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Story and images by Lynn Rosen and Steve Giordano

High on Adventure, July 2019

  Ottolock on locked bike   Ottolock in pocket   Ottolock on seat post  

Although no lock is ever bullet-proof, Ottolock proves a great deterrent to bike thieves. Its best use is as a quick, light-weight lock-up for short stops in populated places. This lock looks like a great big zip-tie, weighs way less than a U-Bolt lock, fits in a pocket and best of all, needs no pesky key. It can also be wound around the seat stem or thrown into a small under-seat zip bag.

  Ottolock combination wheels   Ottolock locking bike  

Instead of remembering to carry a key for the Ottolock, all a rider has to carry is a memory of a three-digit number code for the combination wheel, just like a programmable hotel safe. Cautions: the wheel’s numbers are close together and dialing with fat fingers sometimes is problematic. Also, pushing and pulling the cable in and out of the locked position can be awkward in tight situations. However, this feature deters thieves as well. Unlike traditional locks, the OTTO can be drawn tight. That makes it harder for bandits to slip their bolt cutters around the band.

  Ottolock hexband   Ottolock kevlar band   Ottolock next to ruler  
Images courtesy of Ottolock website

Although it looks like ordinary plastic, the band is made of many layers of tempered steel and kevlar covered in a soft, non-abrasive coating, which is designed to avoid scratching the finish of a bike’s frame. Since its launch as a bike lock, many other uses have emerged for this band including securing ladders to car racks, tying down tarps, even locking up skis. Because any number of these bands can be locked together to lengthen their grasp, multiple bikes can be locked to a vehicle and boaters are using them for securing their canoes and kayaks as well.

Available in 18, 30, and 60-inch sizes, and priced at $55, $65, ad $75 in corresponding lengths, it’s not a cheap lock, but the OTTO certainly is one of the most versatile. Weights vary with size - anywhere from about 8 oz. to just under a pound, this lock is definitely a lightweight option for securing bikes and other properties.

For more information, visit https://ottodesignworks.com.

Lynn Rosen, co-author of “Camping Washington,” Falcon Press, Emmy award-winner, ski guidebook editor and writer, and theater critic, has a long history of both broadcast and print journalism.  

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