By Peter Szabo
There are people who steal bikes. I know this because I, people I know, and people I care about have been the victim of the worst form of larceny I, and I’m sure you, can imagine.
While in the idyllic bubble of ignorance to the cruel pain I’d come to know, a combination cable lock seemed sufficient. Six feet stretched enough to secure the wheelbase of a 23” Schwinn Super Sport to most bike racks, trees, railings, parking meters, and any other semi-permanent fixture available when a rack was not provided or open.
As I began biking more and into the winter, the my bicycle cache was doubled to include a much newer and much shinier red Specialized mountain bike. One day, I found a familiar but cut cable lock and I have been trying to fill a void left by that shiny red bike ever since.
Only surviving photo of the stolen Specialized
Everyone learns about the importance of a good strong lock in different ways. When you find a bike you really like and you want it to have and to hold forever, expect to spend three months salary on a—no but really, don’t go cheap on a lock. There are people in this world who steal bikes, and most of them do not carry power-tools with them to do so. With the image of my cut cable lock vivid in my memory, I bought a U-lock. Hardened steel, but one soon learns that even the biggest U-lock can’t lock to a lamp post or a tree without relying heavily a cable.
Enter: the ABUS Bordo 6100 combo. This lock is a miracle! As long as you don’t expect it to be weightless and create a forcefield around your bicycle preventing grit, slush, and miscreants from touching it, this thing does it all. No key to keep track of, no snippable cable, compact size, and it isn’t based on the false premise that you’ll always be afforded luxurious (read: standard, practical) bike racks to which you may lock your bicycle.
After wanting one of these locks for a while and finally having one, thanks to the kind people at ABUS, I was ecstatic. Now that the honeymoon phase has subsided, I have several thoughts about the lock.
Folding bike meets folding lock
The negative aspects of this product are fairly limited, but worth mentioning. My main complaint is that the rubber holster for the Bordo grips the rubberized exterior of the lock too well, making it somewhat difficult to remove and replace it. Secondly, the lock will rattle when in certain positions. I don’t mind the lock rattling, but sometimes I’m tricked into thinking my bike is rattling, so it gives me a momentary scare. Finally, the lock’s small folded size tricks me into thinking I can put it places where it’s best not to stash it. For example, I carried it in my handlebar bag on RAGBRAI for a couple days, making my handlebar bag a little too heavy and wobbly on descents.
Peter Szabo is a transportation and recreation cyclist who got his start repairing and building bikes for the Iowa City Bike Library. He now works in a Chicago-area bike shop and volunteers for his local Bicycle & Pedestrian Advisory Commission to improve active transportation opportunities i