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Thread: Stop Thief!

  1. #1
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    Stop Thief!

    Sorry if this is wrong forum - there's a lot of forums here, and this looked most appropriate since comuters have to lock up their bikes somewhere.

    I'm not what you would call an "avid" Bike Rider - but they cancelled the express bus to my college, so now I would have to leave two hours early to get to class on time - unless I ride my bike, which I've been doing. First day test run, 38 minutes w/o backpack. Now in second week it's 30 with backpack - much better than bus commute with transfer and long wait. And the commute is probably good for me anyway.

    I park by the math building, they have a bike rack there that only I seem to use - but unlike the main back rack, it is somewhat protected from the elements (it is covered) and all my classes are up there.

    Yesterday between classes I was sitting on the grass - and some skinny speed freak looking lady came out of the math building, saw my bike, and then went to take a look. I saw her inspect the U-lock holding the rear tire to the bike rack. I watched her head follow the chain going through the rear tire, my seat, the frame, and the front tire. Then she looked back at the u-lock holding the bike, looked around her - and saw me standing with my helmet staring at her.

    She then said "nice bike" and walked away.

    I'm guessing she knows something about my locks that I don't know - and I really don't want this bike stolen - it's the only one I have, and I can't afford to replace it. What kind of chain or lock should I use?

    The U-lock is a master lock, it's not that kryptonite one that apparently can be picked with a pen - but I don't know if this can be similarly picked. The chain is a kryptonite combination lock that was recommended to me by the bike shop where I bought it.

    It's not an expensive mountain bike or anything - it's a diamondback wildwood, about two years old, with a custom fork on the front (the bike shop replaced all diamondback forks with these out of policy - they supposedly are better) - but it's my only bike, and I don't want this ***** (or someone she knows) to steal it easily because they know something I don't.

  2. #2
    You need a new bike supcom's Avatar
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    If your U-lock has a cylindrical key, it can probably be picked with a pen. So many of these type are vulnerable it's hard to keep track anymore.

    Kryptonite has a NY3000 U-Lock that uses a flat key disk cylinder. Much better, though more expensive.

  3. #3
    cut my gas use in half Jessica's Avatar
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    since you have a bike you value, I would suggest more than one lock system. If you use a chain/cable and padlock and a U-bolt around the frame also, you will probably foil anyone who is not just determined to destroy your bike.

    You might consider a beater, since it is less likely to be stolen.

    or maybe uglify...
    And I am sure there are other choices I haven't thought of, yet...

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    Onguard also makes u-locks that use flat keys. Id get a decent one and then use a kryptonite cable with a good padlock. You could also remove the wheels if they have quick release and lock them next to the bike. Would make it a little less appealing to a theif if they had to put the wheels back on.

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    genec genec's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by dee-vee
    Onguard also makes u-locks that use flat keys. Id get a decent one and then use a kryptonite cable with a good padlock. You could also remove the wheels if they have quick release and lock them next to the bike. Would make it a little less appealing to a theif if they had to put the wheels back on.
    If is a really bad area... take the spindles too... then there is no way they can put the wheels back on.

    Just remember which is back and which is front. (back is usually longer)

  6. #6
    Senior Member jagged's Avatar
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    Your bike should have two locks. The first lock is a high-quality U lock, the smaller the better. The second lock is a cable lock. Why two? Because it takes two different tools to defeat each, and few thieves will carry both.

    The weight of U-locks discourages some people. Your solution is to leave the U-lock on the rack at school.

    Buy locking skewers for wheels and the seatpost. At the least, replace the quick-release nut for your seat with an allen bolt. The "seat leash" that Kryptonite sells can be snipped with a decent pair of wire cutters, so don't rely on that.

  7. #7
    Easily distracted...
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    Quote Originally Posted by Jessica
    You might consider a beater, since it is less likely to be stolen.

    or maybe uglify...

    Any recommendations on uglifying a bike? I've already stripped my Surly of all stickers and identifiying marks. Its plain old green now. Maybe I could spray rust-colored paint on the joints and wrap duct tape on the frame to suggest structural damage?

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    Quote Originally Posted by GTcommuter
    Any recommendations on uglifying a bike? I've already stripped my Surly of all stickers and identifiying marks. Its plain old green now. Maybe I could spray rust-colored paint on the joints and wrap duct tape on the frame to suggest structural damage?
    Sounds like a good idea. I should do that to my bike.

  9. #9
    chicharron
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    Quote Originally Posted by FunkyRes
    Sorry if this is wrong forum - there's a lot of forums here, and this looked most appropriate since comuters have to lock up their bikes somewhere.

    I'm not what you would call an "avid" Bike Rider - but they cancelled the express bus to my college, so now I would have to leave two hours early to get to class on time - unless I ride my bike, which I've been doing. First day test run, 38 minutes w/o backpack. Now in second week it's 30 with backpack - much better than bus commute with transfer and long wait. And the commute is probably good for me anyway.

    I park by the math building, they have a bike rack there that only I seem to use - but unlike the main back rack, it is somewhat protected from the elements (it is covered) and all my classes are up there.

    Yesterday between classes I was sitting on the grass - and some skinny speed freak looking lady came out of the math building, saw my bike, and then went to take a look. I saw her inspect the U-lock holding the rear tire to the bike rack. I watched her head follow the chain going through the rear tire, my seat, the frame, and the front tire. Then she looked back at the u-lock holding the bike, looked around her - and saw me standing with my helmet staring at her.

    She then said "nice bike" and walked away.

    I'm guessing she knows something about my locks that I don't know - and I really don't want this bike stolen - it's the only one I have, and I can't afford to replace it. What kind of chain or lock should I use?

    The U-lock is a master lock, it's not that kryptonite one that apparently can be picked with a pen - but I don't know if this can be similarly picked. The chain is a kryptonite combination lock that was recommended to me by the bike shop where I bought it.

    It's not an expensive mountain bike or anything - it's a diamondback wildwood, about two years old, with a custom fork on the front (the bike shop replaced all diamondback forks with these out of policy - they supposedly are better) - but it's my only bike, and I don't want this ***** (or someone she knows) to steal it easily because they know something I don't.
    FunkyRes,
    Please accept my suggestions in he spirit intended, o.k.? I am not an expert at anything,just a bike rider for many years.
    I have worked in private security industry for many years, and I am convinced that if a professional thief wants to steal somthing, he can if he really wants to bad enough. This goes for cars,bikes, burgalry of private residences, shoplifting,etc, etc.
    However, we can make it as difficult as possible to steal our bicycle, so that the thief hopefully will give up and move on to an easier target.
    So, I purposly did not buy a top of the line bike. I bought a "good" bike, but a 350 Fuji is not going to be as inviting target as a 1500 Bianchi, for an example.Also, make sure you chain it up if you go inside a store, college classroom,etc,where there is as much visability as possible. Then, at night we you come home, park your bike INSIDE your house or apt. Don't use those U-bolt locks, I prefer a shielded cable and the best Master padlock that you can find. I have two sets.( it takes more time to bypass two locks and cables, and most theives want somthing that they can steal fast.
    After that, there is not much more on can do that I can think of. ( the county govt. recently allowed concealed carry in the county in which I live......just kidding)

  10. #10
    Senior Member Ziemas's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by FunkyRes
    The U-lock is a master lock, it's not that kryptonite one that apparently can be picked with a pen - but I don't know if this can be similarly picked. The chain is a kryptonite combination lock that was recommended to me by the bike shop where I bought it..
    MasterLock makes really bad locks. I once purchased a used bike at a garage sale that came with a MasterLock U lock. It look me 20 seconds to open it. It had a flat key. Useless.

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    OH MY! Don't every park your bike at that rack again. If she can't steal the bike, the components would be next and you can't U-lock the derailluer! (sp) Please don't use that bike rack again.

    This is the reason I don't use bike racks is due to the fact that people who steal bikes go there first. Always! I hate to say this but I'm one of the few people here that is anti-bike rack for this reason. We have loads of bikes parked at the train station and there are dozens of vandalized bikes there each year with missing wheels, handlebars, peddals etc! The only reason you still have your bike is because

    a. The girl knew she was being watched by the owner.
    b. She didn't have a bic pen or steel bar to open that U-Lock

    You have to hide the bike. Period. Find a place that's two blocks away from the school where it's dark or covered with bushes. Under no circumstances can you leave that bike on the rack. Did you ever wonder why no one parks there? It's probably because that girl and her friends are using that bike rack to pay for their books!

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    Senior Member Ziemas's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Dahon.Steve
    You have to hide the bike. Period. Find a place that's two blocks away from the school where it's dark or covered with bushes.
    While I agree with you on the rack, hiding your bike in a dark plalce just gives a criminal more time to work on the lock unseen. Criminals don't like to be seen. Park your bike with 2 good locks of different designs, (u lock and chain lock) in a well travelled, high visibility place. Junkies love the dark...

  13. #13
    Get the stick. darkmother's Avatar
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    My favourite technique is to build a stealth beater. Get an older steel road or touring frame and build it up with a flat bar, fenders, and old but solid components. Even the smellist, jonesing crackheads will always go for the wallmart MTB over a road beater. No one touches mine, and I lock it with a cable lock. Be creative, make it look ugly. No stickers, wrap some hockey tape around the tubes randomly, and make sure your seat is chewed up nicely. I acually have some nice parts on my bike, but you'd never guess. 600 headset and cranks, nice oldshool XT hubs. No one has ever messed with it, and bike theft is rampant where I work-I'm pretty much in the projects. The other bonus is it will handle like a sports car compared to your MTB, and if it does get stolen, you can build another one cheaply.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Ziemas
    While I agree with you on the rack, hiding your bike in a dark plalce just gives a criminal more time to work on the lock unseen. Criminals don't like to be seen. Park your bike with 2 good locks of different designs, (u lock and chain lock) in a well travelled, high visibility place. Junkies love the dark...
    I've never had this happen to me. Knock on wood! I just gave myself bad Karma! ;-)

    I park my bicycle behind shopping centers, bushes and distance fences. I try to find a location where the bike "Blends" in with the surrounding. (ex. A silver bicycle next to a chained fence.) The only time I have problems is when the bicycle is out in the open where everyone can see it and do damage. Last week, I went to the library and parked out in front. Guess what? Someone parked their bike next to mine and started fooling around with the shifters!

    If you don't like dark places, fine. I would never park in a college campus in the first place. Find a parking lot and go to the most distance location of that lot and try to find a spot there. I find that people with cars are less likely to steal old bicycles.

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    Quote Originally Posted by darkmother
    My favourite technique is to build a stealth beater. Get an older steel road or touring frame and build it up with a flat bar, fenders, and old but solid components..
    I witnessed a homeless man removing a very rusted rear wheel from a department store bike that was attached to a bicycle rack at the train station. Trust me. People will steal anything nowadays.

    P.S.

    The reason why I didn't do anything was because the guy was much taller than me and you never know who's carrying a weapon.

  16. #16
    chicharron
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    Everyone has their own opinion. But Danhon Steve might be right about the bike racks. Good points all.

  17. #17
    No Rocket Surgeon eubi's Avatar
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    When you use a lock you are just buying time.

    In those rare instances I have to leave my bike locked, I take the seat along with me.

    One less thing to make my bike appealing.

  18. #18
    Drive the Bicycle.
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    Quote Originally Posted by FunkyRes
    ...they cancelled the express bus to my college, so now I would have to leave two hours early to get to class on time - unless I ride my bike, which I've been doing.
    -- In addition to all the good anti-theft advice you have gotten here, I hereby congratulate you on using your bicycle to commute. Please do not let the fear of thieves deter you.

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    Senior Member OldShacker's Avatar
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    2 locks are the best and tested way to lock a bike, taking off the easy to take components could help as well. I found where you lock your bike is the key. When at school I would park at the guard station. Now I have a parking garage where I commute. I had them put the bike racks next to their station. I talk to the garage attendants and give them gifts around the Holidays for keeping an eye on my bike. I use my bike to commute and weekend rides. When I stop at a place like an ice cream stand I tell the Mgr if I can eat in view of my bike and so on. I have yet had a place say no.
    The place where I worked would not have bikes come close to it. We still have to pay $10.00 a pay period for the parking garage or in my case even when I ride in on my bike. I made it my point to make sure that the bikes are safely kept. As time goes more and more bikes are showing up at the rack with all kinds of locks. So Make friends with the eyes around your bike and you might keep it a tad longer.
    Check out General Cycling Discussion "Your brand new bicycle u-lock is not safe!"
    Last edited by OldShacker; 02-05-05 at 02:40 PM.
    Ride well and be kind to others
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  20. #20
    aspiring dirtbag commuter max-a-mill's Avatar
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    two different locks and your pretty good to go i think!

    i use a kryptonite ny chain lock and a cheap old kryptonite u-lock. u-lock (around frame, rack, reartire) chain (around frame, rack, fronttire). i also leave them both on the rack when i go home so i don't have to carry them!

    i got a pretty new bike now and leave it unattended all day while i push buittons in cube-ville. so far (knock on wood) i have never seen anyone beat my current system!

    u-locks can be broken using a car jack (had i known that BEFORE i'd still have a sweet cyclocross bike) but now since i use the u-lock (same one, same rack) in conjunction with another lock it seems to be too much of a hassle for the bastards that got my last bike!!!!
    - the revolution will not be motorized -

  21. #21
    Know Your Turf bluejack's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Dahon.Steve
    You have to hide the bike. Period. Find a place that's two blocks away from the school where it's dark or covered with bushes. Under no circumstances can you leave that bike on the rack. Did you ever wonder why no one parks there? It's probably because that girl and her friends are using that bike rack to pay for their books!
    I agree, but I'm not sure I agree about a place "dark or covered with bushes." I am intrigued by people's suggestions that bike racks are dangerous because it attracts thieves. The "that's where the bikes are" philosophy of bicycle theft. Even so, I recommend:

    1) Check with your school to see if there is an indoor, secured place to lock bicycles. Optimal is a "bike cage" inside a parking garage, with a combination keypad that changes on a monthly basis -- combination to be provided by the administration to students with id, and id numbers kept on record in case something goes missing from the cage. (If your school doesn't have such a thing, I recommend advocating for one. Talk to other cyclists, put a notice in the school paper, organize a petition. It's a relatively inexpensive improvement that a school really should be willing to add. If they refuse, start a movement to protest by locking your bikes indoors -- to stairways or whatever.)

    2) In the meantime, find a place where the bicycles are, preferably in an open, public place where there are lots of people around all the time, and use the two lock method to lock your bike next to a better looking bike. If your bike is the best looking bike on the rack, you may be wise to resort to uglification, or -- as others recommend -- buy something less flashy for commuting purposes.

    3) If you can find some other cyclists interested in this, you might also want to set up a sting operation, possibly with the help of campus security. Lock your bike up in this theft-likely location, and stake it out. Once the woman (or whomever) goes to work on it, get security (who should at least be alerted that you are going to do this, if they are not actually on hand) and close in on her. Press charges.

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    Senior Member swifferman's Avatar
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    Why not buy a cheap folder to use? That way you can just bring it in with you!

  23. #23
    Chronic Tai Shan ofofhy's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by bluejack
    If they refuse, start a movement to protest by locking your bikes indoors -- to stairways or whatever.)
    I don't know about this. Some of those university facilities folks love nothing better than to have an excuse to mess with a student's stuff. I can see them coming by with an angle grinder/bolt cutter and "liberating" the offending cycle.

    Not all, some.
    From Craig's List: IF its a singlespeed that means----all the other parts are broken cut off and dumped...dont buy singlespeeds, the bikes will make your balls fall off

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  24. #24
    Know Your Turf bluejack's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by ofofhy
    I don't know about this. Some of those university facilities folks love nothing better than to have an excuse to mess with a student's stuff. I can see them coming by with an angle grinder/bolt cutter and "liberating" the offending cycle.
    Well, I guess simply finding out if there's a secure bike lockup & if not, then asking for one would be some first steps. I guess I'd better not plan someone else's militant uprising!

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    I doubt the lady is question is a bike thief - a REAL bike thief works so quickly you would never see what happened.

    HIDE a bike? Nope. Do the opposite. Put it in the highest "people" traffic area you can find. Last week I locked my bike to a fence near the door to a church. Lots of people going in and out. The safest spot in one of Houston's most dangerous neighborhoods. A lady came out of the church to compain...but she was mollified by my promise to be back within an hour and to NOT blame her or the church if my bike was stolen.

    An OnGuard U-lock on the rear wheel and a beefy cable lock on the front wheel will send a thief looking for the next bike down the rack. Replacing the quick releases on the front wheel and seatpost with "Allen" bolts also helps deter crooks.

    A bike locked ONLY with a cable lock is a "gift"...cables are a "secondary" lock only.
    Last edited by alanbikehouston; 01-31-05 at 04:46 PM.

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