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Old 12-29-12, 04:43 PM   #1
GeraldF
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Theft Deterrence

I live in Washington, DC and I regularly bike a four mile commute. I wish I had ground-level indoor secure bike parking at my apartment, but I don't. It's either carry the bike up two flights of stairs, or lock the bike up outside (I lock up to a bike rack using the kryptonite evo-mini). I usually carry the bike inside, but sometimes I lock it up outside overnight. Sometimes I also have the need to lock my bike up for several hours at a time, say from 9 pm to 1 am if I bike to a bar or an event. I'm a bit paranoid about adding things like fenders, a rear rack and/or a front basket for fear that they'll quickly get removed by thieves. I see bikes stripped of parts all over DC.

I think I've deterred thieves from taking my seat and wheels. I replaced the quick-release levers with Onguard's locking skewers, which require onguard's patented tool to remove. I'm looking for creative solutions to deter thieves from removing fenders, racks, baskets, etc. I'm not going to invest $100+ in accessories that are likely to get stolen within a couple of months.

My ideal bike would have all accessories welded to the bike. I'd even buy a new bike if such a bike exists. Any tips or lessons learned would be much appreciated. Thanks!
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Old 12-29-12, 05:21 PM   #2
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Only thing I've ever had stolen off a bike was a light. Racks and fenders(full,not the splash guards that clip to the seatpost) are bolted on and are too much trouble to remove for the most part. Most bikes you see stripped are abandoned. As long as you take anything with a quick release with you,you should be fine.

If you're really that paranoid,you can always do the NYC trick of filling the screw heads with rubber cement,potting compound,or BB's. Just make sure you blue Loctite everything before hand since you won't be able to occasionally tighten them.
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Old 12-29-12, 05:32 PM   #3
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Thanks dynaryder. Maybe I am a bit paranoid lol. I'll keep the rubber cement idea in mind in case I get the urge.

Speaking of blinking lights getting stolen, I wish manufacturers made blinking lights that required tools to remove. I hate having to remove them every time I lock up for more than a quick errand.

Can anyone recommend cheap blinkies that would require tools for a thief to steal? Thanks.
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Old 12-29-12, 08:11 PM   #4
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Only thing I've ever had stolen off a bike was a light.
Same here.It was a rear light and the person broke it off. Probably just wanted the batteries as it wouldn't have been much use on a bicycle after that.
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Old 12-29-12, 08:16 PM   #5
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A sticker on the top tube that says: I'm watching you...
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Old 12-29-12, 10:31 PM   #6
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heh... once saw a pic of a motorbke with a sticker on it that said something to the effect of "Is there an afterlife? Touch my bike and find out."
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Old 12-29-12, 11:45 PM   #7
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Get some cheap old clunker with removable lights, lock it up downstairs, use it for the occasional errand when you need to leave it there 4 hours.
Get a nice lightweight bike, take it up the stairs, and use it for your normal fun riding.
That would be my solution.
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Old 12-30-12, 10:31 AM   #8
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My favorite deterrent tool is stainless steel cable ties.
http://www.panduit.com/Products/Prod...Nu=P_RollupKey

It's perfect to attach racks to the frame. It's so deterrent that it deters even myself. I hate having to remove those it's a pain ...full
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Old 12-30-12, 10:41 AM   #9
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hmmm ... 4 miles? I would walk or run to work then ride later for workouts. save you a lot of worry. there ain't no way I'd leave any bike locked up outside over night in DC, or any other city for that matter.
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Old 12-30-12, 11:25 AM   #10
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My favorite deterrent tool is stainless steel cable ties.
http://www.panduit.com/Products/Prod...Nu=P_RollupKey

It's perfect to attach racks to the frame. It's so deterrent that it deters even myself. I hate having to remove those it's a pain ...full
Thanks! I'll give those a try.
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Old 12-30-12, 03:45 PM   #11
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If you're worried about having lights stolen, check out these 2 cool "theft deterrent" bike lights.

http://www.kickstarter.com/projects/...bicycle-lights
http://www.kickstarter.com/projects/...defen?ref=live

I've only locked my bike 3 times outside and I take all the accessories that aren't bolted on or securely held on. This includes my bike light mount which is very easy to take off.
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Old 12-30-12, 04:11 PM   #12
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Well - you've pretty much outlined why fixies are so popular with students and couriers - simple, no accesories to steal and bolt-on wheels.

I'm not a big fan of fixies so I lug my stuff up two flights of stairs every day. Don't own a bike that's slept outside unless I've been on tour. Too many stupid people that'll just kick the wheel of a bike that's locked up just to be miserable.
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Old 12-30-12, 06:45 PM   #13
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Speaking of blinking lights getting stolen, I wish manufacturers made blinking lights that required tools to remove. I hate having to remove them every time I lock up for more than a quick errand.
For running around with my friends(not in rain or snow),I use a set of Blackburn Fleas mounted to my helmet and sometimes clip another to my bag. Then they stay with me. For bad weather I mount the PB Blaze/Superflash and just remember to unclip them.
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Old 12-30-12, 08:02 PM   #14
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Trust me on this one: get a folding bike. With the right model, you can take it inside with you anywhere, including the bars. Not only that, it can be a serious chick magnet.

By being able to bring the bike inside with you, you never have to worry about locking it up or what is attached to it. That is part of the reason why I found folding bikes, I got tired of buying ever-increasingly secure U locks and Kryptonite chains, and I got really, really tired of my my bikes getting scratched while in a bike rack.

I bought a Brompton H6L, which has full fenders, a rear rack of limited capacity, and a proprietary handlebar bag with decent capacity. I added front & rear lights, and I have never, ever locked it up once, because I have never left it outside unattended, despite the fact it is my most-ridden non-winter bike. If I go anywhere I think they may object to someone carrying a folded bike inside, I put the bike in a Bromptom B-bag, which folds up easily and can be toted while folded without much effort. 99% of the time, I just carry in the bike and it's not a problem, quite the opposite, in fact.

You don't have to get a Brompton, and if the ride is flat enough you don't need 6 gears, but if you are going to be carrying the bike up stairs or around people you'll definitely want something with 16 inch wheels (20 inch wheels or greater can be unwieldy). You may or may not want an aluminum frame, which of course is usually lighter than the steel frames. For what you're looking for, you'll definitely want something with a small fold, which by default means 16 inch wheels, and something with a proprietary bag to carry it in. With that, all of your other concerns are negated. You don't have to take any precautions against theft because the bike will never be exposed to thieves.

Last edited by MadCityCyclist; 12-30-12 at 08:10 PM.
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Old 12-30-12, 10:13 PM   #15
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Must be nice to live in Wisconsin. I'm sure a foldup bike brought into a bar would get jacked in DC or my home state of New Jersey, NYC, etc. I can think of a handful of places I've biked to in the past month where it would not have been practical to bring a foldup bike inside. Not bashing you, I'm just more frustrated that there are so many crooks out and about in cities like DC.
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Old 12-31-12, 02:39 PM   #16
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For God's sake, you don't stick the bike in a corner and walk away, just leave it in the bag and wear it like a messenger bag or if sitting, put it by your seat. I've occasionally kept mine under the table. It also appears that you don't know how small some of them are when folded. Think slightly larger than a briefcase. DC bars aren't so small that briefcases are a problem.
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Old 12-31-12, 05:45 PM   #17
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I have never had anything that was bolted on the bike stolen off of it and that was locking up in some pretty bad areas for all day. The folder is a good idea if you are that paranoid. Check out the Brompton it is hands down the smallest and quickest fold. Bike Friday Tikit comes in a very close second. I use a vintage Dahon Classic III, folded and in a suitable bag it is smaller than most diaper bags and many purses and backpacks that I see.

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Old 01-02-13, 07:08 AM   #18
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+1 on getting a folding bike and taking it with you!
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Old 01-02-13, 10:32 AM   #19
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4 miles ?, they have public transportation .. in the DC metro, federally funded.

I own a Brompton, but Since I live in the Boonies , The use is infrequent..

The theft climate is just less comfortable when its raining most of the year..

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Old 01-03-13, 06:08 AM   #20
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4 miles ?, they have public transportation .. in the DC metro, federally funded.

I own a Brompton, but Since I live in the Boonies , The use is infrequent..

The theft climate is just less comfortable when its raining most of the year..
I hear you, I live near rainy Portland, Or and I have a 20 mile a day commute. It is also 26 temp this morning. Welcome to the NW Comrade!

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Old 01-03-13, 05:56 PM   #21
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4 miles ?, they have public transportation .. in the DC metro, federally funded.
Location: NW,Oregon Coast

Since I actually LIVE in DC,let me help you. The Metro doesn't go everywhere;it was originally intended to shuttle govt workers in and out of the District from the burbs. There are some decent sized chunks of the area where Metro isn't close or convenient. I live at Cathedral and used to work just over the line in Bethesda,and there wasn't anything but limited bus service for a couple miles.

I won't dignify your "federally funded" comment with a response.
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