It’s been perfect weather for bicycling here in Southern California lately, and I’ve done almost all of my Christmas shopping by bike this year (with the exception of a few things I’ve ordered online or by catalogue). For the most part, it is an enjoyable experience. The shopping center shown in the picture of my Salsa Fargo and Croozer cargo trailer (above) has a number of well-placed bike racks, which allows bike riders to lock up directly in front of most stores and makes it safer and more convenient for people on bikes. I wish more merchants and municipalities understood the value of good quality bike racks and bike access to add to their bottom line. In the absence of a bike rack, the shopper is forced to look for a sign pole or railing on which to lock up her bike, and these aren’t always located in the most convenient or safe places. The presence of a good bike rack says to the bicycling customer, “you are welcome here and your business matters.” Moreover, designing or retrofitting businesses with bike access costs far less than providing access and parking for cars.
As for locks, I recommend a good quality U-lock or chain lock (shown above). You should use the lock to secure the frame of your bicycle to a rack or other immovable object. If possible, place the U-lock around your wheel and your frame for extra security, as shown in the photo. Don’t lock your bike to a post unless it is high enough and there is a sign on top of it which would prevent someone from lifting your bike over it. Avoid cable locks (except perhaps to wrap around wheels and secure to a U-lock). Most cable locks are relatively easy to cut with bolt cutters, and I wouldn’t use a cable lock if I was going to leave my bike unattended for more than a minute. Good locks aren’t cheap, but unlike many overpriced bike accessories, they’re definitely worth the expense. Locking your bike properly will avoid giving a bike thief a Christmas present.
Wishing all my readers a joyous holiday, goodwill, and a safe journey on your bike!