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Not getting your bike stolen, any tips? How do lock warranties work?

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Not getting your bike stolen, any tips? How do lock warranties work?

Old 04-25-10, 01:48 PM
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a1rabbit
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Not getting your bike stolen, any tips? How do lock warranties work?

I don't commute (since I'm a stay at home dad) but I figured this would be the best place to ask my question. I'm about to buy the most expensive bike I've ever owned and would like some tips on keeping it safe. I've been researching locks but I'd like some "professional" opinions from some of you!

Do you have any tips to keep your bike from being stolen? I've not owned a bike in about 12 years, give or take a couple. Every bike I ever owned and actually used was stolen, I'm guessing around five of them over the years. I still rode a lot even after I owned my own car when I was 16-18, then when my last bike was taken I just gave up and used my car, it was never stolen!

Two or three were taken from schools, one was stolen from our patio in an apartment building if I remember correctly. The other ones were taken from storefronts. They were all mountain bikes, and most of them were pretty cheap used bikes.

My favorite bike was taken from a storefront, it's the only time a bike of mine was stolen while it was not locked. I literally walked into a video game store to return a rented game and came back out, my bike was gone.

Every other bike was locked, one was with a pretty crappy lock when I was in elementary school, at the time I thought the lock was good, looking back now I could probably have just pulled the lock apart if I gave the bike a good tug with one hand.

The rest were, if I recall, Kryptonite locks. The big "U" shaped ones. (They were always easy to store on the bike. At one point I think I had some kind of a coiled lock too.

Now I understand that it's best to use two types of locks at the same time. So I'll probably do that.

What kinds do you recommend?

How do lock warranties usually work?

I was reading that bike couriers have their bikes stolen so often that they will buy two locks of the same type so if their bike is stolen they can break the extra lock to "prove" that the bike was taken if the thief takes the evidence with him/her. If they don't take the evidence then at least they already have another lock. It seems to me that if you have to do this to prove that the bike was stolen then the warranty is not a very good one... I figured they would want some kind of serial number from the lock and the bike anyway... unless they register both locks...

Does house insurance cover bikes, typically? I know I can get expensive items put on our house insurance so maybe a bike can go on even though it may not be at home when it gets stolen.

The bike I'm getting is a touring bike. Maybe I'll just get another cheap bike if I expect I'll be off it for any length of time (Getting groceries, etc.)

I live in Vancouver Canada, from what I understand we have the highest bike theft rate in the world.

Thanks for any tips!
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Old 04-25-10, 03:14 PM
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I have a U-shaped lock and almost always lock it on to a fixed object on the ground, like a pole or something. You might already be aware of it, but when you do this, always put the lock around the frame, not a wheel (because it is really easy to take off). I'm truly not an expert, but that is my short piece of advice.
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Old 04-25-10, 03:37 PM
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How the warranties work:
They don't. They're a marketing gimmick.

I suppose it's possible to collect, but in order to do so you have to jump through many hoops both before and after the theft, dot every i and cross every t, and you have to have the defeated lock to send back to them, which is not in your control; if the thief takes it with him or throws it away you're out of luck.

Check with your agent on whether your homeowner's or renter's policy covers your bike. It is likely, but there may be limitations of just a few hundred bucks, enough to cover a "toy" bike.
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Old 04-25-10, 03:55 PM
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In a high-theft area, two types of locks are better than one.

When I have to park in a a high-theft area, I use a Kryptonite New York STD Lock U-Lock to lock the frame and rear wheel to the object, and a Kryptonite Hardwire 2510 cable lock to lock the front wheel and frame to the object. My bikes are also equipped with Pitlocks for the major components. Finally, I take easily removable accessories with me.

Even so, every one of these can be defeated, given enough time.

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Old 04-25-10, 04:11 PM
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Generally, I only use a U-lock. I'll usually put it around the seat-stays and through the rear wheel. Granted, I also currently rock a cheap, older MTB so my bike usually loks worse than anyone elses.

However, when parking it downtown by a bar or something, I also run a cable lock roind the frame, seat, and front wheel. I've never had a bike stolen or messed with and I aim to kep it that way.
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Old 04-25-10, 04:25 PM
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Thanks for the answers. Anyone ever take the bike into stores with them? How's that work out?
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Old 04-25-10, 05:02 PM
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My thoughts:

1) It might be a bad call to have an expensive bike in that city. I would've though Amsterdam would be the highest theft, my wife has some stories!

2) You might consider buying a folding bike. Bring it in with you to work & home, and even maybe in stores. It is hard to steal a bike if one has it with oneself.
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Old 04-26-10, 09:01 AM
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i researched locks recently and found some study that said kryptonites and on guards u locks were the best, everything else was second. however the article admitted that even the best locks can be defeated without too much hassle if you have the tools.

my advice would be buy a good bike that doesnt look like a good bike. something used maybe, or take the stickers off. also take the seat inside with you, or even better- the front wheel. thieves would rather snag something they can ride comfortably.
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Old 04-26-10, 10:14 AM
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Just get the best ulock you can afford. There's no guarantee of not getting your bike stolen but it at least will deter the more simple theft such as those who use cable cutter. Your next deterent will depend on your bike and the location of where it is locked. I used a cheapy Walmart Schwinn bike whenever I go department store shopping on the weekend. It has yet to be stolen. My commuter is a better bike but I keep that locked in plain view. My carbon bike never gets lock simply because it goes where I goes including the bathroom if I have to make a quick stop at a gas station when I'm road riding. You probably can see where I'm going with this. You better off with more than one single bike depending on what you doing or where it will be parked.

Consider the extra cost of a cheaper bike as an insurance of minimizing the chance of getting your better bike stolen.
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Old 04-26-10, 12:38 PM
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FWIW - In Europe where bike theft is high, they use a heavy (probably 15 lbs.) chain with nylon cover and either a U-lock or a big beefy padlock. A lot of the bikes also have integral locks that go through the rear wheel.

It's all about making sure there are easier targets, which unfortunatly means carrying more weight.

colleen also has a great bike. It is hard to ride a cheap bike after getting used to a nice one though.
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Old 04-26-10, 02:21 PM
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I feel for you. I too live in Vancouver area and bike theft is a serious issue. There is a thriving black market for used bikes in Vancouver thanks in part to CL. Although the cops try to catch them, there are far too many junkies and bikes are easy ticket to their next fix. However they often look for easy targets. The key is cause the thief to steal someone else' bike.
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Old 04-26-10, 03:41 PM
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Originally Posted by wunderkind View Post
The key is cause the thief to steal someone else' bike.
How sad, but true.
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Old 04-26-10, 05:06 PM
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Originally Posted by wunderkind View Post
I feel for you. I too live in Vancouver area and bike theft is a serious issue. There is a thriving black market for used bikes in Vancouver thanks in part to CL. Although the cops try to catch them, there are far too many junkies and bikes are easy ticket to their next fix. However they often look for easy targets. The key is cause the thief to steal someone else' bike.
Not necessarely true as such, since some dutch research have made an interesting note, that when the dutch building code enforced strong theft security on all new buildings, the result where that breaking and entering fell overall, even in those buildings with less security. It is likely that if the average bike had good locks, bike theft would fall overall too since it wouldn't be (on average) such an easy way for junkies to raise some cash.

In other words, bad bike locks on many bikes makes bike theft an attractive activity, while good locks make stealing bikes hard work and therefore unattractive as a regular gig.
So when installing that good u-lock, see it as doing your part in combating bike theft overall besides making your own bike more secure.

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