Lock it or lose it

How secure is your bike? Yes you locked it to a campus bike rack, but locks are easier to crack than you may think. We will test a metal cord lock, a U-lock, and a metal chain, to see how they hold up.

Cord bike locks range in price from $5 to $15, which students can afford. However they can be easily broken, leaving your bike vulnerable to thieves.

The first lock to be tested was a $9 Bell cord lock, purchased at Wal-Mart. After freezing the lock with an undisclosed household item, a thief can smash the lock with a hammer.

Next up was cutting the same metal lock cord. It only took a few minutes and a pair of garden clippers. A handsaw cut the cord in less than five minutes. Pliers cut only a few metal strands at a time, but in six minutes all of them were broken.

Which brings up the well-trusted U-lock—it is pretty much invincible. You can freeze, hammer, and even saw the metal and it still will not break. They cost $15 to $30.

However, if a thief can pick the lock, then your bike’s gone. Remember, any lock is breakable.

Last to consider is a dense chain link lock. Someone once tried to cut through my $20 Kryptonite Chain in the past, but was unsuccessful. The lock had teeth marks of some device on it, but the reinforced steel held up against the thief’s device. Only bolt clippers will be able to cut through the chain link.

All locks can be cut with something. Even the U-lock can be cut in minutes with an angle grinder. But we can better our odds with a more expensive lock. Definitely stay away from cord locks.

Make the extra effort to protect your property. Using a sturdy lock can greatly reduce the risk of your bike beging singled out by thieves.