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Additional Resources

Here are additional resources about bicycles you may find useful.

What you need to know about campus bike thefts

How likely are campus bike thefts?

Multiple bikes on campus are stolen every week. Most happen at night. We notice a higher number of bikes/wheels/seats being stolen during Reading Week and other long breaks. 

Bike thefts also frequently happen off campus.

How easy is it to steal a bike?

Too easy. Most bikes are stolen in seconds. Watch our video, which demonstrates what it takes for a thief to steal your bike.

Choosing the right lock

There are many different types of locks with different strengths and weaknesses. We most recommend U-locks in terms of security and utility.

Regardless of the lock type, you should invest in a good quality lock. Cheap locks are not only less secure - they may come with other potential problems e.g. the locking mechanism may break after a few years, or the keys may be fragile and break. A good lock that lasts is a worthy investment.

Another thing to keep in mind when buying a lock is that the security rating is more often than not made up by the companies themselves, and may not reflect the true security level of the lock. 

Cable locks are the most convenient for their light weight and flexibility but also the least secure. The cable part of the lock is essentially a metal rope wound from thin metal wires. These metal wires are very easy to cut. As a result, even the biggest, most expensive cable locks can be defeated in seconds by hand-held cutters. 

Cable locks may be enough for securing your bike on campus during class time. DO NOT use it to secure your bike on campus overnight. 

U-locks have two major parts: the U-shaped shackle (made of solid steel) and the crossbar, which houses the locking mechanism and connects to the shackle. 

In cheap U-locks, the shackle or more commonly the crossbar may not be made of hardened steel and therefore still be susceptible to cutting/sawing. Properly hardened steel cannot be cut with hacksaws. The thickness of the shackle is also very important. 12mm shackles, even when made of hardened steel, can still be cut through with bolt cutters. 14mm hardened shackles can withstand almost all but the biggest bolt cutters. 16mm hardened shackles and bigger can withstand practically any bolt cutter and can only be defeated by angle grinders. 

Leverage attacks may also potentially defeat U-locks. The thief can use tools such as car jacks/crow bars or even the frame of the bike to bend the shackle and eventually break it out of the crossbar. A thick shackle and strongly-made locking mechanism can withstand basic leverage attacks but remain susceptible to tools like bottle jacks. Small U-locks are the most secure as a thief won't be able to fit tools between the shackles. However, this comes at the cost of convenience, and it is up to the buyer to decide how secure their lock needs to be. With larger U-locks, you may be able to find a locking position where there won't be enough room to fit a jack between the shackles, but obviously this won't always be the case. 

We most highly recommend a good quality U-lock for your bike. 

Chain locks are basically steel chains that can be looped together at the end with a lock. Good chain locks can be just as secure as U-locks, if not more secure as they can't be broken with leverage attacks. However, as the same level of cutting resistance, a chain lock is significantly heavier than a U-lock. Despite the flexibility, for many users the weight of a chain lock makes it less convenient than a U-lock. Nevertheless, a high-quality chain locks is a viable and secure option. 

Bar locks combine the flexibility of a chain lock with the relative lightness and strength of a U-lock. Instead of chain links, steel bars are riveted together end to end. A good bar locks is also a viable and secure option, but would likely cost significantly more than U-locks and chain locks. 



Contact Details

David Zaslavsky
macycle@msu.mcmaster.ca
905-525-9140 ext. 26629

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