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Old 04-06-08, 05:57 PM   #1
cc_rider
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DC - Disturbing Prank

DC / Mid-Atlantic alert -

Saturday I was riding from Falls Church, VA to DC and Bethesda, MD. Had a quick stop at one of the museums on the Mall (the Freer). Locked up to a bike rack next to the Smithsonian Castle and went in for about 10 minutes. Unlocked and continued my ride. Noticed that my wireless sensor was clicking - hitting the magnet. Then the brakes felt funny when I stopped using the front brake only. Then I noticed that the front wheel felt funny - making noise, rubbing the brake, etc. I stopped to take a closer look and felt that the wheel was loose. The quick release had been flipped open. The axle was still finger tight so the wheel wasn't dropping out. The lever was positioned against the front fork so except for the curve of the handle it looked normal.

I might have thought it was an accident or oversight on my part, except I transport my bike without removing the wheels and I had done a full bike check at the start of the ride. I hadn't checked the quick release itself, but I had checked the front wheel and it was tight and spinning normally. My suspicion is that someone messed with the QR while I was away and set it up so it wouldn't be noticed easily. I had ridden a couple of miles before is loosened up enough for me to notice. Luckily I didn't hit a pothole or something that would have popped my wheel out.

Never expected anything like this. Probably just a prank, but a dangerous one. For now on I'll be checking the wheels if I leave my bike for a while.

Be careful out there.
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Old 04-06-08, 07:00 PM   #2
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It seems much more likely that your QR just got loose, or some kid was playing with it, than that someone intentionally loosened it.

Of all the things in life to fear, I'm not going to be paranoid about someone loosening my QR's.
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Old 04-06-08, 07:30 PM   #3
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Unlikely that it just accidentally loosened. Before the ride I checked the wheel - holding it between my knees and twisting the bars, spinning it to check for centering, and testing the brakes. Everything checked out. I last had that wheel off about 4 months / a dozen rides ago and I know it went back on properly.

What makes me suspicious is the position of the lever. When I flip it open the handle ends up pointing down, not up along the fork. If it had opened accidentally it should have pointed down. Everything was positioned so that except for the curve of the handle everything looked normal. I'm not sure that some random kid would be that meticulous.

Maybe I am a bit paranoid here, but this doesn't seem to be just an accident. I doubt if anyone would target me specifically, but I could see someone taking the opportunity to pull a prank on an unattended bike.
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Old 04-07-08, 08:42 AM   #4
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Is it a good wheel? Could someone have been starting to steal it only to notice that the lock chain went thru it?
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Old 04-07-08, 09:42 AM   #5
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That's a possibility. I did lock thru the wheel.
Not a particularly good wheel. It's original to the bike and the whole bike cost less than $400 new 20 years ago.
Maybe it's considered "vintage"
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Old 04-07-08, 09:47 AM   #6
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I appreciate the heads up, it is one more thing weather a prank or maintenance issue to check before mounting up, even after a short stop.
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Old 04-07-08, 10:07 AM   #7
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I have bolt-on skewers on all my wheelsets.

Bolt-on skewers were only $5.99 a set at Nashbar last week. Not as secure as locking ones, but they're a tenth of the price and pranksters will need a 5mm hex wrench to loosen them on you. And using the 5mm on your multi-tool, they're only just a bit less convenient than QRs.

Note: Avoid the ones made by Delta. The nuts use thread inserts rather than real, machined threads. The inserts pull out.
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Old 04-07-08, 10:26 AM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by donheff View Post
Is it a good wheel? Could someone have been starting to steal it only to notice that the lock chain went thru it?
A wrench at one of the local LBS's was telling me that happens more often than you'd think.
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Old 04-07-08, 11:37 AM   #9
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A good reason to check the QRs before taking off. I bet it was a wheel-stealing incident.
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Old 04-07-08, 01:52 PM   #10
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I have bolt-on skewers on all my wheelsets.

Bolt-on skewers were only $5.99 a set at Nashbar last week.
$3.99 today!
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Old 04-08-08, 09:26 AM   #11
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I think if is was a prankster he would have loosened your brakes.

Last edited by zowie; 05-05-08 at 07:33 PM.
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