Bike Life

How should I lock up my cargo bike?

Hank the bulldog in a bunch bike with pride flag sun shade

A great cargo bike is a big investment! The last thing any of us want is to spend thousands of dollars on an amazing new family vehicle... and then wake up in the morning to find that it's been stolen.

That's why it's so important to secure your bike. 

No one solution is perfect. With enough time, tools, and opportunity, any lock can theoretically be defeated. However, we've learned that if you take the time to create  a secure parking plan, you can make your bike a "hard target" - even if you're parking outdoors, overnight, in a big city. 

Lock up every time

Unfortunately we do hear about stolen Bunch Bikes from time to time. 

These thefts are almost never due to a nefariously inventive cargo bike supervillain who shows up with power tools, a truck, and a winch to defeat those top-of-the-line security solutions.

Much more often, it's like this: "It was raining and I was juggling two sick toddlers and I thought my partner would be home soon and would probably lock up when he came home so just this one time, I left the bike out on the driveway and it stayed there overnight...." 

We know you have your hands full. Still, we ask that you please take the time to secure your bike every single time you walk away from it - even for a minute. The seconds you save if you leave it unsecured are not worth the stress. 

Maximum security

Need to park your bike outdoors, overnight, in the city? We've got a kit ready for you!

We created the Outdoor Parking Package for the many Bunch Bike owners who don't have garages and need to park in a yard, alley, driveway, or courtyard. 

Here's what we recommend: 

* Kryptonite 1410 "Fahgettaboutit" chain lock with theft protection 

This is the only lock series rated 10/10, appropriate for outdoor overnight parking in major metro areas. It comes with $5,000 of theft protection from Kryptonite - if a thief defeats this lock, Kryptonite will pay to replace your bike. Running this chain through the central axis of your bike, to a fixed mounting point, will make it very, very unlikely that anyone can remove your bike. 

 * Secure anchoring point

A chain lock is only as secure as the thing it's chained to! Chaining an expensive bike to a flimsy street sign or fence post is just asking for the whole post to be uprooted. 

On the other hand, a sturdy metal railing or wooden beam can be an excellent "home base" for your bike. A slender tree trunk also works in a pinch!

Some cities allow residents to request installation of a U-shaped, ground-anchored bike rack. This can be a great solution for apartment dwellers!

If your intended parking area doesn't already have a secure locking point available, the Kryponite ground anchor is a great solution. It comes with a special drill bit for bolting into concrete, and it folds down when not in use. 

If you're parking on grass or gravel, an alternate "quick and dirty" solution is to bury an inexpensive u lock in a patch or bucket of concrete, with just the upper loop sticking out as an anchor point. 

Inexpensive U lock in a concrete patch

* Storage cover

If you're parking outdoors overnight or long term, you'll want to cover up your bike to protect it from the weather - and from curious eyes. We offer an easy-to-use storage cover that fits all of our bike models and comes with its own tote bag. You can easily stow it under the cargo bench when not in use! 

* Supplemental options

Depending on bike theft rates in your area, you may want to add a wheel lock, an alarm, a tracking device, or insurance - these options are discussed in more detail below!

Short, low-risk stops

At the other end of the security spectrum are those quick and easy stops that really don't require heavy security:

- Parking outside preschool for 15 minutes at pickup

- Picking up a pizza or ice cream or library books

- At the park or playground when you're playing nearby

Hunting for a bike rack and then dragging out a heavy chain lock can feel like a hassle if you're doing it at every stop. But we don't recommend leaving your bike totally unlocked, even for a minute, because doing so does create a tempting target even for a casual thief - or bored joyrider. 

The wheel lock can be a great solution in these situations. It's installed directly onto the rear wheel of your Bunch Bike, so you don't need to carry anything extra with you. 

With the wheel lock, you don't need a bike rack or anchor point - you simply turn the key, slide the bolt through your rear wheel, and walk away. Your bike is immobilized and can't be ridden!

This means you can easily drop your bike on the sidewalk, on the grass, by the front door, in a car parking space, in a lobby, or just about anywhere and know that it is secured. 

Of course, a determined thief with a truck could still pick up your entire vehicle and drive it away in a truck or van - that's why this isn't a good solution for overnight parking. But at 150 pounds and 3 wheels, the Bunch Bike is heavy enough to make it very difficult to simply carry away on a whim. 

Most other security options can be purchased just as easily from us or from your local bike shop. But we do recommend ordering the wheel lock specifically with your new Bunch Bike because then we can install it for you at the warehouse!

In-between options

The Outdoor Parking Package and the wheel lock represent the two ends of the security spectrum - from highest to lowest risk.

Depending on your situation, you may want to consider some in-between options: 

* Even without an anchor point, you can use your chain lock to secure your front wheel to your frame. This makes your bike even more difficult to move.

* If you live in an area with less frequent bike theft, you can consider a less expensive chain lock. This one is rated 5/10 by Kryptonite and may be adequate for some lower-risk settings. 

* If you live in a high-risk area, we recommend carrying both the heavy-duty chain lock and the wheel lock. You can choose the right lock for any given situation on the go - or use both at once for maximum hardening. 

Supplemental measures

* An alarm system makes your bike a less appealing target. Ours is fairly simple - it's a combination horn and alarm that makes a loud noise if anybody touches your bike - but you can also find more sophisticated devices (such as Scorpio) that will alert you via phone app. Search "motorcycle alarm" for a wealth of options!

* Some owners add a GPS tracker (such as an AirTag or SpyTec) to track the bike's location in case of theft or alert them if it leaves a geofenced area. We don't want to post this information publicly but you can join the Bunch Bikes Club on facebook to find out where our owners like to hide the AirTags on their bikes! 

* The Kryptonite lock comes with one year of theft protection, but you can purchase an extension up to 5 years from Kryptonite.

* Some owners purchase insurance specifically for their cargo bikes from Velosurance or Oyster Insurance. Adding the bike to your home or renter's insurance can be a more affordable option for coverage as well. 

Questions to ask

How can you decide which solution is right for you? Consider a couple of factors to determine whether you need light, medium, or heavy security from the options listed above.  

* Where will I park overnight? 

- Concealed and secure (locked garage)

- Secure but not concealed (locked backyard)

- Concealed but not secure (apartment garage)

- Not concealed or secure (driveway or alley)

* Where will I stop during the day?

Lower risk:

Short stops (preschool, ice cream)

Within sight (dog park, playground)

Higher risk: 

Out of sight (supermarket, restaurant, Target, Costco)

Longer duration (day hike, all day at work/school)

Bike theft target area (train station, big city downtown)

* How prevalent is bike theft in my area?

The unfortunate truth is that bike-friendly cities also tend to attract more bike theft. People in these areas may be more aware of the value of your bike. Thieves in Santa Monica, in particular, have been known to break into garages targeting specific cargo bike brands! Connecting with your local family biking community on NextDoor, Twitter, or Facebook can help you get a sense of how much security is needed in your area. 

* What will I do if my bike is stolen?

A Bunch Bike is a very large and conspicuous vehicle - and it's not easily concealed. We know of several cases in which a stolen Bunch Bike was quickly spotted around town and recovered!

If your bike is stolen, your first step should be filing a police report. However, you may find that your local law enforcement agency treats the situation more like minor property theft than like grand theft auto - even if your bike is valuable and serves as your family's primary transportation. Spreading the word within your local bike community may result in quicker tracking and recovery. 

Fear never wins

Online I've sometimes heard folks say that they won't buy a cargo bike because they don't want it to be stolen.

To me, this is a little like saying you won't fall in love because that way you won't get hurt 😉

It's true, those folks avoid the pain of possibly someday losing their bikes... but they're also missing out on the daily joy and pleasure of biking.

It's like they've stolen their bike from themselves already!

I also sometimes talk to Bunch owners who are loving their bikes - but avoiding certain trips or errands because they don't feel comfortable locking up in those locations. 

I think Tennyson is right on this one: "Tis better to have loved and lost than never to have loved at all." Get your bike and live your dream!

Be smart about it - make a strong security plan, and follow it every time. Doing so makes it very unlikely that your bike will ever be stolen - even if you park outdoors, overnight, every night. 

But if your bike ever does get stolen, I trust in your resourcefulness and resilience. You can file a police report, place an insurance claim, use your Kryptonite anti-theft policy, or recover your bike directly - just as you would if thieves took your car, your computer or your wallet.

In the meantime, you can be out there living your best bike life - making every day more active, more sustainable, more spontaneous, and a whole lot more fun.


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