There are over 16,000 of those standard “Ring and Post” stands where Toronto cyclists are encouraged to lockup throughout the city. Yet surprisingly, only a small minority of cyclists realize that these stands are made with an essentially flawed design. One that can be broken with nothing more that a 2X4 piece of wood, and adequate leverage!
The city has been aware of this fact since 2006, and has been gradually upgrading these Ring&post slowly with secondary rings to reinforce the flawed design, but there is something you can keep in mind if you need to use one of the original (and still widely prevalent) designs. Basically, since the “ring” can be snapped off the post, you need to avoid simply locking to the post and thus leaving you bike free to be lifted up and off the stand once the ring is broken off. By instead locking through the “ring” you might not be any more securely locked, but at least you discourage the wood be thief, because even if they make off with your bike, it will stall have a very large metal ring attached to you lock, which they will still have to visibly travel with (thus making their thievery more conspicuous), and the ring will make it abit harder to break your lock even if they do make off with your bike…Lock, stock, and barrel!
Also make sure to lock through at least one of your wheels and the frame, preferably with two different locks (since this doubles the work and need for tools of the bike thief) in order to make your prized bike harder to roll away with – and thus the thief will more than likely just move on to easier prey.
Incidentally, the City council for Pittsburgh PA just passed a Bike Parking Requirement Ordinance, so it will be interesting to see how a city with a solid heritage in quality metalwork does in building in it’s bike parking infrastructure.
Pittsburgh Councilman Patrick Dowd connected the dots and discussed how this ordinance is just a piece of the broader concept of what “we really have to do” to turn Pittsburgh into a bicycle-friendly City. “Just look at the books…the City has priviledged the automobile…and did that work 100 years ago.” He went on to say that “what we’re trying to accomplish is just that, but for the bicycle.”