My DIY Bicycle Frame- or Rear-Rack-Mounted U-Lock Holder


Name

u-lock-holder — My DIY Bicycle Frame- or Rear-Rack-Mounted U-Lock Holder

Synopsis

Clamp rope-hooks to your rear rack or frame.

Description

While riding a bicycle, there are many ways to carry a U-lock:

  • In your pants pocket, if your lock is sufficiently small. Most peoples' U-locks aren't.

  • Using the mounting kit that came with the U-lock, or an aftermarket kit. While Kryptonite manufactures excellent locks, in my opinion their frame-mounting kits are rather cheap, and mounting and dismounting the U-lock is hard. There's also a bit of anecdotal evidence on the Internet that some of these kits are not reliable.

  • By tethering it to your bike's rack, frame, or handlebars using velcro straps or bungee cables, which may be a slight bit of a hassle.

  • By slipping their U-locks between the rail and the plate on their rear rack, assuming the space is large enough and they don't have fenders where the stays get in the way.

  • By sticking it inside a messenger bag, pannier, basket, or some other container.

Having discovered that a company called Ahearne Cycles makes racks with integrated U-lock holders, I realized something similar was in my destiny. But those racks are custom-manufactured, are way out of a lot of peoples' price range, and only accommodate certain sizes of U-locks.

I wanted something cheaper, couldn't find anything similar on the market, and thought of a solution: clamp rope hooks to the rear rack or the frame itself using hose clamps.

Materials Needed

  • Three rope hooks (or "tarp hooks") from a hardware store. In my neck of the woods, Home Depot and Lowe's don't sell them; Ace Hardware does. You need to bring your U-lock with you in order to determine which size of rope hooks will work best for you. Ideal fit is something like below, but a slightly larger size of rope-hook will be okay:

    Account for heat-shrink tubing if you're going to use it (see below).

  • Some hose clamps from the plumbing section of a hardware store. Measure the diameter of whatever you're going to clamp your rope hooks against, then go a step up.

    If you're mounting on the rear rack, you're going to need two clamps for each hook.

    Get extra hose clamps, because there's a small chance you'll break one if you overtighten it.

  • Some sections of old inner tube. This will prevent your hose clamps and rope hooks from scratching your frame, and will help prevent your rope hooks from working their way loose.

  • Rubber cement. This is to keep your sections of inner tube wrapped around your rear rack or frame before clamping.

  • Optional: heat-shrink tubing to wrap around the hook part of your rope hooks. This is to alleviate some of the rattling. You don't need this if your U-lock has vinyl coating or something like mine does.

Assembly Instructions

These steps may require a bit of trial and error.

  • Decide where you want to mount this thing: on the rear rack or on the front of the frame near the head tube. If you choose the front of the frame, make sure your fender and wheels won't bump against the frame when turning your handlebars.

    Decide which side: left or right. If you're mounting on the front of the frame, you may find it difficult to mount and dismount a water bottle from the downtube-mounted cage using one of your hands. Figure out which hand you use most often, mount on the other side, and you should be fine.

  • Get your sections of inner tube, wrap them around where you're going to clamp, and use rubber cement to keep the inner tube sections there.

  • Optional: Get your heat-shrink tubing and slide it on to the hook part of your rope hooks. If you don't have a heat-shrink gun or torch or whatever, 10–15 minutes in a 275°F-preheated oven will work.

  • Start clamping! Remember, if mounting on the rear rack you'll need two of the smaller clamps on each rope hook.

    Be careful to not clamp around your brake cables or derailleur cables. Because that'll fuck your shift up!

  • Remember: If you're mounting your rig on the front of the frame, make sure your front fender and wheel don't bump against the lock when steering.

  • You're done. Start riding!

    If your rig is mounted on the front of the frame, watch out to make sure your knees don't hit the lock while riding.

Bugs

  • A sufficiently good bump may cause the lock to bounce out just enough to come back down so that it's still between the top two hooks, but outisde the bottom hook. This has not happened to me yet.

  • Mounting this on the rear rack most likely prevents you from attaching a pannier to one side of the rack. If the space between between the rail and the plate on your rack is large enough and you don't have fenders mounted with stays to get in the way, you may wish to take advantage of this. Then you'll only need the hook on the bottom.

  • If you walk too closely alongside it, your pants will get caught on the rope hooks!

  • If this rig is mounted on the front of the frame, you may find it difficult to remove a water bottle from the downtube-mounted cage using one of your hands.

  • It's ugly as sin. :) Probably not for your CELESTE BIANCHI FIXIE.

See Also

Author

Darren Stuart Embry (dsewebonastick.com)