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  1. #1
    Recreation Ecologist
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    How do I dorkify my utility beater in a hurry?

    Just got a bike from goodwill to save on gas money. I spent $5 bucks on it and it is a beauty, which is my problem. I don't have time for it to get stolen and I live in a high-theft area. So I'll lock it carefully and replace quick releases and such with bolts.

    Users here have commented numerously that ugly bikes (seem to) get stolen less.

    What are some good ways to uglify this thing real fast, real cheaply? Bonus points if it's fun.

    Thanks and nice to find you all here on these forums.
    Hop

  2. #2
    Senior Member kf5nd's Avatar
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    paint it pink... maybe tempra paint which will wash off later

  3. #3
    Senior Member Newspaperguy's Avatar
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    I've heard the reasoning about going with an ugly bike, but I don't like that course of action. A well-made bicycle should be a thing of beauty, even if it's just going to be your utility ride.

    In your high-theft area, take the bike into your building with you. It will be safest there. When you're out, use a good quality lock, even if it means popping off the front wheel when you lock up. Also, if you have a quick release on the seat post, replace it with a bolt.
    Life is good.

  4. #4
    Bike Junkie roccobike's Avatar
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    Your concept is correct. I know guys who have made their bikes unattractive and it works.
    You've already mentioned removing all QRs. Hobby shops have "fading" or "ageing" paint that is used to age box cars on model trains. It dries with a dull, speckled dirty appearance. OR, take some dirt, mix with a little water and rub it on with a damp sponge. It will dry dull. I know one guy that put bannana stickers from the bannanas he ate, on his bike. If you can obtain decal material put "Huffy" on it. You'd be surprized how knowledgable thieves are. Use a beater seat if you have one. Be sure to cover shiny chrome with a film of dirt.
    Roccobike BF Official Thread Terminator

  5. #5
    Recreation Ecologist
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    Roccobike, that was the answer I was looking for. This article suggests some of the same things. Pretty useful. Thanks man

  6. #6
    Uber Goober StephenH's Avatar
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    My $100 mountain bike was stolen. So not all thieves are knowledgeable.
    "be careful this rando stuff is addictive and dan's the 'pusher'."

  7. #7
    Senior Member condiment's Avatar
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    Bolt a flowerpot to the handlebars, plant a hardy annual. A ridiculously original addition like this will make it impossible for any theif to ride the bike without risking being caught by the cops or the owner of the bike, inhibiting any impulse they felt to steal your ride.

  8. #8
    Senior Member wahoonc's Avatar
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    I think it depends on the location. Around here if it rolls it will get stolen, maybe not right away but sooner or later somebody will steal it. The flashier the more likely it is to get grabbed.

    Aaron
    Webshots is bailing out, if you find any of my posts with corrupt picture files and want to see them corrected please let me know. :(

    ISO: A late 1980's Giant Iguana MTB frameset (or complete bike) 23" Red with yellow graphics.

    "Cycling should be a way of life, not a hobby.
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    "Steel: nearly a thousand years of metallurgical development
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    Which one would you rather have under your butt at 30mph?"
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  9. #9
    Senior Member donrhummy's Avatar
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    Duct tape. Put it all over the bike and you're golden!

  10. #10
    Sophomoric Member Roody's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by StephenH View Post
    My $100 mountain bike was stolen. So not all thieves are knowledgeable.
    Mine too. And the thief left me a trade-in--an old Fuji in great shape that the fixies would pay good money for.


    "Think Outside the Cage"

  11. #11
    Humvee of bikes =Worksman Nightshade's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Newspaperguy View Post
    I've heard the reasoning about going with an ugly bike, but I don't like that course of action. A well-made bicycle should be a thing of beauty, even if it's just going to be your utility ride.

    In your high-theft area, take the bike into your building with you. It will be safest there. When you're out, use a good quality lock, even if it means popping off the front wheel when you lock up. Also, if you have a quick release on the seat post, replace it with a bolt.
    I agree but as a last resort nothing beats a can of flat black spray paint!
    My preferred bicycle brand is.......WORKSMAN CYCLES
    I dislike clipless pedals on any city bike since I feel they are unsafe.

    Originally Posted by krazygluon
    Steel: nearly a thousand years of metallurgical development
    Aluminum: barely a hundred, which one would you rather have under your butt at 30mph?

  12. #12
    In the right lane gerv's Avatar
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    Having a relatively cheap transportation bike is the only solution. It's probably a good idea to have 2 of them and not worry about uglifying them. With all the money you save using a bike, you should be well able to afford a $100 used bike every year or so.

  13. #13
    Senior Member wahoonc's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by gerv View Post
    Having a relatively cheap transportation bike is the only solution. It's probably a good idea to have 2 of them and not worry about uglifying them. With all the money you save using a bike, you should be well able to afford a $100 used bike every year or so.
    That works...I have had small fleet of Huffy Baypoint 3 speeds that are basically disposable, paid $20 or less for them, put another $30-$50 into them for tires, tubes and possibly cables. Then usually add a Wald medium sized basket to the front. Still would get pissed if one got stolen tho.

    Aaron
    Webshots is bailing out, if you find any of my posts with corrupt picture files and want to see them corrected please let me know. :(

    ISO: A late 1980's Giant Iguana MTB frameset (or complete bike) 23" Red with yellow graphics.

    "Cycling should be a way of life, not a hobby.
    RIDE, YOU FOOL, RIDE!"
    _Nicodemus

    "Steel: nearly a thousand years of metallurgical development
    Aluminum: barely a hundred
    Which one would you rather have under your butt at 30mph?"
    _krazygluon

  14. #14
    On-On! Dr.PooLittle's Avatar
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    Just curious as to where the OP lives. . .

  15. #15
    Senior Member coldfeet's Avatar
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    Cheap reflective tape, does double duty, any "Fred" style accessories that are uglyfying and useful,
    rack, front basket, you know, anything that adds weight. Eventually, it'll look like my bike....

  16. #16
    Pedaled too far. Artkansas's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Dr.PooLittle View Post
    Just curious as to where the OP lives. . .
    Careful. He might think you want his bike.
    "He who serves all, best serves himself" Jack London

    Quote Originally Posted by Bjforrestal View Post
    I don't care if you are on a unicycle, as long as you're not using a motor to get places you get props from me. We're here to support each other. Share ideas, and motivate one another to actually keep doing it.

  17. #17
    Pedaled too far. Artkansas's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by HopliteGrad View Post
    What are some good ways to uglify this thing real fast, real cheaply? Bonus points if it's fun.
    How about lumpy spackle. You can color it. Papier mache might be good too. Just remember to tear it not cut it if you want a smooth surface.
    "He who serves all, best serves himself" Jack London

    Quote Originally Posted by Bjforrestal View Post
    I don't care if you are on a unicycle, as long as you're not using a motor to get places you get props from me. We're here to support each other. Share ideas, and motivate one another to actually keep doing it.

  18. #18
    Recreation Ecologist
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    Quote Originally Posted by Dr.PooLittle View Post
    Just curious as to where the OP lives. . .
    I live at a major university in Virginia. Not particularly dangerous, but definitely a lot of bike theft.

    Alright, here's the roundup of what I have done so far, let me know what you think:
    ---Got an antiquing kit to make some spokes and other hardware look rusty
    ---Got some crap brown-colored "texture" spraypaint
    ---duct tape
    ---zip tied an old milk crate to the back rack
    ---replaced the seatpost QR with a bolt
    ---will hacksaw the full length grip shifter down to 1/3rd length and use some ghettotastic off-color handle for the rest

    Probably overkill, but it's to the point where I'm having fun with it. Cause, you know, bikes are fun.

    What are
    Quote Originally Posted by coldfeet
    "Fred" style accessories
    ?

    Roody, that's crazy that the thief left you another bike. Crazy.

  19. #19
    Sophomoric Member Roody's Avatar
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    OP--are you majoring in theatre (set design)? Sounds like you would be a great propmaster.


    "Think Outside the Cage"

  20. #20
    Recreation Ecologist
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    Haha! Good call, Roody. I'm actually getting a degree in recreation ecology. I can say with some empirical backing that you mountain bikers, though you piss off hikers mightily, build the best trails of all. IMBA really has their stuff together.

  21. #21
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    I like the idea of painting it pink. Maybe adding streamers.

    You can also stencil your name or something else on it.

    If you don't want to bother painting it at all, why not invest in another heavy duty lock, and just chain it somewhere very public.


    /doh didn't read your last post. Ah well, carry on!

  22. #22
    Justin scattered73's Avatar
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    Last week somebody dumped off an old cheap badly rusted bmx in our parking lot when they were dropping off some recycling in our recycling bins. At first we figured that they might comeback for it, until we went and got the bike, completely covered in rust, brakes were completely locked up, there wasn't an item on this bike that didn't need to be replaced (except maybe the seat post it actually looked ok). We brought the bike in our store for about a day to see if the owner would come back to retrieve it. Though like we figured he didn't come. So we put the bike outside on the bike rack with only a zip tie holding it to the rack. Just to see if it would get stolen and it did. Basically I don't think you can uglyify a bike to the point it wouldn't get stolen. This one was ugly and not functional and still stolen. Though to our surprise it lasted three days before getting stolen.
    Last edited by scattered73; 03-17-08 at 01:05 PM.

  23. #23
    Recreation Ecologist
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    Quote Originally Posted by scattered73 View Post
    Basically I don't think you can uglyify a bike to the point it wouldn't get stolen.
    Perhaps the owner finally did reclaim it?

    My ride is an old POS mongoose worth probably what I paid for it, but its utility value to me is much higher. So, I'm trying to widen the spread on the desirability on mine versus the nice roadie bikes on the rack I lock to. So far so good.

    Hop

  24. #24
    Senior Member cutman's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by scattered73 View Post
    Basically I don't think you can uglyify a bike to the point it wouldn't get stolen. This one was ugly and not functional and still stolen.
    I think there's some truth to this.

    I'd go with the Sheldon Brown approach. Get two locks of two different types: a solid U-lock and a cable with built-in lock. It takes two different tools to defeat this combination.

    http://www.sheldonbrown.com/lock-strategy.html
    When I see an adult on a bicycle, I do not despair for the future of the human race. - H.G. Wells

  25. #25
    Recreation Ecologist
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    I wonder if it's possible to uglify a bike with PANACHE! You know, the kind of job that makes observers think, "man, that is one fugly piece of crap, but at least the owner knows it..."

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