards when trying to put my bicycle into the racks, a few months ago I decided enough is enough, I’m going to stop using them and lock my bicycle in a normal fashion to the back of the stands.

How my bicycle is locked

Locking it in such a fashion has a major advantage, no not that my mudguards no longer break but I can actually lock my bicycle securely by locking both wheels and the frame in two locations. This is not something that is possible if you use the racks as your frame is nowhere near the frame of the stand, even with a 1m chain I was unable to lock my frame to the stand.

I didn’t have any trouble locking my bike in such a fashion for a few months, then it all got heated when people started leaving their bikes in an untidy fashion for weeks on end. It causes issues with people who move around the basement, it looks untidy and it blocks people from getting in and out of their motor vehicles.
Recently e-mails have been sent to the facilities manager in the company I work for about such and that we shouldn’t be parking our bicycles in such a fashion. Obviously I quickly fired an e-mail back to him explaining the issues I have specifically about my bicycles getting damaged if I use the racks and he replied ‘I’ll raise it in the next building management meeting’. I’ve spoken to him several times since but nothing has happened yet.

A few weeks ago there was an increase in security in the basement just before 9am (when most cyclists turn up) and I’ve been questioned several times as to why I lock my bicycle where I do, obviously I mention the mudguards, mudflap and previous broken mudguards. Most don’t have an issue with me as my bike is securely parked and out-of-the-way (I park it next to a parking bay that is not used and there is plenty of space to open a car door) but one security guard recently said “Why didn’t you buy a bike which fitted in our racks?”

Last night I went to get my bike and I noticed a sign on it, from the building management.

I guess I’ll have to apply more pressure to my facilities manager.

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How not to lock your bike

I could have easily walked away with a free bike here. All I would have needed to do is walk up to the bike, remove the seat by undoing the quick release. move the bike forward slightly so the d-lock is no longer on the frame and then put the seat post back in. The failing here is due to putting the lock on part of the frame that is not enclosed. A common thing on rear suspension bikes. Notice the second lock also just hanging from the handle bars. This bike could quite easily be secure but instead would be an easy take with no tools required.

How not to lock your bike

Many modern bikes come with quick release wheels for convenience when removing and replacing the wheels. When locking your bicycle up you need to make sure that you secure both your wheels so that they can’t be removed, as we all know, quick release wheels are very quick to release and letting some air out of the tyre will make it look like a flat. It wouldn’t be hard for someone to just say they are going to fix a flat tyre if anyone challenges them.

As we can see from this image, the owner has clearly thought about their front wheel and they are using a cable to secure it to the lock. These aren’t hard to get through but will deter the opportunist thief. The problem with this bike is the position of the lock, it’s locked in the rear triangle but not through the rear wheel. Any passer-by could easily take that rear wheel out and walk away with it.

You can get safety skewers to replace the quick release ones, but it’s still a good idea to lock your wheels with your locks!

How not to lock your bike – 1

I see many bicycles locked in many different ways in my travels across London, some of them are locked as well as can be and others are left for thieves to take their pickings.
I’ll be posting when ever I see a bike which could be locked better.

The first one is locked to set of railings

They are using a £125 Kryptonite New York Fahgettaboudit lock. Which as the name suggests, you should just be able to lock it up and for get about it. But this relies on you using some common sense. The kryptonite lock is looped around the front wheel, the frame and some small chain link. That chain link is locked through the rails.

This bike could easily be removed in two ways without even touching the Fahgettaboudit lock, what is the point in buying such a good lock and chain if you aren’t going to use it properly!?