How to Lock a Bike Without a Rack?

Many often choose cycling as their preferred mode of transportation. Not only do they reduce their carbon footprint, but they also get to keep themselves in the pink of health.

Of course, they save a bucket load of money on fuel as well.

Throughout the world, more and more countries have started encouraging biking in an effort to save the planet, integrating dedicated cycle lanes for the safety of the rider, and installing bike racks in public institutions to prevent bike theft. Never before have bike racks been as common as they are now.

Regrettably, there aren’t enough bicycle racks for all the bikes in the world. Therefore, sometimes, you’ll come across a situation where there isn’t a suitable place/rack to park your bikes safely.

So, how do you secure your cycle then? How do you lock your bike when no bike rack is around?

Thankfully, there are some solutions to help you navigate through this problem.

Table of Contents

How to Lock Your Bike Without a Rack: 3 Ways That Work

1. Invest in a high-end lock

To keep your cycle secure at a public place, you need to splash the cash on a high-end U- or D- bike lock—something that can withstand bolt cutters.

First, find an immovable thing that is firmly rooted in the ground. Trees, light poles, street signs, and benches bolted to the ground are good alternatives to a bike rack in the city.

Now, have the bike locked from the back part of the frame and the rear wheel around the immovable thing (pole). Then, use the second U-lock to lock the wheel on the top.

Remember, the more locking mechanisms, the safer your bike will be. You need to always use two or more D- locks and U-locks.

Read Also: U-Lock vs Cable Lock: Which Can Better Secure Your Bike?


I would recommend you not to keep the bike lock too close to the ground. If you do so, it gives the thieves a chance to smash the lock easily or use a bolt cutter to break the cycle.

Also, don’t secure the lock onto the top tube as the lock can be broken through the twisting and lifting of the cycle. What I’m trying to say is to make sure the lock is difficult to access. 

Plus, if you’re using a U-lock, ensure the space within the lock is filled as much as possible. Because of a lack of space, thieves find it more difficult to unlock the U-lock using a bottle jack.

Another factor to consider when securing your bike without a bike rack is to make sure you lock your bike on public property. Understand that if you lock your bike on private property, the owners can legally remove your cycle.

Lastly, know that a chain-link fence doesn’t qualify as a good place to lock your bike. A thief could easily cut through the fencing with a bolt cutter and steal your bike.

Also, even if you take the bike inside your garage, run your cable lock through your helmet strap to ensure it is stuck there, at least!

2. Remove the front wheel

Modern bikes often come equipped with a quick-release wheels option, allowing you to remove the front wheels with minimum fuss. So, before locking your bike onto an immovable object, you can remove the front wheel and take it along with you or have it tied to a frame with a U-lock.

You see, a bike thief isn’t keen on the idea of stealing a bike with a missing wheel even when it isn’t secured to a proper rack.

3. Splash the cash on durable, heavy-duty chains

Unlike in the past, bike thieves don’t only steal a bike in its entirety; sometimes, they make-do with stealing bike components such as wheels and seats. A heavy chain, with a chain lock, for its sturdy and reliable properties, can be expertly used to discourage cycle theft.

Consider using a couple of heavy chains to lock both your wheels or have all the bike accessories tied down and secured. You can do so by looping the chain through the saddle rails.

Extra Tips and Ideas to help you Secure Your Bike

1. Buy a GPS tracker

Offering a host of benefits, fitting a GPS tracker onto your bike not only deters theft but also presents a solution if your cycle got stolen.

With a GPS tracker, you can track your bike from anywhere. So, even when your bike is stolen, you’ll be able to hunt down the thief and hand him/her over to the security personnel.

Modern GPS trackers even double up as bike alarms, sounding off as soon as there’s an impending threat, thereby alerting not only the owner but also bystanders and discouraging thieves from trying to steal a bike locked.

2. Don’t leave your bike in crowded or isolated areas

Isolated areas, where there aren’t a lot of people around, provide a bike thief with the perfect chance to steal your bicycle and get away with it. Parking in crowded areas isn’t recommended either as the humans present there wouldn’t notice the theft because they would be too consumed with their own business.

When searching for bike parking spots, check to see if your cycle is under the direct supervision of a security camera. Also, you need to only park your bike in exposed spots visible to a good number of people.

Another factor to keep in mind: don’t lock a bike at the same spot regularly. If you do so, thieves will begin to scout your cycle and identify the best time for them to steal it.

Rotate around with your parking spots and don’t allow the thieves to catch on to your routine. You wouldn’t want to make things easier for the criminals, would you?

3. Register your bike

Sometimes, there’s nothing you can do to stop a thief from stealing your cycle.

However, by registering your cycle beforehand, you give the police and security officials a head start on your bike search. As far as I’m concerned, you should do everything possible to improve your chances of recovering your stolen bike.

Plus, it’s always better to be safe than sorry, isn’t it?

Also, keep a note of your bike’s serial number. This piece of info can come in handy when you track your bicycle after it gets stolen.

Having pictures of your bicycle can also be useful as you can use the images to help people identify your cycle.

Read Also: How Do You Find Your Bike Serial Number?


To keep your bicycles as secure as possible, you need to invest in a good lock, cable locks,  locking skewer, and know the proper way to lock (around the frame) your bicycle. Merely using a cable lock won’t be enough.

Also, avoid crowded and isolated parking spots and don’t park at the same sport regularly. You can also invest in a GPS tracker/alarm and bike chains to provide an extra layer of security.  

Most importantly, regardless of where you go, and even if for a short period, you need to lock your bike!

Now that you know all the tips to secure your bike and cable lock a bike without a bike rack, spread the knowledge around like a responsible biker.