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Old 10-09-08, 10:24 AM   #1
noise
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Need a suggestion (want to buy girlfriend new bike after hers was stolen)

Just a quick back story: in the summer, my girlfriend rode for the charity ride "Ride to Conquer Cancer" in Toronto. It was her first marathon, and she was really excited. She doesn't normally bike, so she trained hard despite being extremely busy with summer school and job hunting.

She's also not very fortunate in terms of money and is extremely careful with it. In short, over the summer, she asked that any friends/family who wanted to give her gifts for any occasions (birthdays, Christmas, etc.) to put it towards sponsoring her for the ride. She raised $2,600 by herself.

She completed the ride, and immediately signed up for the next one.

Since she finished the ride, she kept her bike at a friend's apartment since she had a locker there. Recently, they've had a falling out, and she had to take her bike out. Last night, she took her bike out of the locker and locked it with a U-Lock and a cable lock (around the wheels) at her university where many other bikes are locked overnight.

This morning, someone stole her bike. The cable was clipped, and one of her wheels was left behind (not sure why).

So you can see why I want to get her a new bike; the reason she got that bike wasn't for herself, it was for the charity ride. She only biked to train for that marathon, and often opted to walk if she simply wanted to get somewhere.

The thing is, I'm afraid if I get her another bike, she'll have nowhere to keep it safe. She's been on the waiting list for a bike locker (http://www.toronto.ca/cycling/locker.htm#whatis) since she got the bike, and still hasn't had a call back. I'd be willing to purchase her an annual membership or something at a similar place, but I'm not having much luck.

Does anyone have any ideas for storing/locking a bike? She lives in a tiny "apartment" (top floor of a house) so there's no room indoors for it. Also, the front porch of her place is probably less safe than where she locked it last night and she has no access to the backyard.

She lives near OCAD, so if there's another sort of bike locker service around there, it'd be great to hear about it.

I really appreciate the time anyone has spent reading this and for any suggestions anyone brings up. Thank you in advance.

Thanks a lot in advance
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Old 10-09-08, 10:40 AM   #2
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The last time that I responded to a thread like this one I suggested to a fellow that he get himself a POS bike to ride to class so he wouldn't feel so bad when it was stolen.

Several people lectured to me about how safe college campuses are relative to bicycle theft. I guess that's why they're in college - they're still learning.
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Old 10-09-08, 11:27 AM   #3
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I figured the campus would be safe, but I guess I was wrong. I'd suggest for her to get a POS bike if she only needed to get to school and back, but seeing as it's a marathon, I think she needs one that is at least good.
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Old 10-10-08, 09:06 AM   #4
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I think what he means is the beat up bike for school and the good bike she can keep with you for the marathon.
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Old 10-10-08, 10:01 AM   #5
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How much room is there at your place?
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Old 10-10-08, 08:31 PM   #6
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Check out folding bikes.
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Old 10-13-08, 07:36 AM   #7
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She doesn't need a bike to get to school, just for the marathon.

I've kind of changed my thinking now; I want to look for something like a folding bike so it's easier to store at her place. She probably has enough room to store a bike if both wheels can be taken off. I'm just wondering, is there a bike that's easy to take apart/put together and is still suitable for a marathon? Are those folding bikes durable enough?

I'm also thinking of just telling her to stay on the waiting list for a bike locker, and in the meantime, buy her a membership for some spin classes so she can still train in some way and only get the bike when she finally gets the locker.

Thanks for the suggestions so far, any thoughts on the new ideas? Thanks again in advance.

EDIT: I actually don't live in the same city as her (about 2 hours away), and unfortunately, my place doesn't have much more room.
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Old 10-15-08, 10:37 AM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by noise View Post
She doesn't need a bike to get to school, just for the marathon.

I've kind of changed my thinking now; I want to look for something like a folding bike so it's easier to store at her place. She probably has enough room to store a bike if both wheels can be taken off. I'm just wondering, is there a bike that's easy to take apart/put together and is still suitable for a marathon? Are those folding bikes durable enough?

I'm also thinking of just telling her to stay on the waiting list for a bike locker, and in the meantime, buy her a membership for some spin classes so she can still train in some way and only get the bike when she finally gets the locker.

Thanks for the suggestions so far, any thoughts on the new ideas? Thanks again in advance.

EDIT: I actually don't live in the same city as her (about 2 hours away), and unfortunately, my place doesn't have much more room.
Hello Noise,

I have 3 folding bikes. I live in a area that is a high crime one (sure bet to be stolen if locked up even with a U-lock & cable together) in a single room with no storage facilities to speak of. I am also past 50 years old. My little folders allow me to enjoy cycling again after my last regular bike was attempted to be stolen-in front of a busy store. I travel and take one of them with me when I go out into the world. I run errands and can use the bikes in event of an emergency-i.e. transit strikes. And I do have time to use these bikes in formal bike charity events. So please tell your girlfriend to consider riding one. I never will be without one ever again. For more information see below:
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Old 10-15-08, 10:45 AM   #9
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Cable locks are not actually locks. They are a sign that says "Get Your Free Bike Right Here". A bike left in public needs two u-locks. A five pound u-lock that connects the rear wheel to a beefy steel post set in concrete and a two pound u-lock to connect the front wheel to the frame.

.
Most colleges have very poor bike racks, most of which are designed to lock the front wheel with a cable lock. The ONLY safe locking method is to lock the rear wheel to a thick steel pole set in concrete, and few college racks are designed for correct locking.

.
At colleges in my neighborhood, most of the students ride either bikes that are 20 or 30 years old, or $75 Wal-Mart bikes. They have learned that flimsy bike racks mean that any new $500 bike will be stolen within a week, so they ride beater bikes and cheap bikes.

If I were buying a bike to use on a college campus, I would look for a twenty year old bike that is rusty but in great riding condition. A bike that was "pro" level in 1988. And, I would have a five pound lock on the rear wheel and a two pound lock on the front wheel.

A young lady I know wanted a bike for a 150 mile charity ride. She found a 1990 model racing bike that was her size. It sold for $2,000 new, and she bought it for $200. Rides like a $2,000 bike, but rust, and scratches and dents make it look old. Ideal for locking up in public places.

But, the safest place for a nice bike is indoors. That is true if you live on the second floor, or the fifth floor. With practice, carrying a 25 pound bike up stairs is not that difficult.

Last edited by alanbikehouston; 10-15-08 at 10:48 AM.
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Old 10-15-08, 10:52 AM   #10
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I think right now my girlfriend would be too paranoid to use locks at all now and probably won't go for anything less than a locker. Thank you very much for the suggestion though, I'll keep that in mind.

Right now, it seems that a folding bike is the most viable option, but they seem to be rather expensive. Are there any that are affordable, or is it easy to find a used one for cheaper?

Thanks again for all the help.
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Old 10-15-08, 11:03 AM   #11
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Lockers are NOT safe. They can be opened easily. If I used a locker, I would still have u-locks around the front and rear wheels. But, lockers generally provide no "anchors" for a lock. After the crook opens the locker, he can simply remove the bike.

Safe places for a bike are: under your rear end; under your bed WITH locks; two feet from your table at a coffee shop WITH locks. If a bike is not in your sight, it is not in a safe place. And, the newer and more expensive looking a bike is, the more likely it is to be the target of a crook.

For most experienced cyclists, the rule is: my $2,000 bike is never out of my sight in a public place. My $300 beater bike will have $100 worth of u-locks locks on it at all times.

In a given price range, a folding bike is just as heavy to carry up stairs as a regular bike. They are useful for using buses and trains, but are not a real solution to the theft problem...only good locks solve that problem. A folding bike light enough, and good enough to ride a hundred miles is VERY expensive...a $200 used road bike provides equal performance for a fraction of the price.

Last edited by alanbikehouston; 10-15-08 at 11:06 AM.
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Old 10-16-08, 02:49 PM   #12
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Lockers are NOT safe. They can be opened easily. If I used a locker, I would still have u-locks around the front and rear wheels. But, lockers generally provide no "anchors" for a lock. After the crook opens the locker, he can simply remove the bike.

In a given price range, a folding bike is just as heavy to carry up stairs as a regular bike. They are useful for using buses and trains, but are not a real solution to the theft problem...only good locks solve that problem. A folding bike light enough, and good enough to ride a hundred miles is VERY expensive...a $200 used road bike provides equal performance for a fraction of the price.
Is a locker like this really unsafe? http://www.toronto.ca/cycling/locker.htm#whatis

There seems to be a ridiculously long line for them, and if they were constantly being broken into, I think they'd be less popular.

Also, the locker my girlfriend used to use was underground. A key card was needed for access to the lockers, then there's a key to get into the locker, and it was under surveillance 24/7 (it was a really expensive condo).

About the folding bike, I'm sure weight is less of a problem than the amount of space a regular bike takes. It would also be used so that she can take it back up to her place, not so that she can lock it.

In the end, if a folding bike just seems to be out of my (and her) price range, I'll pay for some spin classes for her, and hope she gets a bike locker by the time the marathon comes around again.
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Old 10-16-08, 03:55 PM   #13
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I never lock up a bike I want to keep; I take them inside.

Does your GF have any open ceiling space? A couple of hooks into the rafters is a cheap way to get it out of the way and keep it inside.
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