Old 01-13-07, 07:05 PM
Mister Goody Two Shoes
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There goes one locking strategy out the window!

I was down in Portland last weekend, and came across something unusual: A tire U-locked to a bike rack. Next to a cut cable. Right alongside the eastbound Max line (I think that's Yamhill?) around 4th or 5th.
I'm guessing that someone locked the rear wheel, and used the cable for the front. I'm continuing to guess that whoever nabbed it clipped the rear wheel with bolt cutters, or at least cut through most of the way and twisted to break the rim. The steel tire beads didn't look like they got cut all the way through, and so the cut tire was left locked to the rack.
So, in other words, the "Sheldon" method of locking the rear wheel inside the rear triangle isn't exactly foolproof. It's also pretty obvious that about a billion Saturday lookie-loo pedestrians in that busy area, maybe even a Max train full of passengers, didn't raise any significant fuss over the theft: Picture this, someone whips out a big set of bolt cutters. Clips the cable. Finagles them into the rim between the same spokes as the u-lock, heeeeaave, BANG!! goes the tire, then a few strong-arm twists of the bolt cutters to break the rim. If the frame was in the lock as well, it could be clipped the same way. Drops the cutters, grabs both sides of the broken rim and wrenches open enough room to get the lock out. But the tire's bead is intact! Flips the quick release, removes the mangled rim, and peels off the tire and tube. Gathers up the bike, wheel, cutters, and leaves. Maybe the thief even stood around for a few minutes and hopped on the next Max?
I guess it's not good to rely on a busy area, either. There's a ton of foot traffic right there, and no parking for a getaway vehicle; you'd have to park on the Max tracks!

I'm almost used to seeing stripped bikes and remains of mostly stolen bikes around Vancouver and Portland. Most of these kinds of theft are easy enough to avoid; it's usually a missing quick release seat, a missing wheel that wasn't locked, just a front wheel locked to a rack, so forth. This one was a shock to me, seeing the determination of the thief in contrast to the complacency of the witnesses, and the usually effective locking methods. I don't think, with a good u-lock and a cable, it would have been possible to stop this thief. The cable was worthless, and even if the u-lock had been routed through both wheels, frame, and a crankring, I think this guy might have been willing to destroy whatever that lock went through or just strip the bike on the spot. Creepy. I'm a little more appreciative of my dirty, scratched suntour components now!
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