This week isn't just National Etiquette Week, it is also, as part of National Bike Month, National Bike to Work Week. So we decided to combine the two for a brief discussion on how to properly lock up your bicycle. Because yes, there is an etiquette to locking up your wheels.

Keep Your Bike Locked Parallel To The Street!

201205_poorparking.jpg
Yeah, the rack is full but that doesn't mean put your bike perpendicular to the street and block pedestrians! (bitchcakesny's flickr).

New York City is, first and foremost, a pedestrian's town. We cyclists just ride in it. What's worse, we park (but never ride!) in those pedestrian's sidewalks. Don't make them hate us more. So for the sake of keeping the peace between cyclists and walkers, if not just for the sake of common sense, when you lock your bike up on the street try and not let it block the flow of traffic by parking it like the one in the above photo. Nobody likes tripping on a bicycle.

Now, as you can also see in the above photo, there is one exception to this rule. If the installed bike racks on the street have you parking perpendicular, that's what you do.

Don't Be A Bike Rack Hog

201205_bikerackhog.jpg
The owner of this bike is clearly the worst (bitchcakesny's flickr).

Though the city is working on it, we only have so many bike racks in the city—so please, for the love of bike lube, don't hog the thing. We see this bit of tackyness happen the most on those wave-style racks (see above) and it is never okay. Those things are made for multiple bikes, people, not just you.

Don't Lock Your Bike To Mine

201205_flyingbikes.jpg
Man, I parked my bike all the way up there for a reason! (Mike Dillingham's flickr).

There are lots of tips and tricks to locking up your bike in a respectful and secure manner but there is one rule that it is paramount you follow. Please: NEVER, EVER, EVER LOCK YOUR BIKE TO ANOTHER BIKE. There is nothing worse than going to get your bicycle only to find that some asshole has attached their ride to yours. There is no excuse, and we've known people who will cut your tires for doing it.

Put another way: If you are locking up against a pole or rack and another bike is next to you, please take pains to make sure that your chain and/or U-lock doesn't go through the other bikes chain/frame or wheels. Can't do that? Then move along and find another space. Don't be a jerk.

And Finally, A Few Basic Locking Tips

201205_bikelocks.jpg
Locking wheels to frame and solid object? Check. Locking just your front wheel to said object? Good way to lose your bike (Garth Johnston/Gothamist).

Beyond those basic guidelines, here are a few other things to keep in mind while locking your wheels up:


  • Don't lock your bike up against a tree. The thieves? They have saws.

  • Always try and lock your bikes frame and at least one wheel to another object (that isn't a tree). Making sure the frame is attached is definitely crucial. DO NOT just lock your bike's easily removable front tire to a pole (see photo for what'll happen).

  • Back wheels are, for most bikes, more complex and therefore more valuable than front wheels. If possible, using a second lock to lock it to your frame is a prudent move.

  • Got an expensive seat to protect your bum? Ask your bike shop about a seat lock. You don't want to try riding home without a seat. Trust us.

Finally, just because we've been wanting to run this picture for ages, we really do not recommend using this method to lock up your bicycle, but then again we aren't cops:

201205_nypdbike.jpg
So secure! (niznoz).