Secure Bike Parking

D’oh!  That’s what I said to myself as I went to lock my bike at work yesterday morning and realized that I forgot my u-lock at home in the garage.  I scratched my head for a moment and then rolled Betty through the back door, up the elevator, and into my office, where she kept me company for the day.

If I were not able to bring Betty into my office, I don’t know what I would have done.  It was too early to buy another lock from a bike shop, too risky to leave the bike unlocked outside, and too time-consuming to return home for the u-lock.

What would you do in this situation?  Has this happened to anyone else?  (I can’t be the only goof out there!)

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72 thoughts on “Secure Bike Parking

  1. Steve A says:

    I used to park my bike behind the credenza, where it was not quite so evident to the casual visitor. In a later office, the door conveniently reduced the effect of the bike on casual passers by and visitors. I also have a few janitor closets located that I can use if no other alternative exists. However, none of those events occur since I leave two u-locks at work and usually use them both. U-locks of pretty good quality are fairly cheap at Wallyworld.

    • Dottie says:

      Leaving a u-lock at work is a good idea. I suppose I could simply lock it to the wrought-iron gate where I lock my bike.

      • Ghostrider says:

        Dottie…over the years, I have amassed a collection of bike locks (chains and u-locks). Rather than carry them, I simply stash them at all my regular lockup points (work, grocery store, etc.). I mean, you often return to the same destinations, right? Makes sense to leave a lock at your regular stops…that way, you’ll never be without one!

        • Bess says:

          that’s funny.. I have often seen u-locks attached to racks around town and assumed somehow they were vestiges of thefts (but how? I always wondered) – now I realize they may be there for regular visitors. I never thought of this but am tempted.

          • LGRAB says:

            Me too! That explains why there are so many u-locks outside Whole Foods and the YMCA.

            • Ash L says:

              Except u-lock key holes and locking mechanisms freeze in the winter. I’ve had my lock freeze even if only left outside for a couple of hours (both kryptonite and on guard) in sub 20 degree temps so I can almost guarantee that locks left to linger (good band name) won’t be useful when you need them.

            • Ash L says:

              Except u-lock key holes and locking mechanisms freeze in the winter. I’ve had my lock freeze even if only left outside for a couple of hours (both kryptonite and on guard) in sub 20 degree temps so I can almost guarantee that locks left to linger (good band name) won’t be useful when you need them.

  2. Maggie says:

    I am fortunate to have somewhat secure underground parking with solid, U-shaped racks at my office. While I have never forgotten my lock, I once left my keys in the front door of my house…didn’t discover until I went to lock up my bike. Luckily my colleague let me lock up with him. My neighbor leaves for work later than I and she works right down the street from me, so she rescued my keys.

    I do keep two locks at work, just in case, cause I occasionally need to run errands after work.

    Besides leaving a lock at work, how about leaving a second set of keys in your office?

    • LGRAB says:

      I’ve done this a bunch of times! Now I leave a U-Lock locked to the bike rack at my office, as others have suggested. It’s nice because I don’t have to carry a lock on my commute.

      ~T

      • Jennifer Burke says:

        Me too. My bike storage at work is filled with people’s u-locks. I find it easier than remembering to take a clunky lock with me every day. I also carry a cable lock that sits permanently in my pannier, just in case I get a flat on the way to work and need to leave my bike somewhere until I can rescue it.

  3. uberwald says:

    I pretty much always bring my bike into my office…

  4. Carissa says:

    I’m lucky enough to have a locked storage room near my office to keep my bike in. No bike lock required! :)

  5. Luke Wilson says:

    I don’t even have a place to lock my bike to this time of year. When I commented to Mgt.
    they said that somebody would have to have a lot of guts to steal it in front of Asset Protection.
    My bike gets moved all of the time though.

  6. Luke Wilson says:

    I don’t even have a place to lock my bike to this time of year. When I commented to Mgt.
    they said that somebody would have to have a lot of guts to steal it in front of Asset Protection.
    My bike gets moved all of the time though.

  7. Cecilia says:

    My bike lives in the office with me. :)

  8. david , malta says:

    hi, i really love your blog, bike clothes etc….i use my bike evryday and to be honest if this happened to me, i would have called sick…but i m lucky enpogh to park my bikes in my locker room

  9. hi, i really love your blog, bikes clothes etc….i use my bike evryday and to be honest if this happened to me, i would have called sick…but i m lucky enough to park my bikes in my locker room

  10. Anonymous says:

    This very same thing happened to me. I ended up heading out of town in search of contractor/hardware store I pass on the way in. I bought a length of chain and a lock. Granted I bought a chain much thicker than I really needed and the 4 foot length weighed about 35 pounds. still it served its purpose

  11. Michael White says:

    Although I keep a u-lock with me in my panniers, my bike is always parked in my office. It sits there and reminds me of the fun that awaits when I ride home. :-)

  12. Dr J says:

    My locking strategy looks like this:

    http://bostonbybike.blogspot.com/2012/01/locking-strategy.html

    I am fortunate to have an office at the street level, which means that I don’t carry any locks and don’t lock my bike at all. I just park it next to my desk.

  13. Cycler says:

    I’m fortunate to be able to take my bike into my building, and it hangs out in the corner next to my desk. Management doesn’t like it, but they don’t have to know :) My boss is cool with it- he’s a big biker, although not a commuter. I don’t have a private office, and clients rarely come back into the desk area. (not that Gilbert isn’t presentable enough to show clients. If it’s sloppy from snow or puddles, I either put him in the linoleum floored electrical closet, or on a giant cardboard box that the other year-round commuter and I keep under a desk for such occasions. I have taken my bike into the grocery with me once- to WholeFoods at 8AM- no one blinked an eye- smaller than some strollers I think :)

  14. Danny says:

    My old u-lock lives on the rack at work. I also carry a new, lightweight u-lock in my bag as a backup. Whatever happens, I know I’ll have one!

  15. Lauren says:

    If that had been my situation, I would have called my supervisor and asked him whether I should ride around in circles until the bike shop opened so I could buy another lock, or just head home and drop the bike off & take the train back.

    I forget my lock too, sometimes, and I always feel like such a dumbass – I usually don’t realize until I get to my destination, and then I just kind of roll around the parking lot/street for a minute and then start biking home lol. I keep my lock in the basket, now! Leaving a lock at the office is a GENIUS idea, though.

  16. Nice meeting you @ Heritage and Mucca Pazza Saturday! I have a coworker who rides to work, so I’d probably ask if I could lock up with him for the day. Worse for me are the days where I forget to pack a dress shirt, (it’s happened more than once.) Now I keep an extra shirt in my file cabinet, just in case, in a folder labeled and filed under “S.”

  17. Guest says:

    My bike comes into my office building. Through the front door, across the lobby, through a keypad locked door into the basement, down the basement stairs, through another keypad locked door into the service areas next to the gas meter in the corridor leading to the boiler room. I don’t actually bother locking it after all that…

  18. Guest says:

    My bike comes into my office building. Through the front door, across the lobby, through a keypad locked door into the basement, down the basement stairs, through another keypad locked door into the service areas next to the gas meter in the corridor leading to the boiler room. I don’t actually bother locking it after all that…

  19. I have called my husband and had him bring me the lock before. I have also asked a fellow bike commuter to share their lock with me.

  20. Becky McKimmy says:

    I have called my husband and had him bring me the lock before. I have also asked a fellow bike commuter to share their lock with me.

  21. Michael Richters says:

    I’m surprised that you don’t just bring the bike into your office routinely. It’s not as though you’ve got a rusting, mud-caked mountain bike.

  22. Michael Richters says:

    I’m surprised that you don’t just bring the bike into your office routinely. It’s not as though you’ve got a rusting, mud-caked mountain bike.

  23. Jami says:

    Ive done the “have lock but no key” move. I was also fortunate to have fairly private parking in an indoor garage. I placed my lock on my bike so that to a casual glance it would look like it was in. I also removed my front wheel and took it with me.

    I never would have done this if my bike was outside.

    I did forget my lock once and luckily ran into another bike commuting coworker who nicely locked my bike with her cable l

  24. Cyclinmissy says:

    I’d probably see if the receptionist could watch it in the front lobby…or find a maintenance person to lock it in a closet. Then I’d buy a lock at lunch time. It’s really fun having your bike in your field of vision all day! It would make excited for quitting time so I could get back out and ride!

  25. Dukiebiddle says:

    I’ve done this my share of times, especially when I was using one good U-lock among my 3 bikes, so I bought 3 mediumish quality short combination cable locks & stuck them on all 3 bikes. I rarely ever use them, but they’re nice to have in situations where I’ve left the U-lock on the other bike. I won’t leave a bike unattended for a whole day with a cable lock, but it saves me from that hopeless “OMG I’m stuck on the street with a bike” feeling and gives me the ability to leave the bike temporarily so I can run inside and try to make better indoor storage arrangements. It beats the hell out having to turn around and go all the way home to pick up the lock, which I’ve done in the past. I also bought a second quality U-lock, so I have one each for my #1 and #2 bikes, and have gotten into the habit of never separating those locks from their designated bikes. The #3 bike is a cheapie and the cable lock is probably good enough, but I haven’t been using that bike at all lately. So I guess my solution is MOAR LOCKS.

  26. Sonja says:

    Best solution! I take my bike up to the office every day!

  27. Sonja says:

    Best solution! I take my bike up to the office every day!

  28. Bess says:

    at work I would be able to bring it in, only at certain hours though, and our elevators are often crowded. The one time this did happen, it was for a yoga class.. I ended up asking someone else there for a class if she would lock mine with hers (forgoing the front tires) – she helpfully complied.

  29. Cecily Walker says:

    We have secured bike parking for library staff where I work and it’s such a godsend. To get access, you have to have a staff badge, and our security department has to encode your badge so that you can get into the room. If this wasn’t an option, I’d be hooped if I’d left my lock at home, as we’re not allowed to bring bikes in the building.

  30. Maven says:

    I bring mine into the office too. Fortunately it’s casual enough that no one really minds. I’m not sure what I’d do if I got flak about bringing it in. I work at a big university that recently opened a bike center on campus, so there’s secure parking for rent, but it’s a lot less convenient. There are also bike lockers for rent through MetroTransit but I don’t know anyone who uses them.

    Having said all that, I just keep my lock in my bike basket, after I experienced REALLY needing to stop and pick up lunch and not being able to because I didn’t have a lock!

  31. Maven says:

    I bring mine into the office too. Fortunately it’s casual enough that no one really minds. I’m not sure what I’d do if I got flak about bringing it in. I work at a big university that recently opened a bike center on campus, so there’s secure parking for rent, but it’s a lot less convenient. There are also bike lockers for rent through MetroTransit but I don’t know anyone who uses them.

    Having said all that, I just keep my lock in my bike basket, after I experienced REALLY needing to stop and pick up lunch and not being able to because I didn’t have a lock!

  32. Jay Epstein says:

    I’ve done the opposite – locked the bike and then realized I forgot my keys.
    My keys got a very expensive taxi ride to my office that day and I’ve learned to keep a spare hidden in my saddlebag.

    Jay in Tel Aviv

  33. I once grabbed my roommate’s ULock on a trip to Target and realized when I got there what I had done. I ended up having to walk the bike through the store, using my basket as a shopping cart!

  34. Sarah W. says:

    Off-topic: I like your mirror! What is that?

  35. I’m lucky enough that I’m allowed to bring my bike into my library at school. I put it in a place where the kids can see it (hopefully to inspire some of them). I never asked permission, but my boss has seen me with my bike in there and never said no.

  36. Carolyn says:

    Lucky bike getting to stay with you during the day! I get to keep my bike inside at work, so if I forget my lock, I’ll still be ok. But sometimes I have gone shopping only to realize that I forgot to bring the lock. I have to ride back home, which is not fun. I tend not to forget very often as I hate having to do that, so I usually double check if I have it before I leave, just like my wallet.

    I like that idea of leaving locks at places you frequent. I’m certainly gathering a lock collection due to my love of bike touring and needing a good lock at the city destination.

  37. Ash L says:

    I really can’t believe this hasn’t happened to you before. I’ve brought my bike into the bar, into Walgreens, through the grocer. I may even bring it into The Publican on Sunday.

    • Dottie says:

      Ha. And remember that time you dropped your bike key in the snow and couldn’t find it? :)

      I have forgotten lock twice before – once at work and Greg brought it on his way downtown; once down the street to Petsmart and they let me bring Oma inside.

  38. Dottie says:

    I’m surprised to hear that so many of you are able to bring your bikes inside. Good for you!

  39. Cycler says:

    Oh, I’ve also taken my bike into my dentist’s office building and parked it at the end of a dead end corridor, and once I showed up at an advocacy meeting, but fortunately there were lots of other bikers arriving at the same time, so I found someone who could let me lock up with them.

  40. Michael says:

    I’ve forgotten my lock several times on quick errands (i.e. picking up Chipotle). In those situations, when I can keep an eye on it through a window, I will snap my helmet strap around the frame to a rack/sign. It sort of obscures the view where a real lock would go and would buy me a second or two should some knucklehead make a move. I’ve also used a velcro ankle strap.

    That’s not really advice, but just what I’ve done. I’d feel bad about bringing my bike into a store/restaurant since it would typically get in peoples way. Having said that, stores/bars/restaurants that have indoor space dedicated to bikes are awesome.

  41. Jax+Puzzle says:

    I’m very lucky and most weekdays, when working in the laboratory, just roll my bike in and park inside – I don’t carry a lock on these days. There is a sign out front that says “no bikes in building” but luckily our lab has an entrance at the loading dock, so I go in the building that way. It’s not a problem with my supervisor, several of my labmates also keep their bikes in the back of the lab. Hope it never becomes an issue with the building.

    When I’m headed to class, I lock up with a Kryptonite Fahgettaboutit U-Lock and a Kryptonite cable, which if I forget, will probably just result in me rolling my bike into class, or asking one of my friends with an academic office nearby if I can stash my bike there for a bit.

    I like seeing Betty in your office, Dottie! Surely she likes it there ;-)

  42. As much as I know U locks are the best when it comes to a theft deterrent, this is one reason I use a cable lock. It remains permanently on my bike at all times. I can’t forget it, ever!

    However, if I were you, I would have done the same thing. ;)

  43. Scott says:

    Yet another reason to be pleased to ride a Brompton. :-) Where I work, the official policy is no bikes inside (although there is a bike room in the parking garage). Folding bikes are exempt, so I bring mine into the building and park it under my desk. The same is true anywhere else I go, including stores, restaurants, museums (coat check), and the symphony (ditto).

  44. Mo says:

    I now leave a spare key and spare lock in my office drawer as the same situation has happened to me before and I had to ride back home.

  45. Tbplayer says:

    Bring her in every day. I’m a teacher, and my bike goes with me in my classroom. No elevator involved though.

  46. Aaron Whaley says:

    I have shared locks with a coworker, left locks in strategic places (and had them disappear :( )
    Currently my best work around has been to install AXA Defender locks with the optional plug in chains on the bikes I ride to places most. No leaving the keys OR the lock behind.

    Aaron aka 2whls3spds

  47. Aaron Whaley says:

    I have shared locks with a coworker, left locks in strategic places (and had them disappear :( )
    Currently my best work around has been to install AXA Defender locks with the optional plug in chains on the bikes I ride to places most. No leaving the keys OR the lock behind.

    Aaron aka 2whls3spds

  48. I’ve definitely been there–once, my professor let me keep my bicycle in his office. Another time (when I had my own office in grad school), I too brought it into my office. More recently, I’ve been riding my Brompton, so it always comes inside and once folded up, stores securely under my desk.

  49. I’ve definitely been there–once, my professor let me keep my bicycle in his office. Another time (when I had my own office in grad school), I too brought it into my office. More recently, I’ve been riding my Brompton, so it always comes inside and once folded up, stores securely under my desk.

  50. Brittany says:

    I once remembered my ulock and my key and then realized that I brought the wrong key for the ulock! (I have two bikes and therefore two ulocks and two keys) I felt pretty stupid but had to just go home and forget about my shopping trip for the time being.

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  52. Tom Ligman says:

    I pretty much always bring my bike into my office…

  53. Carissa says:

    I’m lucky enough to have a locked storage room near my office to keep my bike in. No bike lock required! :)

  54. Carolyn says:

    Lucky bike getting to stay with you during the day! I get to keep my bike inside at work, so if I forget my lock, I’ll still be ok. But sometimes I have gone shopping only to realize that I forgot to bring the lock. I have to ride back home, which is not fun. I tend not to forget very often as I hate having to do that, so I usually double check if I have it before I leave, just like my wallet.

    I like that idea of leaving locks at places you frequent. I’m certainly gathering a lock collection due to my love of bike touring and needing a good lock at the city destination.

  55. Ash L says:

    I really can’t believe this hasn’t happened to you before. I’ve brought my bike into the bar, into Walgreens, through the grocer. I may even bring it into The Publican on Sunday.

  56. Dottie says:

    I’m surprised to hear that so many of you are able to bring your bikes inside. Good for you!

  57. Dottie says:

    Ha. And remember that time you dropped your bike key in the snow and couldn’t find it? :)

    I have forgotten lock twice before – once at work and Greg brought it on his way downtown; once down the street to Petsmart and they let me bring Oma inside.

  58. Cycler says:

    Oh, I’ve also taken my bike into my dentist’s office building and parked it at the end of a dead end corridor, and once I showed up at an advocacy meeting, but fortunately there were lots of other bikers arriving at the same time, so I found someone who could let me lock up with them.

  59. Michael says:

    I’ve forgotten my lock several times on quick errands (i.e. picking up Chipotle). In those situations, when I can keep an eye on it through a window, I will snap my helmet strap around the frame to a rack/sign. It sort of obscures the view where a real lock would go and would buy me a second or two should some knucklehead make a move. I’ve also used a velcro ankle strap.

    That’s not really advice, but just what I’ve done. I’d feel bad about bringing my bike into a store/restaurant since it would typically get in peoples way. Having said that, stores/bars/restaurants that have indoor space dedicated to bikes are awesome.

  60. Jax+Puzzle says:

    I’m very lucky and most weekdays, when working in the laboratory, just roll my bike in and park inside – I don’t carry a lock on these days. There is a sign out front that says “no bikes in building” but luckily our lab has an entrance at the loading dock, so I go in the building that way. It’s not a problem with my supervisor, several of my labmates also keep their bikes in the back of the lab. Hope it never becomes an issue with the building.

    When I’m headed to class, I lock up with a Kryptonite Fahgettaboutit U-Lock and a Kryptonite cable, which if I forget, will probably just result in me rolling my bike into class, or asking one of my friends with an academic office nearby if I can stash my bike there for a bit.

    I like seeing Betty in your office, Dottie! Surely she likes it there ;-)

  61. Illiniwu says:

    also awesome is when the store owner tells you to bring in your bike! that happened to me outside the thrift store. the owner saw me struggling to wrap a cable around a street lamp pole and popped his head out to tell me to roll it in. i never forget as i lock it up at home so when i leave it goes with in my bag automatically.

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