Parking a bike in the city is no science. It basically consists of three things: a well-chosen, high-quality lock, a suitable place to park and a high-quality locking routine. The following guide provides details on all three points.
Although no lock can withstand a targeted attack with the appropriate tools, we can call a suitable lock a lock that is able to withstand attacks that usually occur in a given location and with a given method of parking. Exceptionally, even a cheap cable can fulfill this, but universal locks for urban use look different. Even more than the right lock, choosing the right parking place and practicing the correct way of locking will increase your chances that no one will steal your bike.
A suitable basic type are the so-called horseshoes, or fixed locks in the shape of the letter „U“ (U-locks). Adjustable locks resembling a folding tape measure made of steel plates, or really high-quality chain locks, will also perform a similar service. When choosing, give preference to verified brands, and lock more expensive bikes with a better quality lock that can withstand even more sophisticated attacks by technically well-equipped thieves.
A good guideline in which price range to buy a lock is that its price should start around 500 CZK and range between 5 and 10% of the price of the bike.
The place and method of parking depend mostly on how long you are away from your bike. The risk is different when you park in front of a store for a few minutes, in front of a building for a meeting, at work regularly every day, or at the station over the entire weekend.
The key is to keep your bike out of the way. Do not park directly in a place where people walk, against the railings used for support and in no case against the walls of houses by the sidewalk. These serve as a guide belt for the blind. Bike racks solve the dilemma of a suitable place for you.
When putting the bike away for a few minutes so that you can still see it, it is usually enough to park the bike on a stand and immobilize it by threading the lock through the bike. This will make it impossible for a would-be thief to jump on the bike and drive away.
When parking for a long time (meeting, visit, cinema), which is a common routine in the city, it is necessary to tie the bike to a firmly anchored object. The bike should be tied by the frame, preferably to the rack. If the stand does not allow you to easily lock the bike on the frame (so-called „wire breaker“), you have to be creative – try tying the bike to the rear structure or look for another suitable place. In buildings or grounds, it is worth asking whether visitors can park inside the building – in the yard, bicycle shed, etc.
Long-term parking places the greatest demands. Lock the bike to a solid object even in a home or business bike shed. You can keep the heavy lock in the usual place.
To park the bike for several days (for example at the station or on the street over the weekend), it is recommended to get two locks, lock the frame and both wheels at the same time and, if possible, secure the seat post, either by extending one of the locks or with another extra small lock.