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Old 03-03-06, 09:01 AM   #1
JohnBrooking
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Call for Sympathy

This is an unapologetic grab at sympathy. I have just become a member of the Had a Bike Stolen club. It is both fortunate and unfortunate that this happened just two weeks after becoming a member of the Own Multiple Bikes club. Fortunate because I do still have my backup bike; unfortunate because it was the new bike (a gently used Giant Cypress DX) that was stolen, not the old one (a heavily used Diamondback Crestview with a worn-out drivechain).

The worst part is that it was my own damn fault. I've gotten out of the habit of locking it at work, because it's mostly out public view and not downtown. But last night I rode to downtown Portland (Maine) and only realized en-route I didn't have my lock, so I attempted to just stash it out of sight behind a dumpster. When I returned after 4 hours at a social event, it was gone. I feel terrible, not least because of it being my own fault.

I filed a police report, just in case, but I really don't expect to see it again.
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Old 03-03-06, 09:31 AM   #2
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That sucks. Don't beat yourself up. We all know that you it would have been a good idea to lock it up, but it's not your fault that it ws stolen.
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Old 03-03-06, 09:48 AM   #3
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That sucks. Don't beat yourself up. We all know that you it would have been a good idea to lock it up, but it's not your fault that it ws stolen.
I'm not even going to beg your pardon with that comment. Not his fault? Of course it's his fault- he didn't bring a lock and threw his bike behind a dumpster. Most likely, someone thought someone else threw it away, so they took it. No one should be surprised that an unlocked bike in a dumpster area goes missing. I'd be more surprised if it still had been there.

Live and learn.

But... I still feel bad for people when their bikes go missing. It feels like a piece of you is just gone. That's no good. But learn from this experience- there's no such thing as a safe bike if you have no lock on the bike. It's no guarantee of keeping your bike safe either, but there's at least some likelihood of your bike being there when you get back. No more of that mess, now!

In the meantime, if you have renter's insurance or homeowner's insurance, check with them. If the deductible isn't too high, maybe you can get it replaced?

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Old 03-03-06, 10:17 AM   #4
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Interestingly, this issue of "fault" made me think more about what we mean by "fault", and I've realized it's kind of an ambiguous concept. I think what spunkyruss meant by it not being my fault is that I did not actively cause my bike to be stolen. The person who took it clearly made the decision to take it, was the "active agent". (Assuming it was stolen and not simply mistaken for abandoned, which there's no way to know, I guess.)

But what you are saying, koffee brown, is valid, too. I made a bad decision that did not sufficiently prevent an outcome I knew was possible. I may not have caused it to be taken, but I did not do all that I could have to prevent it.

Maybe we can distinguish these senses of "fault" as "strong fault" (the person who actually took the action) and "weak fault" (the person who could have prevented it but didn't). It occurs to me that this ambiguity is probably also the source of much argument on the A&S forum regarding fault in an "accident" situation -- the motorist hit the cyclist, but the cyclist was riding badly at the time. Both at fault, in these two different senses of the word.

Well, that's me in a nutshell - handling emotional distress by becoming philosophical. But there are worse ways, right?
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Old 03-03-06, 11:04 AM   #5
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Originally Posted by JohnBrooking
...last night I rode to downtown Portland (Maine) and only realized en-route I didn't have my lock, so I attempted to just stash it out of sight behind a dumpster...
Bummer. Just wait a few days and there will be some guy starting a thread here about "I found a bike in a dumpster".
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Old 03-03-06, 11:16 AM   #6
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You get my sympathy, but like others have suggested, leaving your bike unlocked next to a dumpster is probably the best way to get it taken.
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Old 03-03-06, 11:27 AM   #7
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I had two bikes stolen when I was a kid, one from the front yard, and one from a second-story porch. And after the astonishment fades, it leaves you with a different feeling that is even more tenacious. For the rest of your life, you will be looking, half-consciously, for the missing Giant CX. You'll see a flash go by, catch a silhouette -- is that it? Is that my Giant? It's really weird, 30 years later, I'll see a crummy yellow 10-speed with a quilted vinyl seat: Is that my Concord?

(On the plus side, you now have every justification to buy yourself another bike.)
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Old 03-03-06, 11:32 AM   #8
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To clarify, it was behind the dumpster, not beside it. Obviously the goal was to have it not be seen, not to suggest it was unwanted. There was a chain link fence on two other sides of it, so it was only accessible from one end of the space. The terrain dropped off outside the fence, so I didn't figure it would be seen from the street in those directions, nor from the street in front, being behind the dumpster. My guess is that it was seen from the street approaching from the open side, which I admit I did not take into account, or maybe by someone in a room above ground level on the fence side. Or perhaps the person just saw me put it there. There was a streetlight right above it (to make this even more stupid), but I figured if it was out of sight from a distance, why would someone be drawn to take a closer look?

Plus, the parking lot was actually taped off with yellow tape at the time, for no discernable reason, so I thought that having fewer cars there would decrease the foot traffic and thus the risk. When I returned, the yellow tape was gone, adding another element of mystery to the situation. Who had put it there, who had taken it down, and why? Is it related?

Just clarifying, not justifying. It is obviously something I will not do again.
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Old 03-03-06, 11:35 AM   #9
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(On the plus side, you now have every justification to buy yourself another bike.)
Yes, except that means admitting to the LBS guy what happened, which will be embarrassing. He was the one that sold me the Giant after diagnosing how expensive the Diamondback would be to fix, and I think he was happy to have this slightly-used Giant on the lot that was such a good fit for me. Now I feel like I let him down, as well as the previous owner, whom I don't even know, who took such good care of it.
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Old 03-03-06, 11:40 AM   #10
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I feel badly for your loss .... *slaps your wrist*. You caused it to be vanished, by your foolishness. Only a 'burbanite could possibly think behind a dumpster is a good hiding spot in the city at night. Dude you made some crackheads' night didn't cha? He might have gotten a whole fifty dollars for it, within a half hour of it moving from it's spot. You don't lock it it didn't get stolen, it simply vanished.
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Old 03-03-06, 11:47 AM   #11
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I'm sorry you lost such a nice bike.
Of course hindsight for all of is always 20-20.
Sometimes just by posting a story like this there is a chance another rider will be more inclined to lock up everywhere. Too bad you may never hear about it even if it works that way.

I don't always carry a proper lock with me. What I do is always carry a cable lock, even if it is on the small side, in my bag. The big cable locks are not much better than the small cable locks anyway. A thief can defeat most of them in 2-3 seconds. But it is obvious to anyone watching that the lock is being destroyed.

However if a non prepared person is going to just grab a bike they see, there is a chance that a small cable lock may make them change their mind, especially if it is out in the open. The weight and size of a small cable lock to me is worth carrying. A lot of bikes are just taken for a joyride by kids who did not plan ahead.
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Old 03-03-06, 11:51 AM   #12
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Originally Posted by TRaffic Jammer
I feel badly for your loss .... *slaps your wrist*. You caused it to be vanished, by your foolishness. Only a 'burbanite could possibly think behind a dumpster is a good hiding spot in the city at night. Dude you made some crackheads' night didn't cha? He might have gotten a whole fifty dollars for it, within a half hour of it moving from it's spot. You don't lock it it didn't get stolen, it simply vanished.

Sorry, but I think the term is "Fitty" :-)

It does suck. It was dumb to leave it unlocked. At the same time, I hear there are countries where you could leave your bike out in the open unlocked in total safety. Shame ours isn't one of them.

In the future (hindsight always being 20/20 ya know), I would have either

1. Seen if I could leave the bike inside at the socail engagement, after explaining the situation. Not sure what you had but I have had luck with this not necessarily with a bicycle but other items I didn't want to leave outside.

2. Find the nearest LBS or hardware store. Buy a new lock (or a length of chain and padlock) and lock it up. I would never leave mine unlocked outside anywhere.

-D
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Old 03-03-06, 11:53 AM   #13
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coat check? pay double triple here's 20bucks!!!
WORD about North AMerica.... my sister in law had her bike stolen off our front porch while eating dinner not 15 feet away. There is no mercy for such things in our society and it IS a shame.

Fitty it is.
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Old 03-03-06, 11:55 AM   #14
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Sucks.

I had a bike stolen under similar circumstances. And even though it was just a crappy Schwinn, I still miss that bike.
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Old 03-03-06, 11:59 AM   #15
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The lesson here is not that you need to lock the bike (we all know that). The lesson for us all is that "security by obscurity" does not work. The bike would probably have been safer sitting in front of the building.

Sorry for your loss. Despite the situation, you certainly did not deserve to lose the bike.
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Old 03-03-06, 01:17 PM   #16
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Yeah, I admit it, I live in a small town outside a small city in Maine. We receive somewhat more security and less crime and road rage in return for our relative naivete.

So, going along with the dumb suburbanite role, spell it out for me, all you more sophisticated urban riders, why is behind a dumpster a bad place? Where did my reasoning go wrong?
  1. It's still visible from too many angles?
  2. There are too many people just poking around dumpsters in general? (Keep in mind this is not a huge city, and there are not a lot of people just wandering the streets in this part of town. The parking lot was deserted when I left it there and when I returned.)
  3. Chances are good someone will see you put it there?
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Old 03-03-06, 01:28 PM   #17
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Originally Posted by koffee brown
In the meantime, if you have renter's insurance or homeowner's insurance, check with them. If the deductible isn't too high, maybe you can get it replaced?
Thanks for the suggestion. We already thought of that, and it is covered, but yes, the deductible is more than I paid for it, or want to pay for a new one.
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Old 03-03-06, 01:36 PM   #18
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Where did my reasoning go wrong?
Basically in your assumptions about the number of people willing to engage in a crime of opportunity.

You have my sympathy, but your plight is like going to the beach, sticking your wallet your shoe and then coming back and saying "How can this happen? I hid it in the toe...."

There are some honest people, but many are not. You actually need to make it inconvenient to do the wrong thing. Slightly obscuring an opportunity doesn't qualify because the hassle to the thief is negligible. In your case, you actually provided a bit of cover.
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Old 03-03-06, 01:42 PM   #19
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Sorry, but I think the term is "Fitty" :-)
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Old 03-03-06, 01:53 PM   #20
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Dumpsters and the dark spots they occupy are prime places for all sorts of night time activities.

Selling /buying drugs
Getting your lolly licked. Either by your (i like the danger g/f or a pro)
Street folks looking for whatever may be in the dumpster. Food//clothing whatever.
Late night "I gotta pee".... oooh down here...WTF it's a bike!!!!!
Someone saw you enter the lot with a bike and leave without one. You could be watched from someone not even on the street but from an apt window.
BMX'rs looking for pallets/wood for late night ramps.

or FITTY over possiblities...

I am sorry for your loss..... one night I lost my key downtown drinking, I come back the next morning with my other key and my MTB is completely destroyed and wrapped around the pole, I think I saved the stem, and maybe the brakes.
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Old 03-03-06, 02:57 PM   #21
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Quote:
Originally Posted by JohnBrooking
Yeah, I admit it, I live in a small town outside a small city in Maine. We receive somewhat more security and less crime and road rage in return for our relative naivete.

So, going along with the dumb suburbanite role, spell it out for me, all you more sophisticated urban riders, why is behind a dumpster a bad place? Where did my reasoning go wrong?
  1. It's still visible from too many angles?
  2. There are too many people just poking around dumpsters in general? (Keep in mind this is not a huge city, and there are not a lot of people just wandering the streets in this part of town. The parking lot was deserted when I left it there and when I returned.)
  3. Chances are good someone will see you put it there?
I'm not a sophisticated urban anything......however.
Yes to all those reasons and more. A bike is one of the easiest things to steal.. You can walk up to it, but you can leave a lot faster. Maybe 25 mph if someone on foot is trying to catch you. And since it is a bike the owner will have to be on foot if he is after you.
I know a runner that almost, but not quite, caught the guy who took his bike off his bike rack when he was in the car with his kids. One of the kids told him it was being taken. He never caught the guy, chased him a few blocks.

Even if it was locked, in that location a thief would have more time to break a lock and even make a little noise. At least if the bike was plainly visible to even an occasional by passer, it might change someone’s mind about stealing it, even if no one came by they might come by.. A thief feels more secure out of sight.
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Old 03-03-06, 03:16 PM   #22
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Sorry JohnB. I lost my cannondale a year ago and I still grieve for it sometimes. I love to look at old pictures that happen to have the 'Dale in it. It really is like a piece of you is missing.
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Old 03-03-06, 03:32 PM   #23
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Some people sleep in/behind dumpsters. Kids raid dumpsters (we found some pretty cool things inside those dumpsters too, Luckily we didn't find any of the stuff Traffic Jammer mentioned). I probably would have gone with bushes but people sleep under those too. only safe thing would be a closet or someplace inside the building and even then you are not 100% secure.

Now, upon occasion I have been known when riding my beater to drop it over an air-conditioning enclosure wall at the local church where I have seen transients pass by and have not had a problem there. The enclosure was locked but the wall was just low enough for me to drop my bike over and grab again when I was done but high enough to hide anything behind it from prying eyes and prevent anyone under 6 feet tall from being able to grab it easy. Probably not a good idea either but in general if I am going somewhere without a lock I try to take equipment that I really deep down inside want to replace anyway.
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Old 03-04-06, 09:07 AM   #24
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Sorry to hear about it. I once bone-headedly had my bike stolen. It was a very wet, rainy day, one of my last from my job before I went off to grad school. I left the bike outside my door, a back door which faced a wooded slope not 10 feet away, took a shower, dried-off and fell asleep. My roomies were out of town or something to that effect because the bike stayed outside all night long, or at least part of the night. I was crushed when the next morning it was gone. It had been my first road bike, a wondeful red and white Dave Scott Ironman Centurion purchased lightly used at a bargain price of $250 (from a pal who decided he wanted Rollerblades!) two and a half years plus before it was stolen. In other words, I feel your pain, both the pain of the loss and the pain of feeling like a dope for letting it happen.
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Old 03-04-06, 01:05 PM   #25
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We went back to the "scene of the crime" and cruised around this morning, in case it might be sitting around the neighborhood, but didn't see it. I did see a number of bikes sitting on back porches, underneath porches, etc., some of them I'm sure unlocked, FWIW. I went back to my LBS with the sad tale, and he suggested calling around other bike stores with the description, so I've just done that. Hint for others: Record your serial number. I didn't, but the LBS just told me he wrote it on my bill of sale from a few weeks ago. Now if I can just find that! Then on the slim chance it does turn up, I can definitively prove it's mine.
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