Don't Forget Your Motorcycle's Disc or Wheel Lock

Disc and wheel locks provide solid secuity for your motorcycle. The problem is that sooner or later you forget them when riding away -- unless you employ one of these tips. From the April 1998 issue of Motorcycle Cruiser magazine.

A couple of simple tricks can prevent injury -- or worse, embarrassment -- when you forget to unlock your motorcycle's wheel lock.

Disc-locks and short cable- or U-locks, are a great way to secure your cruiser. They are portable (in the case of disc locks, they will fit in your pocket), relatively difficult to break (compared to a garden-variety chain), and easy-to-use.

A possible drawback is that you forget them when you ride away. Nothing impresses folks like pulling away from the curb with a mighty rumble, only to come to a thundering halt as the disc-lock hits the caliper, throwing you to the ground.

Even if you keep your motorcycle upright, the lock may do some damage. Here are some solutions we have seen successfully applied.

Put a streamer on the lock: A brightly colored "Remove Before Flight" streamer may catch your eye. Some people use one that stretches to the ignition lock.

**Lock your helmet to it: **This works with a chinbar-equipped helmet and a U-lock or cable-lock; or a cable thin enough to go through the D-rings on the strap of an open-face helmet. Handcuffs are a good way to handle this, as a law-enforcement acquaintance of ours pointed out. Aside from their recreational potential, they are an easy way to lock a helmet to the disc or a cast wheel's spoke.

**Clip the ignition key to the lock key after locking: **As you probably know, your ignition key should be kept on its own key ring, by itself. Attaching it to a ring of keys will cause those other keys to scratch the adjacent area of your motorcycle. The weight of the keys may also damage the ignition lock. However, the key for the lock can safely live on a ring of keys. By clipping the ignition key to the ring with the disc-lock key after installing the lock on the wheel, you remind yourself that the wheel is locked.

**The tape trick: **A simple piece of duct tape can also serve as a reminder. When the lock is off of the bike, put the tape over the keyway for the lock. When you install the lock on the bike, put the tape over the ignition lock to remind you that the lock must be removed.

These methods are simple, effective and don't significantly add to the list of reasons for not using a lock. We heartily recommend a good lock as the simplest and most affordable way of keeping that lowest of life-forms, the motorcycle thief, at bay.

For more information on safe-riding equipment, strategies, techniques and skills, see the Street Survival section of MotorcycleCruiser.com.

_Because they are small enough to fit in a pocket, disc locks are also small enough to overlook before you ride away. Fortunately, there are easy ways to avoid that -- and the ensuing tip-over.
This coiled lanyard from Kryptonite attaches to the disc or wheel lock at one end and your handlebar or ignition lock at the other to be sure you remember to remove your lock before departing.