Bike Lock Schlepping

A high-security bike lock is essential, but lugging around a heavy lock everywhere can be a hassle.

My Velorbis has a little detail that solves this problem: a hook that sticks out from the rear rack.  This is the perfect storage spot for my u-lock.  A rack clamp holds the lock in place and eliminates rattling.

Too bad this is not standard on all racks.  With my other bikes, I never figured out a great solution for carrying my u-lock.  I either throw the lock in my front basket or strap it to my rear rack with built-in bungies, but in both places the lock takes up valuable cargo space and rattles.

My huge Abus chain lock is actually more convenient to carry, because I can simply twist it around my front tube.

I’d love to know – how do you carry your bike lock?  Have you worked out a clever solution?  If so, please share with the rest of us!

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76 thoughts on “Bike Lock Schlepping

  1. Ben Brown says:

    I have an abus lock with a tubus locc rack that has a special fixing incorporated into the design of the rack so that you slot the lock inside the rack between the wheel and the rack side. It is convenient, but very rattley still. Also would be great to have a d-lock fixing on either side inside the rack because I carry two d-locks but can’t buy optional fixings.

  2. Luke says:

    Something like this:

    There are other similar products, that support your lock on your bars and stem. Or hang it of the front of your bars. Pretty effective, but kinda ugly and in you face.

    • LGRAB says:

      Thanks for the link! That’s an interesting product. I have a hard time imagining how the u-lock would look strapped to the handlebars, though. Maybe it would work best for low, flat bars.

  3. Here’s my homemade solution with a short piece of PVC, cut up inner tube and zip ties.  (Not stylish enough for this group, but it may give you ideas.)  :)

  4. Mike says:

    Just added a tube to the rear rack to hold a U lock. In use a bungee keeps the lock from rattling around on bumpy roads.

    Rear Rack 2

    Rear Rack 1

  5. Dominique says:

    I attach my (shorter) kryptonite u lock in the other direction…The bar part is attached through my rack on top, and the loop part points down. I minimize ratteling by weaving my bungee cord around the swoop.
    It is fairly annoying…I’ve seen u lock leather carriers that look really nice on etsy.

    • Ash L says:

      This is the way I do it too, by essentially locking it to the rack.

      On larger frames and those with the seat posts raised a lot I’ve seen people thread the u-lock through the saddle clamps and lock it between the seat stays and seat tube. That seems ideal since it doesn’t affect pedaling or storage space. 

      I don’t know that I’d love the briefcase hook on the Velorbis on days when I needed to carry a lot. I’m sure the hook gets in the way of connecting a standard pannier on that side. 

      • LGRAB says:

        Good point about the briefcase hook getting in the way. I only use one-sided panniers and clip them to the opposite side, but I know a lot of people who use double-sided panniers.

        Does your lock rattle, when you lock it to the rear rack like that?

    • LGRAB says:

      Mmm, leather u-lock carrier. That sounds wonderfully luxurious. :)

  6. steve_a_dfw says:

    Mostly, I keep u locks where I go so I don’t carry them along…

    • LGRAB says:

      That’s a good idea, if you can work it out. I stop at a lot of random, different places, so that would not work for me. A couple of years ago I did start leaving a heavy duty lock at my work parking spot, as double insurance, but it froze shut during the winter.

      • steve_a_dfw says:

        There are two things that can help keep the lock from freezing: WD40 in the mechanism and lock, and hang the lock so water does not get in. I had freezing problems until I figured out the two ways to eliminate that.

        For travel to stores and such, a mini u and cable is simple, light, and still pretty secure.

  7. maureen says:

    You guys are all so SMART!!!  I usually just tune out the rattling!

    • LGRAB says:

      Some great suggestions here. I really love the O-Lock/Cable Lock combo on my Bat, although I know it wouldn’t work in every city. The cable lock plugs into the O-Lock and then is stored in a holster that’s secured to my frame.


    • Me too! I’ve kind of been wishing I knew someone who could crochet me a little anti-noise snuggie for the lock.

      • LGRAB says:

        On Monday after I posted this, some friends and I were talking about getting together to knit u-lock cozies. Stitch ‘n Bitch time! :)

    • LGRAB says:

      I used to tune out the rattling, but lately it’s been driving me crazy – don’t know what changed. :)

  8. Julia Ringma says:

    I have a fat cable lock and I can jam it into the space in my rack so it sits vertically down the side of my back wheel. It doesn’t rattle because it is jammed into the rack tubing. (And yes, those are three more bikes in the photo, which thankfully doesn’t show the ten bikes my husband and I have in total.)

  9. I lock it to my rear rack.

  10. Tad Salyards says:

    I use an Abus chain lock and slip it through itself via one of the holes in the front basket (a black milk crate).  Works great!

  11. LeslieC says:

    How do you secure the U-Lock on the Velorbis to keep it from rattling or just jumping off?, other than gravity?

    • Trisha says:

      The clamp on the Pletscher rack goes over the top of the lock holster to hold it in. So you can’t use the clamp to hold other things down when there’s a lock on the rack, and you can’t use a lock that is too thick or it will leap out when you go over a pothole and Mr. Dottie will have to rescue it. ;) But you can use an additional rack strap to secure items to the rack. 

  12. Karen says:

    I just keep my u-lock hanging on my handlebars most of the time these days when I’m riding.  It just feels very convenient and I don’t hear any clanking as I would if I locked it to my rack.  This morning I used my u-lock to lock my Ortlieb pannier to my rack while I was riding the rail.  The stations were rather crowded and I thought how easy it would be to just lift the Ortlieb off the rack when I wasn’t looking so I decided a bit of caution might be in order.

    • LGRAB says:

      Good idea to lock your pannier to your rack on the train. Great tip for riding transit with a bike.

      I imagine that my u-lock swinging from my handlebars would be too distracting, but a simple solution. I’ll have to try that sometime and see how it goes.

  13. Ridonrides says:

    love that ombre bungee cord set!  i have milk crate and put my cargo on top of lock so it doesn’t bounce out.  my stuff is pretty heavy so there’s no rattling.  when i didn’t have a crate, i would dangle it on my handlebars and hated all the rattling and my knee bumping it when stopping/starting.  i never figured out how to install that bracket!

    • LGRAB says:

      Yeah, when I have a bag to put on top of my lock in the basket, the rattling stops. Usually my bag is clipped to my rear rack, though.

  14. I do most of my riding locally, and the wheel lock on my Velorbis (and a similar one on my Bullitt) are good enough for when I run into the local grocery or drug store.  If I were to head in to NYC on either, I’d definitely take my Kryptonite.  

  15. Linda says:

    I have the same kryptonite lock but no such lovely hook built on to my Old Skool Hooligan bike. I put mine in the front basket or in the pannier. I have been known to use wide velcro to fasten it to my mountain bike too. It’s not very imaginative but it works.

    • LGRAB says:

      That’s a good idea – I could wrap a couple of velcro straps around my lock and the basket/rack to stop the rattling. I’d still have the space issue, though.

  16. Philppe_ram says:

    All my U Locks (Abus or Trelock) has been sold with a special bracket to secure them to the frame. Abus sells those brackets alone, to fit on multiple bikes.

    • LGRAB says:

      Funny, I totally forgot about those holders that come with the locks! I guess I never put one on my bikes for aesthetic reasons. Perhaps it’s time to rethink that.

  17. Aaron Whaley says:

    I use the AXA Defender wheel lock with the optional chain. The chain either goes in the bottom of the panniers(permanently mounted) or is looped through the rack. On other bikes I primarily use a heavy chain long that is wrapped around the top of the basket or around the rack. There doesn’t seem to be a one size fits all solution.


  18. I use a Kryptonite Evolution lock and Kryptoflex. The D-Lock came with an attachment that means I can attach it to the bike frame when I need it (thankfully, most of the time I do not need to carry a lock) and then put the Kryptoflex in my bag. I want a chain lock too, so will have to give that one some thought… I have a single speed which is limiting in what you can attach to it (not panniers). 

    • LGRAB says:

      What’s a Kryptoflex – is that a cable to use with your u-lock? I forgot about the attachment that comes with the u-lock – that would probably be the easiest and best solution.

      • Yeh, it is the Kryptonite branded one. The only problem is it isn’t as secure as two different locks, but is pretty lightweight and ensures all the wheels are locked up. Yeh, the attachment is pretty good – although makes the bike a little less stylish. (Ps. I don’t work for Kryptonite)

  19. Felicia Estrada says:

    My Portland Design Works Takeout Basket has a nifty built-in U-lock slot

  20. Holly says:

    Your orange & black Krypto should have a bracket that can be mounted to the frame. Mine does, but I don’t know where it is! I really hate carrying it. With my winter bike, I stick the lock in the pannier or I can also put it “U” side down into the rack which won’t work on your Betty Foy’s rack. 

  21. I also strap my U lock to the rack with a flat bungee, but I have to say, that red one is pretty sharp. My rack has a lip at the end by the seat, and I put the locking piece over that to minimize the chance of it flying off.

    I’ve never used the frame mount that comes with the U locks — just don’t like the way it looks!!

  22. Sarah says:

    For my regular morning commute, my big ol’ Kryptonite ulock fits perfectly in my Po Campo pannier, but whenever I don’t have my bag I usually have a hard time figuring out a place to put it that doesn’t rattle and drive me crazy.  The best place I’ve figured so far is on my handlebar.  It does rattle on big bumps, but other than that stays pretty quiet.  Too bad most of my town’s streets are pothole ridden.  :/

  23. Ben Brown says:

    The most annoying aspect of the whole ‘where to put the lock and stop the rattling fiasco’ is that when you’ve figured it all out and rubber insulated it as much as you can, then you realise it’s the internal parts of the lock that are rattling about and there’s nothing you can do to stop that noise at all.

  24. Erica Satifka says:

    I, uh… put it in my messenger bag. (It’s a heavy U-lock.) Although ever since reading this, the weight’s been really noticeable. I never even considered strapping it to the rack! See, this is why I read bike blogs, they are endless fonts of inspiration. :)

    • Dottie says:

      Sorry to make you think of the weight.  :)  That’s a convenient option, if you don’t mind carrying stuff on your back, but I’m too weak and lazy for that.  :)

  25. Dennis Hindman says:

    Here are a few products that I discovered a while back on my quest to find a way to carry a lock on my bike.:
    Abus, an expensive lock company from Germany, has a bracket that attaches a U-lock securely to a rack. I not sure if its only for their particular lock designs though:

    Abus also sells a bracket that is specifically designed to attach their U-locks to another very expensive German designed product, Tubus bike racks:

    If you need a very large bike rack and are willing to spend a lot of money for it, here’s a link to a site that sells the LOCC bike rack that the above Abus U-Lock bracket fits on:

    I bought a Tubus rack after I couldn’t find a rack that would fit my road bike. It was an attachment accessory that they have that enabled the rack to be moved further away from my heal that sold me on it.
    Topeak sells a bike rack that comes with a U-lock. I had bought one of these racks and then I found it wouldn’t fit my peculiarly shaped Cannondale road bike (road bikes aren’t usually designed to fit rear bike racks):

    I also gave some thought about having to lift my bike on and off the front of the Orange Line bus rapid transit (BRT). I decided that it was wiser to keep the bike as light as possible and put the lock, water bottle, or helmet, in, or on, something else that I could quickly remove from the bike. This would also divide the load if you have to carry the bike up a flight of stairs. Instead of a lifting 50 pounds that includes a bike + load, you could have a 30 pound bike on one arm and the 20 pound pannier carried by your other arm.
    A product I bought that fits this thought is the Arkel pannier called the Bug, which was originally designed for students. It has a holder for a U-lock and a helmet on the outside of the pack, plus two pockets to put water bottles in. This leaves all the interior space for other items, but unfortunately it looks very outdoorsy:


  26. […] As I was preparing this week’s tutorial, Dottie at Let’s Go Ride A Bike posted about the best ways to carry a u-lock, so apparently it’s a problem for more people than just […]

  27. Jessie K says:

    I was in the process of putting together a tutorial for a mini u-lock holster when this post went up. I finished it last night and thought I’d share it here–You just need an old leather belt and some pretty basic skills.

    I love mine–it definitely beats strapping it to your rack and listening to it rattle around.

  28. Dennis Hindman says:

    A couple of years back I was searching on the internet looking into different ways to carry a U-lock with me and I came across a Abus U-lock bracket called the shackle clamp that was designed to attach one of their U-locks to the inside of a Tubus rear bike rack called the LOCC. A major drawback with this is that the cost of the rack and the lock could be close to $300.

    Another bracket that Abus makes attaches a U-lock to the outside of various sizes of rear bike racks using brackets that can attach at three points, making the lock very secure.. Here’s a link to the Abus website that gives a picture of how it looks:

    Another company called Topeak makes a bike rack which is sold with a U-lock which attaches under the top of the rack:

    Another way to carry the U-lock is put it inside of a bag that you are carrying. However, this takes up space that could be used for other things, plus you’ll be bringing the dirtiness of the lock into the bag.

    I found a pannier/backpack made by Arkel, called the Bug, that can hold a U-lock and a helmet on the outside of the bag, plus there are side pockets that for water bottles. An advantage of a design like this is that you can easily remove part of the weight from the bike and this will make it easier to lift the bike onto a transit bus bike rack. You also then have a place to stash your helmet when you go onto the bus, keeping your hands free to read and you can also put the pannier under your seat out of the way. Keeping the lock on the pannier also can more evenly distribute the weight between your arms when you need to carry the bike and pannier up a flight of stairs. This makes it much more comfortable than dealing with the entire load on one arm.

    There are other manufacturers of panniers or backpacks that have the feature of securing the helmet on the outside, but I didn’t across any that could also hold a lock. All of the designs I ran across were very outdoorsy looking, which is a drawback if you want something that doesn’t look so athletic.

  29. Dennis Hindman says:

    Abus has a bracket that can fit a U-lock onto the outside of various sized rear bike racks:

  30. Dennis Hindman says:

    Topeak makes a rear bike rack that includes a U-lock which fits under the top of the rack:

  31. Dennis Hindman says:

    Topeak makes a rear bike rack that includes a U-lock which fits under the top of the rack:

  32. Dennis Hindman says:

    Since part of my commute involves riding a bus rapid transit (BRT) Orange Line in Los Angeles, I figured that removing some extra weight from the bike would make it considerably easier to lift it onto any of the empty slots of the three-bike rack..

    I do this I use a backpack/pannier called the Bug, made by Arkel, that can hold a U-lock and my helmet on the outside of the pack, plus there are two side pockets that can hold water bottles:

    Another advantage of using a pack that can hold your helmet while riding a transit bus is that it frees your hands to read and you can store your pannier or backpack under the seat out of the way. I found several other brands that can hold a helmet on the outside of the pack, but the Bug was the only one that I found that also had a pocket for a U-lock.

    Using a pack that can hold a lock and water bottles also enables you to split some of the weight that the bike carries into two loads. You can detach the pannier and hold it with one hand while you are lifting the bike up a flight of stairs. This makes it much less of a struggle to carry the bike with one arm.

    A downside to all of these packs that I ran across is that they generally give the appearance of a outdoorsy athletic look and definitely not a business look.

    The reason that I am making three posts in a row is that your website would not allow me to put more than one link in one post, or at least that is my conclusion after four different attempts were rejected in a row.

  33. Dennis Hindman says:

    A way to make it easier to secure your bike with a U-lock is to use locking skewers. Most bikes sold in bike stores come with quick release skewers that were designed to make a fast removal of the wheel in a race. For everyday use this also makes it easier for someone to take your wheels. So, if you have locked skewers securing the wheels, then a U-lock can be used on just one wheel or a part of the frame. This helps make locking the bike quicker and easier.

    I use a brand of locking skewers called Pitlock. Besides the design of the skewers, what sets Pitlock apart is the variety of locks that they have developed for other parts of the bike such as the saddle, seatpost, brake calipers and headlamp. You can see what parts of a bike can be locked with their products by moving your mouse over the picture of a bike posted on their website:

    Another, less expensive way of slowing down a thief is to put melted wax into where a tool is used on a hex bolt. This will at least make it more time consuming and hopefully confusing for a thief. I would especially consider putting wax into the seatpost bolt and the bolts for the saddle. The wheels, seatpost and saddle are the most commonly stolen items off a bike, other than the accessories such as computer or lights.

    • Dottie says:

      These are excellent tips!  I really need to get skewers for Betty Foy’s wheels, as they are quick release.  I’ve been held back by the price, but that’s silly because the skewers cost less than replacing the wheels.  In the meantime, I could use wax!

  34. Anne in Pasadena says:

    This isn’t a storage solution, but it might help with the rattling of U-locks. I laughed when I first saw it, but now I’m thinking, hmmm…

  35. Jenna says:

    I use this $11 u-lock holder that goes flat on my handle bars:

  36. Jesse says:

    I had the same problem so I made something that attached the u-lock to the back of my brooks saddle. I’ve been testing it all summer and it’s awesome. There’s some pics and a video of it here (


  37. […] As I was preparing this week’s tutorial, Dottie at Let’s Go Ride A Bike posted about the best ways to carry a u-lock, so apparently it’s a problem for more people than just […]

  38. […] instead of hanging on the rack as shown above, the lock was simply gone.  Yeesh!  I reasoned that the lock must have popped off […]

  39. Emmett says:

    When I bought my bike it came with a clamp and holder which I didnt know what was for, then when I got a ulock it fit perfecty and I just tie a little velcro strap that came with the lock to my bottle cage and it keeps in place well. Even with a cable. here is a pick

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