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Anyone lost a bike to theft while commuting?

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Anyone lost a bike to theft while commuting?

Old 09-04-01, 09:40 PM
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epicycle
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Anyone lost a bike to theft while commuting?

Wanted to ask around about this ... I know there has got to be some fellow bikers out there that lost a prized possession (aka a bike) to theft while commuting.

About 5 years ago I saved up enough cash while at college to buy a $700 Mongoose Rockadile SX MTN bike. That next summer I had an internship in Chicago and used the bike to commute to work every day. About 3/4 of the way into the summer on a pretty hot day I rode into work, half dazed from the heat I locked the bike up (at least I think I did). I may not have attached it properly to the twisty rack (the kind that are curvey and cemented into the ground). Anyhow, the rack was next to a guard shack in front of the Chicago Board of Trade with around 60 other bikes so I thought it was pretty safe, and of course I thought I had locked it up. Anyhow, to make a short story long .. I came out that evening ready to bike the lakefront on a cooler evening and low and behold it was gone. I circled the building thinking in my daze that I locked it up in a different location. Nada ... nothing ... I went to the building, they could do nothing ... my company, nothing ... called the U-Lock company and they said it was insured IF I would send them the lock for analysis. They would then pay for the bike IF it was the fault of the lock. Well guess what ... the darn thief decided to take the U-Lock with him. How nice ahe? ... so needless to say I was out the said bike ... never the less the showleather express got me to work the rest of the summer.

Any other tales of lost loves?
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Old 09-04-01, 11:48 PM
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When riding I never let my bike out of sight. At work It is inside near me. I would never leave it out in the open, away from my person. My best road bike is way to expensive to place at risk.
My lock is maybe not the best? A simple steel cable with plastic covering and built in lock. What do you think is needed as a lock when out in the general public?
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Old 09-05-01, 05:47 AM
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My bike comes inside with me, or I don't bring it. From where I am now sitting (in my cube), I can stand up and see it.
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Old 09-05-01, 06:19 AM
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My building is just plain a pain in the butt about it. Most companies downtown are. They don't want em indoors ... don't ask me why, their just morons ... anyhow, I am looking at getting one of the high end Krypto locks. Anyone recommend anything else? I will likely leave it at the location so I don't have to commute with that lead weight on my back.
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Old 09-05-01, 07:00 AM
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Oooh, bad memories here! Yes, I lost a bike to thieves as well. The good news is that after that experience my employer allowed me to bring it inside to my office AND...and this is the good part! I upgraded to my current beautiful bike!!!

My advice is to try and convince them that it is important to bring it in, and if not park it in a very public place with BOTH a ULOCK (not too big, no room for pry bars and saws) AND a woven steel cable like Kryptonite. Make it a serious pain in the tail for your thieves, so they will reconsider!
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Old 09-05-01, 07:20 AM
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The best thing to do is build a bike out of a ratty old frame with good parts. If it doesn't look like it's worth much, you likely won't have it stolen. If it looks like a $700 bike, it will dissappear.
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Old 09-05-01, 09:56 AM
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Here a Chicago Tribune column that Mary Schmich did on bicycle theft:

Bicyclists share sad rides down memory lane
Published August 29, 2001

Some wounds are so primal, some losses are so
deep, that they can be survived only through turning
the grief into a story.

Fortunately, other people's stories of loss can be a
balm for our own pain, and it was in search of such
comfort that on Tuesday I went to the lakefront
looking for tales of stolen bicycles.

Standing on the concrete shore, I deduced my fellow
victims scientifically. Was the sunbather in the
company of a bike? If so, the sunbather was
guaranteed to have a tale of thievery. Any city dweller
who owns a bicycle, according to my theory, has had
at least one bike stolen.

"Two," said Joe Kaehn, who was bronzing in blue
briefs on the cement next to his third bike, a battered
Trek 7000. He's a boxing coach whose clients range
from Cabrini-Green kids and Olympics contenders to
stockbrokers at the Fitplex on LaSalle Street.

"Did you know Muhammad Ali started boxing because somebody stole his bike?"
he asked.

He explained that, crying and swearing to beat up the thief, little Ali reported his
stolen bike to a cop. The cop, who was also a boxing coach, suggested that if Ali
wanted to pummel someone, he learn to box.

And here's why boxer Kaehn turned to biking: "I hadda sell my car because of
parking tickets."

Kaehn, 45, had accumulated $3,000 in fines when he decided a couple of years
ago that two wheels were all one man needed. Then his first bike was stolen.

"A beautiful Diamondback. I loaned it to a friend from Uganda. He went into a
coffee shop. It was locked to a sign. Somebody picked the sign up and scooted it
off the post."

The second was a Mongoose. "Last summer, I'd gotten off work as a bar
doorman, went to play cards at a friend's house, came out at 7 and my bike was
gone."

Remembering, he grew mournful, as so many victims do when their repressed
visions of stolen bikes surge to the surface. Soon he was recounting tales of
other stolen bikes, his bikes from the '70s, his sister's bike, bikes he loved as
much as he loved his Camaros.

He sighed. "These are traumatic memories."

Believe me, I know. But therapy can't last forever, bud. On to the next victims.

"Two! Off the back porch in Wicker Park! With Kryptonite locks!"

Jason Pawlik, 28, and Valeria MacLeod, 27, were talking in tandem, which was
fitting since their Treks when abducted were locked together and locked to their
third-floor back porch.

"They took part of the porch," said Pawlik, a stockbroker and bartender. "Both
bikes and part of the porch!"

On this sunny August day next to the shining lake, dark and distant memories
stormed into view. Like the time almost 20 years ago when someone broke into
the basement of the MacLeod family's Skokie home.

"It was horrible," said Val, a bartender. "My Banana Boat Schwinn. With basket.
Stolen."

So much loss, so much trauma. I was feeling better now, united in the universal
brotherhood of stolen-bike victims. Listening to these tales of woe, years of my
own stolen bikes flashed before me:

The one I bought with $100 given to me by my father, who had not been able to
give me any money since I was 16. I was 31 then. He was about to die. "I heard
you tell your mother you wanted to buy a bike," he said, and so I bought a blue
Schwinn, my father's last gift to me. It was stolen from my Chicago basement.

I replaced it with a turquoise Univega. Stolen. A black Trek. Stolen. A red
Cannondale. Stolen. This month, a yellow Cannondale, which, just as surely as a
Chicago summer brings sunflowers and blueberries, was stolen.

No reason to recount the details because, like love and debt and families, all
stolen bike stories are as alike as they are different. The lock not locked. The
lock cut off. The frozen moment of discovery: Who moved my bike? The hot flush
of realization: Thief.

And the tormenting doubts: Why me? What could I have done differently? Do I
have the energy to try again?

To which, thanks to the stories of other victims, I now add the question: Is it time
to forget the bike and take up boxing?
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Old 12-24-05, 07:30 PM
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Twenty or so years ago I rode to a home office put my bike in the back yard with a high fence around it and shut the high gate. Went inside. 4-5 minutes later I got nervous about leaving it unlocked and went back out to lock it. GONE! My only bike at the time and I was in training for my first double century in 2 weeks. Good news a few days later I got a check for ~$1,000.00 and got a new bike. Bad news it was my share of my deceased aunts' estate. Since then I have followed most if not all anti-theft measures and have had no problems. Before that episode I had a bike computer taken and a tire slashed.
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Old 12-24-05, 09:55 PM
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In the late 70's I lost a bike while commuting. I had just bought a Centurion Pro Tour. I had started on the 10 mile journey to night classes at a community college. It was daylight still. Three teens who I suspected to be gang members started following me on bikes. I was in good shape, and not too worried, but I picked up the pace a little.

Then another gang in a '64 Impala saw the cyclists following me passed us all and then swerved right and pinned me to the curb. I tried to pick up my bike and run away, but I was surrounded, and by then the gang in the impala had out a baseball bat and was swinging it at my back(Thankfully I had a heavy curly cable in my backpack). I ran into the street, but I was surrounded. I tried to cut a path by swinging my bike. But my strength was not enough to keep it up for long.

Last I saw of that bike, it was in the air with one gang on each end. The main police station was two blocks away and I walked to report it. The cops wouldn't believe it until a lady who was the aunt of one of the gang members called to report the incident.

Even with a solid lead like that, they never lifted a finger to do anything about it. I had a back-up bike and the next night I dropped 10 minutes on a 60 minute commute. I soon applied to a University in a quieter city and at the end of the year I moved.

I still have the back-up bike.
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Old 12-25-05, 12:11 AM
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In 1994 my cannondale was stolen from inside of my work building. I worked so hard to buy that bike and had created a new identity riding it for countless hours -then, gone! I, 23 yrs old at the time, cried like a baby that day and a few more after. All I could think about was the bond I had created with that bike, it was truly heart and gut wrenching and I was sooooo isolated from other cyclist. I think the worst part of the story is when I bought a new bike and hated it, just wasn't the same. Not until 1998 did I find a bike I could enjoy again!
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Old 12-25-05, 12:15 AM
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I had an orange Novara MTB with dropbars. It was beautiful, and I still miss it to this day. A pox on the crackhead that nicked it.
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Old 12-25-05, 12:43 AM
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I was moving into a new dorm in NYC in Jan of 1997. I had all of my clothes in the back seat and my beloved Bridgestone MB5 and assorted gear in the trunk of an old Volvo. My brilliant plan was to bring everything from the back seat up without opening the trunk so nobody would know I had anything back there. The car was parked about 40' from the entrance where there was a doorman. It took me about 15 minutes to drop my stuff off and get back down. As I went to open the trunk I noticed the lock had been cut right out of the car!

I loved that bike even though it was a little too big for me. The good news was that it was covered under my parents' homeowner's insurance. I found a great deal on the previous year's Fischer X-Calibur, my parents offered me half of the difference between the insurance money and the price tag, and I got a much better bike that fit me well for about $200. I can't complain about that!
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Old 12-25-05, 09:22 AM
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I've always commuted on grungy bikes to minimize theft, but this year I bought a modestly priced new bike...a full-sized folding mountain bike (see Dakar). Like the OP, I may not have locked it properly due to a momentary lapse...I had a stretchy coiled cable lock and I might have locked it to the end post of freestanding rack with a T-shaped foot, so I think the thief may have been able to lift the rack and stretch the cable around the foot. So I'm back to riding my $200 specials. I was less upset than you'd expect, because I was a bit sorry I'd bought the bike, but I didn't enjoy losing the $500 or so in bike and lock costs.

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Old 12-25-05, 12:46 PM
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There are some stolen bike stories with positive outcomes. A few years ago, I began commuting on a (really) cheap Huffy that I got for 59 bucks at a hardware store promotion. I locked it to the window bars in front of my house. I began getting lazy and put a cable through the bars and used my U-lock to fasten the cable to the bike. One morning I came out and the bike was gone. The thief had cut the cable. The bike probably still has the U-lock hanging on the frame. The outcome? That nearly unrideable Huffy re-kindled my love of riding, so I wnet to a lbs, paid a lot more than 59 bucks for a used Mongoose and began to ride for real. I now am on my fifth bike and doing 125-150 miles a week and loving every mile of it. If the Huffy had not been stolen, I'd probably still be commuting a few miles each day and not doing any fun riding at all.

Of course, I still think that all bicycle thieves are scum sucking, low life bastards who ought to be shipped to at least the fifth circle of hell.
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Old 12-26-05, 09:16 PM
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The very first time I rode my Trek 7200 to work, it was stolen before lunch, lock and all. I replaced it with a beater schwinn from Workingbikes in Chicago. The beater has lasted, but I'm not sure if its due to its ugliness or the double locks (cable for the wheels and U lock for the frame).

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Old 12-27-05, 12:04 AM
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Originally Posted by epicycle
I may not have attached it properly to the twisty rack (the kind that are curvey and cemented into the ground). Anyhow, the rack was next to a guard shack in front of the Chicago Board of Trade with around 60 other bikes
I didn't read the rest of the OP story because you should never use bike racks. There are numerous horror stories on this forum about bike racks and more continue to show up each month. Bike racks are the worse place to park your bike and you need to hide it from the public. Do a search on BF with the word bike rack and theft and you'll read loads of stories.

Bike racks used to be a good idea about 50 years ago. Today, only the very brave will lock their bikes on racks next to 10 dollar rusting department store beaters. It's unfortunate that cyclist are their own worse enemies when it comes to theft. The only time my bike was ever attacked was when I foolishly decided to use the bike rack.

Always hide the bike or lock it far from foot traffic. The more secluded the better and never use a rack next to a bus stop. Your only other option is to buy a folding bike so you can bring it inside the office..

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Old 12-27-05, 06:37 AM
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Originally Posted by Dahon.Steve
There are numerous horror stories on this forum about bike racks and more continue to show up each month. Bike racks are the worse place to park your bike and you need to hide it from the public. Do a search on BF with the word bike rack and theft and you'll read loads of stories.
Most of the horror stories about bike racks in BF seem to be written by you, Steve.
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Old 12-27-05, 09:17 AM
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Originally Posted by I-Like-To-Bike
Most of the horror stories about bike racks in BF seem to be written by you, Steve.
I only comment when someone creates a new thread on theft on a bike rack. I haven't created a new thread on this subject in ages because they come up so frequently like clockwork. After reading all the horror stories, I'm totally anti-bike rack.
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Old 12-27-05, 09:34 AM
  #19  
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I had two really crappy bikes stolen when I was a student, so I don't miss them much. In a sense I am sort of glad they were stolen or I would've waited much longer to upgrade to a real bike finally. I've been really careful with my bike since then, so it hasn't been stolen... yet... I did lose a rear wheel with all the trimmings (i.e., cassette) to a thief once though. That hurt, but I was glad the rest of the bike wasn't gone.
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Old 12-27-05, 09:39 AM
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What's sad is that the police do nothing whatsoever about stolen bikes... Apparently they won't throw some of the known criminals connected to knowingly selling stolen bikes because they serve as informers. So they really think it's no big deal that bikes are stolen... Disgusting.
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