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Singlespeed & Fixed Gear "I still feel that variable gears are only for people over forty-five. Isn't it better to triumph by the strength of your muscles than by the artifice of a derailer? We are getting soft...As for me, give me a fixed gear!"-- Henri Desgrange (31 January 1865 - 16 August 1940)

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Old 06-01-06, 09:11 PM   #1
carleton
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How to not get your bike stolen...

I'm starting this thread in order to help people not get their bike stolen. I've explained this stuff to countless friends and customers when I worked in bike shops.

We all hate it. And most of us have had a bike stolen at least once in our lifetime.

Here are some of my thoughts on the matter:

1) Number 1 rule: Bike theft is a crime of opportunity 99% of the time. "Crime of opportunity" means that those that stole your bike weren't planning, tracking, and scheming on how to get your bike. They probably saw an unattended bike and went for it. To a theif, an unattended nice bike is like finding a $100 on the ground.

2) Crackhead theives like to steal bikes with names like "Trek" "Cannondale" etc... That's why some people de-badge their bikes to look like cheap bikes.

3) Crackheads will steal ANYTHING that they think they can sell for $20. Cocaine is a heluva drug.

4) No lock is 100% safe. Locks just buy time. A $20 cable lock will buy you about 5 seconds. A Kryptonite NY Fagidaboutit will by you about 15 minutes or much much less to a theif with the right tools.

5) An ounce of common sense goes a long way with you keeping your bike. Don't leave your bike unlocked while you "just run in for a second" to ANYWHERE.

6) Believe it or not, there are teams of theives that patrol major cities and college campuses in vans/trucks that steal 20+ bikes a night using pro tools. They then take them and sell them in other cities or online.

7) 99% of bystanders won't stop a theif if they see one stealing a bike either because they don't realize that it's being stolen or don't want to get involved.

8) Learn how to properly lock your bike. Locking a $1500 bike to a tree with a 2" trunk that can be snapped in two by a reasonably strong person isn't smart.

9) Thieves will take your bike from inside your house, apt, garage if it is unlocked.

10) Don't be surprised if your $80 Thomson post and your $150 Fizik seat are gone if you had just an allen bolt holding it on.

11) If they REALLY want your bike. They will get it sooner or later. Especially if you have a routine.

12) This is life in the big city. If you get caught slipping, you'll have to pay a "stupid tax".

13) Avoid locking your bike in a place were someone can work on your lock without being seen.

14) If you can, take your bike in with you to your job or whatever. Ask nicely.

15) Just because you live in a "nice neighborhood" doesn't mean people won't do dirt just for the hel of it. I know plenty of rich kids that steal for kicks.

16) If you are going in "just for a minute"...that still gives a thief 55 seconds more time than he needs to get your bike.


If you guys have anything to add, feel free.

Last edited by carleton; 10-09-07 at 10:36 AM.
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Old 06-01-06, 09:19 PM   #2
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You are right, they will steal your bike from anywhere. But I want to add: If you DO keep your bike in your apt/house, GET RENTERS INSURANCE. It's REALLY REALLY cheap. So cheap, you won't believe it. We pay $200 a year. If you ever get robbed, you will be thankful.
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Old 06-01-06, 09:20 PM   #3
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if you love your wheels, lock them both...
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Old 06-01-06, 09:23 PM   #4
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New one: Just because you live in a "nice neighborhood" doesn't mean people won't do dirt just for the hel of it. I know plenty of rich kids that steal for kicks.
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Old 06-01-06, 09:28 PM   #5
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build a beater. if i am going out to a bar at night,i don't want to be inside stressing about my **** getting jacked. if a beater gets taken, it sucks. but it's not the bike that you've saved up for/waited to find just the right parts for/rare ****, etc. plus,it'll probably look like dogcrap anyhow,not really attracting that much attention...
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Old 06-01-06, 09:34 PM   #6
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-Taking a nice bike and making it look ****ty with spraypaint or duct tape can greatly reduce chances of theft.

-In racks, put your bike next to the nicest or least protected bike you can find
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Old 06-01-06, 09:57 PM   #7
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don't lock your bike to anything that can be unskrewed or broken. i lost my hot pink gt performer by locking it to a drainage pipe on the side of a building and they ripped that **** right off the building.
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Old 06-01-06, 10:05 PM   #8
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One rule that has always worked for me: Never leave your bike out of sight.
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Old 06-01-06, 10:15 PM   #9
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If there's someone who can see your bike from the place where they sit all day (security guard, etc), think about dropping them some luchecrino to keep an eye out.

Bike racks sunken into concrete are MUCH better than ones screwed together.

Only an idiot would leave something with a quick release bolt on their bike unsecured.
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Old 06-01-06, 10:24 PM   #10
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Locking only your front wheel (even for a minute) is just asking for your **** to get taken.
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Old 06-01-06, 10:25 PM   #11
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Yeah, speaking of QR (quick release). Really evaluate if you really need QR. This applies mostly to MTB and roadies.

QR was designed for RACING situations (by Campagnolo). Most riders don't take their wheels off or adjust their seat for months at a time! Yet they leave their wheels and seat vulnerable to theives at the flick of a lever. Trade those QR for bolts or locking skewers.

BTW, I've known of kids stealing QR seatposts and seats on a dare. Then they just throw them on a roof or something. Again, a crime of opportunity.
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Old 06-01-06, 10:57 PM   #12
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i lock to gas pipes if i can. i seriously don't expect people to rip that **** off the building.
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Old 06-02-06, 02:34 AM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by carleton
- Believe it or not, there are teams of theives that patrol major cities and college campuses in vans/trucks that steal 20+ bikes a night using pro tools. They then take them and sell them in other cities or online.
I want to +1 this. I looked through the police records of bike theft on campus after my bike was stolen. I noticed that many bikes are stolen on the same day, and this happens once every month or two. My bike and the bikes of several other people that I met were stolen on he same day. All were locked with cable locks. No broken locks or other evidence was left at the scene.
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Old 06-02-06, 03:02 AM   #14
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NY chain the wheel and frame to a pole it cannot be pulled over and mini the other wheel... works for me
leftover chain leash for the saddle will slow down saddle/seatpost theft time
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Old 06-02-06, 03:11 AM   #15
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Leave your bike in a conspicuous place. Advertise it as "police bait".
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Old 06-02-06, 06:46 AM   #16
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Great thread to start, Carleton. I'd also add - teach your friends and neighbors about properly locking their bikes, too. Just get the word out about how to lock a bike and the tips you've all shared here.

Remember, no matter what brand of locks you choose, as Terror in Pink knows, two locks are better than one - always.

Here's a link to our site with some proper lock up tips.
http://www.kryptonitelock.com/inetis...ow_to#BICYCLES

Safe riding.
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Old 06-02-06, 06:53 AM   #17
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Every time I go to the grocery store, or get off of work I walk to the bike rack and see a whele with a QR just sitting unlocked.
The first time it happened I wanted to loosen the QR to make a point. Then I thought "oh that idiot will probably just ride it then get in a terrible collision with a car/concrete when the wheel drops out.". So then I wanted to slip a note in their spokes that said "psst, you should lock up your wheel. You know how simple it is to steal one of those?" but I didn't want to tip off any theives. I dunno.
Maybe I should copy and laminate bright flashy cards that say "IDIOT" and just slip them in their spokes.
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Old 06-02-06, 07:19 AM   #18
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a week or two ago, this girl who locks her bike up outside of my apartment alot locked just her front quick release to a pole. I seriously thought about taking the frame and rear wheel into my building and leaving a note. In the end i decided that it would be too much trouble for her to get it back and just left a note that basically said that she was a complete idiot who didn't want her bike anymore if she ever left it like that again (of course i used nicer language) and i dropped the link to sheldon brown's locking page.
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Old 06-02-06, 07:42 AM   #19
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Quote:
Originally Posted by celephaiz
a week or two ago, this girl who locks her bike up outside of my apartment alot locked just her front quick release to a pole. I seriously thought about taking the frame and rear wheel into my building and leaving a note. In the end i decided that it would be too much trouble for her to get it back and just left a note that basically said that she was a complete idiot who didn't want her bike anymore if she ever left it like that again (of course i used nicer language) and i dropped the link to sheldon brown's locking page.
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Old 06-02-06, 07:51 AM   #20
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I'm sorry if this is a thread hijack, but does anyone here work in a building that doesn’t allow bikes inside? I now rarely commute by bike because I can't trust my bike locked to some pole all day where I can't check on it, maybe I'm just paranoid, but I wanted to know how other people in the same situation handle this.
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Old 06-02-06, 07:58 AM   #21
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There is legislation in the NYC council right now to allow for bikes to be brought into buildings. Hit up TA for more info.
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Old 06-02-06, 08:17 AM   #22
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Quote:
Originally Posted by cardoor
I'm sorry if this is a thread hijack, but does anyone here work in a building that doesn’t allow bikes inside? I now rarely commute by bike because I can't trust my bike locked to some pole all day where I can't check on it, maybe I'm just paranoid, but I wanted to know how other people in the same situation handle this.
If you can, try using the freight elevator, a back door, or service entrance.
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Old 06-02-06, 08:39 AM   #23
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My friend suggested that someone make a sticker explaining how to properly lock your bike (maybe the sheldon brown lockdown) and apply them to racks and places where people commonly lock up. It might also help in situations where stupid thieves see a wheel locked through the rear triangle, think its not properly locked and **** it up trying to steal the bike. They would see the stickers and learn how that method IS secure.
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Old 06-02-06, 08:54 AM   #24
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Sporting a spokecard that says "Steal My Bike and I'll Ass**** You" has worked for me so far.
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Old 06-02-06, 08:55 AM   #25
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Quote:
Originally Posted by cardoor
I'm sorry if this is a thread hijack, but does anyone here work in a building that doesn’t allow bikes inside? I now rarely commute by bike because I can't trust my bike locked to some pole all day where I can't check on it, maybe I'm just paranoid, but I wanted to know how other people in the same situation handle this.
In Chicago, a lot of buildings can't allow it due to fire hazards - lame, but makes sense in an emergency. I work for a real-estate company, and they don't even let me take my bike up the elevator, despite my own company owning, managing, and leasing the building i work in.

What I suggest: find a building that has valet parking, and see if they have a bike rack (or if the building manager would put one in) - ours has one that's monitored by 4 valet parking attendents who I've gotten to know over the past couple of years, who know my bike as well... it's as safe as it can get without me monitoring it via a hidden camera - woah....

pope john
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