First things first: unless you ride a compact folder or can always park your bike behind a locked door, you will need that good lock. Expect to spend at least 10% of the value of the bike on security for it. Tactics come second.
Lock it or lose it
Lock your bike whenever it will be out of your sight, even briefly. An opportunistic thief could hop on and ride away in seconds. The longer your bike will be unattended, the better the lock needs to be. But any lock is better than none.
Where to lock it
In a well-lit public place. Your bike is safer in plain view, with passing pedestrians. Don’t lock it down a dark alley where no one goes, even if that’s where the bike racks are. Thieves prefer to work unobserved. If there isn’t a suitable bike stand, metal railings and posts are fine. Make sure the anchor point is a closed loop, so the bike can’t be lifted over the top, and that your parked bike won’t obstruct pedestrians or wheelchair users.
How to lock it
Through the frame to a bike stand or solid piece of street furniture. Try to make the lock awkward to attack. With a D-lock, that means leaving as little empty space as possible inside the shackle so that jacks and pry-bars won’t fit. Fit the lock so it’s filled with bicycle or street furniture; this is easier with a shorter shackle. Locking low down near the bottom bracket makes the shackle less accessible. If you’re using a chain or (are you sure about this?) a cable, loop it so that it’s taut. A slack chain or cable is easier to attack with bolt croppers.
Prevent piranha theft
A skeletal frame locked to railings is a sad sight. Any component that can be removed without tools is vulnerable, including the wheels. If your bike has quick-release wheels, remove the front and place it in front of or behind the bike (now ‘kneeling’ on its fork) so that you can pass one large lock through both wheels, seat tube, and bike stand/railing. Alternatively, take a second lock so that you can secure the front wheel in situ to the frame. Better yet, replace any quick releases with Allen bolts or security fittings from the likes of Pitlock or Pinhead.
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