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Folding Bikes Discuss the unique features and issues of folding bikes. Also a great place to learn what folding bike will work best for your needs.

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Old 04-23-10, 07:08 PM   #1
techman
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Best security practices for folding bicycles

I'm about to purchase my first folding bicycle (Bike Friday Tikkit).
The main reason I'm buying a folding bike is so I can easily keep a bicycle in my car
for road trips, spontaneous rides, one way trips with my car. But I will also be using my Tikkit for commuting, errands
and other events.

Outside Security: I know this has been debated to death, but there are times I will need to lock
my folding bike outside. Currently, I secure my road bike to a rack with a u-lock and secure
one of my wheels to the frame with a cable lock. Using both types of locks has giving me an extra
layer of security. When I lock my bike to a street pole, I reverse things, using a cable lock to secure
the bike to the pole and the u-lock to secure a wheel to the frame. A thief needs to defeat both types of
locks to ride or walk away with the bike. I'm wondering if there are different or better security practices when locking a folding bicycle outside. I've thought about those heavy-duty bicycle chains, but they are very heavy to carry.

Inside Security. With a folder, I can take my bicycle inside with me on errands or to events, restaurants. I know
that Bike Friday offers a nice shoulder carrying bag. But what do you do with your folding bicycle once inside?
Just leave it unattended in a corner? Lock it to something inside where you are? Or just keep it next to you
and watch it at all times? Do you take it with you to the rest room?
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Old 04-23-10, 07:55 PM   #2
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Inside Security. With a folder, I can take my bicycle inside with me on errands or to events, restaurants. I know
that Bike Friday offers a nice shoulder carrying bag. But what do you do with your folding bicycle once inside?
Just leave it unattended in a corner? Lock it to something inside where you are? Or just keep it next to you
and watch it at all times? Do you take it with you to the rest room?
I never leave my Tikit unattended. If no-one is available to watch it, I take it to the rest room with me.
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Old 04-23-10, 09:25 PM   #3
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There is no theft-proof security. The best you can do is motivate the would-be thief to try an easier target before yours. Using 2 locks isn't a bad start, but keep in mind, no matter how thick the cable or heavy the chain, you can buy them in a hardware store from spools. How do you think they cut it when you buy a certain length, and how long does it take them? A couple of seconds with a bolt cutter is all. It's best to keep your bike in sight in a well-lit, well-trafficked area or with you. Whether you take it with you to the restroom is your call. I know some friends who do that with theirs, I don't with mine.
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Old 04-23-10, 10:28 PM   #4
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How bout getting a cheapie folder for those times you'd have to lock up outside? I wouldn't want to lock up a Tikit in my town.
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Old 04-23-10, 10:33 PM   #5
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I lock up outside frequently, and have never had any unique problems with my folders, compared to a 'regular' bike. I just make sure to lock the frame, and any easy to remove wheels or parts including the seat/seatpost.
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Old 04-24-10, 01:40 AM   #6
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Depends where you live, I think. I'm in London and
1) Bike theft is rife here
2) people are used to folders
I would never leave my bicycle outside, and businesses are happy for me to bring it. I don't carry a lock, so if it came to it, I would go elsewhere. But it never has come to that, I've never been challenged. I've taken it to pubs, bars, restaurants, cafes, department stores (that's a pain, carrying it everywhere), supermarkets (just fold it and drop it in a trolley - not a peep from staff), small shops (I usually put it down somewhere that it's out of the way by in my sight) even a cinema. I haven't tried a theatre, but they have cloakrooms, so that would probably work out. Occasionally, small restaurants will take the bike and put it in a back room, but they are taking on the responsibility, and I trust them - they tend to remember which guest came with the bike.

If you live in a town where bikes theft is rare, and businesses haven't got used to folders, then the maths might be different.

(well trafficked areas are no guarantee in London: a friend lost her non-folding bike secured to a bike rack beside a bench outside a department store under a CCTV on a busy high street on a Saturday afternoon. It didn't help at all. And the police bike-theft officer could offer her nothing. Yup, they have a police officer devoted to bike thefts).

I know tikits fold and roll beautifully: can they stand up on there own?
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Old 04-24-10, 10:03 AM   #7
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Have your name stamped or etched into every part and frame tube. That will make your bike worthless to anyone except you. Note, don't bother trying to resell the bike ever.
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Old 04-24-10, 02:37 PM   #8
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Depends where you live, I think. I'm in London and
1) Bike theft is rife here
2) people are used to folders
I would never leave my bicycle outside, and businesses are happy for me to bring it. I don't carry a lock, so if it came to it, I would go elsewhere. But it never has come to that, I've never been challenged. I've taken it to pubs, bars, restaurants, cafes, department stores (that's a pain, carrying it everywhere), supermarkets (just fold it and drop it in a trolley - not a peep from staff), small shops (I usually put it down somewhere that it's out of the way by in my sight) even a cinema. I haven't tried a theatre, but they have cloakrooms, so that would probably work out. Occasionally, small restaurants will take the bike and put it in a back room, but they are taking on the responsibility, and I trust them - they tend to remember which guest came with the bike.

If you live in a town where bikes theft is rare, and businesses haven't got used to folders, then the maths might be different.

(well trafficked areas are no guarantee in London: a friend lost her non-folding bike secured to a bike rack beside a bench outside a department store under a CCTV on a busy high street on a Saturday afternoon. It didn't help at all. And the police bike-theft officer could offer her nothing. Yup, they have a police officer devoted to bike thefts).

I know tikits fold and roll beautifully: can they stand up on there own?
I live in Portland, where bike theft is not uncommon, it's tied for number 5 in the top ten US cities for bike theft:

http://ezinearticles.com/?The-Worst-...eft&id=2251481

Like I said, I lock up outside frequently and have never had a bike stolen, so I must be doing something right.

Locking your bike outside is as much about location as it is about the locks you use and your locking technique; with all the poorly locked bikes I see every day that the thieves have to choose from, I never worry too much about it, just enough.
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Old 04-24-10, 11:44 PM   #9
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I treat my folder just like my titanium road bike, and my daughter. I never let them out of my sight.
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Old 04-25-10, 12:28 AM   #10
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Here in Melbourne 'burbs we are pretty blase... at work my workmate doesn't 'really' lock up his Birdy using the most junk Mickey Mouse cable locks I have seen... whereas I use a thick armoured cable lock... but cycle theft is not big time, at least not for "kids bikes with small wheels". When going lunchtime shopping, I often leave the bike just outside the door, or just inside. When on the birdy I may fold it and put it inside in a corner somewhere, unlocked. If I know I'm going far inside for a while then I'll bring my cable lock with me and lock it up.
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Old 04-25-10, 02:43 AM   #11
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I know tikits fold and roll beautifully: can they stand up on there own?
Yes. Especially the ones (like mine) that have a rear rack.
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Old 04-25-10, 08:03 AM   #12
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In Toronto bike theft is rampant, it seems almost enough to blink and your bike is gone. You see tons of bits of bikes still locked to racks, while whatever they could get to is stripped clean.

I don't leave my current bike (hybrid) locked on the street, if I can't see it. If we're going to a restaurant, we lock the bikes together around the pole or tree with a cable and kryptonite lock. I have to be able to see the bikes from a window or patio, and have a clear path to the door. I get even more paranoid when we tour, as everything you have is on that bike, even though I realize that theft in small towns is not as likely, and getting away with a fully loaded bike challenging for most thieves.

I will most certainly not be locking my new NWT and leaving it unattended. For locking, we'll use the same technique as for our full size bikes.
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Old 04-25-10, 10:09 AM   #13
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Philly is #1 in the US for bike theft, partially because we have so many college students here (Penn, Drexel, University of the Sciences, Temple, etc). I've seen many, many front wheels locked to things, with the rest of the bike gone forever--an expensive and stupid mistake that newbies often make. I lock my Brompton outside regularly when I'm running errands. I lock the frame to a sturdy sign post or bike rack with a quality U-lock. Since my bike is still an oddity here (unlike in London), people have no sense of how much it's worth. So far so good. I would never lock it outside for more than an hour or two. It comes inside with me when I'm working or at home.
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Old 05-07-10, 06:44 AM   #14
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I take my tikit with me inside whatever shop/bank/pub/office I'm in. I don't carry a lock at all. Usually its folded, but sometimes not (eg. place I get my morning coffee from doesn't mind me wheeling it in & hassle's/guilt trips me if I didn't ride that day). I've got the tikit stealth cover as well and this is good for disguising it when carrying it up stairs to a restaurant and stashing it in a corner. Folders are unusual enough that most people get distracted and forget that there's a bike in there.
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Old 05-07-10, 06:56 AM   #15
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We don't have all that sophisticated a system of bike thieves here (Little Rock, AR), but even a basic lock is much better than no lock at all. I carry my Tikit with mewhen I can, and also keep an heavy-duty Kryptonite cable lock with me for when I can't always keep it in direct line of sight. At the office, the Tikit comes upstairs with me. curls up, and sleeps under my desk like an old hound dog. In town or on business travel with it, I like the security of the cable lock as a little extra insurance.
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Old 05-07-10, 07:38 AM   #16
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Can you lock up a Strida? Just askin' . I know its best to carry it with you, but there might by a need to lock it up sometime, somewhere.
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Old 05-07-10, 01:35 PM   #17
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I wouldn't ever leave my folder out overnight. If I'm out somewhere, I usually lock it in the folded position. Its sorta camouflaged like that. It looks more like a pile of junk than a bike to someone not familiar with them.
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Old 05-07-10, 10:34 PM   #18
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Can you lock up a Strida? Just askin' . I know its best to carry it with you, but there might by a need to lock it up sometime, somewhere.
Easily done.
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Old 05-07-10, 10:34 PM   #19
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I treat my folder just like my titanium road bike, and my daughter. I never let them out of my sight.
I feel sorry for your daughter.
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Old 05-08-10, 12:41 AM   #20
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I have an insurance rider that covers the bike. I will get a police report when it gets stolen. I wouldn't buy a bike I couldn't afford to lose. I have registered the serial number with the cops. There is a point at which worrying about losing the bike is worse than losing the bike. It's just a bike, they're like women. As much as you hate to see the old one go there's always a newer, sexier model available. "Don't be too careful."

On tour I talk to locals (often stop in a bike shop just to ask) about security. They know because a lot of bike theives work in bike shops. Think about it. Often talk to local cops when on tour. I have asked to lock up my bike in front of police stations. Not jails, that's where the criminals congregate. I am constantly judging the security situation of the environment and adapting my behaviour accordingly, and not just for the security of my bike.

I look for surveillance cameras when selecting a parking spot. You'd be surprised how many outside places are being watched. I think theives are becoming more camera shy.

I fold it and run the lock through as many parts as possible if I'm nervous. If possible, when nervous, I fold then lift the bike up as high as possible to lock it up a pole or tree or sturdy fence. Might as well make the theif uncomfortable while he works, and who knows? Maybe he's not wearing safety glasses while he works my lock with his angle grinder and a metal shard will fall into his eye. This also tends to save your front wheel from being smashed by errant drunk teenagers.

I will and have carried inside but being inside is no guaruntee; sitting unsecured just inside a doorway is not safer than locked just outside a doorway. I keep my bike clean so that is more likely to receive an invitation to come inside.

I tend to select dark, hidden, low traffic areas over high traffic areas for parking based on the thought that a theif will need tools to remove my bike, and if he is carrying tools he will be looking for bikes to steal and he will be looking in places where bikes would normally be found. The theif must see the bike before the theif can steal the bike. Probably most bikes are stolen from bike racks, eh? Think like a fink.

I have used the German backpacker "schmutzsack" trick and covered my folding bike with a garbage bag while locked outside.

There are other trickier tricks that can be employed but they wouldn't be so tricky if everyone talked about them on the internet. Use your imagination.

And, I do that Rick Steves thing and have a nice sweet note tucked inside my saddle reminding the theif of just what he is and just how Karma works, in case he has forgotten.

Last hot tip: before you lock to a pole look down at the base of the pole and see if it can be unbolted, pull up on the pole to see if it can be lifted, look up the pole to see if your bike can be lifted over it.
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Old 05-08-10, 07:39 AM   #21
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I would never lock it outside for more than an hour or two. It comes inside with me when I'm working or at home.
Agreed. One of the reasons why I bought folders.
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Old 05-08-10, 09:43 AM   #22
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Currently, I secure my road bike to a rack with a u-lock and secure
one of my wheels to the frame with a cable lock. Using both types of locks has giving me an extra
layer of security. When I lock my bike to a street pole, I reverse things, using a cable lock to secure
the bike to the pole and the u-lock to secure a wheel to the frame. A thief needs to defeat both types of
locks to ride or walk away with the bike. I'm wondering if there are different or better security practices when locking a folding bicycle outside. I've thought about those heavy-duty bicycle chains, but they are very heavy to carry.
With a folding bike you can lock both the wheels and the frame with a large U-lock or a short heavy-duty chain. It's what you should be doing with your road bike after you take the wheel off, but it's a much quicker/easier to fold a folder than take the wheel off a road bike.
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Old 05-08-10, 11:35 AM   #23
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... It's just a bike, they're like women. As much as you hate to see the old one go there's always a newer, sexier model available. ...
Hmm, I think I can guess why they go away ;-)
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Old 05-08-10, 11:54 AM   #24
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Hmm, I think I can guess why they go away ;-)
Well you're a lot wiser than I 'cuz I don't understand why they do much of anything. In fact I'm sorta of the opinion they don't really know either. Almost like their blood is the dark subject of the moon. Like they're from Venus or something.
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Old 05-08-10, 06:19 PM   #25
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Can you take your sexist cr*p somewhere else, please?
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