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Lost Key to U-bolt Bike Lock

Discussion in 'Fred's House of Pancakes' started by heavenleigh, May 18, 2006.

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  1. heavenleigh

    heavenleigh New Member

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    You all seem like a knowledgeable group of folks, so I thought I'd throw my current dilemma out to the crowd. Almost 2 years ago, I moved into my current apartment and bought a U-bolt lock (Schwinn brand, bought summer 2004). I locked it to a pipe in our locked parking garage. There's a bike rack provided, but it is completely full of bikes and parts of bikes. I have apparently misplaced the key. I know I didn't throw it away, but I have checked everywhere I think it could possibly be. I probably will just throw away the bike if I manage to recover it, but now I am kind of obsessed with breaking the lock.

    Here is what I have tried:

    1. Car Jack (from the Prius--not hydraulic, I don't have one) Status: did absolutely nothing except almost give my boyfriend a hernia
    2. Bolt cutters (recommended by hardware store) Status: did nothing except almost immediately dull the bolt cutters
    3. Hacksaw (doesn't seem likely) Status: will try tomorrow. As last resort, I will hacksaw the wheel to release and just leave the lock on the pipe.

    Here's what the internet suggests that I haven't tried:

    1. Liquid Nitrogen + Hammer (I don't have access to liquid nitrogen--suggestions?)
    2. Hydraulic car jack (don't have one)
    3. Locksmith (very very last resort as would be expensive for an onsite visit)
    4. Bic pen barrel exploiting the flaw found in the Kryptonite U-locks circa 2004. (I'm not optimistic)
    5. Angle grinder (how much do these cost?)
    6. Drill out lock (I haven't heard good things and we have kind of a crappy drill)


    Any other ideas guys? THANKS!

    --
    Hillary
  2. TonyPSchaefer

    TonyPSchaefer Your Friendly Moderator Staff Member

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    I was going to suggest the Bic pen. Other than that, I got nothin'.
  3. Mystery Squid

    Mystery Squid New Member

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    Call up the company that made the lock. There may be some serial number somewhere on it where you can get a new key sent to you or something...

    Good luck!
  4. qbee42

    qbee42 My other car is a boat

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    Use a can of circuit freeze and whack it with a hammer. It's the same idea as the liquid nitrogen, but easier to get. It's sold for testing electronics parts for over heating, and comes in a spray can (squirts a stream, really). You can get it at electronics supply stores.

    Tom
  5. FourOhFour

    FourOhFour Member

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    If it's a cylindrical key, try the bic pen trick. Hey, if it doesn't work, you're only out a few cents for the pen. (Or not, depending on which end you pop off) There were more locks than the Kryptonite ones that could be opened with a pen.
  6. Betelgeuse

    Betelgeuse Active Member

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    I'd try the Bic pen. I've heard that it really works and it takes ~30 seconds. Sortta scary when you think about it, but maybe you can use it to your advantage :)
  7. Marlin

    Marlin New Member

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    How about a locksmith? One of the things they do is pick locks. They even have a nifty little battery powered tool that vibrates the pins inside the lock and can open most locks in seconds.
  8. tochatihu

    tochatihu Senior Member

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    Most locksmiths who can "pick" pin locks are not actually good enough to do the same on cylinder locks. I assume they would be honest about their skills in a phone inquiry.

    Many Drs offices have a thermos of LN2, especially the skin-guys because they use it on warts. Essentially all University chem and physics depts will have it too. It is just a matter of finding the right person to talk to.

    Hacksaw won't do 'er. You can get the cheapest angle grinder for $20, it will probably take several abrasive disks. Eye protection, earplugs, and a particle mask would be appropriate. Those things are pretty evil...
  9. J.Wilkie

    J.Wilkie 80 Mile Daily Commute

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    Why not just leave it or is one of those things that just "bugs" you?
  10. Kiloran

    Kiloran New Member

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    <div class='quotetop'>QUOTE(qbee42 @ May 19 2006, 08:17 AM) [snapback]257965[/snapback]</div>

    You're likely to hurt yourself doing this.

    Go ahead and drill. You don't like your drill anyway.
    Worst case, dull a few drill bits and/or expire your crappy drill.
  11. parrot_lady

    parrot_lady Member

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    Replace liquid nitrogen with PROPANE(straight out of the container so it right up close) and a hammer. Works wonders when stealing cars, or breaking into buildings. Work taught me that when my boss... yeah work taught me that.
  12. nmrickie

    nmrickie Member

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    The easiest way to get it unlocked is to put a sign on it that says "please do not steal".
  13. hyo silver

    hyo silver Awaaaaay

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    You could offer a local ruffian $5 to pick the lock for you. Or just give them the bike.
  14. grasshopper

    grasshopper Member

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    <div class='quotetop'>QUOTE(heavenleigh @ May 18 2006, 11:28 PM) [snapback]257850[/snapback]</div>


    Put on your sexiest red dress and pick up a fireman. Have him bring the jaws of life and you will be all set. Plus you’ll have two boyfriends to take you out to dinner and dancing. :)
  15. heavenleigh

    heavenleigh New Member

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    Ha ha, I love you guys! Here's an update:

    My boyfriend tried the Bic pen trick today, and he didn't get it open. I did explore trying to call the manufacturer, but the Schwinn website says the company that made the lock went out of business and none of the equipment was saved. No more keys. It doesn't have any kind of serial number, I checked.

    We just went out with the hacksaw, and it did even less than the bolt cutters on the U part, but then we started playing with the bar part that goes across the legs of the U, which is covered in plastic. We hacked off the plastic and found that the metal underneath it is much softer than the U part. Unfortunately it is much thicker. We started hacksawing it, and we are maybe 1/8th of the way through, intermittantly gnawing at it with the bolt cutters. It is making progress, but definitely slow going. We'll keep up with it, but I imagine there will be several more sessions of sawing + gnawing. I think it'll work eventually, but its kind of boring.

    I'll see if I can get some of the circuit freeze stuff, it might make sawing easier anyway.

    I was sort of hoping it would get stolen over the years, but the garage is locked 24 hrs with only residents able to get in, so we don't typically have vagabonds wondering about. I swear, when I was in college bikes with U-locks were stolen in 30 seconds in broad daylight. It is just really bothering me now, especially because we're thinking of moving and it'll just gnaw away at me if I leave this bike locked to a pipe. Weird attack of conscience.

    Unfortunately, I am no where near hot enough to entice any firefighter to face the lock from hell. But thanks for the thoughts!

    I'll check out the angle grinder at Target or something next time I go, we only have a little boutique-y hardware store near us and I know it'll be too expensive.

    We'll try the drill and continue with the hacksawing tomorrow--and I'll post pictures. THANKS!
  16. J.Wilkie

    J.Wilkie 80 Mile Daily Commute

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    How about renting a saw-all with a metal cutting blade?
  17. hobbit

    hobbit Senior Member

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    wait for gas prices to go even higher, and then bicycles will be in
    more demand and it'll disappear on its own..
    .
    _H*
  18. heavenleigh

    heavenleigh New Member

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    I know this is dead, but maybe someone will google for it in the future...anyway, we ended up using the hacksaw on the straight side of the U-lock. It was made up of a thin cylinder of metal that was relatively quick to saw through. The locking mechanism was inside the cylinder, but was only a thin piece of metal that was even faster to saw through than the plastic covering and the metal cylinder. Once we got through that, it clinked and the bottom fell off. Overall, it took maybe 30-60 minutes of sawing to get it completely off. In case you ever have this problem, FYI!
  19. routeonedog

    routeonedog New Member

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    <div class='quotetop'>QUOTE(parrot_lady @ May 19 2006, 01:42 PM) [snapback]258139[/snapback]</div>

    PROPANE???????????????

    A spark and you don't have to worry about the bike or anything else.

    The reason why Propane right out of the container works like Nitrogen is that is is stored under extreme pressure and the release of the gas causes a exothermic/endothermic? reaction which basically means that the gas comes out extremely cold. But I don't think that would get as cold as Nitrogen.
  20. 2fst4u

    2fst4u New Member

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    Plasma Cutter, Torch, Couple gallons of Gasoline and a Match.
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