The Best Way to Carry a U-Lock on Your Bike

Avoid damage to your bike frame with this easy solution for carrying a U-lock

I discovered the hard way that a steel cord bike lock is NOT secure and can be cut in seconds, so I switched to a U-lock for my bike. I’ll never rely on a cable to lock my bike up again! But, a U-lock is pretty heavy so carrying it is a bit of a challenge.

The Wrong Way

My OnGuard U-lock came with a plastic bracket that clamped to my bike frame:

OnGuard U-lock clamped to bike frame

After about a year though, the plastic cracked and fell off. But much worse, it permanently marred my bike frame where it attached, even with the rubber gasket, because I had to clamp it down so tightly to carry the weight of the lock. When I discovered that damage, I was not happy.

If you go online,  you can find all kinds of clumsy contraptions people have come up with to attach their U-locks to their bikes. One creative one was made of PVC pipe. I’ve also seen guys stick the U-lock in their pants or belt! (I’m wondering how they sit).

My Solution

After doing some research online, I found a $40 Bontrager rack that has a slot that perfectly fits my U-lock. The opening is wide enough for the “U” section of the lock to slide in, but stops at the actual cylindrical lock section. Furthermore, there is a metal flap that stops the lock from hitting your spokes.

U-lock on bike rack
Bontrager BackRack Large (tail light and bungee cord not included)
The best way to carry a U-lock on your bike
You can carry two U-locks, which is what I do when I ride with my wife

Unfortunately, Bontrager no longer makes a model with slots wide enough for your lock to fit inside as shown above. But you might be able to find some inventory at your local bike shop.

If not, you can use a different bike rack, lay the lock flat on it, and secure it with bungee cord.

Securing the Lock

I use an 18-inch length of bungee cord to hold the lock down. It still rattles if I go over something big like a curb, but that’s fine with me.

Unlike clamping brackets, this rack won’t crack and won’t mar your bike’s paint job!

Have you found a better solution to hold your bike U-lock? Please comment below! – Brian

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2 years ago

I usually take my bike lock with me when I go out of the house to make sure my bike stays safe. Therefore, I discovered several where to put my bike lock while riding. First, use a rucksack or backpack to contain it. If you do not have a bag, you can lock them around the bicycle frame or you can mount the lock to the top frame or seat post. Another way you can do it is by placing locks on the handlebars. This way, you can keep an eye on them, and at the same time, you can store the lock properly.

Nancy Tran
Nancy Tran
3 years ago

Hi Brian. Thanks for the great article. I love finding stuff like this that is so functional. Do you know if the rack you have is the Bontrager BackRack L, or the Bontrager BackRack L Disc?

3 years ago

Thanks. You saved my bike frame.

5 years ago

A cheaper Schwinn “multi purpose premium rack” (about $15.00 at WalMart) does the job just as well, and it comes with bungee cord.

Brian Shim
5 years ago
Reply to  bryanmaloney

Hi Bryan,

Cool, thanks for sharing!! I’ll add a link to the article!


5 years ago

Nice solution! Your U-lock doesn’t look very thick though…do you think there would be room for U-locks with a thicker bar?

I’ve had good luck with the Kryptonite bracket that I wrote about on my website. It might work better than the OnGuard bracket that came with your lock if you ever try a bracket again. https://biketoeverything.com/2018/04/24/attach-any-u-lock-to-your-bike

Also, don’t forget that once you have a rack you can add a pannier bag or even a basket for easy storage. A great plus of this method!