Essentially, one way to secure your bike is by locking it against a bicycle rack. But what if there is no rack around you? Well, here’s what to do if there is no bike rack:
Find a rock-solid bike rack-like object around you and lock the bike there. Such objects include fences, bolted-down benches, street signs, and taller trees, among others.
So, not only do you need a rack-like object, but you also need a reliable bike lock.
But what if you don’t have a bike lock?
I’ll share some smart tips for such a case. But before that, let’s talk about how you can do it with a bike lock.
What To Do If There Is No Bike Rack
Generally, here’s what to do if you cannot access a bike rack:
‘Lock the bike against a rock-solid rack-like object.’
You should find an immovable, preferably taller object around you to lock your bike. Such an object could be any of the following:
- Solid fence
- Solid road sign
- Down-bolted bench
- Taller tree
- Strong light pole
Remember, thieves, want a bike they can steal with ease. What they don’t have is time, and so they hate conquests that take a lot of time.
So, try to make it as difficult for them as you can, and you’ll outwit them.
Overall, here are the steps on how to lock a bike without a rack:
Step 1- Get a Quality Bike Lock
The security of your bike is more important than anything, and one way to guarantee it is by locking it with a quality bike lock.
The lock shouldn’t be easy to manipulate or cut. It should also resist weather damage and should be portable.
One such bike lock is the FOLDYLOCK Compact Folding Bike Lock (Link to Amazon). This patented, foldable bike lock comes in a heavy-duty yet lightweight anti-theft construction to secure your bike anywhere. Its hardened steel body is hard to cut, even by saw and cutter drills.
It’s also weatherproof and enjoys a multi-locking guard system that deters thieves.
Step 2 – Identify a Rock-Solid Bike Rack-Like Object Around You
If you have the most reliable bike lock with you, the next thing is to identify somewhere to lock the bike, preferably in a public place.
Remember, the object has to be hard to move and preferably taller.
As a recap, you can pick any of these objects:
- Street signs
- Down-bolted street benches
- Light poles
Step 3 – Secure the Bike on the Object
Now that you know the best way to lock a bike without a rack, you can go ahead and lock it.
You can lock its wheels against the solid object, and if your bike lock allows it, lock the frame.
Remember, your goal is to make it hard for potential thieves.
It’s essential, however, that you don’t break any traffic rules or interfere with people’s business when locking your bike in town.
General Tips for Locking Your Bike On the Streets
Remember these tips when locking your bike outdoors:
1. The More The Bike Locks, The Better
Instead of just securing your bike with one bike lock, use multiple. That’ll make it difficult even for professional thieves as they won’t have enough time to unlock or cut them.
You can use one lock to immobilize the front wheel and another lock to secure the frame or the back wheel against a solid surface.
2. Secure It In Three Contact Points
It’s highly recommendable to secure your bike on the frame and front wheel and either the back wheel or another part of the frame. That is also important when learning how to transport bikes without a rack.
If you have a bike u-lock with a cable like the Kryptonite Evolution 11-14mm U-Lock, (Link to Amazon) then you don’t have to get three bike locks.
The u-lock allows you to pass its heavy-duty cable across the wheels and frame to hold the bike in place securely.
The good thing about this lock is that it resists cutting by hand tools. Mark you, it comes with an anti-theft protection reimbursement offer of up to $2,500, which only proves its reliability.
3. Avoid Temporary Rack-Like Objects
Avoid movable objects, as they don’t guarantee the security of your bike even if you lock it. In particular, avoid temporary poles and street signs as thieves can easily vandalize them and take your bike away.
That also means you should avoid younger trees as thieves can break them. Moreover, avoid parking meters and street signs as most city ordinances don’t allow that.
4. Park In An Open, Well-Lit Space
Thieves hate doing their businesses in open spaces as they could easily attract some attention. So, consider locking your bike in a more open public space, and it should be well lit to discourage thieves.
5. Register your bike
You might do all the above and still lose your bike to thieves. But to make its recovery much more straightforward, consider registering it.
You can do it online through the national registry database of bikes.
6. Monitor Your Bike Using GPS Tracker
Now, instead of waiting for someone to steal your bike, how about you stop it before it happens? You can do that using a GPS tracker.
The tracker allows you to monitor the bike’s movement using your smartphone, which means you’ll know when someone moves it.
Even more importantly, you’ll be able to monitor its movement and catch up with the thieves before they can go far.
One fantastic bike tracker is the Invoxia Cellular GPS Tracker. (Link to Amazon)
Coming with a 2-year free subscription, this GPS tracker allows you to monitor your bike discreetly and track it using your smartphone when it gets stolen.
What To Do When There Is No Bike Rack And Bike Lock
The truth is that nothing replaces a quality bike lock, which I highly recommend. But if you find yourself without one and you have to leave your bike on the streets, try doing the following:
- Hide your bike away from plain eyes. You can park it behind cars, trees, or a building.
- Immobilize its wheels by deflating the tires or taking away the chain to discourage potential thieves from riding it away.
- Set it in a higher gear ratio to make it difficult for opportunists to jump on it and ride it away.
- Take out the front wheel to make the bike less appealing to potential thieves.
- Remove the saddle also to make the bike less appealing to potential thieves.
- If you can, take the bicycle in.
- Use the helmet straps to lock the helmet against a solid object.
- Quickly undo the bike’s quick-release levers to make it harder for potential thieves to ride it away.
1. How Can I Secure My Bike Without A Rack?
Here are the general tips for securing your bike without a rack:
- Find a solid rack-like object such as a down-bolted bench, solid fence, or tall tree to lock your bike
- Lock your bike in multiple places with a tamper-resistant bicycle lock
- Register your bicycle at a national registry database for bikes
- Change your parking spot regularly
- Use a bike GPS tracker to monitor it
2. Can I Chain My Bike Anywhere?
It’s not a good idea to leave your bike unsecured in a public space. If you must, ensure you chain it properly. In particular, chain the frame and wheels to a solid object or rack.
3. Can You Lock A Bike To A Car?
Ordinarily, you need a bike rack to lock your bike onto a car. A bike rack not only allows you to lock the bike onto the vehicle securely but also allows you to transport it safely.
A rear bike rack can hold 20-60 pounds per bike, depending on the rack type and its build quality.
Hitch rear racks are usually the strongest, capable of holding more than 45 pounds per bike, while spare-tire bicycle racks are the least strong.
5. Where Can I Pack My Bike When There’s No Bike Rack?
You need to identify a rack-equivalent object that’s strong and tall to lock your bike. That includes any of these options:
- Strong, tall trees
- Down-bolted benches
- Permanent fences
- Light poles
- Permanent street signs
Bike racks are not theft-proof. Opportunists will always be tempted to steal them if they are unlocked or unattended over extended periods.
To reduce the risk, lock your bike rack if you’ve to leave it in your car or take it with you.
Depending on the rack type and the road condition, you shouldn’t go beyond 80mph with a bike rack. For example, the speed limit of a trunk rack is 55mph on most roads, while that of rooftop racks is 80mph.
You now know what to do if there is no bike rack. So, if you find yourself in a public place without a bike rack, use the tips shared to park your two-wheel.
Note, however, that nothing replaces a bike rack. So, investing in a quality option is wise!