Friday, October 20, 2006

The "Always Outdoors" bike

Image of Bianchi bicycle locked to parking meter
Here's my everyday commuting bike, which is always locked up outside. Living in San Francisco, in a smaller two-bedroom, second-floor flat, space is precious. And the stairs are a challenge for an aging cyclist toting a heavier hybrid bike. Everyday. I'm also puzzled why my wife's six bikes are all safely in the flat, while I have only one at home, two at my office, and this "Always Outdoors" commuting bike. But that's another story...

As I discuss on my Bike Commuting Tips website, securing a bicycle is always a process of weighing the risks, bicycle value, budgetary issues, security options, and convenience. For me, this is the way I do it for my everyday "Always Outdoors" commuting bike. I use two locks, a heavy OnGuard Beast Chain Lockand a Kryptonite Evolution LS U-Lock.

I've been using this combination for two years, with (knock-wood) no problems. I've had a wheel skewer stolen (now replaced with locking skewers), and left a light on that vanished. But my bike has always been there. Vandalism has been an anxiety, but again (knock-wood) no problems. Both my home and my office are in quieter, low-risk areas of San Francisco, but I also ride all over the city to less safe neighborhoods.

I carry these two locks, which are very secure but also heavy, in some Wald rear folding baskets. Some cyclists who use a heavy chain are slim enough to carry it around their waists; but sadly not me. See comment on aging cyclist above. Some companies, such as Chicago-based Wig are even starting to create accessories for heavy chains.

This heavy lock combo probably isn't necessary for every cyclist. And no lock is totally secure. But if parking your bicycle outside is your only option, it can be done.

Image: Paul Dorn.
Visit: Avoiding the Bicycle Thief, Slate Magazine, 04.18.06
Visit: Bike Theft Real, Preventable, Bike Commute Tips Blog
Visit: Paul Dorn's Bike Commuting Tips Site

7 comments:

gwadzilla said...

traffic calming....

watch this video-

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qTLqCLYy22A&eurl=


from here

http://www.healthystreets.org/

share this video
think about this video
then share it again

and
be careful
inside and outside the car

joel
www.gwadzilla.blogspot.com

gwadzilla said...

here is a COMMUTER TIP....

buy another set of locks

leave one set of locks on the post by your house

leave the other set of locks on the post at your work where you lock things up there

save yourself the extra poundage

Papà Volontario said...

Hi, it was a big surprise for me to see a "bianchi" bike in San Francisco! I live close to the factory where they are produced.

Anonymous said...

SIX bikes? What the ----? Why would anyone need that many?

CaspianXI said...

I'm just curious -- what do you do to keep your bike from rusting? Since you always leave it outside, I'm sure it gets exposed to the elements.

Paul Dorn said...

There's really not a lot that can be done to prevent rust. This is an alumninum bike. The rust appears on chain, other metal parts, which can be replaced. I also use BikeLust polish, WD-40, and chain lubricant. But yes, this bike won't last as long as one kept inside.

Anonymous said...

my steel frame bike has been left out a lot, and the most important thing i've noticed is to shake it off/ride it daily. if it sits in melting snow for a month, it's going to suffer, water is usually acidic (don't leave sharp knives underwater either). cover any rust spots quickly (bare metal before it rusts), i've usually used stickers and a cavalier attitude, but touch-up paint or nail polish would probably be better.
i second the 2 sets of locks idea, but would suggest a lighter lock to carry and a heavier lock at the riskier destination. stopping along the way is no fun when you have to hurry or check constantly for your bike.