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Thread: Bike Theft

  1. #1
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    Bike Theft

    Hey chaps,

    I'm a student at Glasgow school of art currently working on a project to design a new way of securing a bike against theft.

    I was hoping you could post a few stories if you had a bike that was stolen and what you were using to secure it at the time and if you now use a new way of securing it?

    Or maybe you think you've devised a thief proof way of securing your bike.

    Thanks in advance

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    Wouldn't the design of a security device be better left to a mechanical engineering student, not an artist? ...Well personally with something important like a lock I'd prefer form to follow function, not the other way around...


    Anyway I've never had a theft yet.
    I secure with a U-Lock around the rear wheel through the rear triangle, then a cable lock passing through the front wheel, frame, rear wheel, and the bike rack.
    The seat and one of my taillights are bolted on. The other taillight and the two headlights are on quickrelease and go in my pocket.

    The fact that the bike (black) is spotted with silver spray paint and is covered in green retro-relfective tape and has a milkcrate on it may also help a bit with theft appeal... really who wants to have to rip off all that tape and then clean and repaint it...
    Last edited by xenologer; 09-26-08 at 05:24 AM.

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    the course i'm doing is Product design engineering. we spend 3.5 days studying Mehcanical Engineering at Glasgow uni and a day and a half at the art school doing projects such as this, trying to combine our design knowledge and our engineering skills

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    Is your school the one in that famous MacKintosh designed building? Years ago I was on a U.S.Navy warship visiting Glascow and walked around until I found it. I wished I had the nerve to just go inside to check it out.

    1. Ease of Use 2.Security 3.Protection.

    The easier it is to use the more likely people will use it consistently. If it involves a lot of bending over the bike fumbling with locks and stuff it is a pain.

    The users will be using their own locks. If the design can use a big padlock, a chain and padlock, and a U-lock that would be useful. Guard the lock location to make it more difficult to access with bolt cutters or grinders.

    The surfaces of the design should not have a lot of sharp edges to dig into the paint. The bike shouldn't tip over. Watch out for designs that firmly hold a wheel but if the bike is tipped the wheel gets bent out of shape. Study designs for car bike racks as those designers have had to come up with interesting solutions for holding bikes without touching the fragile carbon fiber frames.

  5. #5
    Senior Member Retro Grouch's Avatar
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    Tie a hand grenade to a conveniently located post, fence, etc.
    Carefully prop your bike against the release lever.
    Pull the pin.

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    I've been in law enforcement for 40 years, and in "campus" law enforcement for most of that, so I'm fairly familiar with bike theft.
    There are essentially 3 kinds of thieves.
    1. Kids. I mean rather young kids. They want a ride, and they like flashy. They know nothing of quality.
    They often used improvised tools.

    2. "Semi-pro" thieves. Like the fellow we locked up a couple of months ago. A drug addict, he exchanged bikes for rocks of crack. He took mid-level bikes for the most part, and only targeted bikes with bad (ie, cable) locks. Quick and easy.

    3. Pros. Professional thieves target high-end bikes, have sophisticated tools, and intend to re-sell the bikes. they will sometimes alter serial numbers and such, knowing that the owners of these high-end bikes are more likely to keep records.

    A good lock will stop 1. and 2. Likely the best way to protect yourself from the professional is not to leave the bike where it can be stolen.

    A good bike lock should be able to used easily and quickly; riders don't like to take 5 minutes to secure the bike. It should be reasonably light and attach to the bicycle easily; no one wants to carry a heavy lock or have it whanging around to chip your expensive paint job.
    Ideally, it should be used in conjunction with some sort of registration system, and the application of a user-generated identification number concealed on the bike.
    With a unique ID number, a stolen bike can be entered into NCIC (National Crime Information Center) databases. No number, no entry.

    Like most other crimes, I find that folks are unconcerned with bike theft....Until it happens to them. Most all the folks who use good quality hardware are previous theft victims.....

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    Senior Member Billy Bones's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by twofourfour View Post
    . . .student at Glasgow school of art currently working on a project to design a new way of securing a bike against theft. . . .
    I should think thin strips of haggis on the top tube should repel all civilized thieves and a puddle of blood pudding on the saddle should do nicely for the rest. Threatening expulsion back down into Blightie should reduce recidivism. Don't mention it; glad to help.

    Honestly, you life would be so much better spent on something actually amenable to solution in your lifetime, like the US economy or a comfortable airline ride.

    Again, always available for consultation on important matters.
    AUDENTIS FORTUNA IUUAT
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    Quote Originally Posted by twofourfour View Post
    Hey chaps,

    I'm a student at Glasgow school of art currently working on a project to design a new way of securing a bike against theft.

    I was hoping you could post a few stories if you had a bike that was stolen and what you were using to secure it at the time and if you now use a new way of securing it?

    Or maybe you think you've devised a thief proof way of securing your bike.

    Thanks in advance
    We're not here to do your research for you.

    There's no such thing as a theif proof way of securing a bike.
    Mes compaingnons cui j'amoie et cui j'aim,... Me di, chanson.

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    Senior Member Indie's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by operator View Post
    We're not here to do your research for you.
    Meh, nothing wrong with asking people on the front lines, instead of just relying on what's already been published.

    But I think he'll get the same answers all around anyways. If someone wants a bike badly enough, they'll steal it. They'll do it by breaking/picking/disabling the security device or the thing the bike is locked to, and they'll do it as fast as possible. Depending on what they want it for (e.g. do they want a bike, or do they want scrap metal or parts to sell?), they might even just take the parts of the bike that are not secured. With practice you can get a wheel off pretty fast.

    A lot of people will tell you that the best way to protect your bike is to make it less desirable than the other bikes around it. Take it apart, fold it if it's a folder, use multiple locks of different kinds, all so that the next bike over will look like an easier target than yours for a thief in a hurry.

    Another factor is that bikes can be stolen in broad daylight with all kinds of people around, and nobody notices (or everybody chooses not to notice) what's happening.

    As far as it being a weird project for art school goes, I don't think the battle will be won by better devices or better materials, because the thieves will just improve their techniques. If an artist can think of it from a different angle than a pure engineer can, more power to him.
    Sterling - 1976 Triumph Trafficmaster 20" folder

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    The best locks are heavy, so its best to leave a lock at places where you regularly park. To make this convenient you sould be able to make a single key fit all your locks - maybe an electronic key.

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    Quote Originally Posted by twofourfour View Post
    Hey chaps,

    I'm a student at Glasgow school of art currently working on a project to design a new way of securing a bike against theft.

    I was hoping you could post a few stories if you had a bike that was stolen and what you were using to secure it at the time and if you now use a new way of securing it?

    Or maybe you think you've devised a thief proof way of securing your bike.

    Thanks in advance
    If you're thinking of designing the perfect bike rack, please think again. I suspect more bikes are stolen or destroyed on bike racks than any other location. The best way to devise a thief proof way of securing your bike is to hide the bike from foot traffic. You should then use the best industrial lock out there and cross your fingers. You're still way better off than locking it to a rack because the crooks have to find your bike first. Crooks know no one will do a thing to them if they decide to steal parts from a bike on a rack. Heck, they can bring industrial electrical tools and no one will say a thing.

  12. #12
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    Quote Originally Posted by Dahon.Steve View Post
    If you're thinking of designing the perfect bike rack, please think again. I suspect more bikes are stolen or destroyed on bike racks than any other location. The best way to devise a thief proof way of securing your bike is to hide the bike from foot traffic. You should then use the best industrial lock out there and cross your fingers. You're still way better off than locking it to a rack because the crooks have to find your bike first. Crooks know no one will do a thing to them if they decide to steal parts from a bike on a rack. Heck, they can bring industrial electrical tools and no one will say a thing.
    Think,
    If a thief comes along with a wireless angle grinder (i have one and it will go thorugh ANY lock) and goes up to your bike thats parked at a bike rack in the middle of a populated area and tries to cut it, dont you think people will hear and notice the thief???, where if the thief comes across you bike thats hidden away, he can act as suspiciousely as he wants without people noticing. But people here in QLD people WOULD do something if someone was stealing a bike... dont nkow if this is the same in the US of A..

    So its good to securely LOCK you bike to a secure bike rack that is viewed upon by a large amount of innocent people...

    Not that you even need to lock your bike here in queensland Australia, people here use $10 cable locks all the time lol.

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    You might be surprised.... A couple of years ago, around graduation time, a student exited his dorm and found a fellow grinding away a U-lock with a portable angle grinder. Thinking that the fellow had merely lost his key, he said, "Hey, is that working?"
    The gentleman said, "Yeah, it's working great!"

    The student returned about an hour later to find his girlfriend reporting her bike stolen.....
    At least we got a decent description of the thief....

  14. #14
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    You mean he didn't recognize his girlfriend's bike?

    That's sort of lame.
    Zero gallons to the mile

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    Quote Originally Posted by SoCalledFreeman View Post
    Think,
    If a thief comes along with a wireless angle grinder (i have one and it will go thorugh ANY lock) and goes up to your bike thats parked at a bike rack in the middle of a populated area and tries to cut it, dont you think people will hear and notice the thief???,
    People will notice the thief if he brings an industrial grinder to steal your bike. They will look and stare at him and know right away that he is stealing your bike. However, no one is going to get into a fight with a guy whose holding an grinder for a bike that doesn't belong to them. In fact, they won't even pick up their cell phone to call the police.

    If they do approach the crook, all he has to say is it's my bike and I lost my keys. Nothing will be done. On U-tube, there are demonstations of people stealing their own bikes in front of the World Trade Center with all the police at that location and no one did a thing. I've seen bikes stripped of their parts in Grand Central Terminal where there are thousands walking every hour.

    Every year, we hear the same bike rack horror stories on this forum. I happen to think bike racks used to be a good place to lock your bike in the 1920s! Not anymore.

  16. #16
    Senior Member gringo_gus's Avatar
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    the design answer to stolen bikes is to create a better folder that you can take into your workplace with you.

    Or this https://www.immobilise.com/view.php?...ory=1&product=
    it aint the size of your wheels, its the rhythm of you cadence. And I got powergrips too.

  17. #17
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    low-power miniaturized covert tagging and tracking device?

    perhaps one of these?

  18. #18
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    Without giving too much thought. How about a lock with these two features: a cable that is super thin like a tape (which will frustrate the bolt cutters). And an alarm built into the lock housing to detect movement once its armed.

  19. #19
    Senior Member Nachoman's Avatar
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    It seems like basic lock technology is already well known. Maybe you could devise a lock with a built in alarm\siren system.
    .
    .

    Two wheels good. Four wheels bad.

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    I think that there are 2 levels of theft prevention that need to be considered. One for quick while riding stops and the other longer term like overnight outside consideration. First most theives will leave a locked object alone. So think about a light but realitively strong cable that could connect on one seat stay go thru the rear wheel to a fixed object and be locked by padlock. If a bike is to be left outside for extended periods of time the a Ubolt or cable system with much larger guage material is probably best.

    I can think of only one bike that the lock was actually cut to get bike all the rest were unlocked or not cabled correctly (just around the seat post). Recently one of our friends had their bike taken. We all park them next to side of the resturant, his just happened to be at the end, outside stack, and shiny.

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    My idea is a locking frame. Specifically, a frame that hinges open and then locks over the bike rack. Then to steal your bike, they have to cut the frame. Just don't have expensive components on it.

    My bike was stolen when I left it in a locked security fence on the front porch of an office where I was working. The bike itself wasn't locked. On the other hand, it was a piece of crap, and it served the thieves right to possess it. I'm surprised they didn't bring it back after a while.
    "be careful this rando stuff is addictive and dan's the 'pusher'."

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    "Is your school the one in that famous MacKintosh designed building? Years ago I was on a U.S.Navy warship visiting Glascow and walked around until I found it. I wished I had the nerve to just go inside to check it out. "

    Thats the one. If you ever return to Glasgow you should pop inside, people are allowed to wander round most of it, i think there is even a tour.

    Thanks for all your help so far, it does seem to be the same common themes that have come up in my research, think this will be quite a challenge

    "We're not here to do your research for you."

    saw that one coming

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