Author Topic: Bike security  (Read 2981 times)

rymanani

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Bike security
« on: December 08, 2016, 03:33:18 PM »
My partner recently had her bike stolen, despite it being locked in a secure parking lot, with an expensive d-lock. How do you secure your bike? What tips would you give for those of us in cities where bike theft is a common occurrence?

TrMama

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Re: Bike security
« Reply #1 on: December 08, 2016, 03:42:40 PM »
I don't even own a lock for my expensive bike. It comes inside with me.

I also live in a high theft city. Not only do bikes get stolen, but locked bikes will be "stripped" of their valuable parts, leaving just the frame locked to the rack.

If I need to run errands by bike, I use my old steel mountain bike. It has a stylish early-90s paint job and is clearly the least valuable bike anywhere. Theives have moved it aside in order to get at more valuable bikes.



Dave1442397

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Re: Bike security
« Reply #2 on: December 08, 2016, 04:18:34 PM »
If it's a short commute (under 5 miles each way), I'd buy a beater bike. I did that in college. I took a train 40 miles from home to the town where the college was, and kept an old bike at the train station to get me to the college and back.

My "friends" decided to have fun with it one weekend, and when I showed up on Monday the bike had been sprayed in random patterns with multiple bright colors. That made it even more theft-proof :) On the last day of school, I just left it at the station, unlocked, and told the workers there that anyone was welcome to take it.


lthenderson

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Re: Bike security
« Reply #3 on: December 08, 2016, 04:27:25 PM »
Was the d-lock attached through the frame? I've seen many a bike with the d-lock through a removable seat post or one of the wheels. I always put a d-lock through the frame with a cable through both wheels. Anything with quick release, including both wheels and seat were replaced with long bolts. I never had my bike stolen.

On a side note, I once went to buy a bicycle that was being sold really cheap. When I got to the place, the man opened up his garage and there was a bicycle rack with half a dozen bikes still locked to it. I politely declined. After that, I always made sure whatever I locked my bike too wasn't something that could be moved!

MsPeacock

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Re: Bike security
« Reply #4 on: December 08, 2016, 04:41:52 PM »
Around here bike theft is rampant and thieves can go through a u-lock and cable very quickly. I take my bike inside with me.

katscratch

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Re: Bike security
« Reply #5 on: December 08, 2016, 06:11:31 PM »
I too live in a high-theft city.  Our local Facebook page for stolen bikes is more than depressing (but helps recover quite a few!).  From what I've read, bike theft is either professional and highly organized (truck or van, full crew targeting professional quality bikes for resale) or opportunistic (skilled individual with a few tools to break or cut locks, typically rides away on the bike, sells on Craigslist or Offerup for <$200).  The vast majority of thefts are the latter.

Things I've learned:
* If at all possible, take your bike inside (at home too for me).
* Make it way easier for the bike next to yours to become a target -- so, parking in a group of bikes, with your bike locked with at least 2 U-locks through the frame/wheel/solid object.  I have one regular U-lock, one mini (harder to get leverage to pop it off), and also a cable - all three go on my bike even if I'll be out of sight for only five minutes. 
I also routinely park next to high-target brands - here that is Specialized and Trek road bikes.
* Record your serial number and have proof of ownership- pictures of you with the bike at the least, receipt of purchase preferably.  In my city bikes with serial numbers recorded are recovered MUCH more frequently.  I can even report the theft online which puts the number into a database for pawn shop owners, etc. 
* Use commuter tags if your city has them - police here have also been able to identify a bike's owner by their commuter tag (we have ZAP www.derozap.com)

I was reluctant at first to buy an additional U-lock but the way I lock up now makes it very difficult to strip any parts and hopefully not worth the effort to get the bike.

I'm sorry this happened to you and your partner.  I would rather have my car disappear than my bike.

GuitarStv

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Re: Bike security
« Reply #6 on: December 08, 2016, 06:21:35 PM »
That really sucks.  Losing a bike is heartbreaking, and the police typically don't seem too interested in working hard to find it.

FWIW, I often see bikes locked with good locks . . . but locked incorrectly.  You need to lock the front and rear wheels, and the frame (ideally with two u-locks if you're leaving it overnight somewhere):



Not like this:


I agree with the advice to take your bike inside with you if at all possible, and record your serial number/proof of ownership.

Syonyk

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Re: Bike security
« Reply #7 on: December 08, 2016, 06:24:57 PM »
Move? :)

There are bike trackers you can get that go in your seat post and theoretically give you a GPS location of your bike, but I doubt they're that useful in most major cities - by the time you find it, you'll likely find a bunch of homeless meth addicts and find your seat post beeping away in a box of other seat posts.

rymanani

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Re: Bike security
« Reply #8 on: December 09, 2016, 05:55:56 AM »
Thanks for the ideas and responses!

The bike was secured to a rack, however the thieves are actually able to remove the entire rack, as there was only one bolt securing it. Another several bikes were stolen using an angle grinder!

I think the GPS tracker could be a good idea, or leaving the bike indoors.

Last night we just got notification that thieves are currently targeting mobile phones in the area, snatching then from hands! Perhaps moving is the best option ;)

GuitarStv

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Re: Bike security
« Reply #9 on: December 09, 2016, 06:08:11 AM »
Thanks for the ideas and responses!

The bike was secured to a rack, however the thieves are actually able to remove the entire rack, as there was only one bolt securing it. Another several bikes were stolen using an angle grinder!

I think the GPS tracker could be a good idea, or leaving the bike indoors.

Last night we just got notification that thieves are currently targeting mobile phones in the area, snatching then from hands! Perhaps moving is the best option ;)

I've personally been able to break open a sturdy U-lock that had the tumbler mechanism jam.  It took about 10-15 minutes with a hammer (building security actually provided the hammer when I said my bike lock was jammed and I needed to break it open).  I did this in the middle of a busy parking garage, in the middle of the afternoon, with a lot of loud swearing and cursing (was trying to get home) and nobody asked me what I was doing or tried to intervene in any way.  :P

A really determined person is going to get your bike no matter what.  Bike locks are really just deterrents.

lthenderson

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Re: Bike security
« Reply #10 on: December 09, 2016, 07:41:28 AM »
The bike was secured to a rack, however the thieves are actually able to remove the entire rack, as there was only one bolt securing it.

This is why I always check out the rack. I see so many of them without any anchor at all to prevent a thief from simply backing up a pickup and taking the rack and all the bikes within minutes.

I think it was last week I saw a post about someone who had their bike stolen and found it later for sale on Craigslist. They showed up and took it for a test ride from the thief and just kept riding it so essentially, they stole their own bike back. Poetic!

Heywood57

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Re: Bike security
« Reply #11 on: December 09, 2016, 07:53:32 AM »
It is expensive and *might* cause a thief to pass and find a softer target.
Or the thief might use a gas mask and an angle grinder.

https://www.indiegogo.com/projects/skunklock-the-only-bike-lock-that-fights-back-bicycle#/

Retire-Canada

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Re: Bike security
« Reply #12 on: December 09, 2016, 08:01:20 AM »
I use an expensive chain lock. It's harder to break than a u-lock. Next I pick a spot to lock it where the thief can't work on it unobserved. Never had a bike stolen in the city when locked like this.

If your wife has to park in the same spot everyday at work I would see if she can bring it inside the building. That allows thieves to plan their attack and makes it easier to steal vs. a situation where they have to steal a bike on the fly.

frugaliknowit

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Re: Bike security
« Reply #13 on: December 09, 2016, 08:08:28 AM »
Any bike that you are going to park in unsecured public places should be cosmetically unappealing (i.e. a "beater").

Fortunately for me, my employer has free garage (secured by cameras and people) parking.  I do not use my "better bike" for errands.  It is either locked in my building garage (including wheel locks) or in my employer's garage.  When I lock the "beater bike", I always do so with the frame and the rear wheel (I have a very expensive "double wall" rear rim).  My beater bike is a very cosmetically challenged 12 year old Specialized Sirrus.

mskyle

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Re: Bike security
« Reply #14 on: December 09, 2016, 08:42:54 AM »
I'm pretty casual about where I leave my bike for short periods (if I'm running into the store or even getting dinner or something I might just lock the wheel or use a cable lock) but I am very careful about where I leave it overnight/all day at work/for predictable periods of time (i.e. I keep it inside if at all possible, or locked up as GuitarStv recommends if that's not possible). So, like, random 5-minute stop at grocery store on the way home from work? I don't even necessarily lock it to the rack, just lock the wheel so no one can casually ride away on it. But my weekly 3-hour chorus rehearsal? Real lock.

Any bike lock can be thwarted given enough time, so the longer you leave your bike and the more predictable the window of time the bike will be unattended, the more vulnerable it is.

There's a great guide to bike theft and bike locks on The Sweethome - highly recommend (and I think I have the small version of the lock they recommend, too).

Clean Shaven

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Re: Bike security
« Reply #15 on: December 09, 2016, 11:13:16 AM »
Back in the college days, I used a Kryptonite U-lock + cable through front wheel, and only locked the cheap bike on campus.  The expensive bike never got locked because I never left it alone -- at home, it was indoors.

Today, I only lock bikes on the car rack, and usually only leave them locked on the rack while camping -- so that's usually only in remote and not-crime-ridden areas.

A few months ago, I bought one of these heavy chain locks from Cycle Gear:
https://www.cyclegear.com/accessories/stockton-721-security-chain-and-lock

It's sold as a motorcycle lock, so it's less $$$ than comparable ones marketed as bicycle locks.  It's way too heavy and bulky to carry it around while riding, but if you can leave it locked at your usual locking-up place (at work?), that might make it usable.

GuitarStv

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Re: Bike security
« Reply #16 on: December 09, 2016, 11:29:38 AM »
Back in the college days, I used a Kryptonite U-lock + cable through front wheel, and only locked the cheap bike on campus.  The expensive bike never got locked because I never left it alone -- at home, it was indoors.

Today, I only lock bikes on the car rack, and usually only leave them locked on the rack while camping -- so that's usually only in remote and not-crime-ridden areas.

A few months ago, I bought one of these heavy chain locks from Cycle Gear:
https://www.cyclegear.com/accessories/stockton-721-security-chain-and-lock

It's sold as a motorcycle lock, so it's less $$$ than comparable ones marketed as bicycle locks.  It's way too heavy and bulky to carry it around while riding, but if you can leave it locked at your usual locking-up place (at work?), that might make it usable.

+1

Leaving a really weighty/heavy duty lock at work or somewhere that you're often locking your bike up for hours at a time is a great strategy.  I'd never bring my heavy locks if I had to lug them around everywhere.  :P