4 bike lock options to keep your bike safe on a bikepacking adventure

It's impossible to keep an eye on your bike 24 hours a day on a bikepacking trip. There is always an unguarded moment and a bike theft is quickly done. There is nothing worse than being stranded without your bike during a cycling vacation. Therefore, it is advisable to take a bicycle lock with you on cycling vacations. As always, there are different types on the market, but for a cycling vacation or bikepacking, it's best to look for real lightweights that still offer sufficient security. In this article, we go over the different types of bike locks, indicating that chain locks are usually the best choice for a bikepacking adventure.

An U-lock is often very strong, but not always very handy to lock your bike - source - cc

  • Bikepackers are always looking for the lightest configuration to travel, but when choosing a decent bike chain this can be a mistake. The lightweights among bike locks, even according to the manufacturers, only serve protection for a short time and therefore not for during the night. After all, these locks are broken open relatively quickly. These locks have a very thin chain and are very similar to cable ties. They are also often not very long, which then also limits the security options.               
  • U-locks give a high protection against theft and can be relatively light. However, its shape is not really convenient to take with you on cycling vacations. Moreover, this lock is anything but flexible, which means you cannot easily secure your bike everywhere.
  • Foldable locks are slightly more flexible than U-locks and can be stored and carried compactly. However, they are often clumsy to use and relatively heavy. This option is therefore not really recommended for a cycling vacation.  
  • Chain locks are the most appropriate locks to take with you on a cycling vacation, as they are the most flexible and yet secure enough to tie your bike down. Again, you can go for a slightly thinner and/or shorter version to save some weight.

It is also important to choose a sufficiently large bicycle lock that allows you to secure your bike to various obstacles. Also, be sure to look at the used materials of the lock. Ideally, it should be finished with silicone or another soft material so that it cannot damage your bike.

A chain lock is the most handy lock for a bikepacking vacation, if you go for a light one - source - cc

Many bikes also have easily removable wheels. The wheels of city and touring bikes can also be easily removed from the bike with a multi-tool. To avoid this, it is also recommended providing a smaller and lighter lock between the frame and the front wheel. It is best to secure the rear wheel together with the frame to a fixed object. For this, the chain lock is the most recommended option.

Of course, a locked bicycle is not 100% safe from theft. After all, no one can guarantee this, unless of course you attach yourself to the bike or share your bed with it.