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When a bicycle is your main mode of transport, you’re quite likely to wear a bike helmet to protect your most valuable asset.
However, what do you do with it when you stop?
You’ll lock your bike to a bike rack, fence, or lamppost, but how to lock a helmet to a bicycle?
I’ll teach you how to seamlessly secure your helmet to your bicycle using just your regular bike lock threaded through helmet vents. A good U-Lock is especially robust.
If that doesn’t fit the bill, don’t sweat it – we’ve got alternatives too!
How To Lock Your Helmet To Your Bike
It’s worth doing a bit of risk assessment before you buy or use any kind of helmet lock during your bike rides. Most bike helmets aren’t of much value or appeal to thieves, especially when they’re well used. Why is that?
Cyclists don’t tend to buy second-hand bicycle helmets because they need to be sure of the helmet’s history and structural integrity.
Another factor that makes bike helmets a hard sell is that people sweat inside them. Yes, you can wash the liner, but it’s not the type of thing a casual thief will want. A bike helmet has less appeal than shiny bike parts.
I’ll touch on some of these points and more as we explore different locking solutions.
Use A U-Lock
If your bicycle helmet is valuable, or at least costly to lose and replace, a decent U-lock that locks your bike can also be threaded through the vents of a bicycle helmet. A U-lock is undoubtedly the most secure way to lock both the bike and the helmet.
A thief that is intending to break a U-lock is unlikely to go to that trouble specifically for your helmet, because often it’ll necessitate use of an angle grinder.
The helmet is incidental in this solution. If you have a valuable bike, the old rule of thumb is that you should spend at least 10% of its value on a lock. Sturdy U-locks and thick chain locks are generally the best kinds of bike locks to buy.
U-locks are quite heavy, but they do easily attach to different parts around your bike frame with U-lock mounts.
How About A Chain Lock?
You can also use a chain lock to secure your helmet to the bike, the main stumbling block being that the vents have to be wide enough for the chain to pass through. The number and design of vents varies greatly among helmets.
Like U-locks, cable locks tend to be more secure the thicker they are. A heavy-duty bike chain may be too cumbersome for locking your bicycle helmet. On the plus side, a good chain lock offers strong protection against theft if you have a valuable bicycle helmet.
Use A Cable Lock
A cable lock is notoriously easy for a thief to cut with a pair of wire cutters or bolt cutters. However, let’s go back to our risk assessment. Bike thieves won’t usually be looking for someone’s stale bike helmet when they’re on the hunt for bike booty.
As well, a bicycle helmet is an awkward thing to carry and conceal for thieves, whereas smaller items like bike lights and other accessories fit into a pocket.
Although cable locks are easy to cut, they still vary in quality. Some of the top-branded products wouldn’t be so quick to slice with a cheap, mediocre pair of cutters. If you spent a fair amount on your bike helmet, buy a thicker cable lock.
You can buy thin cable locks that are very portable, which is appealing if you’re only using this lock for your helmet. Again, don’t use these on anything high-value.
Try A Zip-Tie Lock
Even easier to cut or pick than a cable lock is a zip-tie lock. Again, I return to the lack of appeal in stealing most bike helmets. A zip-tie lock works much the same way as the plastic ties you use at home, except the ratcheting mechanism can be disengaged for re-use.
One of the benefits of a zip-tie lock, whether you’re locking a bike or a bike helmet, is its negligible weight and size. It’s easy to transport.
This type of lock will ensure nobody casually walks up to your bike helmet and either steals it or tosses it into a ditch. It’ll be locked to your bike, albeit not in a way that’d stop a real thief.
See a zip tie lock being used as a helmet lock on this page: Alternate Uses For Your Z Lok.
You can use a zip-tie lock to lock the helmet to the seat, handlebar, or bike frame. Don’t use such a lock to secure a bike unless you’re watching it.
Integrated Helmet Lock
You can also buy dedicated helmet locks. One or two have appeared and disappeared from the market over the years, but they’re often cleverly designed nonetheless.
For example, top helmet brand Lazer sells the Cappuccino Helmet Lock that locks the straps of your bike helmet together using a combination code. Yes, someone could cut the straps, but they’d render the helmet useless in the process.
The type of built-in lock mentioned above offers an elegant solution, but it’s a relatively rare product. Most potential helmet locks are bike locks first, helmet locks second.
You can lock helmet straps using other methods, too. The lock must run through the buckle and catch on both sides of the helmet strap for this to work properly. You could try a zip tie lock for securing the helmet like this.
Video: Lazer Cappuccino Lock
Carabiner Style Lock
Carabiner style locks are often used to lock motorcycle helmets and are equally suitable for bicycles. A carabiner is a sturdy rubber-coated loop that attaches to the bike’s frame, and you’ll typically have a cable lock that accompanies it.
The accompanying cable is normally a coiled flex cable, which makes it easier to sit the helmet atop the bike without it falling off. If you do this rather than dangling it to the side, there’s less chance of the helmet being damaged by other bikes and cyclists.
Use The Helmet Straps As A Bike Lock
A low security way of locking a bike that remains in constant view is to tie the helmet straps around your bike and a bike rack or fence.
In this situation, neither the bike nor the bicycle helmet is secure, but the method does enough to stop a quick grab and run theft.
If your helmet straps are tied to another object, a thief is slowed down just long enough that it might be a deterrent. This a solution that works on the coffee stop of a cycling club ride. It’s patently useless if no one’s around to watch the bike.
Personally, I only ever stop at small shops or bakeries, where the bike is always only a few feet away from me. This method is ideal for those occasions.
Video: User Your Helmet As A Bike Lock
Common Questions About Locking Helmets To Bicycles
Can I Use My Bicycle’s Lock To Secure My Helmet?
Yes, with the proviso that the lock usually needs to pass through the vents of the helmet for this to work.
Thus, it depends a bit on the helmet design.
How Can I Lock My Helmet And Bicycle Together Using A Single Lock?
You’ll normally pass the lock through the bike rack or fence and the bike frame and a wheel as well as your bike helmet.
Naturally, it has to be long enough to achieve this.
What If My Helmet Doesn’t Have A Secure Loop For A Lock?
Most bicycle helmets have natural loops in them in the form of vents. An alternative locking method is to lock the strap ends together.
Is It Safe To Leave My Helmet Attached To My Bicycle In Public Areas?
Bicycle helmets are low-risk as far as theft goes because they tend to have less resale value than other bike accessories.
It’s probably best to avoid leaving one out overnight, when it might receive unwanted attention from chemically altered passers-by.
How To Prevent Damage To My Helmet When Locking It To My Bicycle?
Try to keep it on top of the bike, ideally in the handlebar area, especially if the bike is parked in a busy bike rack.
Make sure it can’t fall and hit the ground.
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