Owning and riding a bike can be very rewarding; it gives you the freedom to explore your surroundings, is cheaper than public transport in the longterm, and healthier than driving a car. Unfortunately being a bike owner means dealing with the possibility of having your favored mode of transport stolen, especially in urban areas where the incidence of bike theft is high. This means the majority of bike owners need to own and use a lock every time they park their bike up. Two Taiwanese designers have concocted a new way of preventing bike theft: one that sees the pedals used to both clamp the wheel of, and (if necessary) incapacitate, the bicycle.

Bike locks come in an increasing range of designs, including one that can be worn as a belt and one which is a lock masquerading as a water bottle. Until now no one had thought of using the pedals themselves as the lock. Cheng-Tsung Feng and Yu-Ting Cheng have done just that, with Pedal Lock providing an ingenious means of adding a layer of security to a bicycle while at the same time removing one of the key components needed to mobilize it.

Pedal Lock comprises the two pedals your bike ordinarily needs to function. When attached to the bike in the normal way they act like any other pedals, but with a few simple steps (pictured below) they can be detached and reformed as a lock sitting on the back wheel. One of the pedals has two small but strong iron bars protruding from it which secure it to the other. Any would-be thief who tries to break this lock is also breaking the pedals themselves.

This bike lock design will prevent thieves from riding off on the bicycle, by both making the back wheel immobile and by removing the pedals, but it obviously won't prevent thieves from simply picking the bike up and either walking off with it or stowing it in the back of another vehicle. To cover both eventualities would require a combination of the Pedal Lock and one which attaches the bike to a solid object such as a bike rack or lamp post.

Pedal Lock appears to be a very promising innovation that could prevent some bike thefts, though it can't be guaranteed to solve the problem altogether. Think of it as a secondary rather than primary security measure.

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