March 20, 2015
Leaving a bike unattended outside freaks me out. Even if I'm just running into a gas station or coffee shop for a few minutes, I'll be parked as close as possible to the largest window I can find to keep an eye on my bike at all times. I don't really know why I'm so concerned about the safety of my bike. Unlike a small child, a bike can be replaced, and I have no qualms with leaving a small child to fend for themselves for a few moments. Clearly I'm not a parent.
Getting to the point, I take bike security seriously. For the longest time there have been two options available for locking up your bike: cable locks, and U-locks. Both options have their strengths and weaknesses. Cable locks are great because they can be fairly lightweight, loop around multiple bikes, and are easily stowed. They are a bummer because just a few snips from some cable cutters and they are toast. You could say they keep honest people honest. U-locks work well because require a large amount of effort to break, and they can also be stashed away in a bag. Their drawback is that you have to get creative to lock up multiple bikes, and they are pretty heavy.
Just this past month I got a chance to play around with a third lock option from TiGr Lock, which I suppose you could classify as a bow lock. Forged from titanium, it is available in widths of 0.75-inches and 1.25-inches. In addition to choosing your width, you also can also choose between short, standard, or long on bow lengths (18-inches, 24-inches, 30-inches respectively). On the small end of the spectrum you have a lightweight and easy to stash lock, while the larger locks improve versatility and security.
For my testing purposes, I opted for the 1.25-inch width in a standard length, which tips the scales at 747 grams, and has a clear PVC coating to prevent it from scratching your bike. The lock is small enough that I can still stash it away in my messenger bag, but you can also affix it to your top tube with the included Velcro strap.
Locking and unlocking the bow shackle is a little bit tricky at first, but once you've done it a couple of times it becomes second nature. It's really handy that two keys to the lock are included, because if you were to accidentally misplace your key while your bike was locked up, it would take some serious power tools to cut this lock.
The TiGr locks start at $125, and go on up to $200 in price. It's a lot to pay up front, but you quickly get the feeling that this is a lock you will have for life.
Photos by Josh Tack
TOURING GEAR & TIPS is written by Joshua Tack of Adventure Cycling's memberservices department. It appears bi-weekly, highlighting technical aspects of bicycle touring and advice to help better prepare you for the journey ahead. Look for Josh's "Fine Tuned" column in Adventure Cyclist magazine as well.