Lock you bike: Hal-style

Hal tells us how to properly lock our bikes. Is bike theft so bad in NYC that even the crappiest bikes have to have chains locking their seats? This is getting out of hand.


I grade this C, the same grade George Bush got in college.
Bike lanes, the same colour as kermit the frog. This is great!

That Hal guy is one funny cookie.
He had some pretty neat inventions for locking up his bike / theif proofing it.

Worth a look, you'll atleast get a chuckle from the vid if you already know everything Hal is lecturing about, but I doubt you already do.

Did anyone get a good look at his "invention" for locking up his saddle? Was it just a bit of bike chain?

I've never actually seen a saddle locked up in Toronto. Is that common on anything but an expensive saddle?

Yeah, it's just a bike chain

Here is what i did:

  • find a worn out chain. you should have some lurking in the "spare-parts" bin
  • run it around your seat-stay up into the corresponding seat-rail marking the correct length
  • break the chain to that right length, leaving the rivet on the outer-plate(don't want to use a power-link here)
  • find a old tube that hasn't been patched, cut the tube to the same length as the chain - this will stop annoying scratches and noise.
  • slide the chain through the tube and then put the whole assembly back on the bike, running it around the seat-stay and around the seat-rail.
  • carefully rejoin the chain and slide the tube up.
  • you can use some zip-ties if the flopping around annoys you
  • make another one on the opposite seat-stay/seat-rail if you've got a nice saddle.

And yup. Seats get stolen... some master-mind thieves do own allen keys!

The effort is worth not having to carry another cable-lock or awkwardly cycling home trying not to be sodomized by your seat-collar. ;)

Okay I confess I have not had a conventional bike since 1994, after nearly being run over after doing a header due to streetcar tracks. (I landed on the oncoming car's hood. Had it been 5 feet farther away I would have landed under it and been run over.) Since this spring I am now a yellow-bellied, cowardly eScooterist.

But why wouldn't this work as a saddle lock: drill a hole through the frame tube where the saddle mounts into the bike frame. Drill a hole though the saddle stem at the matching position. When the saddle is in position, insert a padlock with a long (6 inch) hasp.

Of course it would require a bike shop's pro tools to do the drilling, but is there a design reason this wouldn't work?

The only reason I would say someone would not want to do the above mentioned locking technique for their seat is the metal from the padlock will be a unwelcome surprise if you land on it with any force.

I read your explanation twice and realise it is in the front area of the seat where you dont usually use to rest your bum on but I can just see the 1-100,000,000 time you land on that little bit of metal and it ruins your day.

I would go with Hal's method explained by electric, it is much simpler, doesn't damage the seat in anyway and uses parts we have lieing around anyway.

However, you'd have to drill the frame and your seat-post(I think that counts as bike abuse!)... afterwards you'd be unable to adjust the height of your seat.

There is a Canadian company here, selling locks

Sorta expensive, but i think the headset lock is worth a look if you've got an expensive fork.

As an aside; sorry about your accident... street car tracks are dangerous, even on an escooter or full-size motorcycle. It's simply a two-wheeled vehicle problem. Those tracks are polished so well that unless you've got diamond bits in your tires you'll be sliding out. See Jobst Brandt's explanation:

A window-cleaning squeegee demonstrates this effect well. Even with a
new sharp edge, it glides effortlessly over wet glass leaving a
microscopic layer of water behind to evaporate. On a second swipe,
the squeegee sticks to the dry glass. This example should make
apparent that the lubricating water layer cannot be removed by tire
tread, and that only the micro-grit of the road surface can penetrate
this layer to give traction. For this reason, metal plates, paint
stripes, and railway tracks are incorrigibly slippery.

thanks for the detailed instructions. I wasn't expecting that, but it's certainly appreciated.

I don't think that is a fantastic idea:

  1. You shouldn't drill through your frame, especially in the seat tube / seat post where you need a lot of strength.
  2. You'd only be locking your seat post. The saddle is attached separately, and could still be removed of the seat tube was locked to the frame.

One could probably find a padlock that would attach the saddle rails to a seat post, given the proper seatpost. You'd need to find a seatpost with a hole in it big enough to get the lock through.