What to Do If You Lost the Key to Your Bike Lock

Lose the keys to your bike lock? Here’s how to handle the situation and be back on your back as soon as possible.


Losing the key to your bike lock can be very stressful, especially if you rely on your bicycle to get to school or work.

Whenever you find yourself in this situation—and you sooner or later will—don’t panic. The good news is that you don’t necessarily need a locksmith by your side to get you out of it.

How best to handle this situation depends on where you lost your key. After all, it’s one thing to misplace your key at home and ask for help to find it, and quite another to lose it while you are out and your bike is parked.

In the rest of this article, we are going to tell you exactly what to do if you lose your bike lock keys so that you can handle the situation with confidence and ease.

What to Do If You Can’t Find the Keys to the Bike Lock

Sometimes, things happen.

Things like misplacing—or losing—the key to your bike lock.

And when they happen, they always, without exception, happen at the worst possible moment of time.

Before an exam. A job interview. A PTA meeting at school you’re already late to. That meeting with a client that you postponed last week and that you’re already late to. This is Murphy’s law in its full effect, ladies and gents, you can always count on it!

How you’ll go about remedying this situation depends on where you are when you realize you’ve lost your bike lock keys. Here’s what to do if you lost your bike keys at home, or out for the day with your bike.

When You Misplaced the Key at Home

If you’re having a hard time finding your bike lock keys at your home, chances are you just misplaced them. They might not be where you think you left them—or have been swept up in a pile of other things—but the likelihood of finding them is high. 

Here are some helpful tips to jog your memory and help you find your bike lock keys when you’ve lost them at home: 

  • Check where you last knew the keys were. If you know you put your bike lock keys on a table by the door when you came home from your last ride, check that whole area thoroughly. Look under furniture and nicknacks in case it fell behind something. 
  • Look in unexpected places. If your keys aren’t where you left them, think outside the box. You may have picked them up and put them away or decided on a new storage place that you forgot about. Leave no stone unturned. 
  • Ask for help. If you live with others, ask for their help. Ask if they remember moving your keys at any point or if they remember seeing them anywhere. Having another set of eyes searching will hopefully make it easier to find the keys.

When You Lost the Key While Out in Town

If you’re out in town, locked your bike to a rack, fence, or lamppost, and lost your keys while you were away from your bike, things can get a little tricky. The first thing to do is remain calm and focused so that you have the best chance of solving this mess and getting on with the rest of your day.

Here are some things you can do if you think you lost your bike lock keys while you are out on your bike:

  • Retrace your steps. One of the easiest ways to find something you lost, including bike lock keys, is to retrace your steps. Go back to everywhere you’ve been since you got off your bike. Ask around at shops, cafes, or anywhere else that you’ve been to see if anyone picked it up. 
  • Have someone bring you a spare key. Most bike locks come with at least two keys, so hopefully you have a spare sitting safely at home. If you do and you’re not far away, see if someone can bring you your spare key so you can unlock your bike and get back to riding.
  • Ask for help. If you parked your bike close to a police station, there’s a chance that the police can help break the lock for you. But you’ll probably need to walk home and get proof of purchase, like the receipt for your bike from the bike shop, first. Or call a local locksmith. If neither is an option, ask for help from a gardener, mechanic, or anyone who might have bolt cutters or a hacksaw.
  • Break the lock. If you’ve searched high and low for your missing bike lock key and you can’t get your hands on a spare, you might have to break the lock to get your bike out. It’s always best to alert the police or the business you are at of what you’re doing so they don’t think you are a thief.

What Can I Do To Prevent Losing My Bike Lock Keys Again?

If you’ve ever lost your bike lock keys, you know you never want to do it again. It’s such a pain to spend time trying to find lost keys, so it makes sense to try to prevent this situation from happening in the future. 

Here’s what to do to make it a little harder to lose your bike lock keys in the future: 

Put The Keys On A Recognizable Key Chain 

Having a bike lock key on a simple silver key ring is going to make it blend in when you’re trying to find it and also looks just like everyone else’s keys. To make it easy to find if you misplace it in the future, put your bike keys on a keychain that is impossible to miss.

Find a fun, bright keychain to put your bike lock keys on. The more recognizable, the better. Choose a bright key chain from your favorite vacation destination or a silly stuffed animal. If you have a key chain that is easy to find, your bike lock keys will be easier to find.

Or geek yourself out and get some Apple AirTags!

Make Copies Of Your Bike Lock Key

Hopefully you already have your spare bike lock key at home but if you don’t, this is your sign to put your spare in a safe place. Once your spare is safely hidden in a spot you can easily direct someone to or go to find it, consider making extra copies.

Bike lock keys can usually be copied by local locksmiths, so you can make a few additional copies for yourself. They’re also small enough that you can easily slip them into almost anything.

If you often drive to local bike trails, consider putting one of the copies in your glove compartment or even in a bag or other item that you always take with you when you’re biking.

I’ve lost my lock keys more than once, as you can imagine, and now I keep one copy in my office drawer, one in my car’s glove compartment, and a final one hung up on the wall in my garage.

That’s what you call foolproof!

Final Thoughts 

When you lose your bike lock keys, the most important thing to do is to stay calm. Whether you’re at home trying to find them or out on a ride, focus on the last place you remember seeing them, retrace your steps, and ask for help if needed.

Once you’ve found them or at least retrieved your bike, take steps to prevent this from happening in the future so you can relax on bike rides knowing you’ll never be without your keys.

By Dim Nikov

City dweller. Recreational cyclist with a knack for writing. Always trying to find the right balance between life and bike.