If you frequently get around on your bike there are times when you will be leaving it unattended. Your bikes only protection against thieves is a sturdy lock. However, if you don’t use that lock properly it may be no use when your bike is targeted by thieves. So to best protect your bike follow these seven steps for properly locking your bike:

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1) Lock your bike to a solid object that it can’t be easily lifted over

Some short posts may be sturdy but unless they are constructed for locking bikes to they could make it extremely easy for a thief to make away with your ride. Choose posts that have a loop or something that will prevent a lock from simply being slipped over it.

2) Lock your bike in a well-lit area with high foot traffic

Leave your bike in a spot that will deter attempted theft, rather than leaving it somewhere a thieve can tamper with it without the fear of prying eyes. It’s good to leave it somewhere it will be less enticing to thieves unwilling to risk being seen.

3) Make sure what you lock it to can’t be easily cut

Just because you are using a strong lock doesn’t mean it’s invulnerable. Fences, trees and other more delicate posts could make it easy to simply cut the object your bike is locked to rather than the lock itself. The sturdiest of locks can still be cut in privacy once the bike is quickly whisked away from where it was left.

4) Lock according to value

Investing in sturdier and more numerous locks is worth your money if you are leaving a nice bike that will more likely become a target when unattended. Remember parts of the bike like the saddle, wheels and seat post can all become the target of a thief so purchase locks accordingly. For high valued bikes that will be left in theft prone areas, Kryptonite have their New York line of locks .

5) Get the tightest fit possible

Giving experienced thieves more room to work with can make it easier to hack at, cut or tamper with a lock. A U-lock that is too big will provide more space for the thief to get leverage on the lock to attempt and break it.

6) Position your lock off the ground and with the keyhole down

Properly positioning your bike will prevent the locking mechanism from being compromised, corroded or damaged by dampness, mud, fine particles or rain. It will also make it hard for potential thieves to access the most vulnerable part of the lock. Some of Kryptonite’s locks have plastic protectors that will protect the key hole from the elements.

7) Choose the right lock

With u-locks of different sizes, cable locks, skewer locks and chain locks to choose from, it’s important to know which one serves your purposes and provides the level of protection your bike requires. Kryptonite have a line-up of locks that range from high security for high value bikes to light weight and convenient. The duration of how long you are leaving the bike, it’s value and the area you are leaving it in all should factor into your decision on which lock to use. If you plan to regularly lock it in one place ensure the locks you are purchasing work well with what you will be locking it too.