Nice weather, new bike lanes, David Byrne–designed racks being installed around the city; it’s a golden time for biking. However, an estimated 60,000 to 80,000 bikes are stolen in New York annually. While we wait for cool European gear like the foldable Bordo lock and the steel Axa bracket to arrive, here are the best ways to keep your ride safe.
For the All-Day, Every-Day Rider
KRYPTONITE NY CHAIN
$90 at Gotham Bikes, 112 W. Broadway, nr. Duane St.; 212-732-2453.
• Nearly indestructible; thieves can’t use a pry bar or car jack (as they do to break U-locks).
• Chains with square locks are nearly impervious to bolt-cutter attacks.
• Greater flexibility in locking up. A tree works as well as a parking meter.
• Makes you look bad-ass. “When I have traveled to other cities, people are awed by the chain,” says Michael Green of Bike Blog.
• Adds about five pounds to your load (compared with three to four for U-locks and one for cable locks).
• Can shred clothes when it’s slung over your shoulder.
• If you lock it around your waist and lose the key, you have a very heavy belt. “I know people who have had to go to work with it on,” says Bill DiPaola of the bicycling advocacy group Time’s Up!
For the In-and-Out Errand Runner
ONGUARD DOBERMAN COMBO GLO
$20 at Frank’s Bike Shop, 553 Grand St., nr. Jackson St.; 212-533-6332.
• Superlight rubber-encased steel lock lets cyclists travel virtually unencumbered.
• Great for locking wheels together, as long as the bike’s frame is held fast by another, stronger lock.
• Usually 80 percent less expensive than heavier locks.
• Can be easily, quickly broken with a bolt-cutter, hacksaw, portable angle grinder, etc.
• For anything other than a quick dash into a store, should be used with more-secure locks.
For the Weekday Commuter
KRYPTONITE NY FAHGETTABOUDIT U-LOCK
$130 at Metro Bicycles–Midtown, 360 W. 47th St., at Ninth Ave.; 212-581-4500.
• Lighter than the average chain by 20 to 40 percent.
• Easily transportable; some manufacturers include a holster, so the lock can hang from the frame while you ride.
• Reinforced steel makes it more resistant to abuse and stronger than cable locks.
• Much easier to break than a chain.
• The rigid design significantly reduces locking options.
• While it’s unlikely that the average bike thief can get his hands on Freon to freeze and break the lock, it can happen.
I Can’t Believe They Stole My _____!
Pinhead-brand locking skewers require a key to open and are installed in place of quick-release wheels. Though not foolproof, the locks act as a deterrent to the bike thief who is looking for the quickest job possible. $44 at Continuum Cycles, 199 Ave. B, nr. 13th St.; 212-505-8785.
NYC Velo jury-rigs a device that’s stronger than most manufactured seat locks: An old bike chain is wrapped in a used tire tube, run up the frame, then attached to the rails of the seat and zip-tied to the seat post. $12 at NYC Velo, 64 Second Ave., nr. 3rd St.; 212-253-7771.
The Bike Rack As Art
Within the next two weeks, artist–rocker–bike lover David Byrne will unveil nine temporary bicycle racks around the city. Here he examines “The Jersey,” a welded steel silhouette of a car that will be installed near the Lincoln Tunnel on 39th Street and Ninth Avenue. Elsewhere: an abstract squiggle in front of MoMA, a wagging dog on La Guardia Place, and a reclining woman near 42nd Street dubbed “The Olde Times Square.”
Photograph Courtesy of Bill Scanga/Pace Wildenstein