Golden Meanie

Four Locks, One Key 16 May 2013

four u-locks with one key that unlocks them all

Like any decision, “Should I ride?” is really a collection of smaller questions. Stack up enough of them and the most likely answer you’ll get is “ugh!” This might be about the actual ride, but usually it’s about all the things I have to think about beforehand. Anything I can do to simplify or remove those questions reduces my cognitive load. There are a few different parts to this but today I’ll talk about locks.

One key to bind them

I have four identically keyed u-locks. This sounds like a simple thing (it is if you are buying new locks) but it has two huge advantages. One, I only have one bike lock key on my keychain. Two, when riding with a group we just grab one lock for each bike and any rider can open any of the locks. This takes one more seemingly simple but persistent logistical hurdle out of the analysis that you run each time you ask yourself “should I ride?”

I got mine from Kryptonite, but I think a couple other brands offer something similar. The usual caveat is that they all have to use the same size tumbler. So, for example, I got four pocket locks instead of three pocket and one longer shackle model. This is easiest to do through a dealer. My local bike shop ordered them for me originally and helped me replace one that didn’t return from a night ride. It was painless and I don’t recall it costing any more than buying one off the shelf. But even if it had I would gladly pay it. Every time I grab a bike it’s one less thing to think about, and I feel a little clever each time I turn that key.