Ask Prolly: Do You Lock Your Bikes Up Outside Overnight? Sep 29, 2010


I get this question once and a while:

“Hey Prolly, we have a small apartment and there’s no room to store our bikes so I’m forced to lock up outside. Do you do that? What’s the best way to do so?”

I’m lucky and have the luxury of indoor bike storage but I can give some perspective…

I know my neighborhood bikes. Well enough to notice something that’s out of place. A few weeks ago, I noticed this track bike locked up outside. It’s on my walk back from the deli. There it was, brand new, sitting there glistening in the streetlights. The next morning, on my way out for a road ride, I noticed the bike in the above condition. Bars, stem, cranks and pedals were stripped bare. A few days later I snapped this photo with my film camera. Still, to this day, the bike sits there in this condition. I wonder if the initial stripping made the owner lose hope in cycling? I hope not. It goes to show that no matter what, if someone wants your bike or your components, they’ll do anything to get them. Luckily for them, it wasn’t an expensive bike.

Don’t leave your bikes outside bro. But if you do, go with a beater. I know, I know, it sucks, but you don’t want to leave a nice bike outside overnight.

  • macabre

    no matter how small a place is theirs always a place for a bike inside.

  • Dape

    That means there’s at least a couple of psychos in the city walking around with a crank puller. Why can’t people just act with a little decency. You’d never see a bike stripped like that in Tokyo which has its own uneven distribution of wealth. And like macabre said there’s always a way. Hang it from the ceiling. And if it still doesn’t fit take a wheel or two off and then hang it. Might be a hassle but it’s better than having the wheels taken off for you one night.

  • 8pmhangover

    I would rather take my bike apart every night and stash it under my bed than leave it out for the thieves.

    (Pro-tip, bikes fit under beds if you take off the pedals and bars!)

  • santiago

    don’t lock your bike out bro

  • blair

    i’ve locked my bike up overnight outside once, when i stayed over at a … ahem, friend’s house. i did NOT sleep well, and even got up and checked out the window on it a couple times.

  • Christopher

    I used to see this bike all the time before it was stripped. Frankly I don’t think the owner cared about this bike considering that the chain was ridiculously rusted. Also, the owner would lock it on the same post all the time. This was bound to happen.

    So you live in Greenpoint huh?

  • Doug P

    Do you leave your girlfriend outside at night? Don’t leave your bike out there either.

  • James B.

    @macabre I agree 100%. With all the hoists/stands/wall mounts on the market their has to be some kind of inside solution.

    @Dape I have a gold plated crank puller medallion on the end of my Jacob chain.

  • Marcus Melliard

    I’m a fresher at Plymouth university, in England.. I’m living in a studio flat, really cool, but a shoebox flat nonetheless. I’ve had 3 bikes nicked over the years, and my mum had her 1-off fixed gear nicked too… you cant risk it.. I keep my fixie in my flat, even if it is a squeeze

  • PDXbiker

    Give any street punk with cable cutting dikes and a set of hex wrenches just 2 minutes and he’ll strip your bike clean. Never leave your bike out overnight. Pull the wheelset to store it if you have to.