This is the first of the Baltimore Specific Review series (henceforth known as the B.S. Review). With this we’ll be reviewing everything we can get our filthy broke hands on- but as the title implies- with a Baltimore-eye view of things. ‘nough said, it’s the B.S. Review:
It was one of those cold rainy days back in October. I was swearing as I slowly and miserably made it down St. Paul in the nasty cold and wet to take care of some business downtown. I locked up with my beat combo Kryptonite U-ey and went up. After about half an hour it was time to go- but my U-lock disagreed. I tried all my tricks to persuade it, the jiggler, the Fonz, the rescrambler-unscrambler(a.k.a the dosey-do), even the extra-frustrated-Fonz, to no avail. I was walking home. Fortunately it was my beater who would see out a neglected life on the streets until the Kryptonite dried out enough for me to bribe it with some Tri-flow.
It was evident that I needed to drop the bones on a new lock. So I started to research. I read reviews. I asked friends what was good. Ultimately, I decided that a Chainlock would be the answer.
The Basics: To me, its more secure than a big U-lock that you can get a car jack into. You’ve got more options than a mini U for where and what to lock up. Best of all, you look super hip wearing it. If I had more money, I’d buy two- one to lock up with, and one to wear to the party (read: loaf around at home). In all seriousness, sometimes I just find it more convenient to wear a lock than to always carry a bag, a purpose specific holster, or to trust the flimsy frame mount that come with.
The worst is what I like to call “The Campus”. Granted, most of us can agree that this maneuver is fine for the corner store run, but it’s definitely not a good idea to be blowing down a rough patch on Falls w/ your lock like this.
I like to support local businesses, so I dropped a few months worth of beer money to the nice people at Baltimore Bicycle Works for this lock. It’s a 3.3 ft Kryptonite New York lock. Now on to the nitty gritty.
The Cons: After my first ride with this bad boy I understood why it was called the New York lock. No, it does not immediately compare the pizza you just ordered to and tell you how it’s pizza is so much better/bigger/cheaper, and no, it does not have a slick, and cutting edge fashion sense. It is, however, as heavy as a 30 pack and in the hills of Bowlmore, it tends to weigh you down. (I felt alot like Ebenezer’s dead friend.)
It’s also not as quick as a Uey. Hopefully, you like to lock up not just your front wheel, but your whole bike. That said, there’s more of a learning curve to this lock, and you’ll take a while to get up to speed with your U-lock friends. I also wish I had gone with a 5ft. version. 3ft only lets me lock one wheel and the frame. I also discovered that it’s still too short to lock up to the larger telephone poles in this area.
The Pros: That said, riding with this thing for a few weeks, I hardly notice it anymore. I’ve gotten stronger, and now feels really freeing to ride without it(although that didn’t help at all in Royal Bike Sprints or the Life Cycles events this week). I’ve also gotten pretty quick about locking up with it.
It’s a great group lock also. As many of us know, at Openspace after the Halloween Cat, parking was in high demand. It was nice to create more with my lock. I put my bike to a lamppost and all my friends could lock to my lock. It sucks if everyone has to peace at different times, as you have to stick around till the last person leaves. That said, it’s pretty dope to keep everyone’s bikes close by- a security feature that might be more important than a robust lock alone.
Last Stretch: Considering the price, weight, and initial difficulty in using it, I’d have to say that for the average cyclist in Baltimore- unless you’re riding exclusively between the Inner Harbor and Fells- you might want to consider something a little smaller/lighter. But please don’t use one of these on a regular basis.
That said, it’s a pretty O.G. lock. Definitely a good choice for strong riders with nice rides (of which I am neither), but also something nice for those aspiring to be that- as it’s built last. If you do fall into this category though, I’d have to suggest the 5ft to take better advantage of the unique pros this lock has to offer. Think of it as going to a swanky place for dinner- you’re already dropping mad money, so you might as well drop the few extra dollars and get the bacon in your crab cakes.