May 22, 2014

Should You Adopt the Sheldon Brown?

I admit to proclaiming this rashly, but... My new goal in life is to have a bike locking strategy named after me.

The late Sheldon Brown does, so there's precedent.

Who's Sheldon Brown? Well, according to Wikipedia, Mr. Brown (1944-2008) "was an American bicycle mechanic and a recognized technical expert and author on bicycles." The longtime parts manager, webmaster, and technical consultant at the Harris Cyclery in West Newton, Massachusetts, Brown maintained a website offering a wealth of bike-related information. The site remains live, updated as necessary by Harris Cyclery, Brown's widow, and his friend (and fellow bicycle expert) John Allen.

On his page devoted to lock strategy, Brown described the locking method that now bears his name. Here's how the San Francisco Police Department's Anti Bike Theft Unit depicts it:

Take a good look at that U-lock placement. "People tend to buy the big clunky U-locks because they don't know how to use them properly," wrote Brown.
"A U-lock should go around the rear rim and tire, somewhere inside the rear triangle of the frame. There is no need to loop it around the seat tube as well, because the wheel cannot be pulled through the rear triangle. 
Some will object that felons might cut the rear rim and tire to remove the lock. Believe me, this just doesn't happen in the real world. It is indeed possible to cut the rim [hyperlink added] with a hacksaw, working from the outside to the inside, but first, the tire must be removed or cut through. It would be a lot of work to steal a frame without a usable rear wheel, the most expensive part of a bike, after the frame."
Will I adopt the Sheldon Brown as my go-to locking method? Perhaps. What I'd really like, though, is to figure out a way to improve upon it. Stay tuned...

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