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Another Question about Car Free

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Living Car Free Do you live car free or car light? Do you prefer to use alternative transportation (bicycles, walking, other human-powered or public transportation) for everyday activities whenever possible? Discuss your lifestyle here.

Another Question about Car Free

Old 07-03-12, 05:55 PM
  #1  
chefisaac
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Another Question about Car Free

I currently have two bikes. Both are nice bikes. One is a road bike that I use on long training rides and organized rides. the other is a mtn bike commuter that I use to commute to work. This bike has a lot of added on features that are not easily removable.

My question is: when you do errands around town, do you take your bike into places or lock it up? If you lock it up, do you have a cheaper bike with less fixed things on it that are hard to remove etc?

I would not feel safe about leaving any of the bikes locked up outside, especially where I live and I am not sure how it is received if I bring my bike into a grocery store for example.
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Old 07-03-12, 06:25 PM
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I'm fortunate because my office is close to almost everything else around me, so I'll sometimes store the bike in the office while I'm downtown. If I had to leave a bike locked up outside for long periods of time, I'd go with a cheaper bike for that kind of riding. Craigslist or the local classified listings may provide you with a decent bike for this use.

Taking a bike into most places isn't an option for me. It's frowned upon here and I respect that. So the option is to have the bike locked in front of the building and to keep it in sight as much as possible.

One thing to look into is whether there are bike lockers where you live. If so, they may provide a solution where you can safely lock your good bikes when you're around town.
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Old 07-03-12, 07:24 PM
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I have a couple of bikes that I never leave alone. I have a couple of more that I will lock up under certain conditions, then I have another one that has been stolen then left in the ditch at the end of the shopping center. You will have to decide for yourself and reach a happy median. For most of my errand running I use an old Raleigh 3 speed with baskets mounted on it. I have a pretty substantial lock and chain for it. I lock it to something solid when I do lock it. I also have a much newer Redline R530 bike that has a built in wheel lock with an optional plug in chain. I am more careful about locking that one up and want it where I can keep an eye on it, and don't leave it locked up for very long.

I use dyno driven lights that are permanently mounted, no computers or pumps to be removed. Use two different types of locks and lock to a substantial item and you will be ahead of the game.

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Old 07-03-12, 11:09 PM
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Originally Posted by chefisaac View Post
I would not feel safe about leaving any of the bikes locked up outside, especially where I live and I am not sure how it is received if I bring my bike into a grocery store for example.
I think you should get over this. A bike is something to use, not keep locked up at home. Bring it to the grocery store, lock it up outside and live with it. You can get insurance on your bike if it concerns you and there are many different strategies to deal with theft, including using a "beater" bike, but bike theft will end up being part of the cost of getting around on bicycle.

Still cheaper than a car.
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Old 07-03-12, 11:18 PM
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This is a tough call, and it depends on your comfort level, the neighborhood you live in, your bikes and how much you could live without them.

I only have one bike, a Surly LHT that I really, really like, and which would be a bit of burden for me to replace. I ride the bike almost everywhere I go in town, and except at work, I almost always lock it up outside. I have a decent U lock, I lock it up in well-traveled areas, always to something very solid and thoroughly attached to the ground, and I never, ever leave it outside overnight. I use easily-removable panniers, and always take these with me when I park outside. I also remove my light whenever I leave the bike outside (though I used to leave a $30 Cateye on the bike at all times and no one touched it in 8 years). So far, knock on wood, the only thing that's been stolen is a water bottle.

I think one needs to be realistic, though. If a thoughtful, well-equipped thief wants your bike, it's gone. I'm aware of this, and understand that my beloved bike may one day be stolen, but I'd rather accept this risk, and enjoy using it, than lock the bike away as if it were more than just a nice piece of machinery.
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Old 07-03-12, 11:50 PM
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Originally Posted by gerv View Post
I think you should get over this. A bike is something to use, not keep locked up at home. Bring it to the grocery store, lock it up outside and live with it. You can get insurance on your bike if it concerns you and there are many different strategies to deal with theft, including using a "beater" bike, but bike theft will end up being part of the cost of getting around on bicycle.
There are some bikes I wouldn't mind leaving locked up in a high-theft neighbourhood. There are others I might leave locked up for an hour or so, over lunch or during a grocery run or a stop at the library. And there are some I wouldn't feel good about leaving on the street for any length of time, even locked securely.

The cheap Huffy or Canadian Tire bike isn't much of a problem. It costs me little and I can replace it easily. The same holds true of a low-end used bike. Easy come, easy go. An entry level road bike or mountain bike will cost more to replace, but still, the loss of such a bike isn't going to be a problem. For me, I'll start to think differently about a bike when I get close to the $1,000 level. That much money will probably have a bike I really like. And I'll feel the cost of replacement. If I move up to the $4,000 range and higher, the bike is going to be used for serious riding, not day-to-day errands. On such a bike, if I'm riding to a friend's place, I'll expect my friend will let me bring the bike inside. If such a bike is my commuter, it will be in my office with me. Even if I lock such a bike securely, it's possible for thieves to strip the parts or simply damage the bike because it's there.

I think this is part of the reason some of us here will use rather basic bikes for car-free transportation. If we have better bikes, those are used for other purposes.
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Old 07-04-12, 04:44 AM
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I have a U lock and generally lock my Trek hybrid to something substantial - generally a bike rack or a handicapped parking sign post. I always run the lock through the frame & the back wheel. The front wheel is stock and easily replaced - although it would be a pain in the butt to come out to find the front wheel gone. Thankfully, that hasn't happened yet.

Every once in a while I have to go inside a local drug store chain to pick something up - generally a bottle of water or Gatoraid. At three of these stores there are no bike racks and no suitable signpost to which I can secure the bike. At all three of those stores they have no problem w/ me bringing the bike in and parking it out of the way in a seldom-used corner near the cash register. They know I'm only going to be in there a minute to buy something to drink. When I do that I run the U lock through the frame and back wheel to make it a little less convenient should some thief decide to try to wheel it out of the store.
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Old 07-04-12, 06:25 AM
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It depends on the store. At the grocery, I'll lock up outside. At a big box hardware store, I'll take it inside and use my bags as a cart. Nobody has blinked an eye. There's nowhere to lock it up safely there though. Most places I lock up outside. Very high theft places like the train station, I take a cab or the bus. If I had my old commute again, I'd get a folder. But I had two well locked bikes stolen from that station. Know your city. Here the two big theft areas are the mall and train, and are hit by crews from out of town. Everywhere else is more or less safe. Get a good lock, renters or homeowners insurance and don't worry about it. A good lock and pretty beat up looking bike helps.
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Old 07-04-12, 08:38 AM
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It's worth doing some checking to see how or if your renter or homeowner insurance policy works if your bike is stolen. How much is covered and what conditions are in place?

Also, the way I understand it, if you make a claim on your insurance, your rates will go up a bit. If you make a second claim within a few years, your rates will go up considerably. This means you need to be looking ahead, not just to the immediate need but to the future as well. If your bike is stolen and you claim it, that's not a big deal. But what happens if the next year your house burns down or is flooded and you lose almost everything?
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Old 07-04-12, 09:36 AM
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The infrastructure for cycling in this town is essentially nonexistant. So I have to get inventive with locking up.

-Walgreens, I lock up to one of those 'propane exchange' cages.
-Warehouse Market, they have a cart corral under the canopy and I lock up on the outside of that.
-Wal-Mart, I lock up to the fence that denotes the Garden Center/Outdoor Living department
-Post Office, I lock up to the flag pole.
-Bank, I've locked up to a small tree in full view of the drive through tellers.
-Ace Hardware, I just weave my cable through the frame and rear wheel.

I won't lock up to any of the street/parking lot signs that are just a straight piece of metal with a small sign at the top. I use a cable lock and have seen the video where 2 people with a pick up truck can slide bike (with chain or cable intact) up and over the sign and deal with the lock after they've driven off.

I leave my pump, computer, and flat kit on the bike, generally forget to remove my Cherrybomb, and always take my Ultrafire front light.
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Old 07-04-12, 10:28 AM
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Originally Posted by no1mad View Post
-Ace Hardware, I just weave my cable through the frame and rear wheel.
Self-locking is usually a bad idea, but I do exactly at Ace too, cause there's just nowhere else to secure it.

I'm using a cable lock and figure a serious thief could free it with an angle grinder in about 30 seconds. But even a D-lock can be opened this way.

I'm sure it's just a matter of time....
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Old 07-04-12, 11:08 AM
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Originally Posted by gerv View Post
Self-locking is usually a bad idea, but I do exactly at Ace too, cause there's just nowhere else to secure it.

I'm using a cable lock and figure a serious thief could free it with an angle grinder in about 30 seconds.
And Ace sells angle grinders.
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