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Old 10-26-10, 07:27 AM   #1
Trillian42
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Lock Cutting Scare


Help! I ride to work in Philadelphia, and when I get to my job at 15th and Walnut (a pretty nice/shi-shi area of Philly with a lot of banks and higher end stores), I have been locking my bike up at a rack right outside of the front of the office building. Yesterday, when I came out of work at 5pm, I saw that someone had cut my front cable lock, I'm assuming to try and steal my bike. When I tried to bring my bike into the office this morning (there's some empty space in our coffee room I could put it), I was informed by the doorman that I was not allowed to bring my bicycle into the building, no way, no how.

My question is two-fold:
1. Has anyone had this problem with building doormen before? And, if so, is there a way around it? I know that I would feel much more secure if I were able to bring my bike inside, and I don't like having some doorman who doesn't know anything about bikes tell me, 'Well, just get a better lock'.

2. If I can't circumvent the no bikes inside rule, what's the best way to lock up? Right now I have locking skewers on my wheels and seatpost, a cable lock that runs twice through my front wheel and around the frame, locking onto my frame with smaller kryptonite u-lock. I then also have a standard size kryptonite u-lock locking my frame to the rack. What else do I need? What else can I do? My boyfriend is getting me a NY Legend lock but I'm still paranoid. I think I'm understandably paranoid now, and I love my bike so if it gets stolen I'm going to be SO unhappy. I thought that this area was safe, but now, I'm not so sure. Thus I pose my problem to you....HELP!!!
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Old 10-26-10, 07:41 AM   #2
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I think your bike is locked very securely. Likely the thief didn't realize just how well it was locked and gave up when he saw the additional protection. A combination of cable and ulocks represents a significant problem for thieves, becauae multiple tools are typically required.

In short, unless the guy is a pro and has time to work you've nothing to worry about. If he is, and does, no locking strategy will be safe.
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Old 10-26-10, 07:48 AM   #3
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Thanks. It was just a little unnerving - middle of the day, busy street, high end neighborhood so to speak...makes me wonder if anyone said anything or whether people are too busy to even notice.
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Old 10-26-10, 07:56 AM   #4
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People will walk by people lying dying on the street. Heck, they'll pause to take pictures, then continue on their way. OF COURSE they'll just walk by someone cutting a bike lock. It would be amazing if they didn't. You've seen the NYC video, right?

People suck, for the most part.
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Old 10-26-10, 08:15 AM   #5
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It sounds like you have your bike locked up as well as it can be. I would still work on getting the doorman to let you in. I assume that you work in a larger building in which your company, firm, or organization is a tenant in. The door man was just doing his job which is to restrict entry to the building and keep hooligans out. He saw a bike and like so many people just thinks of kids and someone riding in the building. The first step to get your bike inside is to see if you can find the facility/building manager and explain to him/her your recent scare and that you just want to store the bike in your office. Once the facility manager is on your side which shouldn't be too hard to do, bringing your bike in should no longer be an issue.
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Old 10-26-10, 08:19 AM   #6
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Just the fact that the thief fail in this attempt is reassuring your locks are adequate. Not much more than what you can do in terms of U-Locks. You can do the heavy duty chain thing, but it also much heavier like about 10lb.
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Old 10-26-10, 08:34 AM   #7
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Check if the City of Philly has a "bikes allowed into buildings" law, as is the case in NYC. If not, or even if they do, is there a building freight elevator that you can use to get your bike up to the office ?. Can you explain the situation to the building manager and possibly get permission ?.

Just some add'l thoughts

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Old 10-26-10, 08:45 AM   #8
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Check with your office managment and with the building management if it would be okay to park your bike inside someplace. Sometimes they want you to use a back entrance or a freight elevator, sometimes you can park a bike in a utility/maintenance room, and sometimes you don't want to park where they say it is okay for any number of reason (bike safety and personal safety).

I assume the rack where you had the bike locked is open for employees to use, or is it one "reserved" for customers? I've heard of people sending a message by cutting a cable lock or loosening a part like the seat. Something to think about if it is a possibility, or it could have been a thief just passing by.

I would let the local police know about the incident so they can enter a log of it into their system that a thief is working that area.
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Old 10-26-10, 08:49 AM   #9
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The new ulock will be better than your current it sounds like. You can also leave a chain locked up to the rack, and carry your ulock with you. (The chain will be way too heavy to carry every day). Use the chain like you use the cable. You'll want a chain for bikes or motorcycles, not a chain from a hardware store.

If the building has a garage maybe there is a different entrance you can use and lock it up down there.

Or talk to your company managers or HR to have them push back on building security. Security may not care what you think, but they'll care what your company wants.

Or get a folding bike and bag for it. When you get to work put it in the bag and walk in with it.

I don't know how paranoid I'd be, they may have been defeated, but now someone knows there is a bike they want locked up there every day. But then again that's always true. Thousands of people probably see your bike every day and know it's there. If they are resourceful there's really nothing you can do.
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Old 10-26-10, 09:56 AM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by colleen c View Post
Just the fact that the thief fail in this attempt is reassuring your locks are adequate. Not much more than what you can do in terms of U-Locks. You can do the heavy duty chain thing, but it also much heavier like about 10lb.
I have a super heavy duty chain lock, but I leave that one on campus. I also have a u-lock I keep on the bike for small errands or when I stop off at the rec center for a shower in the morning. When I park at my usual rack, the lock is waiting there for me and I lock up with the u-lock first and then the heavy duty chain (onguard beast) that runs through both wheels.

Obviously, leaving a heavy chain lock on a public rack might not work as well, but you could leave it in the office and after you lock up your bike, run up to the office and bring it down. Some obvious extra hassle, but I never have to worry about my bike being stolen, so it may be worth the extra trips back and forth to make you feel better.
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Old 10-26-10, 11:04 AM   #11
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+1 on both posts above/below.

The doorman is either enforcing the policies as he understands them, or is just being a git. Either way, given that you have not been successful there, you want to deal with the organ grinder, not the monkey.

Freight entrance + freight elevator reduces potential of annoying other tenants. I assume your company is one of several tenants: it's particularly a bonus if your company's facility manager is in your court, advocating on your behalf (or at least neutral) as you approach the building manager. So start with the written building policies and the city/state laws (doubtful much help, but maybe) and then appeal to the human side. Probably contact your company rep before the building management.



Quote:
Originally Posted by Lightingguy View Post
Check if the City of Philly has a "bikes allowed into buildings" law, as is the case in NYC. If not, or even if they do, is there a building freight elevator that you can use to get your bike up to the office ?. Can you explain the situation to the building manager and possibly get permission ?.

Just some add'l thoughts

SB
Quote:
Originally Posted by treebound View Post
Check with your office managment and with the building management if it would be okay to park your bike inside someplace. Sometimes they want you to use a back entrance or a freight elevator, sometimes you can park a bike in a utility/maintenance room, and sometimes you don't want to park where they say it is okay for any number of reason (bike safety and personal safety).

I assume the rack where you had the bike locked is open for employees to use, or is it one "reserved" for customers? I've heard of people sending a message by cutting a cable lock or loosening a part like the seat. Something to think about if it is a possibility, or it could have been a thief just passing by.

I would let the local police know about the incident so they can enter a log of it into their system that a thief is working that area.
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Old 10-26-10, 11:29 AM   #12
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Thank you, thank you, thank you. I am in the process of talking to the building manager (there are more than one so my boss is going to help me figure out which one ACTUALLY has the power) to try and get permission to bring my bike into the office. I am also getting a heavy duty chain to keep in the office just in case (the NY Legend from Kryptonite) I can't bring the bike in. In that case, I'll just lock up with my u-locks and then bring the chain down to super lock it. Hopefully this will work, and I may look into getting a cheap city bike so I can leave my nice one at home to ride on the weekends. Thanks again for all the really good advice.
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Old 10-26-10, 06:08 PM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Trillian42 View Post
Thank you, thank you, thank you. I am in the process of talking to the building manager (there are more than one so my boss is going to help me figure out which one ACTUALLY has the power) to try and get permission to bring my bike into the office. I am also getting a heavy duty chain to keep in the office just in case (the NY Legend from Kryptonite) I can't bring the bike in. In that case, I'll just lock up with my u-locks and then bring the chain down to super lock it. Hopefully this will work, and I may look into getting a cheap city bike so I can leave my nice one at home to ride on the weekends. Thanks again for all the really good advice.
It sounds like you're doing everything right. If you can bring it inside, great. If not, it certainly sounds like you are planning to employ the best locking strategy possible.

Of course, if you can get a cheaper bike to commute on, while still enjoying your commute, that would save your 'good' bike for recreational rides - though it will still need to be properly locked. Also a good idea.

Let us know how it works out.
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Old 10-26-10, 07:27 PM   #14
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I lock my bicycle the same way... The thing is that once they see that you have a ulock along with the cable thats holding the front wheel , they wont even bother.
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Old 10-26-10, 11:02 PM   #15
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I have no idea if this would work, but there are a number of apartment buildings in that area (I worked and lived in Philly for years before moving to CO). Perhaps one of them has secure bike parking that you could make arrangements to use.

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Old 10-26-10, 11:50 PM   #16
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Do what you can and if it gets stolen anyway then replace it with a folding bike. Doorman can't say no if you put it in a bag.
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Old 10-27-10, 04:28 AM   #17
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Buy a crappy $20 bike to lock (crappily) next to your awesome bike.

More seriously, if you have QR, consider taking off the front wheel and bringing it in, and/or seatpost, too.
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Old 10-27-10, 07:44 AM   #18
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Trillian42 View Post
When I tried to bring my bike into the office this morning (there's some empty space in our coffee room I could put it), I was informed by the doorman that I was not allowed to bring my bicycle into the building, no way, no how.
you mention the bike was right outside the front door. The doorman? didn't notice someone trying to steal it? Lousy doorman. I'd call building supervisor and get their take on bringing bike in or providing safe storage for it in the building.
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Old 10-27-10, 08:12 AM   #19
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you mention the bike was right outside the front door. The doorman? didn't notice someone trying to steal it? Lousy doorman. I'd call building supervisor and get their take on bringing bike in or providing safe storage for it in the building.
That isn't an entirely fair assumption though. I used to work in a building where you only hit the doorman after going through the lobby. When that is the case the doorman can't see anything outside most of the time.

I would just say the doorman is more dead-set on not getting in trouble then actually causing you trouble. If you approach him with understanding and ask who you should see to possibly get permission things might smooth out considerably.

Also if your getting a NYC Kryptonite well.....yea. The next thief will either be forced to cut the frame of your bike, the bike rack, or bring an entire slew of power tools and spend a good 10 minutes on your lock. Regardless, I say just approach the door man and ask who you should see to get permission. He can make your job harder or easier based upon his mood.
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Old 10-27-10, 08:22 AM   #20
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Right now I have locking skewers on my wheels and seatpost, a cable lock that runs twice through my front wheel and around the frame, locking onto my frame with smaller kryptonite u-lock. I then also have a standard size kryptonite u-lock locking my frame to the rack. What else do I need? What else can I do?
Wait. You have locking skewers and still use the cable to secure front wheel? Why? I'd say all you need to worry about is locking the frame to something solid. Cable is redundant not only because of the locking skewers, but also because you use another U-lock to secure the cable. If the thief has the right equipment for U-locks, the cable isn't going to help at all.

If you really, really want to make the thief work hard, get some heavy duty chain and a heavy duty padlock. Secure frame to something solid using both the standard size U-lock and the chain-padlock combo, but independent from each other. That way, if the U-lock is defeated, the chain-padlock combo still remains and vice versa, requiring different tools. Where I live this locking system would be too much in terms of weight and money, but you're the only one who can make that call for you.

Remember, all locks can be defeated. Continue working on being allowed to bring the bike indoors, if you're still worried.

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Old 10-27-10, 10:32 AM   #21
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Let us know how it works out.
My bosses are talking to the building manager and I have been told, if the doorman bothers me again, to simply say I have been authorize to bring my bike inside. My boyfriend is also going to hook me up with a donation bike (he works at a bike shop and they're trying to clean the basement of really old bikes to make room for new ones they can sell which means, voila! free bike) so that I can ride around and not worry that my nice bike will be stolen.


Update - while it is fine to have a bike in the office, it is agains the building code to bring it through the lobby. Anyone else see the catch-22 in that statement? So the NY Legend lock and a free donation bike will be the way to go.

Last edited by Trillian42; 10-27-10 at 10:43 AM.
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Old 10-27-10, 11:32 AM   #22
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Originally Posted by Trillian42 View Post
My bosses are talking to the building manager and I have been told, if the doorman bothers me again, to simply say I have been authorize to bring my bike inside. My boyfriend is also going to hook me up with a donation bike (he works at a bike shop and they're trying to clean the basement of really old bikes to make room for new ones they can sell which means, voila! free bike) so that I can ride around and not worry that my nice bike will be stolen.


Update - while it is fine to have a bike in the office, it is agains the building code to bring it through the lobby. Anyone else see the catch-22 in that statement? So the NY Legend lock and a free donation bike will be the way to go.
Is there a freight entrance and elevator?
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Old 10-27-10, 11:57 AM   #23
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Is there a freight entrance and elevator?
I agree. Is there a back way to enter the building and get to your office? I'll bet the doorman could probably tell you how to do it.
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Old 10-27-10, 12:17 PM   #24
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Even though I can park in a locked compound surrounded by an eight-foot chain-link fence topped with barbed wire and under video surveillance, I still double-lock my bike with my u-lock and heavy-duty chain with separate mini u-lock. I leave the chain/mini u-lock on the rack at work, but when I do have to transport it I wrap it around my seat post and lock it in place. Even though it's six feet long it still wraps up in a manageable package that doesn't interfere with riding the bike. When funds permit I plan to replace it with this setup from Abus, and leave my chain/mini u-lock combo for its intended storage/transport use. Of course I'll still back it up with my u-lock; as other posters have said no locking system is foolproof, but two different lock types are usually enough to deter most would-be thieves.
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Old 10-27-10, 01:02 PM   #25
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Is there a freight entrance and elevator?
There's no freight entrance (not really that large of a building in center city). There's a back entrance but guess what? It's the same story - not allowed to bring a bike through the entry way. I wish I could get it inside, but at this point the best option is a cheap bike with a killer lock.
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