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Lost Keys to Bike Lock?

Lost keys to bike lock? Don’t worry. With 20 years of cycling experience, I know how frustrating this can be. You’re probably now in one of two situations:

  • You’ve lost the keys to your bike lock whilst it’s attached to/securing your bike
  • You’ve lost the keys to your bike lock whilst it wasn’t securing your bike
A confused man wondering where he lost the keys to his bike lock
Don't panic if you've lost the keys to your bike lock. The steps below should get you back on two wheels in no time!
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    What to Do if You’ve Lost Keys to Your Bike Lock

    1. Don’t panic. You may be able to find the lost keys.

    It’s important to remember if you’ve lost a set of keys, that they can’t have disappeared into thin air. They will be out there somewhere and if you think it through, you may very well find them.

    But the faster and sooner that you start looking, the better your chances are.

    If you’ve already searched everywhere for your keys, have a read of my article, which teaches you how to remove a bike lock without keys.

    Note that the steps in this separate guide are unlikely to work on top-of-the-range bike locks, but are definitely worth a try before attempting any irreversible methods.

    lost keys to bike lock
    I know exactly how it feels. As much as you want to scream and shout, don't panic. Acting quickly to retrace your steps will increase your chances of finding your lost bike keys.

    2. Double Check Places Where You’d Normally Leave Your Bike Keys

    I can’t tell you how many times I’ve thought I’ve lost my glasses, only to realise they are on top of my head. So, if you’ve lost the keys to your bike lock go through the places that you’d normally leave them.

    Before you start trying to cut your bike lock off or decide on purchasing a new lock, have a good thorough search of the areas listed below:

    When locking or unlocking your bike, you may have accidentally dropped the keys on the floor, or placed them down and forgot to pick them up.

    If you did, someone may have found them and handed them in, or they may have left them nearby somewhere visible. Have a good look around the area and don’t be afraid to ask in shops/office receptions nearby.

    By far one of the most common places to leave bike keys, the pocket. Try to remember what you were wearing around the time you can last remember having your keys.

    Are they in a dirty pair of jeans or in your raincoat hanging up?

    Check all of the pockets!

    Another popular place to keep keys & valuables. Have a good look around inside, even if they are not in the normal area of your bag that you keep your keys in.

    They may have fallen to the bottom of your bag or you may have put them elsewhere in your bag by accident or in a rush.

    Normally, when you lose your keys, they’re somewhere around the house. Have a check in between the sofa cushions, in your bedroom, and at the bottom of your laundry basket.

    If you have a key drawer/box/hanger have a good look here too, it’s worth checking anywhere.

    Additionally, when rushing home from work to avoid the traffic, it can be easy to forget to take things with you.

    You could have left your keys on your desk or in your locker at work.

    Have a good look in and around the areas where you'd normally leave your bike keys.

    3. Ask People You’d Been Around Before Losing Your Bike Lock Keys

    If you last remember having them at work it may be worth asking colleagues if they’ve seen a set of keys lying around anywhere.

    Do the same if you had been at a friend’s house. Someone you know may have seen them but not realised they were the keys you lost for your bike lock.

    Have you been at a bar or on a night out? Call the venue and ask if they’ve had anything handed in. 

    4. Check if You Have Spare Key for the Lock

    All reputable bike lock manufacturers will send more than one key with their locks.

    You may have purchased your bike lock a long time ago, but it’s worth trying to remember if you received a spare key with it.

    If you did receive a spare key, it’s time to start looking for it.

    5. Check if Your Lock’s Manufacturer Has a Key Replacement Scheme

    Many of the more reputable lock manufacturers, such as ABUS and Kryptonite, offer key replacement services to their customers. 

    When you purchase a bike lock from a reputable manufacturer, you’ll normally receive some sort of key card.

    This card will have a special code on it that should be kept private as this code enables you to get new bike keys cut for your lock.

    Hopefully, you kept this when you bought your as it will come in handy if you’ve lost the keys to your bike lock.

    If you find your key code, proceed to our bike lock key replacement guide, where we’ll talk you through the quickest and cheapest key replacement steps.

    6. Ensure Your Bike Is Secure Enough If Locked In Public

    If you’ve managed to order replacement keys the likelihood is that you’ll be waiting a few days for them to arrive.

    It’s now worth thinking about the security of your bike if you were unfortunate enough to lose your bike keys whilst it was locked up.

    If you lost keys to a lock that isn’t secured to your bike, count yourself lucky. You can skip this step and move to the next step.

    If your bike was left secured in a busy public place you will want to prevent thieves from either stealing it completely or taking its components.

    a bicycle locked with hundreds of bike locks
    If you're waiting for replacement keys, and have spare locks available, use them to increase your bike's security whilst it's locked. Make sure you keep the keys safe, or you may be in some trouble!

    I’d recommend that you remove any valuable components that aren’t properly secured. Or use a good quality bike lock to secure any components you can’t remove.

    Normally, the frame and wheels are the most valuable parts, so take what you can home with you whilst you wait for your replacement bike keys to arrive.

    If you decide to go and remove components, it can be very helpful to have proof of ownership of the bike.

    If someone sees you removing components from a locked bike, they may intervene and try to stop you thinking you’re stealing, which is completely understandable.

    Proof of ownership could be the original purchase receipt, a picture of you with the bike, or a logbook with matching serial numbers.

    If you have proof the bike is yours, take it with you just in case.

    7. Remove The Bike Lock With Force 

    Before we attempt to remove your bike lock with force, there are a few ways to unlock a bike lock without keys.

    These methods are more effective on old, cheap bike locks. Definitely worth a try though!

    If you haven’t already, check out this short guide.

    If you’ve lost the keys to a bike lock that is currently securing your bike, and haven’t been able to find/obtain a spare key, you’ll most likely have to cut it off.

    Only attempt this yourself if you know what you’re doing and have the correct tools & safety equipment.

    If you are not capable of removing the lock yourself, a local bike shop or hardware store may be able to do it for you.

    Normally, this will cost a small amount, and they will require proof that the bike is yours, so have this ready.

    Before calling a bike shop or a locksmith, it’s worth reading about how to remove a bike lock without keys, as we cover a few other ways of getting your bike lock off. Sometimes this will be possible free of charge

    a bike thief using a set of bolt cutters to steal a bike that's locked up
    If someone saw this, it's likely that they'd call the police or attempt to stop you. If you're going to remove your bike lock make sure you bring proof that it is your bike!

    It’s important at this stage to think about where it is secured. If your bike is secured on private property, it’s good practice to inform the landowner of what you’re planning to do.

    The landowner may be able to assist you in removing the lock. It’s also important to tell the landowner so that they know you aren’t a thief.

    If your bike was secured in a public area, it could be worth informing the police of what you’re doing via a non-emergency number (in the UK, this is 101).

    By informing the police, if anyone reports you, they will understand what is going on, and nothing should come of it.

    Again, if you are removing the lock of a bike without the keys, it’s worth having proof of ownership on you to prove you’re not stealing!

    8. Get a Good Quality Bike Lock & Get Back Out There!

    If you haven’t been able to get new keys for your bike lock, you’ll need to purchase a new one.

    When it comes to purchasing a new lock, I’ve written a few guides that can help you choose a lock that suits you and your bike. 

    Check out the best cheap bike locks or the 8 best bike locks for some great recommendations!

    Summary - Lost Keys to Bike Lock

    Hopefully, you now understand what to do if you lose the keys to your bike lock!

    Again, if you’ve looked for your keys but haven’t been able to locate them, attempt to order a replacement set.

    If you’re unable to do this, then get in touch with a local locksmith or bike shop. They’ll normally be able to assist you in removing your lock.

    Thanks for reading. I hope this article was of some help to you. If you have any recommendations or feedback, you can leave a comment below.

    And as always, lock it or lose it!

    Recent Updates:

    Author of This Post:
    James Grear (Lead Editor)
    James Grear (Lead Editor)

    Understanding how devastating it is to have a bike stolen, I've researched & immersed myself in the world of bicycle security since 2013.

    I then built BikeLockWiki in 2019 to share everything I'd learned with the worldwide cycling community so that cyclists can improve their bike security skills and make informed decisions when purchasing new products and services.

    Learn More about Me & BikeLockWiki here.

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