Lost my bicycle's wheel lock key. What now?
January 9, 2010 9:29 PM   Subscribe

Help! I lost the key for my vintage dutch bike's wheel lock. Do I have any hope of ever being able to use it again?

This summer I purchased an old 3-speed dutch bicycle via craigslist and have been enjoying it very much. It has a rear wheel lock, as pictured here:

Sadly, the key for the wheel lock (which you can see in one of those photos) has gone missing. What's the best way to resolve this? Could a locksmith pick a lock like this? Can I get someone to cut through the (thick) metal that currently surrounds the rear wheel?

Note that the bike is currently sitting in my apartment's bike room and with the wheel locked it is difficult to move very far, so if there's a way to resolve this without having to take it to somewhere else that would be great.

I'm in Vancouver, Canada, in case that matters...
posted by sanitycheck to Sports, Hobbies, & Recreation (11 answers total)
From a bit of googling ("O-lock" is a good term), you should get in touch with Clever Cycles in Portland, OR.
posted by rhizome at 9:39 PM on January 9, 2010

These are often very simple locks. i have one with a key that is literally stamped out of tin.

A locksmith could pick it, but won't have a blank to make you a replacement key. You can cut it using a mini hacksaw [one of the ones where the hacksaw blade pokes out the end. like the first google image result for 'mini hacksaw'] right in your very own apartment.

Please be very careful not to nick your rim [and your frame, but it is far stronger].

Bolt cutters would work even better, but are more expensive. Mini hacksaw things are available at the dollar store or canadian tire or random hardware places.

If you want to try to save the lock, you will need to put your bike over your shoulder and carry it to a willing locksmith.

Good luck!
posted by Acari at 10:38 PM on January 9, 2010

Thanks for the advice. I realized after I posted this that they key *might* be in a bag I've left at work over the weekend. If it doesn't turn up on Monday I'll get myself a mini hacksaw - No point in saving the lock if I can't get a replacement key made.
posted by sanitycheck at 10:48 PM on January 9, 2010

Do you have a way to recover the key number? In that case you can order a replacement key.
I've ordered a spare key from them and they sent it promptly.
posted by joost de vries at 11:50 PM on January 9, 2010

The traditional Dutch way of getting rid of keyless locks (assuming you can't order a new key in time) is by use of an angle grinder.
posted by HFSH at 12:02 AM on January 10, 2010

you can rent angle grinders at Home Depot for almost nothing.
posted by randomstriker at 1:09 AM on January 10, 2010

What kind of key is it? Is it tubular or a regular type key?
If tubular it is very easy to pick and also get the numbers needed to make a new key. If old school normal type lock, either pick it and see if the lock can be replaced afterward or drill the lock. If I knew the type of lock I could explain how to pick it.
posted by kapu at 1:16 AM on January 10, 2010

Not a tubular key. From the picture it looks to be a rather old Assa ringslot, probably not too difficult to remove.

If you find the key in your bag, be sure to write down the number somewhere safe for next time. In fact, I'm going to follow my own advice right now.
posted by HFSH at 1:32 AM on January 10, 2010

(or, just order a spare key ahead of time!)
posted by HFSH at 1:33 AM on January 10, 2010

If you go the mini-hacksaw route, pour some cooking oil into the cut as you're making it. It will make the job go much faster, and if you control the oil flow well with some paper towels, it prevent metal shavings from getting everywhere.
posted by 517 at 8:54 AM on January 10, 2010

I found the key! But thanks to the info in this thread I'm going to order a backup ASAP and put it somewhere safe.
posted by sanitycheck at 8:48 PM on January 11, 2010

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