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  1. #1
    Senior Member Newspaperguy's Avatar
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    Bike security and a car-free lifestyle

    I was talking with a high school teacher today about cycling. He says a number of students might be inclined to ride to school if they could safely store their bikes. They have some fairly pricey mountain bikes and they don't want to leave them in the racks all day. In other words, they like to ride, but it's strictly recreational for them.

    I hadn't thought of a lack of secure bike parking as a reason for not going car-free or car-light.
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  2. #2
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    Luckily where I live its not a problem;

    I have just a little cable that you could cut in about 1/2 second if you wanted.

    I have no fear that someone will steal my bike. Typically around here someone will steal your bike if its not locked at all but very rarely will someone cut a lock.

    If you dont leave it out all night then it would probably never happen.

  3. #3
    Crankenstein bmclaughlin807's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Newspaperguy View Post
    I was talking with a high school teacher today about cycling. He says a number of students might be inclined to ride to school if they could safely store their bikes. They have some fairly pricey mountain bikes and they don't want to leave them in the racks all day. In other words, they like to ride, but it's strictly recreational for them.

    I hadn't thought of a lack of secure bike parking as a reason for not going car-free or car-light.
    Schools of all types are a hot spot for bike theft. If a school was really serious about encouraging people to ride, they'd come up with some way to solve that problem.

    A fenced area with a tall fence, and the only entrance being through a building would just about eliminate most bike thefts. Especially if that area was outside the windows of classrooms or offices that were almost always occupied, and had video as well.
    "There is no greater wonder than the way the face and character of a woman fit so perfectly in a man's mind, and stay there, and he could never tell you why. It just seems it was the thing he most wanted." Robert Louis Stevenson

  4. #4
    Senior Member Newspaperguy's Avatar
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    The bike racks at the high school here are behind the building, in an area without many windows and with poor visiblity from the road. It's okay for someone with an old Canadian Tire bike, but those who have bikes worth $2,000 will get a little nervous about parking there, even with a solid lock.
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  5. #5
    Every lane is a bike lane Chris L's Avatar
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    The practical solution to this problem is to obtain a run down beater bike for $50 at a garage sale. You may have to replace a couple of things on it, but that shouldn't be too much trouble, and you can ride it to wherever you like. A lot of thieves won't bother stealing it, and even if they do, it won't cost the world to replace it.

    The same thing goes for the bikes kids ride to school. Personally I've never understood the obsession with buying children expensive bikes anyway. In 12 months they'll probably grow out/get tired of it (strike out whichever does not apply). It's best just to get them cheap bikes and solve both problems.
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  6. #6
    Crankenstein bmclaughlin807's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Chris L View Post
    The practical solution to this problem is to obtain a run down beater bike for $50 at a garage sale. You may have to replace a couple of things on it, but that shouldn't be too much trouble, and you can ride it to wherever you like. A lot of thieves won't bother stealing it, and even if they do, it won't cost the world to replace it.

    The same thing goes for the bikes kids ride to school. Personally I've never understood the obsession with buying children expensive bikes anyway. In 12 months they'll probably grow out/get tired of it (strike out whichever does not apply). It's best just to get them cheap bikes and solve both problems.
    My favorite bike ever was a bike I got for $6 at a yard sale. New tires, tubes, and cables, and the bike worked wonderfully. Doesn't mean I wouldn't have been devastated if someone stole it, though. I've still never found another bike like it. Was a Schwinn road bike with disc brakes.

    There's also the fact that for some people(and arguably, some of those people are the MOST likely to be willing to use a bike for transportation) $50 can be a large portion of their discretionary income. Maybe they don't even have that much discretionary income at one time.
    "There is no greater wonder than the way the face and character of a woman fit so perfectly in a man's mind, and stay there, and he could never tell you why. It just seems it was the thing he most wanted." Robert Louis Stevenson

  7. #7
    Every lane is a bike lane Chris L's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by bmclaughlin807 View Post
    There's also the fact that for some people(and arguably, some of those people are the MOST likely to be willing to use a bike for transportation) $50 can be a large portion of their discretionary income. Maybe they don't even have that much discretionary income at one time.
    $50 was a figure I randomly plucked out of the air. You could probably find one considerably cheaper if you looked around. The point is that a cheap "beater" bike is the best option when dealing with the issue of riding in an area with a high incidence of bike theft or crime generally. A friend of mine picked up a beater bike from somewhere that he used for errands in such areas. It was never stolen, despite the fact that he never once made any attempt to lock it up. True story.
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  8. #8
    Sophomoric Member Roody's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by bmclaughlin807 View Post
    My favorite bike ever was a bike I got for $6 at a yard sale. New tires, tubes, and cables, and the bike worked wonderfully. Doesn't mean I wouldn't have been devastated if someone stole it, though. I've still never found another bike like it. Was a Schwinn road bike with disc brakes.

    There's also the fact that for some people(and arguably, some of those people are the MOST likely to be willing to use a bike for transportation) $50 can be a large portion of their discretionary income. Maybe they don't even have that much discretionary income at one time
    .
    He was talking about kids riding $2000 bikes, so $50 for a beater wouldn't be a problem for them. I don't even get the concept of a kid having a $2000 bike. The only people who could really appreciate a bike of that caliber would be professional racers, IMO. You can buy a very good used MTB for $150 and a beautiful new one for $600.


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  9. #9
    Senior Member Newspaperguy's Avatar
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    A short distance commuter bike, especially one that will be parked outside all day, shouldn't be too expensive. Cheap bikes aren't all that attractive to bike thieves and they're easy to replace. In fact, it's sometimes easier to replace a cheap used bike than to repair it when things start to go wrong.

    The $2,000+ mountain bikes have their place, especially for someone who does a lot of tough and technical off-road riding. I wouldn't want to leave a bike like that locked up outside all day.
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  10. #10
    NJS my life! roughrider504's Avatar
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    They should use cheaper bicycles to ride to school, period. The bicycle I am building to ride to school is a Hardrock, yet all the decals are wrapped in tape and the frame is riddled with 1lesscar stickers. The bicycle rack is near the entrance of the school but a thief would have to go through my U lock and chain lock. I am not too worried.

    I would not own a $2,000 mountain bike but if I actually did I would not think for a second using it for commuting. Theft, yes, but leaving it out in the elements would be more unnerving to me than theft.

  11. #11
    Senior Member wahoonc's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Newspaperguy View Post
    I was talking with a high school teacher today about cycling. He says a number of students might be inclined to ride to school if they could safely store their bikes. They have some fairly pricey mountain bikes and they don't want to leave them in the racks all day. In other words, they like to ride, but it's strictly recreational for them.

    I hadn't thought of a lack of secure bike parking as a reason for not going car-free or car-light.
    That has been an ongoing issue for years...even when I was still in high school (30 years ago). And I wasn't riding $$$$ bikes. I had 3 stolen from my school. We asked to be allowed to put them in an interior courtyard and were told no. We actually had a police officer (this was before the day of the SRO) go to bat for us until he was told by his superiors to drop it. So we did the best we could...rode beater bikes and used heavy chains.

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  12. #12
    Senior Member maddyfish's Avatar
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    The bike rack at our school is behind the building. If a stranger was back there during the school day, the cops would be on the scene near immediatley.
    Not too much to say here

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    Sophomoric Member Roody's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by maddyfish View Post
    The bike rack at our school is behind the building. If a stranger was back there during the school day, the cops would be on the scene near immediatley.
    I wonder if most bikes are stolen by strangers or by students at the school?


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  14. #14
    In the right lane gerv's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Newspaperguy View Post
    I was talking with a high school teacher today about cycling. He says a number of students might be inclined to ride to school if they could safely store their bikes. They have some fairly pricey mountain bikes and they don't want to leave them in the racks all day. In other words, they like to ride, but it's strictly recreational for them.

    I hadn't thought of a lack of secure bike parking as a reason for not going car-free or car-light.
    From what I remember of my teenage kids, losing a bike would never be a consideration in a decision to ride to school. It would be the last thing on their minds. If their friends were riding to school, they'd be riding too. In fact, that seemed to be the deciding factor. Security? Maybe that would be on my parental mind (if they had $2000 bike...which they never did ...)

  15. #15
    Crankenstein bmclaughlin807's Avatar
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    Even the loss of a $50 'beater' bike as you put it can be devastating.

    A $50 bike really isn't all that useful for anything... short trips to school or something if you only ride during the daytime and good weather, and can carry everything you need in a backpack.

    Take said $50 beater, and add lights, fenders, rack, panniers, and the bike is MUCH more useful for a much wider variety of conditions... BUT! Now you have a choice... do I ride said useful bike, and risk it getting stolen with all the add ons? Or strip off as much as I can EVERY time I have to park it somewhere? (Even there, you'd lose the rack and fenders... at least $60 worth of accessories, plus the bike)

    So.. yeah... I'd say bike security is a VERY important topic, even if you're NOT riding a $2,000 bike. In fact, I'd venture to say that MOST of those who have $2,000 bikes wouldn't be hit NEARLY as hard by the loss of said bike as some people with MUCH cheaper bikes.
    "There is no greater wonder than the way the face and character of a woman fit so perfectly in a man's mind, and stay there, and he could never tell you why. It just seems it was the thing he most wanted." Robert Louis Stevenson

  16. #16
    Senior Member maddyfish's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Roody View Post
    I wonder if most bikes are stolen by strangers or by students at the school?
    k-5 here, extremely polite, courteous kids. The last fight in the school was several kids beating the tar out of a kid who tried to steal some Fritos. Bike theft by these students is EXTREMELY unlikely. And as far as I know, a bike has not been stolen from this school in the several years that I have volunteered here.
    Crime of any kind is next to non-existent here.
    Not too much to say here

  17. #17
    Hooligan Abneycat's Avatar
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    I think some proper advocacy could solve a lot of woes. If people were to bring these problems up to those in charge at these schools, its not a big deal to move a bike rack closer to a door or a higher traffic area. You could even volunteer to do it, since its hardly a big task. They don't have to be put right in the middle of a path, but moving them off to the side and within easy visual distance shouldn't be a problem in most cases. Thieves love bike racks off at the side of a building. They don't love ones off the main path to the front door. Thats the way things are set up at Mount Royal college, all of the racks are around major entryways, but not obstructive in any way. There are also bike lockers available, although not enough of them yet, its a good solution, especially for those who plan on riding all fall/winter.

  18. #18
    i like mud discosaurus's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Newspaperguy View Post

    I hadn't thought of a lack of secure bike parking as a reason for not going car-free or car-light.
    It's not a good reason, it's just another excuse. Simple solutions? Get a lock. Get two locks. Take the bike inside. Ride an ugly bike. Have the school put the rack next to the front door, or inside an entryway.

    I'll add it to the list of excuses right next to "but I'll get sweaty and mess up my hair!" Bikes aren't for everyone. If people can come up with excuses that easily, they probably don't want to ride in the first place.

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