My friend told me the other day that he was planning to get an ugly bike seat so there would be less risk of having his bicycle stolen. That’s not a bad idea, but it’s also not necessarily the most practical approach to theft protection, either. It is very challenging to keep your bike completely theft-proof on the streets, but learning how to secure your bike properly with the right equipment can alleviate many concerns caused by bike theft.

Here are six things to look out for when you lock up your bicycle in public:

  1. You should have your bike locked to a secured object at all times when you are not riding it–even if you are just away for a minute or two.
  2. Find an appropriate object with a closed top to lock your bike to. Make sure that the object is fixed securely in the ground. You can’t go wrong with bike racks!
  3. Use a high quality U-lock to secure your bike frame to a post or bike rack, and run a cable through your front and rear wheel. If there is space to include a wheel in the U-lock, secure your back wheel and frame to the fixed object. Back wheels cost twice as much as front wheels because of the special gears!
  4. Try to fill up as much space inside the U-lock as possible with poles, posts, frame and wheel. Avoid using a U-lock with round barrel key, as these can be broken into easily by an experienced thief.
  5. Use a mini-cable or plastic seal to secure your bike seat and seat post to the bike frame.
  6. Be sure to remove your lights and speedometers from your parked bike.