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Would you feel safe leaving your bike here? / Which option is better?

Old 10-24-14, 06:44 AM
  #1  
ladyroadie
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Would you feel safe leaving your bike here? / Which option is better?

I've been a fair-weather bike commuter on a dinky hybrid for a year, but just got a new Surly Cross Check (LOVE), and now that I have a fun and expensive bike to ride I want to get better about riding in all weather. I'm hoping to move towards selling my car someday soon. I'll ride the hybrid when there's salt on the ground, but otherwise really want to ride the Surly even when its raining.

However, current bike parking at work is just an uncovered rack about 200 feet from the entrance. I work in a strip mall in a not-so-great part of town, so I do get a little nervous locking the new bike to the rack, but I work in a federal building with cameras on the roof and often a security guard in a car at the entrance, facing the bike rack. My BIGGER concern is the rain. I don't want to leave my brand new steel bike out in the rain all day. The security guards have been surprisingly understanding on this and are trying to get me a dry place to keep my bike. Unfortunately, bringing it all the way into the building isn't an option. The two possibilities we are exploring are as follows:

1: Cable-locking the bike to the emergency phone that is under the wide awning just in front of the entrance (one of those tall blue-light phones). This is in full view of the security guards working inside the entrance, and as I said there is often one in a car just in front of the entrance. I'm not typically a fan of cable locking but it would be pretty ballsy to steal the bike in full view of the guards. However I do suspect this won't be approved bc of "safety concerns."

2. Leaving the bike in the foyer of the entrance. This is clearly the best option, but the only issue is that there is nothing for me to lock the bike to. I would have to u-lock the wheel to the frame and leave the bike just leaning against the wall. To get to the foyer you have to walk ~10 steps under the awning and open the first door of the building. There is a small foyer with all glass windows before you open the second door. Just beyond the second door is the security screening, with a metal detector and at least 2, usually 3 guards at all times. They can see fully into the foyer and there are definitely cameras recording the entrance. There is a motorized scooter that is also left in the foyer most of the time. This has not yet been approved but looks more encouraging. I left the hybrid there on the occasions where I forgot the key to my ulock, with no problems.

I should note that the guards certainly can't guard my bike as part of their job duties. They do know who I am, and would probably recognize if someone not me was messing with my bike, but I am not sure if they would confront the person or not for reasons of liability.

To be honest I am not that worried about someone coming in off the street, walking into a federal building, and taking a bike from the foyer. That is just so ballsy its hard to imagine it even happening. I am just moderately concerned about someone who works in the building taking it -- yeah, sucks to admit this, but we've had multiple instances of things like headphones being taken off someone's desk. That's probably happening after hours, though, and there is a big difference between stealing headphones and stealing a BIKE in broad daylight in front of guards.

I suspect I'm just being a little paranoid because I love my new bike so much, and it was a big purchase for me. I am also adding the bike to my homeowners insurance, they claim it will cover the bike in the event it is stolen even while out of the house, although that sounds a little too good to be true so I am wary.

So, would you feel comfortable leaving your bike unlocked in the foyer of a federal building?
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Old 10-24-14, 07:00 AM
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As long as it's locked to itself and cannot roll, I'd think it would be ok in that location.
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Old 10-24-14, 09:24 AM
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I would not leave a bike unlocked in a "public" space. You're right, people off the street might not be able to grab your bike, but you still have to worry about those in the building. If you leave it there everyday, there will be people with their eyes on it. You have to account for everyone with building access, including lower paid workers that wouldn't mind risking their jobs for an expensive bike. You also may be familiar with the security officers, but it would be real easy for them to walk out with it. Sorry, I don't mean to be skeptical of people, but that's the best way to keep your bike safe. I lock up my bike in my own house.

If I were you, I'd just spring for a cover and lock it on the rack. If you're riding it back and forth everyday, I don't think the moving parts are in any danger of rusting up. Bring some towels to wipe it down if you need. Of course, this leads to someone seeing the bike there everyday, and planning to break the lock despite the security camera. This is Baltimore, I'm sure some kid on the street is not gonna worry about the police department collaborating with federal building security, to recover a stolen bike. If you carry a U-lock, I would leave a heavy chain on the rack to double up the bike security, and force any thief to make two different methods of breaking locks. That should deter them enough to find a much easier target, and if they did go through the trouble, it should take long enough that security would notice on the cameras.
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Old 10-24-14, 09:29 AM
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I'm very familiar with Baltimore, I grew up here. That said, I actually work in a suburb outside of Baltimore. Bike theft is less of an issue around here (mostly because there are fewer cyclists than in the city).

I do worry a little bit about leaving it in the same place unlocked every day, but I can for sure trust the security guards. They'd lose their job if they stole property and the whole thing would be on camera. Can't imagine that being worth it for a 1K bike.

If I stick to the outdoor rack I may add a chain though...or what about a second u-lock? I posted a picture here of my bike locked up with two u-locks (both to the frame) and was basically told the second u-lock wasn't doing much of anything. I already own one of those though, and it's insured - I'd have to buy a bike chain....
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Old 10-24-14, 09:57 AM
  #5  
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I would not leave my bike unless it is locked to something.

You could lock your bike to the rack and cover it when it is raining or rain is forecast.

You counting on locking your bike to the phone might not work out if someone else gets there first and decides to take the spot. But you could do it when it's available and use the rack with bike cover option as plan B.
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Old 10-24-14, 10:28 AM
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Foyer locked to itself should be fine, but building mgm't will eventually get hissy when there's always a cycle in the foyer instead of occasionally a scooter. But I'd get two u-locks and double-lock it to the rack outside, and a cover and a towel for rainy days. You can leave the u-locks attached to the rack so you don't have to schlep them back and forth. That and a camera and a sometimes guard parked out front should keep the scroats away.
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Old 10-24-14, 10:34 AM
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I'd lock it to the rack outside and not worry about the rain. If you wipe it down upon return to your home and keep it lubricated, it should be fine. The advantage of getting a cover for it is that folks won't know it's your "good" bike. The disadvantage is that some might assume only expensive bikes are cared for in this manner. Oh, two other thoughts - having it under a cover adds just one more step to what someone has to go through to steal it; that might be a bit of a deterrent. And, by locking it to the rack, you can leave the lock locked to the rack and not have to transport it everyday. It is tough when we're worried about our newest "love".
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Old 10-24-14, 10:36 AM
  #8  
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If I have to park & lock my bike , I lock it Up To something..



IDK Baltimore , but from John Waters Films. Welcome to Dreamland

Security camera recording and insurance policy paid by you, against theft , will work together..

the Image of the theft as a evidence of the event for when your bike is gone.

bring it in .. there should be someplace to lock it up in a big mall, like the warehouse, back stock part of the store .

leave the Bike rack space for the shoppers.


Perhaps ..

a photo of the area in question would be more informative .

is the Guard always standing in 1 spot or on a walk around Circuit?

Last edited by fietsbob; 10-24-14 at 03:44 PM.
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Old 10-24-14, 10:49 AM
  #9  
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Originally Posted by ladyroadie View Post
I'm very familiar with Baltimore, I grew up here. That said, I actually work in a suburb outside of Baltimore. Bike theft is less of an issue around here (mostly because there are fewer cyclists than in the city).
Sorry, that comment was made towards the above commenter from MN. I removed it after re-reading it, as I realized it was kinda coming off condescending.

Originally Posted by ladyroadie View Post
If I stick to the outdoor rack I may add a chain though...or what about a second u-lock? I posted a picture here of my bike locked up with two u-locks (both to the frame) and was basically told the second u-lock wasn't doing much of anything. I already own one of those though, and it's insured - I'd have to buy a bike chain....
In my opinion, having two locks is doing something, because it is a deterrent. If you were carrying two U-locks around, I would say you need to weigh the pros and cons, but if you're just leaving it on the rack, there's very little negative. However, I would recommend getting a hefty chain instead of a second U-lock. This causes the thief to use two different methods, which likely require two different tools. Just making it more of a PITA, is the best deterrent.
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Old 10-24-14, 11:18 AM
  #10  
ladyroadie
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OK. I'm leaning towards doing the cover. These seem like a PITA, but I guess I would only have to do it if there was a lot of rain forecasted. Bike would be fine with a little rain. Does anyone have input on a tarp vs a cover? With a tarp, I could leave it locked up at the rack with something thru the eyelets. Not sure that's a possibility with a cover.

I'll prob stick with my current locking system, which is a large u-lock locked to the rack all the time (water is doing some damage on it, but its and old lock) and a small u-lock that I carry in my bag -- that one has insured anti-theft, and I use it around town on weekends. I'll buy a chain next time my commuter benefits add up -- do those have insured anti theft?
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Old 10-24-14, 12:23 PM
  #11  
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Have you brought it up with management? I'm sure there's a closet or somewhere to stick your bike.

Out of the options you listed, I'd go with immobilized in the foyer. If they complain, that gives you a better argument for safe bicycle parking.
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Old 10-24-14, 12:37 PM
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Yeah, I've lobbied pretty hard with this. Most people think the uncovered bike rack far from the entrance is fine. I am not able to bring the bike past the entrance for security reasons.

I'm back on the fence now with all these mixed answers!
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Old 10-24-14, 01:07 PM
  #13  
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Have you checked if their is a Federal Govt. policy on bike parking. Covered secure parking is what I would expect in Govt buildings up here. It's not unheard of for local management to be unaware of such policies or ignoring them.

If exterior parking is the only option, I'd ride the good bike when the weather was good and the old bike in rain or worse. I'd leave a heavy chain or heavy U lock attached to the bike rack to secure whichever bike I rode and carry something lighter for stops enroute to pick up groceries etc.. I'd also carry a shower cap to cover the seat when it was raining or likely to do so. I'd also replace all quick releases.
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Old 10-24-14, 01:31 PM
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Canada is WAY better with this kind of thing. I've checked as best I could, cc:ed the union and tweeted at several different bike orgs. Doesn't seem to be anything. I suspect bike parking is required, as they installed the bike rack when we rented this building a couple of years ago (before I joined), and I assume if cover was required than they would have installed it.

I think your good bike/good weather bad bike/bad weather plan is exactly what I will do, although I may stretch it a bit - I think the Surly can take SOME rain ;-)
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Old 10-24-14, 03:12 PM
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OP, I saw your post on the Mr. Money Mustache forum. I don't bother to cover my bike when I commute on it, and a Fargo is probably as expensive as a Cross Check. I don't think rain hurts it. If I replace any screws that have rusted I buy stainless steel ones, but it doesn't look like a problem in 3 years and 5,000 miles. And I never have anywhere under cover to park it at work.

At home I park it in the garage.
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Old 10-24-14, 04:43 PM
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Originally Posted by ladyroadie View Post
My BIGGER concern is the rain. I don't want to leave my brand new steel bike out in the rain all day.
Everyone else so far has seemed to addressed your lesser concern, theft. I guess that leaves me with your bigger concern, rain.

It's a little known secret that bicycles are designed for outdoor use. This includes getting wet.

I state that provocatively to catch your attention because I see so many threads around here where people are advised to do all sorts of unnecessary things to "protect" their bikes from a little water. These days, it just ain't needed.

All the old-timers will warn you about REALLY BAD THINGS happening to your headset, bottom bracket, and wheel bearings if there's even damp in the forecast. But these days, all those are sealed bearings. I ride all 52 weeks in winters much harsher than you have in Baltimore, and with the added joys of road salt. In over 40,000 commuting miles I've NEVER had to SERVICE, let alone replace a headset, bottom bracket or wheel bearing due to weather or moisture related problems. I've worn them out, but that's miles, not rain.

Next, who cares if your bike is steel? So is your car, and you leave that parked out in the rain at work, right?

The components, unless you've gone cheap, are aluminum. So are the wheels, and the spokes are stainless. That leaves a handful of screws and the chain. A little grease on the screws and a little oil on the chain, and those won't rust either. Throw a plastic bag over the saddle, secure it with a rubber band or two, and you'll be all right.

Look, I know you love your bike--I love mine too--but trust me, it won't disintegrate because you've parked it in the rain at work.

For the sake of completeness, if you're still concerned about the frame, have your LBS squirt it full of Weigle's FrameSaver. It's similar to the Zie-Bart, BodyGuard and other "rustproofing" treatments for cars. But, bear in mind that every car I ever had "rustproofed"--including one made of modern galvanized steel--rusted out in a Rochester winter.

Last edited by tsl; 10-24-14 at 04:46 PM.
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Old 10-24-14, 05:08 PM
  #17  
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Originally Posted by ladyroadie View Post
I think your good bike/good weather bad bike/bad weather plan is exactly what I will do, although I may stretch it a bit - I think the Surly can take SOME rain ;-)
Don't worry about rain, just enjoy riding your bike. Surly frames are very tough and durable.
As for locking, get yourself a heavy duty Kryptonite U-Lock or chain and lock your bike through the rear frame and rear wheel and to the bike rack or some heavy post. You could even remove the front wheel and take it with you inside the building and then put the wheel back in when you're ready to ride home.
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Old 10-26-14, 10:24 AM
  #18  
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My son rides a nice vintage race bike, with a full Mavic group, to high school. The racks are outside and theft is a concern. He locks his bike with a Kryptonite U lock on the chainstays and rear wheel, and a medium duty Kryptonite chain on the downtube and front wheel. No problems so far. He leaves one of the locks on the rack.
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Old 10-29-14, 09:20 AM
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I have to lock my carbon fiber bike to a fence outside and I am not very happy about this... The building I am in doesn't allow bikes inside, despite being filled with and environmental non-profits... I chose to use the office that overlooks the bike area. Most people don't want this office, but for me it was perfect. I use a u-lock and a cable through the tires. My seatpost is specially designed to only fit the frame I have, so if someone stole it, they wouldn't be able to do much with it. I also have renters insurance, mostly for my bike, just to feel less anxious about loosing my bike. Worth the $15 bucks a month for me. I don't leave any lights or anything on it during the day. I drive if there is heavy rain or storms (very rare where I am), but with light rain in the forecast, I put a bag over the saddle. You can also buy waterproof bike covers - check Amazon, bike nashbar, etc. I have been considering one of these, but then there is the issue of what to do with a wet bike cover at the end of the day...
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Old 10-29-14, 12:52 PM
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If I used a bike cover, I would probably just roll it up wet and bungee or strap it to the top of my rear rack for the ride home. It wouldn't interfere with my panniers.
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Old 10-29-14, 12:53 PM
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The only place i feel safe leaving my bike at is at home !
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Old 10-29-14, 03:04 PM
  #22  
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Any chance you could get a nice looking rack installed in the foyer? That's what I did at my previous place of employment. Got permission to install a wooden rack (not quite as secure as metal, but looked nicer) that could hold up to 3 bikes inside the building near the entrance door (employee keycard or call for a security guard to enter). Kept the bikes out of the way and let us lock them to the rack.
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