Tandems take up a miniscule percentage of bikes stolen . . . as there are a heck of a lot less tandems than singles!
Having said that, in our 32+ years of tandeming we personally know of 2 tandems being stolen.
One was locked in a shed and a full custom Andy Gilmour (Tucson, AZ) tandem with the latest componentry, custom red anodized cranks, seatposts. Something that would be difficult to sell in the local marketplace. Thief obviously knew what they were after and the value of the machine. Speculate it ended up being sold out of state somehwere. Never was found.
The other was parked in front of an eatery in the small town of Benson, AZ (unlocked). Owners came out, tandem had vanished! Insurance paid for new tandem. However the stolen tandem (another custom one) was found in the nearby desert 6 months later. The only thing missing was the computer! Speculation was that some kids took it for a joyride and then dumped it.
If we leave our tandem unattended/out of sight when we are out, we always put a lock on it. It's not a guarantee of it not being stolen, but certainly serves as a deterrent.
Today we cycled out to a small town in Idaho to see parade and attended festivities in a local park. Parked the tandem next to a fence, looped cable/lock through fence/back wheel/rear triangle and had fun.
Yup, tandem was still there when we got back!
Like wearing a helmet, a lock is cheap insurance!
Pedal on TWOgether!
Rudy and Kay/zonatandem
What do you think about the likelihood of a tandem being stolen compared with a 1/2 bike? It would seem to me that tandems would be less coveted by bike thieves.
Petty bike theft is a crime of opportunity, often times perpetrated by minors. Therefore, assuming all other things are equal (apparently value of tandem, condition, location, probability of success without getting caught)... it would probably be just as succeptible to theft or vandalism as a single rider bike.
As for targeted thefts of high-end bikes from garages, vehicles, or other secured spaces... then, yes, I would agree that tandems would not be prime targets...
No we were not in your area; we are currently in Twin Falls, near CSI.
Over the 4th weekend (June 29th) there was a ride (Cycle America) that passed through here and we did see about a dozen singles + one tandem as we were crossing the Hansen Bridge over Snake River Canyon. Looked like they were headed for Shoshone and points north.
Saturday we ended up riding from TF to Kimberley to enjoy the Good Neighbors festivities/parade.
Asides from the near-constant winds, we are enjoying Idaho!
Pedal on TWOgether!
Rudy and Kay/zonatandem
We had a Santana Visa stolen from our garage here in Palo Alto a decade ago. It was unlocked. However, my wife had left the garage door wide open overnight with the lights on, and it was a time when there were some lower-class teens living in our condo complex. Other than than we've never had a problem, though we always lock it in public. We just spent the week of July 4 camping by Lake Tahoe. Several days we left the site with the tandem attached to a tree with a simple cable lock. No problemo.
I concur with the group that 95% of your danger is teenaged boys grabbing your bike if it's unlocked and unwatched in a visible location. Otherwise you're pretty darn safe.
The main danger is them stripping the components and chucking the frame. At least the derailleurs, STI shifters, saddles etc. are common components.
An open garage door is like leaving the keys in your car . . . opportunity knocks for thieves/druggies/kidz bent on mischief or a quick buck.
A simple lock/cable combo is cheap insurance when leaving your tandem exposed to public viewing.
Once when my husband and I rode our tandem to an eatery in La Mesa, we had to park it out front, no place to lock it up but got a table close by so we could keep eye on it. When we finished eating I went out to stand by the tandem while my husband went to the restroom. Three guys approached me inquirying about the tandem. I got a really bad feeling about it, but luckily my husband showed up right then. My husband always puts the drag brake on, hoping that would confuse someone who did try to take it, hopefully they wouldn't be able to figure out why it won't roll. It would be kind of hard to try and carry it any distance. That's probably the closest we have come to having someone "maybe snatch it". They could have easily pushed me to the ground while taking the bike.
When I don't have a lock I always keep an eye on the bike. After having some low-life attempt to jump on my sister's bike while parked outside a shop while we were watching from inside, sometimes I adjust the brakes so that both are fully on and then derail the chain. That way when the thief attempts to run off with the bike they won't get up to speed before I can catch up with them.
If you don't like the bike the other alternative is to put it into a good sprinting gear then adjust the brakes so they won't work. You do have to remember to fix it before you get back on though!