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Living Car Free Do you live car free or car light? Do you prefer to use alternative transportation (bicycles, walking, other human-powered or public transportation) for everyday activities whenever possible? Discuss your lifestyle here.

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Old 04-27-14, 07:36 PM   #1
pumabicycle
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Bike Security Options?

I'm not interested in driving anymore. I'd rather just ride my bike everywhere I need to go. This poses security concerns since I have to leave my bike outside in many places.

I'm interested in being able to keep my bike at almost any cost. I've looked around a bit at different options and it seems to me that a combination of deterrents is the best strategy. Other than the costs, what do you think about these ideas;

Kryptonite New York Mini Lock
Spybike seat post GPS
Atomic 22 bolt system
using an engraver to carve my email address into each part.
Using a heavy duty Loctite to make it more difficult and time consuming to remove bolts

Is a Kryptonite New York Mini lock large enough to lock to things in most situations? Do you know someone who has actually collected on the insurance policy? I have a medium sized no name brand U lock now but I'd spend the cash to make sure I have a ride home if it's worth it and if they'll actually pay out.

Spybike seatpost website doesn't look very professional but if it works it would be a great way to track down a stolen bike. It only works when the bike is moving. At $155 it isn't outrageously expensive. Have you any experience with Spybike or other GPS that can be hidden in the seatpost?

Atomic 22 is really expensive, I'm talking $500 to outfit an entire bike! The idea is that a thief can't steal components and in particular wouldn't be able to remove the Spybike GPS inside the seat tube, meaning I'd catch him eventually. I love the idea of the locking skewer to eliminate the hassle of carrying a second lock. There's Pitlock too but they offer far fewer options and don't have the capability of locking my quill stem, a shame because Pitlock is far cheaper. Do you have experience with Atomic 22? Do you think it deters thieves?

Can I safely carve my email address into my steel frame and aluminum parts without weakening them? It seems like a silly question but I just don't know. My Dad carves his driver license number into everything and it has paid off many times resulting in arrests.

Lastly Loctite makes stuff that makes heavy duty stuff that makes it a pain to remove bolts and sometimes requires heat. That would slow 'em down but also make things very inconvenient for me.

Again, I'm hoping to attack the thievery problem from all sides to persuade the thief to move on. What do you think of this approach?
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Old 04-27-14, 10:07 PM   #2
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Sorry, I think it's overkill. Those security measures cost much more than my entire bike! If your bike is that precious to you, it might be priced beyond your means, or simply the wrong vehicle for a carfree lifestyle. Of course, if you have lots of money, it's better to spend it on a balling bike than on a car, IMO. But if, god forbid, it gets stolen you should be able to replace it rather painlessly (also IMO).
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Old 04-27-14, 11:06 PM   #3
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I agree with Roody. Bike security doesn't have to be, or need to be, that expensive or complicated. A good locking arrangement, combined with a common sense approach to making theft less tempting will protect your bike from all but the best prepared and equipped thieves.

Here's what I would do/buy:
1. Keyed U-lock (personally, I don't think it matters much what kind of U-lock so long as it's not one of those old locks that can be picked with a plastic pen) to lock your rear wheel and frame to things
2. A cable lock with it's own separate locking mechanism to lock the front wheel to the frame
3. If your seatpost is secured in the frame with a quick release, replace the skewer with a bolt, or you can lock the saddle to the frame with an old length of bike chain (sheath the chain in an old tube to prevent it from scratching anything).
4. Don't put flashy, high-value items like your favorite Brooks Pro saddle, deep-rim carbon fiber time trial racing wheels, or gold-plated Campagnolo 50th anniversary components on your commuting bike.
5. Remove bags and lights from your bike before leaving it parked in public
6. Make sure you lock up to solid objects in well-lit, visible locations.
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Old 04-27-14, 11:50 PM   #4
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Don't ride a bike you can't afford to lose is my philosophy. Of course you want adequate locks, but they can always steal your bike while you are riding it.

I've got a nice bike for fun rides. It's old enough now that it's amortized down to an affordable point. But two of my bikes are freebies, one cost $250 and the oldest I swapped for a load of wood.
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Old 04-28-14, 01:19 AM   #5
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Kryptonite and then hope for the best. Use the tips from youtube on locking up, write down tour serial number and proof of ownership with a picture.
2 u-locks?
As far as the seat post I would write down the specs and have a combo ready to be ordered if some clown decides to just take that
As long as you aren't doing anything crazy like leaving it overnight at a college campus then i think you'll be fine
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Old 04-28-14, 02:38 AM   #6
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Kryptonite and then hope for the best. Use the tips from youtube on locking up, write down tour serial number and proof of ownership with a picture.
2 u-locks?
As far as the seat post I would write down the specs and have a combo ready to be ordered if some clown decides to just take that
As long as you aren't doing anything crazy like leaving it overnight at a college campus then i think you'll be fine
Or read this:

Lock Strategy
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Old 04-28-14, 05:10 AM   #7
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Don't ride a bike you can't afford to lose is my philosophy. Of course you want adequate locks, but they can always steal your bike while you are riding it.

I've got a nice bike for fun rides. It's old enough now that it's amortized down to an affordable point. But two of my bikes are freebies, one cost $250 and the oldest I swapped for a load of wood.

One of the reasons I'm not commuting by bicycle at this point is because I don't have a "beater bicycle" at the moment on which to tour. Although my office has good bicycle parking, I would still feel uncomfortable leaving the bicycles I currently have there.
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Old 04-28-14, 05:10 AM   #8
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I have locked up in places I wouldn't want to walk in during daylight (that was where my work was located).

If at all possible get a beater bike, one that rides okay but you wouldn't be heartbroken if it got stolen. I have an old 3 speed that has managed to survive for 31 years. I would be pissed if got stolen, because I hate to walk. I used the NY Fahgettaboudit Chain cost 8 times what the bike did, and weighed almost as much as the bike.

But I never lost a bike. YMMV.

I use a variety of locking strategies depending on how long it is going to be locked up, where it is going to be locked up and which bike. So far the only bikes I have had stolen have been out of a locked garage or storage building at home.

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Old 04-28-14, 06:04 AM   #9
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I have locked up in places I wouldn't want to walk in during daylight (that was where my work was located).

If at all possible get a beater bike, one that rides okay but you wouldn't be heartbroken if it got stolen. I have an old 3 speed that has managed to survive for 31 years. I would be pissed if got stolen, because I hate to walk. I used the NY Fahgettaboudit Chain cost 8 times what the bike did, and weighed almost as much as the bike.

But I never lost a bike. YMMV.

I use a variety of locking strategies depending on how long it is going to be locked up, where it is going to be locked up and which bike. So far the only bikes I have had stolen have been out of a locked garage or storage building at home.

Aaron
i don't think a cheap bike is less likely to be stolen than an expensive bike. It's only that you'll be less upset when you discover the theft. I once had a cheap bike stolen, and the thief left a more valuable bike in its place!
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Old 04-28-14, 07:15 AM   #10
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write down your serial number and proof of ownership with a picture.
Good tip. Since pictures are mostly digital these days, take a moment and write down your serial number into the picture. So that if you need to distribute pictures, the serial number is there too.
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Old 04-28-14, 07:19 AM   #11
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i don't think a cheap bike is less likely to be stolen than an expensive bike. It's only that you'll be less upset when you discover the theft. I once had a cheap bike stolen, and the thief left a more valuable bike in its place!
No telling. I've had bikes stolen, but never replaced with a more expensive one. I wish. The idea is limiting your losses to a point you can deal with them. I have a friend who had a $7K bike stolen. He was devastated.
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Old 04-28-14, 07:42 AM   #12
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IMO deterrence is better than GPS. Tracking down your bike after it's stolen seems a lot more work and risk, and who knows what condition your bike is by the time you find it again. Get a couple of good locks, use the Sheldon Brown locking techniques.

When you say "at any cost" what do you mean? If not getting stolen was the most important thing I would get a good folder and never lock it up. In my experience you can bring your folder in practically everywhere. Especially if you get a bag to put it in, it no longer looks like a bike so you can carry it or check it just about anywhere you go.
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Old 04-28-14, 07:49 AM   #13
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IMO deterrence is better than GPS. Tracking down your bike after it's stolen seems a lot more work and risk, and who knows what condition your bike is by the time you find it again. Get a couple of good locks, use the Sheldon Brown locking techniques.

When you say "at any cost" what do you mean? If not getting stolen was the most important thing I would get a good folder and never lock it up. In my experience you can bring your folder in practically everywhere. Especially if you get a bag to put it in, it no longer looks like a bike so you can carry it or check it just about anywhere you go.
I'd go with this. If someone steals your bike for parts then by the time you do track it down (assuming you even do track it before the GPS batteries fade into nothing) you might find nothing more than a discarded seatpost with a GPS inside it.

"At any cost" also goes past the point of diminishing returns. If you've got a $200 bike with $500 worth of locks on it, you'd be better off using $50 worth of locks and using the $450 savings as a buffer in case the bike gets stolen.

I've often reckoned a large part of security is making your item (bike in this example) a less attractive option than others nearby. If your bike is cheap with what looks like a big heavy lock your enterprising thief may just decide to move elsewhere, where he can find a nicer bike with a cheaper lock. There's always someone who buys a $2000 bike and then thinks that $4.99 for a lock is enough.
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Old 04-28-14, 09:04 AM   #14
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The only time I've had a bike stolen was out of my home in the late 90s, I used to park in a entry way to two apartment flats. One night I was foolish and forgot to lock it (always locked the wheels to the frame with two cable locks). my neighbor left the main door WIDE OPEN and when I walked out the next morning the bike was gone. I still think that particular neighbor stole it instead of some random person but I didn't have proof nor did the police have probable cause to search their apartment. it was a $200 Walmart mountain bike with about 1000 miles on it (frayed shift cables, no brakes, old stretched chain that would randomly jump around, in other words the bike wasn't worth more than whatever aluminum runs at the local scrap yard at that time).

Like others said, don't ride a bike you can't afford to lose. My advice:
- Only patronage bike-friendly shops (most will let you bring your bike inside while you shop). Even at the stores that don't appear bike friendly, if you ask nicely, a lot of times the owner/manager will allow you to park your bike inside while you shop.
- Park/lock your bike in an open area, a "smart" thief won't cut a lock off with an audience
- Lock your bike whenever you leave it. Even if you just run into a c-store for 10 minutes max, that's enough time for someone to throw your bike in the back of their pick up or ride off with it
- A U-LOCK and cable lock should suffice. If someone wants your bike bad enough, they're going to get it regardless what kind of lock you have
- Move to a small town, get to know the locals. In many small towns everyone knows each other, and most look after each other.

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Old 04-28-14, 10:03 AM   #15
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I use the Sheldon Brown-approved locking method and before my office built a fenced in compound, I used a fat cable for the front wheel and a thin one for the seat rail, both looped onto themselves and the lock. I don't lock up for long anywhere else so I don't carry those cables now. Like others, I commute on good quality old bikes that didn't cost a lot.

I also have a fairly pricey Bike Friday that I would never leave locked outside, and so I don't commute on it.

If I were to get a folder for commuting, I would want one you can roll when folded, like a Brompton or Bike Friday Tikit, because I try to have a sweat-free commute, and bagging and carrying a folder along with any pannier or whatever, would definitely make me sweat.

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Old 04-28-14, 11:06 AM   #16
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What if the thief decide to sell the bike part by part?

Maybe you could buy it back, piece by piece.

OP, if you are serious about, "keep my bike at almost any cost," don't park it anywhere.

Seriously, get a good lock and follow the good advice provided by several previous posters on this thread.
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Old 04-28-14, 01:37 PM   #17
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Remember that cars are stolen also, and even with full coverage insurance, most people will be out $500 or more for their deductible. (You're also paying for that coverage every month, whether the car is ever stolen or not.) And if the car is "recovered" you will most likely pay several hundred dollars in impound/storage charges--Aka "ransom"--to get it back. (If I sound bitter, it's because I've been through this experience.)
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Old 04-28-14, 01:40 PM   #18
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Good tip. Since pictures are mostly digital these days, take a moment and write down your serial number into the picture. So that if you need to distribute pictures, the serial number is there too.
If a bike is stolen, do not expect the police to do jack **** about it, even if you have pictures, serial numbers, engraving, etc. At least that's been my experience, along with many others who post on BF.
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Old 04-28-14, 02:33 PM   #19
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If a bike is stolen, do not expect the police to do jack **** about it, even if you have pictures, serial numbers, engraving, etc. At least that's been my experience, along with many others who post on BF.
Tell me about it. I got bike-jacked two blocks from police headquarters. I walked in to report the crime, bike theft + assault. They didn't even want to take a report. It was only when someone phoned in to report the crime that they leapt into action to document this event. The witness could even identify the leader of the gang.
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Old 04-28-14, 03:09 PM   #20
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If I were to get a folder for commuting, I would want one you can roll when folded, like a Brompton or Bike Friday Tikit, because I try to have a sweat-free commute, and bagging and carrying a folder along with any pannier or whatever, would definitely make me sweat.
That's my approach. I take my Brommie in with me wherever I go.

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Old 04-28-14, 05:47 PM   #21
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If a bike is stolen, do not expect the police to do jack **** about it, even if you have pictures, serial numbers, engraving, etc. At least that's been my experience, along with many others who post on BF.
The police here were astoundingly helpful when my bicycle was stolen ... right down to dragging the local lake. And they were equally as helpful when my bicycle was recovered 3.5 years later.

The serial number and distinctive photos helped.


I suspect it depends where you live.
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Old 04-28-14, 09:44 PM   #22
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Instead of some of the extraneous measures the OP listed, just get a good U lock + cable, following decent locking strategy, and if your bike has a high enough value, get insurance. Sometimes it may be covered by renter's insurance, or you can get in land marine insurance.
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Old 04-28-14, 10:34 PM   #23
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The police here were astoundingly helpful when my bicycle was stolen ... right down to dragging the local lake. And they were equally as helpful when my bicycle was recovered 3.5 years later.
Where'd they find it?

Okay, found the thread on it. Congrats!

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Old 04-29-14, 04:26 AM   #24
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Where'd they find it?

Okay, found the thread on it. Congrats!
Thanks ... I could hardly believe it.
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Old 04-29-14, 01:48 PM   #25
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My sister had a nice Specialized flat-bar road-style bike with V-brakes that she bought new. She had pitlock, or some other type of keyed-skewers installed on it (and gave me her old bike, which thus infected me with this horribly affliction!). She locked up to a sign post using a good U-lock from Kryptonite. Came back later to find that the sign post had been pulled out, and the bike was gone!

Who can say whether the thief observed it, carefully considered it, and thought, "I'll work out the locking skewers when I get back to a cozy spot," or had just planned the easy-detach signpost in a location where they were likely to encounter a locked bicycle yet had a few seconds of privacy, or were just thinking "HEROIN!!!!!", pulled it out of the ground and discarded it when it got a flat?

Have at least two bikes, and possibly an assortment of parts. I lock my Finnish commuter bike here, which should be a good-enough deterrent since half the bikes are either not locked at all, or only locked to themselves.
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