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U locks are one of my favorite styles of bike lock. Tough, dependable, and easy to thread through and secure my bike helmet with.
There’s only one tricky aspect to them in fact, and that’s trying to work out how on earth you’re supposed to carry them on your bike whilst you’re riding it.
For years, I would have my lock precariously dangling off my handlebars. Just waiting for it to bash my knuckles at every corner I went around. Then I tried putting them in a backpack. This worked fine, but it seemed slightly over-the-top to drag a backpack along with me when all I had in it was a lock!
Surely there was a better solution? One that didn’t involve bashed hands or extra luggage? As it happens there is. Turns out there are some great ways of carrying a U lock when you’re cycling. If only I’d thought to look into this sooner. Sigh…
Let’s take a look over the best ways of carrying U-locks and I’ll also include my recommendations of some of the pieces of equipment to help hold your lock securely.
Where to secure your U lock to your bike
There are a few different places to store a U lock on a bike and each has its advantages and disadvantages. The usual locations are: behind the saddle, inside the triangle of the bike frame, attached to the bike handlebars. Let’s go through each of these now.
Storing a U lock behind the saddle
Pros – lock is stored safely out of the way of hands and knees
Cons – you’ll need to strap it to the side of a pannier rack, if you have one fitted
On balance I think this is probably my favorite location for storing a lock. Why? Well, it’s tucked out of the way behind you with no chance of catching your fingers or knees on it as you pedal along. This location uses a holster style of attachment that hooks on to your saddle and the horizontal bar that joins your seat stays (where a fender or brakes might also be attached). Fit the straps on and then you have a convenient pocket at the rear of your saddle for your lock. The lock will be held snugly and won’t rattle (like it would dangling from the handlebars). It’s also easy to get access to – there’s nothing to undo, just lift out the lock and it’s ready to use.
Storing a U lock in the triangle of a bike frame
Pros – makes use of a great spot on your bike
Cons – you may already have used up this space (water bottles, pumps, etc)
If you have a bike with a crossbar then you’ll have a perfect spot to stash your lock. The triangle shape that sits in the middle of your bike frame (formed by the crossbar, seat tube and down tube) is a space that’s crying out to store things. You might have a water bottle there, maybe a pump, or even a bottle of wine. https://amzn.to/2HKA3ED Either way, this is a great spot for your lock. There are a few different options for mounting systems here – brackets, Velcro straps, and holsters. All are good options and it depends on your preference. I like the brackets and straps for their minimalist looks and I also like the holsters because they’re great for storing other things as well.
Storing a U lock on the handlebars
Pros – It’s a cost-effective method BUT you need the right kit to do it
Cons – without the right kit you’ll get damage to your hands and bike
On the face of it this sounds like the easiest solution that doesn’t require any kit. Trouble is that, as I’ve already mentioned there are major downsides to this. Not only will the lock bash against your fingers whenever you go round a bend in the road, but it will also swing wildly about. As it’s swinging it will end up scratching paintwork and damaging brake and gear shifters. It will also make metallic grinding noises, not loud, but highly irritating within a short space of time.
Storing a U lock on your handlebars CAN work out, but you need the right kit for it. What you need is a Velcro strap bracket system which will allow you to slip the lock onto the handlebars, then secure it to the handlebar bracket with the Velcro straps. Et voila! The lock is out of the way and held firmly so that it won’t bash against you or your bike.
U locks are a great method of securing your bike and ensuring that potential thieves are deterred. However, unlike chain locks and cable locks (which can easily be wrapped around the bike frame), u locks are trickier to stash on the bike when you’re riding.
But, fear not! There are some great locations to secure your u lock and the kit is easily available to hold it firmly in place for when you need it.
Don’t put up with bashed knuckles from dangling your u lock off the handlebars any longer!
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