Yesterday I forgot my lock. Luckily one of the staff at Julius Meinl let me lock up to her bike (thank you) while I got my morning coffee and did some work. Normally I would have rode home quick but I had to get online for work and had a dentist appointment. My awesome dentist also let me bring my bike in to his office.
I don't like to inconvenience people but what else could I have done? What would you do? Do you find people receptive to bringing your bike in to their establishments?
I work next to Millennium Park and the bike station rents locks for $5 and change. I've used that service more than I care to admit.
It's great to remind everyone about the Millennium Park bike valet/station.
In terms of the too many keys thing...It's possible to order locks from a manufacturer's dealer that all are keyed to one key. Abus, Kryptonite, Onguard all do it and though there's a wait there's no fee. Or in some cases - you can contact a locksmith - they can rekey your existing locks to the same key. See Chicargobike for a long post with options.
Most are not rekeyable but if you use a bike every day or are in a family where more then one person is switching off on using a bike that carries kids, or you want to unlock the kids' bikes at school, it can save plenty of headaches. We love heavy chains and Viro moped locks ordered keyed alike. We lock all our bikes in our garage to a steel beam - and having one key is especially helpful to keep one of us from being unable to take a bike out by accident. The kid's locks all key to our keys so that if they lose theirs we can get all the bikes unlocked anyhow.
Having fewer keys simplifies some of the locking stuff so it's easier to keep our bikes safer.
Well, I didn't forget the lock, but I did forget the key twice. First time I got away with it - only a combo cable lock to 'secure' the bike. The second time, the Friday after Thanksgiving, my wife had the day off and I had to work. I wasn't as careful as I'd usually be leaving home and I forgot the keys. The bike lasted until about 4pm with just that cable lock on a pole outside a convenience store at a busy intersection in Lakeview. My place of work was on that corner at street level, so the thief must have been really brazen.
Lesson learned. With the new bike being even more of a temptation to the sticky-fingered, even with two U-locks, I got permission from the boss to put the bike in the basement. The basement has a ramp, so it wasn't much extra hassle, and I had the additional benefit of keeping the bike dry while at work.
I needed a new bike anyway (and I hope the thief enjoyed fixing the spokes that pinged regularly), but one annoying aspect was that fittings for lights and mudguards were gone and rendered said lights and mudguards useless.