Cycling is often the best way to get around a crowded city. But riding a bike through an urban area brings its own problems, not least of which is the threat of having your bicycle stolen by opportunistic thieves. A good lock is, therefore, essential. There are no shortage of locks available to buy, and innovative attempts to improve security such as Foldylock, Saddle Lock, and Pedal Lock mean designers are taking this problem seriously. However, the best answer of all may be designing a bike which acts as its own lock. The Yerka Project aims to do just that.

The Yerka Project is the work of three engineering students from Chile who have figured out how to make the lock an integral part of the bike. The idea being that breaking the lock means breaking the bike, which even the most feeble-minded petty criminal should realize is an utterly pointless exercise.

Essentially the frame is also a lock. The down tube on the frame can be opened out to enable it to be positioned around a solid object such as a tree or a lamp post. The saddle, complete with the post it's attached to are then inserted through the open ends to complete the lock. Any attempt to steal the bike must, it is assumed, damage the frame in some way, leaving it unrideable. The whole process takes 20 seconds, which is comparable to many conventional locks.

Yerka is currently just a prototype, with the students behind it keen for other people to get involved in turning this idea into a reality. There are currently no details of a release date or price point. There are also some obvious kinks to iron out, such as what happens if you lose your keys, how do you ensure your wheels don't get stolen, are the materials strong enough to withstand any unwanted attention and most importantly, does the built in security compromise the ride?

The video below shows the Yerka in action, being ridden, locked up, and then unlocked again ready for riding off into the distance.

View gallery - 4 images