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Reducing Bike Theft.............

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Reducing Bike Theft.............

Old 08-10-16, 11:13 PM
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Reducing Bike Theft.............

I live in Chicago and may be biased but I think one of the most important advice for newbies is to buy a good lock. Why invest $400 for a purchase & spend $20 for a lock?? The minimum should be 20% of the value of the bike. I was on a college campus the other day near downtown and noticed 3 cable locks cut on the ground. The police won't even bother coming out for a report much less look for it. I have a standard NYC Kryptonite U-lock for the back and a Pitbull mini for the front. I have generic pit-locks & put glue with ball bearings in my stem & rack.
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Old 08-11-16, 12:05 AM
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I think the situation is even worse in Romania. Personally, I would not leave any expensive bike (>$1000) outside with any lock.
My strategy is simply take the bike inside the garage, balcony, or basement - in a shared basement also a lock .
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Old 08-11-16, 01:40 AM
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Sounds like you know what you're doing. Cities like Chicago and NYC really do require going the extra mile when it comes to preventing theft of bikes, as well as components.

I do recommend uploading your serial # to bikeindex.org. It's free and I have heard of a few people getting their bikes back after they were stolen. At a minimum, write down your serial number.

I have my saddle chained to the frame of the bike using a bicycle chain (the kind that wraps around the sprockets).

Many posters on bike forums are known to say "cable locks are fine." They clearly don't live in urban areas where theft is common. Then you have posters that say, "it's simple, I always take the bike inside with me" ... Uh, yeah, except for the fact that that approach is not practical for many, many destinations (grocery stores, retail shops, restaurants ... most destinations). Anyone who uses their bicycle as their primary mode of transportation in an urban area should have a high-quality u-lock, and should have their wheels and seat locked.
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Old 08-11-16, 01:51 AM
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Just as important as getting the best lock (and perhaps other locking mechanisms such as skewers) is knowledge of how to use it right. New bike commuters get their stuff stolen much more quickly than seasoned cyclists.
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Old 08-11-16, 01:52 AM
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A lot will depend on the kinds of places you're locking.

I don't use any skewer locks... If I need to lock the wheel, it will be locked anyway.

Never leave a nice bike out overnight.

You might need a special level of security if locking all day, every day in a high crime area such as the middle of a university campus.

On the other hand, much less if just locking it for 15 minutes at a time during the day at a local store.

I've migrated to a NY Kryptonite, and generally snag the frame, one wheel, and something solid.

In the past when locking for longer periods, I'd also remove the other wheel and snag it with the lock.
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Old 08-11-16, 04:36 AM
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Think like a thief and make your bike unattractive. In my case that's a good ring lock that needs a angle grinder to open, and a chain that locks it to something that can't be moved. The ring lock makes it unattractive to open the lock on the spot and ride away with it, and the chain makes it unattractive to throw into the back of a van and open the lock at home. When I had a beater a flimsy cable was enough for the second part, now I have a more desirable bike I use a chain that is inserted into the ringlock and that needs a power tool to open too.
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Old 08-11-16, 05:21 AM
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I will be starting a new placement for my MSW graduate program in a higher than normal crime rate part of the city (opportunistic crime). The bike would have to be locked out on the street everyday for three months. My typical three Kryptonite U locks, Pit locks for wheels and seatpost and Brooks chained to the frame just isn't going to cut it and I don't want to try and lock up each component with ball bearings and glue etc. I would need to protect my stem, shifters, front and rear racks, derailleurs, dynamo light . . . not going to happen.

I will have to use the next best thing and that is my Brompton. This way I can bring it in my office and not worry if my bike is getting stripped outside.

In extreme cases folding bikes can be the answer for some people.

Like the OP I cringe when I see a cable lock on a bike. That is just an opportunity.
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Old 08-11-16, 06:20 AM
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An inexpensive beater bike is the best defense, IMO. You won't suffer too much of a set back if a thief decides it's worth stealing, which it isn't.

A nice bike locked outside all day, everyday? Well, that's just asking for trouble.
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Old 08-11-16, 08:39 AM
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Originally Posted by CliffordK
...every day in a high crime area such as the middle of a university campus.
I think it must depend on the campus. Maybe I'm being irresponsible, but I leave mine on campus all day with the frame and front wheel locked to a rack (U-lock), but I don't worry about the rear wheel, saddle, etc. the way I would if I were leaving it on a city street all day. I'm always locking to a crowded rack in a high foot traffic area. And my bike's not a beater, but there's a lot of rich kids at this school, chances are good within 100 yards there's something shinier and newer than mine secured with a cable lock.
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Old 08-11-16, 09:12 AM
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How to lock the bike:

Locking a bicycle


How to choose a decent lock:

Bicycle locks
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Old 08-11-16, 10:17 AM
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Consider an alarm, too.

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Old 08-11-16, 12:46 PM
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Originally Posted by RobbiRobbi
I think it must depend on the campus. Maybe I'm being irresponsible, but I leave mine on campus all day with the frame and front wheel locked to a rack (U-lock), but I don't worry about the rear wheel, saddle, etc. the way I would if I were leaving it on a city street all day. I'm always locking to a crowded rack in a high foot traffic area. And my bike's not a beater, but there's a lot of rich kids at this school, chances are good within 100 yards there's something shinier and newer than mine secured with a cable lock.
Your success probably indicates the kinds of thieves you have or don't have. Other places are worse.

Crime has gone down by a lot in most major US cities, and that includes New York and Boston, but bike crime has not. I think the people who would be major criminals have gotten smart and have taken up more fruitful endeavors, and that leaves bike thieves who are some of the stupidest criminals there are. They're stupid because the payoff for bike theft is stupidly low, and yet they don't even notice this. But we have to deal with it as the problem it is.

A cheap beater bike is a nice strategy. Some people build them out of old bikes. I do. Some of them are "sleeper" bikes that were once considered nice but now look obsolete and ugly, but they ride really nicely.

The thieves never mess with old English 3-speeds here, which is dumb, considering how high their market value is. Craigslist should be a clue to thieves that if they're going to steal bikes, they should include the 3-speeds with the Cannondales, but they're too stupid to realize this.
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Old 08-11-16, 12:51 PM
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I agree other places are worse, I was quibbling with labeling "university campus" as a high risk area, when it depends on the city and the type of school.
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Old 08-15-16, 09:31 AM
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Possible Options:
1. Never leave your bike outside over night.
2. Whenever possible, lock your bike up with a good lock, next to a better bike with a lousy lock.
3. Get a quick release for the front wheel and take it with you wherever you go after you've locked your bike.
4. Never allow your bike to look abandoned.

Last edited by Amigo_Frio; 08-15-16 at 09:35 AM.
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Old 08-15-16, 09:38 AM
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Want to reduce bike theft? Get the local officials to actually give a rats ass about it.

Street theft (bikes and car break ins) are a major quality of life issue, yet nobody really does anything about it.

Use bait bikes and bait cars. Dole out extremely harsh consequences for those caught. Publicize results widely. Rinse and repeat until it is safe to park a bike or a car.
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Old 08-15-16, 09:42 AM
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easiest solution is to choose not to live in overpopulated high-crime **** holes . . . but I digress. I would never leave a nice bike on the street, with any lock, even in a low-crime area. my bikes live inside when I'm not riding them.
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Old 08-15-16, 09:57 AM
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This video has been banned on BF.net... but I like to watch it once in a while anyway.

Don't Steal Bikes, Bro

https://vimeo.com/6475675
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Old 08-18-16, 11:21 PM
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My strategy is lock it up tighter than a nun's xxxx and park it beside a much easier bike to steal.
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Old 08-19-16, 09:36 AM
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Originally Posted by americanlt2
I live in Chicago and may be biased but I think one of the most important advice for newbies is to buy a good lock.
That's fascinating. I'm not sure if I'm biased or not, but I think the best advice for newbies to be able to ride fast, is make sure you bike has WHEELS. Otherwise, your bike is gonna go really slow. Very high rolling resistance.
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Old 08-19-16, 12:10 PM
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Originally Posted by mcours2006
An inexpensive beater bike is the best defense, IMO. You won't suffer too much of a set back if a thief decides it's worth stealing, which it isn't.
I resisted buying a new bike for this reason, until one day I realized I didn't want a new bike because I loved my beater. I'd be heartbroken if it got stolen, so I try to make sure it's the best locked bike on the rack.
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Old 08-19-16, 10:03 PM
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Originally Posted by RubeRad
That's fascinating. I'm not sure if I'm biased or not, but I think the best advice for newbies to be able to ride fast, is make sure you bike has WHEELS. Otherwise, your bike is gonna go really slow. Very high rolling resistance.
I have witnessed vans of professional bike thieves working downtown and the North Side. A newbie gets their bike stolen the first 6 months they may be reluctant to purchase another one. They should also make it a law for bike shops to sell mandatory U-Lock or hardened steel chains when selling new bikes.
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