Urban Velo

Why Cable Locks Suck

Cable locks are great as a secondary deterrent to theft, but in all but the most idyllic neighborhoods should never be used as a primary lock. There is a reason beyond style most cyclists in the know carry around u-locks—they want to keep their bikes. Locking up with a cable as your primary lock in any city in the United States is a surefire way to have your bike stolen.

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6 Comments

  1. NickNovember 11, 2010 at 12:30 am

    I always shed a little tear for the sad soul just moved to the big city who thought a decent U-lock was too expensive for their bike security…

  2. ChrisNovember 11, 2010 at 12:51 pm

    Yes, I get a kick out of the people riding $1K+ bikes with a crappy five dollar locks. However I think that for me, a cable lock is invaluable. There are many times when a U-lock is just not very practical. Ever try locking around a telephone pole with one? So while I wouldn’t leave my bike locked up for an extended period of time outside with a good cable lock (of course, I try not to leave my bikes anywhere outside for an extended period), it is great for running into the store, or post office, etc. especially when there is no good bike rack. Of course, locking up next to the $1,500 bike with the bad lock helps too.

  3. J.MillerNovember 11, 2010 at 1:12 pm

    Cable locks suck.BUT BIKE THIEVES REALLY SUCK

  4. NYC_cyclistNovember 11, 2010 at 1:52 pm

    Chris has a point. A cable can be very practical addition to a U-lock. Since you need to secure your front wheel anyway(you’re not taking it off the bike every time you park, do you?), why not carry both?

  5. frazzledglispaNovember 12, 2010 at 3:49 pm

    I carry a long on-guard chain with a mini u-lock on each end. one end goes through the back wheel through the rear triangle and loops around the rack through the u of the lock. the other end goes through the frame and front wheel and loops back on itself through the second u-lock. This also gives me enough length and flexibility to lock around trees, telephone or light poles if necessary. I also have a full-sized u-lock and cable to go with it, but I rarely use those. The chain is heavier, but it is far more flexible, which I think is a fair trade

  6. From Urban Velo: Why Cable Locks Suck | John the MonkeyMarch 1, 2013 at 4:56 am

    [...] November 11, 2010 Cable locks are great as a secondary deterrent to theft, but in all but the most idyllic neighborhoods should never be used as a primary lock. There is a reason beyond style most cyclists in the know carry around u-locks???they want to keep their bikes. Read More at urbanvelo.org [...]

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