How to Lock Your Bike

  • Always lock your bike’s frame and wheels with a high-quality, modern U-lock.
  • Remove all detachable items—lights, bags, quick-release parts—and take them with you.
  • Lock to a bike rack or firmly affixed (bolts covered in concrete) parking meter or sign pole. These are the most secure places.
  • See locking diagrams below.

Diagrams showing best lock position

More Tips

  • Record your bike’s serial number. Get a photo of you with your unlocked bike. Keep the sales receipt. All will help you identify the bike if it is stolen.
  • Always lock your bike, even if you’re leaving it for only a moment
  • If your bike has quick-release wheels, always lock through the frame and a wheel. Add a cable, cable lock or second U-lock to secure the second wheel. See diagrams above.
  • Buy the most expensive lock you can afford. U-locks are strong, and better ones come with theft warranties.
  • Beware of locking to “sucker poles” that are loosely bolted down and can easily be removed.
  • Avoid locking to private property. Store your bike inside if space is available. Garages in Chicago are less secure than basements or living spaces.
  • Lock your bike when keeping it in a garage or on a porch.
  • Learn about the lock manufacturer’s warranty and product replacement policy.

Additional Resources

If Your Bike Is Stolen

  • File a theft report with the Chicago Police Department by visiting your local district headquarters or by calling 311.
  • If the police recover your bike, it’s beneficial if you previously registered your bike with the Chicago Police Department. Register your bike now.
  • After filing a theft report with the Chicago Police Department, file a report on the Chicago Stolen Bike Registry as soon as possible.