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How to Check Whether a Bike Rack Is Safe to Use

  • Author:Thomas
  • Source:Bicycling
  • Release on :2016-03-28
Six tips to look for in a bike rack before you lock up

If you see power tools being used on or near a bike rack, it's a safe assumption that you should avoid it.

Bike thieves have been known to saw through U-locks and even steel bike racks to meet their dastardly objectives. But crooks in London came up with a new scam to make bike heists even quicker: They sawed through a standard staple-style rack and replaced the gap with heavy-duty tape, creating the appearance of a connected structure. Anyone who locked up later discovered the illusion—and an empty rack where their bike should be.

To prevent a crafty thief from making it too easy to claim your bike—and to safeguard yourself against the ensuing heartache—pay attention to your surroundings at the bike rack and follow these tips. While there’s no 100-percent guarantee against theft, a good locking system can at least buy you time and make your beloved vintage frame a less-desirable target.

   · Check the bike rack for gaffer tape obscuring any disconnects in the metal. There’s no                indication this is a widespread scam, but awareness can keep it from catching on.
 
   · Look for unscrewed bolts or any looseness around the base of the structure. If you can move      the bike rack, don’t lock to it.
 
   · Never lock to a sign that can easily be unscrewed and removed or uprooted from the base—      particularly if it’s a sign that isn’t much taller than you. This also goes for scaffolding, or                anything with a lot of screws that can easily be removed to disconnect parts.

RELATED: What to Do if Your Bike Is Stolen

   · Use more than just a cable lock, which can be a cakewalk to cut through—invest in a U-lock      or burly chain.
 
    · Use your lock to secure your front wheel and down tube to the bike rack. For added security,       run a chain or cable through the back wheel as well.

    · Register your bike at Bike Index so that if it’s stolen, you’re far more likely to be reunited with       it later. It’s easy—all you need is the serial number from your bottom bracket.