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Commuting Bicycle commuting is easier than you think, before you know it, you'll be hooked. Learn the tips, hints, equipment, safety requirements for safely riding your bike to work.

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Old 07-11-12, 11:02 AM   #1
spohn
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Safe to lock my bike up at college?

Hey, I have a new trek 4300. Not the priciest or fanciest bike, but it was expensive for my budget. Normally I just ride on dedicated bike trails and keep it in my apartment.

This coming semester, I'm thinking about biking to class. I'm nervous about locking it up outside though. It's a community college, and I only take 1-2 classes a day (going part time).


Would I be pretty safe by properly using a quality lock (granted, it will need to be portable--I can't leave it at the school)? Or am I better off finding a cheaper and/or "ugly" bike for commuting?
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Old 07-11-12, 11:16 AM   #2
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Hey, I have a new trek 4300. Not the priciest or fanciest bike, but it was expensive for my budget. Normally I just ride on dedicated bike trails and keep it in my apartment.

This coming semester, I'm thinking about biking to class. I'm nervous about locking it up outside though. It's a community college, and I only take 1-2 classes a day (going part time).


Would I be pretty safe by properly using a quality lock (granted, it will need to be portable--I can't leave it at the school)? Or am I better off finding a cheaper and/or "ugly" bike for commuting?
Ugly cheap bikes get stolen just as fast as expensive ones.

Get a U-lock, not a cable lock.
Get tamperproof wheel skewers.
Order about a hundred 4mm ball bearings and stick them in all the hex bolt heads on your bikes with axle grease. This will prevent component theft. Get them out with a strong magnet.
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Old 07-11-12, 11:25 AM   #3
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To be frank I would take it into class and it in the back with the bike.
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Old 07-11-12, 11:35 AM   #4
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#!

My son is attending college in Hunstville, TX. It's a town with a fairly low crime rate. There are only 36,000 people living there, and it's ground zero for the Texas prison system. There are eight state prisons in the immediate vicinity of Huntsville. Half the town either works at a prison or is a cop of some sort or another. SHSU - the college he attends - has a well-recognized Criminal Justice degree plan. Half the people on campus intend to get involved in law enforcement in some capacity or another.

Still, ya gotta be a little concerned about the few dozen knuckleheads that roam about the town. So, my son bought a good U-Lock to attach his old (1973) Fuji to the bike racks.

In the second video Hal points out the best-locked bike he ran across on the streets of NYC that day. An old, scarred, beat-up Specialized (low resale value) secured six ways from Sunday.

The first video I threw in because I found it amusing.
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Old 07-11-12, 12:27 PM   #5
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A quality lock, and a high visibility location where are a lot of bikes locked up, are your best bet.
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Old 07-11-12, 12:28 PM   #6
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Most colleges have hundreds of bicycle commuters. Try asking some of them about what works. May also want to have a chat with your campus police.
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Old 07-11-12, 12:40 PM   #7
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Ugly cheap bikes get stolen just as fast as expensive ones.

Get a U-lock, not a cable lock.
Get tamperproof wheel skewers.
Order about a hundred 4mm ball bearings and stick them in all the hex bolt heads on your bikes with axle grease. This will prevent component theft. Get them out with a strong magnet.

I disagree with this opinion. Most bike thieves are in the business to make a quick buck. They'll make fewer bucks with ugly bicycles. They figure, if you're going to take the risk of getting caught anyway, then it's best to take that risk over something more valuable and beautiful than not.

I once knew a guy who was known to occasionally cheat on his wife. I never saw him cheat on his wife with an ugly woman! I mean, why even bother?
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Old 07-11-12, 12:43 PM   #8
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Old 07-11-12, 12:55 PM   #9
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These are opportunistic thefts for the most part, if you lock both wheels and the frame to a immovable object you will probably be fine. If you have a nice saddle don't use it with a quick release collar.

If you lock just one wheel, you'll loose the other. Especially true if you have nice rubber on it.
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Old 07-11-12, 02:45 PM   #10
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What college? If it's at all similar to Penn State (University Park), you have absolutely nothing to worry about. People lock up expensive road bikes with cable locks all the time.

Just look at the bikes on the racks currently, and see how your bike compares. If it looks nicer, get a nicer lock.
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Old 07-11-12, 03:07 PM   #11
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Originally Posted by spohn View Post
Hey, I have a new trek 4300. Not the priciest or fanciest bike, but it was expensive for my budget. Normally I just ride on dedicated bike trails and keep it in my apartment.

This coming semester, I'm thinking about biking to class. I'm nervous about locking it up outside though. It's a community college, and I only take 1-2 classes a day (going part time).


Would I be pretty safe by properly using a quality lock (granted, it will need to be portable--I can't leave it at the school)? Or am I better off finding a cheaper and/or "ugly" bike for commuting?
Not sure if this would help at all, but maybe you could just spray paint your bike hot pink or something if you don't care what it looks like. I doubt most bike thieves know enough about bikes to realize something is nice when it looks like it was spray painted by a toddler.
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Old 07-11-12, 03:22 PM   #12
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A couple of yrs ago my 97 Raleigh 18spd Mtn bike was stolen at one of the local community colleges here. It was parked right out front in the field of view of the security cameras where lots of students took their mid-class breaks. It was locked to the bike rack with a decent cable / master lock combo.

At first I hoped they would have it on video. But talking to security it turns out their cameras don't see well at night. We watched the video of me parking the bike in the late afternoon. It was still there 15 min after sunset. After that you couldn't tell.

The security cop told me that they had lots of bikes stolen that were locked with cables. He recommended the U-type locks. He said as far as he knew nobody lost a bike with the u-lock. He thought that was because the thieves just moved on to the easier targets.

So my next bike, a brand new Trek FX, was locked to the same place with a U-lock thru the frame and back wheel. Then there was a cable lock thru the frame and front wheel. The rest of the year nobody messed with it.

My recommendation is to talk to somebody in campus security about bike thefts.

BTW: My school definitely did not allow the bikes in the classroom. Maybe yours is different?
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Old 07-11-12, 06:12 PM   #13
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This is how I lock my bicycle up and only takes a few minutes to secure.
http://www.missinglink.org/page/how-lock-bike
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Old 07-11-12, 07:07 PM   #14
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I do the lock the frame an rear wheel with a U lock and connect a large cable around the front rim to the U Lock. I don't have a fancy saddle, grips or anything like that to worry about. Have not lost a bike that way.
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Old 07-11-12, 08:02 PM   #15
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As a college commuter myself, I recommend the following:

1. Ugly up your bike. Take the logo stickers off, run it through the dirt for a couple of miles. Don't wash it. If you don't care about the actual paint underneath, hit it with a couple of stripes of rattly can. Someone should really come up with a good spray-on rust look-alike, because thieves HATE rust.

2. U-lock, take off the front wheel, lock it with the frame and the rear wheel. Take your skewers inside with you if possible. If you use a Brooks saddle, either lock it up or take it in.

3. Park in the middle of a packed rack. Thieves, at least here, are opportunists and almost always take things from the outside of the rack, and cable locked.

4. Use the ball-bearing trick that when suggested.
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Old 07-11-12, 08:51 PM   #16
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I have the same lock is great, I do commute to college right now. I recommend the pit lock antitheft skewers and a good u-lock. I think you will be amazed how some other students don't or poorly lock there bikes.
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Old 07-11-12, 09:46 PM   #17
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This *completely* depends on the community. Throughout college, grad school, and law school, I locked my bike up with a cheap U-lock. There were 40,000 students there, and I never met anyone whose locked bike had been stolen. The only thefts were opportunistic. Some drunks coming back from the bars did once kick my front wheel enough to bend it...but there isn't a lock that will prevent vandalism.

So find out what things are like at your school before investing in an 8 lb. chain. But make sure you always lock the bike, and don't tempt fate by leaving it outside over Spring Break or Christmas.
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Old 07-12-12, 07:08 AM   #18
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Originally Posted by SkippyX View Post
[ame]

In the second video Hal points out the best-locked bike he ran across on the streets of NYC that day. An old, scarred, beat-up Specialized (low resale value) secured six ways from Sunday.
The owner knows its true value... priceless. I have a similar Hard Rock. It's a great urban bike, and if I value it for what it's saved me, it's very valueable.
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Old 07-12-12, 07:27 AM   #19
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All of what has been mentioned should really help, but if you go to school similar to where I do (urban area, higher crime rates) I would suggest bringing the bike inside. I do that now, just leave it in the back of the classroom. I get a lot of weird looks, but I feel safer and know my ride home is right where I left it.
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Old 07-12-12, 07:30 AM   #20
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Ugly cheap bikes get stolen just as fast as expensive ones.
Right, but they are a lot cheaper to replace. Think of an ugly bike as an insurance policy that protects your investment in your Trek.
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Originally Posted by bragi "However, it's never a good idea to overgeneralize."
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Old 07-12-12, 08:08 AM   #21
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+1 on checking the conditions at your school. When I was living in Gainesville Florida, you would see $70 Walmart bikes on campus with every part imaginable stolen off of it. Now I go to school in Jacksonville Florida and I routinely see very nice bikes locked up at school with the cheapest $6 lock you can find at Walmart. And I keep seeing these same bikes semester after semester.

If I was in a position right now where I could commute to my school, there is no way in the world I would lug around a massive lock to secure my bike when I was in class. Then again, I would not go with the cheapest lock.
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Old 07-12-12, 08:51 AM   #22
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I teach at a college with lots of bike theft. Here is the university police department's official advice.
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Reduce Bicycle Theft


Hundreds of bikes are reported stolen at UW-Madison each year, but most thefts can be prevented. Here’s how:


Always lock your bike, even if you are leaving it for just a minute.
Always lock your bike to a bike rack.
Lock your bike in a highly visible, well-lit location if possible.
Buy a high-quality lock and read the manufacturer’s recommendations for use. U-shape locks are among the most theft-resistant, although knowledgeable thieves can break even them.
Never lock your bike up by just the front wheel. You may return to find only your wheel. In addition, quick-release wheels and seats need to be secured with a cable or other device. Remove any expensive accessories, such as bag or lights, and take them with you.
Register your bike.
Use a less valuable bike for riding to class or commuting to work. Statistics show that most bikes reported stolen on campus are worth $200 or more.
If your bike is stolen, report it to the police promptly. You will need to know the make, model name, serial number and value of your bike.
If you prefer greater security, consider renting a bike locker or space in a bike cage. Lockers and cages are available at a number of locations around campus.
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Old 07-12-12, 11:55 AM   #23
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Get 2, a Craptacular bike, on campus , keep the nice one at home
to use on the weekends.

I'd still get good locks so you don't have to walk home from school.

though some schools work out a deal with the Public Bus system,
so the student ID is your Bus Pass,
then you dont expose the nice bike to campus theft at all.

Last edited by fietsbob; 07-12-12 at 12:01 PM.
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Old 07-12-12, 01:02 PM   #24
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I would not risk a new bike. get something nasty and still lock it properly
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Old 07-12-12, 03:52 PM   #25
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Is get a pile of Crap. Get some dirt on it. Lock it up and if its stolen well at least its not you trek. Good luck to ya.
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