Author Topic: Elephant in the room Part 1: Bikes getting stolen  (Read 9316 times)

Sri C.

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Elephant in the room Part 1: Bikes getting stolen
« on: May 04, 2013, 02:33:51 PM »
Bikes seem to have a bad reputation of being stolen.

Since I want to even go to the market on my bike, getting it stolen is a concern I have.

I have read about bike wheels, brakes and other parts being taken off, if not the whole bike.

Has anyone here faced such issues or even got their bike stolen?

The followup question would be: which kind of locks are most effective in being a strong impediment for thieves?

kudy

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Re: Elephant in the room Part 1: Bikes getting stolen
« Reply #1 on: May 04, 2013, 03:10:44 PM »
An obvious solution to this problem is to ride a cheap craigslist bike that would not appeal to thieves. It definitely depends on the area you live in - I feel 100% secure leaving my bike outside a store for 20 minutes using my not-really-secure cable and lock, but you may not.

When at all possible, I park my bike inside, for instance, I park it in an unused hallway at work.

Russ

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Re: Elephant in the room Part 1: Bikes getting stolen
« Reply #2 on: May 04, 2013, 03:18:22 PM »
http://www.mit.edu/afs/athena/activity/m/mitbug/techinfo/bug.theft

basically, lock the rear wheel and frame with a u-lock, and tie the front wheel (and maybe seat) to that with a cable lock. I rarely even go that far, and just do the modified Sheldon, with the lock going around the seatstays as well as through the rear wheel. it should be said though that my front wheel is bolt-on and requires (trivially, but still) more work to take off/steal than a QR wheel.

You shouldn't have any problems with parts being removed unless you live in the hood or leave your bike in the same spot without moving for weeks. If you're really worried about it you can fill the screw caps with clay, magnetic BBs, or superglue. when you need to adjust things they'll all come right out. that's way overkill IMO and only do so if you really think it's worth the trouble.

I personally have never had any problems with my bike things getting stolen, and all of them are pretty nice. Park inside if you can, park in well-lit areas and lock well if you can't.

Sri C.

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Re: Elephant in the room Part 1: Bikes getting stolen
« Reply #3 on: May 04, 2013, 04:11:31 PM »
http://www.mit.edu/afs/athena/activity/m/mitbug/techinfo/bug.theft

basically, lock the rear wheel and frame with a u-lock, and tie the front wheel (and maybe seat) to that with a cable lock. I rarely even go that far, and just do the modified Sheldon, with the lock going around the seatstays as well as through the rear wheel. it should be said though that my front wheel is bolt-on and requires (trivially, but still) more work to take off/steal than a QR wheel.

These strategies sound good!

It might sound odd but the shopping lots around Irvine do not actually have bike stands, so finding a place to lock the bike to might be challenging.

Those that do have bike stands are in large malls with the bike stands being located quite a distance from the shops so going back with handful of groceries is not very appealing.

I am hoping I did not notice bike stands being around because I never bothered to look closely and I will update this thread with more information.

Russ

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Re: Elephant in the room Part 1: Bikes getting stolen
« Reply #4 on: May 04, 2013, 04:43:49 PM »
you can lock your bike to anything of reasonably small diameter than can neither be pulled out of the ground nor allow your bike to be lifted over and off it.

Suggestions:
street sign posts
handicapped/other parking sign posts
trash cans
pipes (usually found by the water meter behind the store)
telephone poles
tall light posts
benches
fences
handrails
big tall branchy trees

and there are plenty more. once you get some practice locking up, you'll see opportunities everywhere.

destron

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Re: Elephant in the room Part 1: Bikes getting stolen
« Reply #5 on: May 04, 2013, 08:17:42 PM »
just do the modified Sheldon

Additionally, I have "safety skewers" that require a special tool to take off. It's just another level of impediment, but the modified Sheldon will mean your bike is better locked up than 95% of bikes. Just don't be one of those road bike guys who lean their bike against a pole while walking into the coffee shop. In my career as a police officer, I have seen those things get taken one too many times. It only takes a second.

StarswirlTheMustached

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Re: Elephant in the room Part 1: Bikes getting stolen
« Reply #6 on: May 05, 2013, 04:39:08 PM »
1) Bike theft is a function of demand for bicycles. If you don't get bike stands in your local area, they're going to have to transship the stolen merchandise, and that can help to deter theft.
2) Your bike doesn't have to be impregnable, just more effort than it's worth. If it's a 100$, 30-year-old cruiser you picked up off craigslist, it won't take much to deter potential thieves. Get a u-lock, and you'll be fine.

The people who really have to worry are the ones who spend thousands on their rides. (my sister in law has a bicycle worth more than I would spend on a car, for example-- and this is her second one. The first was nicked from where it was locked up (securely, she assures me) in her back yard. IIRC, her roommate's unlocked junk bike was untouched-- or if it was nicked too, he had another one the next day and didn't bat an eye.

My standard lockup at grocery stores that don't cater to cyclists is the no-parking signs right in front of the main entrance. It doesn't get closer, and nobody has ever bothered me.

Skinnyneo

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Re: Elephant in the room Part 1: Bikes getting stolen
« Reply #7 on: May 05, 2013, 09:53:18 PM »
I picked up one of these http://tigrlock.com/ and in combination with a cable lock it works great.  I live in Japan where bike theft is a big issue and so far so good. 

olivia

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Re: Elephant in the room Part 1: Bikes getting stolen
« Reply #8 on: May 05, 2013, 10:22:00 PM »
http://www.mit.edu/afs/athena/activity/m/mitbug/techinfo/bug.theft

basically, lock the rear wheel and frame with a u-lock, and tie the front wheel (and maybe seat) to that with a cable lock. I rarely even go that far, and just do the modified Sheldon, with the lock going around the seatstays as well as through the rear wheel. it should be said though that my front wheel is bolt-on and requires (trivially, but still) more work to take off/steal than a QR wheel.

You shouldn't have any problems with parts being removed unless you live in the hood or leave your bike in the same spot without moving for weeks. If you're really worried about it you can fill the screw caps with clay, magnetic BBs, or superglue. when you need to adjust things they'll all come right out. that's way overkill IMO and only do so if you really think it's worth the trouble.

I personally have never had any problems with my bike things getting stolen, and all of them are pretty nice. Park inside if you can, park in well-lit areas and lock well if you can't.

This is what I do.  Spend the money for a good lock and cable and be smart and you'll be fine.

Hotstreak

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Re: Elephant in the room Part 1: Bikes getting stolen
« Reply #9 on: May 05, 2013, 10:45:14 PM »
I had a cheap bike in college that had parts stolen twice.

First somebody stole the seat.  I always locked the back wheel to the frame to the bike rack, and it I was worried for some reason I would run the cable through the front, but never the seat!  Easily avoided by running the cable through the seat.

The second was my bike lights.  They were snapped in place, so all the person had to do was grab them and run.  I never thought somebody would be interested in stealing my cheap battery lights.. like stealing a door mat or something.  After that I put them in my backpack and only took them out when I really needed them.

As far as somebody stealing your whole bike, everybody here is right.  Get a cheap bike that functions well, lock is securely, and rest knowing that 80% of the other bikes on the rack are both worth more, and easier to steal than yours.  A guy I went to school with spray painted his bike puke green with pink stripes..... nobody touched that bike!

Russ

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Re: Elephant in the room Part 1: Bikes getting stolen
« Reply #10 on: May 06, 2013, 12:08:49 AM »
I picked up one of these http://tigrlock.com/ and in combination with a cable lock it works great.  I live in Japan where bike theft is a big issue and so far so good.

That's a cute lock. Any reason you chose it over a hardened steel u-lock/chain besides the weight and cool factor? As someone who pays the rent by cutting metal 5 days a week, 1.25 x .125 Ti strip seems like an odd choice for lock material.

Not to be too critical of course. Any lock is better than no lock, and this does seem better than a cable lock alone, which I see all too often around town here.

Skinnyneo

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Re: Elephant in the room Part 1: Bikes getting stolen
« Reply #11 on: May 06, 2013, 06:12:33 AM »
I picked up one of these http://tigrlock.com/ and in combination with a cable lock it works great.  I live in Japan where bike theft is a big issue and so far so good.

That's a cute lock. Any reason you chose it over a hardened steel u-lock/chain besides the weight and cool factor? As someone who pays the rent by cutting metal 5 days a week, 1.25 x .125 Ti strip seems like an odd choice for lock material.

Not to be too critical of course. Any lock is better than no lock, and this does seem better than a cable lock alone, which I see all too often around town here.

I picked it mainly for the weight but also the videos seemed pretty convincing (of course they are produced by the guys making it so that isn't surprising).  I liked that the metal flexes so thieves can't use a car jack to pop the lock.  I'm curious how long you think it would take to cut through that with the tools you have?  Also beings this lock would be on a bike would it be feasible for a theif to use power tools etc to cut this lock (ie maybe there is no outlet etc)?

GuitarStv

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Re: Elephant in the room Part 1: Bikes getting stolen
« Reply #12 on: May 06, 2013, 06:55:12 AM »
http://www.mit.edu/afs/athena/activity/m/mitbug/techinfo/bug.theft

basically, lock the rear wheel and frame with a u-lock, and tie the front wheel (and maybe seat) to that with a cable lock. I rarely even go that far, and just do the modified Sheldon, with the lock going around the seatstays as well as through the rear wheel. it should be said though that my front wheel is bolt-on and requires (trivially, but still) more work to take off/steal than a QR wheel.

You shouldn't have any problems with parts being removed unless you live in the hood or leave your bike in the same spot without moving for weeks. If you're really worried about it you can fill the screw caps with clay, magnetic BBs, or superglue. when you need to adjust things they'll all come right out. that's way overkill IMO and only do so if you really think it's worth the trouble.

I personally have never had any problems with my bike things getting stolen, and all of them are pretty nice. Park inside if you can, park in well-lit areas and lock well if you can't.

This is what I do.  Spend the money for a good lock and cable and be smart and you'll be fine.

+1



Everyone should be given this picture and a u-lock with a cable when the buy a bike.

Russ

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Re: Elephant in the room Part 1: Bikes getting stolen
« Reply #13 on: May 06, 2013, 08:45:09 AM »
I picked it mainly for the weight but also the videos seemed pretty convincing (of course they are produced by the guys making it so that isn't surprising).  I liked that the metal flexes so thieves can't use a car jack to pop the lock.  I'm curious how long you think it would take to cut through that with the tools you have?  Also beings this lock would be on a bike would it be feasible for a theif to use power tools etc to cut this lock (ie maybe there is no outlet etc)?

It would probably take about half the time shown in the video for the hacksaw and angle grinder, which is by no means bad but isn't what they are advertising. I would also have liked to see the bolt cutter tried with the titanium strip held tall-ways; I think that probably would have worked. Not being jackable is great (this is the biggest failing of u-locks), but I do see a similar option... I think if a pipe of proper diameter was placed over the lock assembly, it could be used as a lever to pop the whole thing right off. For now though, that's a tool thieves won't have since these locks aren't very common. Overall definitely not bad. I'll be interested to see third-party verification when it comes out.

re: power tools, if power tools are in play it doesn't matter what lock you have, it will be broken. I wouldn't worry about that since it's an incredibly uncommon thing to happen.

Pixelshot

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Re: Elephant in the room Part 1: Bikes getting stolen
« Reply #14 on: May 06, 2013, 09:54:30 AM »
I live in an area prone to bike thievery (Washington DC) and ride my bike pretty regularly. One thing that I bought for peace of mind is these little beauties: Onguard Locking Skewers

http://www.amazon.com/OnGuard-MinPin-3-Piece-Locking-Skewer/dp/B00773XY9M/ref=sr_1_2?s=sporting-goods&ie=UTF8&qid=1367855477&sr=1-2&keywords=onguard+locking+skewers

They are locking front and back wheel quick-release levers which can only be used if the bike is upside down. Then I lock my frame with a mini U-lock (both for convenience in carrying a small mini and that they are supposedly harder to break). With the skewers through the wheels, I can lock and unlock the bike without dealing with an extra cable to lock up the wheels.

galaxie

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Re: Elephant in the room Part 1: Bikes getting stolen
« Reply #15 on: May 06, 2013, 03:19:16 PM »
I'm pretty excited about the Tigr Lock because I hate carrying a cable, and therefore usually only lock the frame & front wheel.  Being able to lock through both wheels would substantially increase the safety of my bike.  I don't have one, though.

destron

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Re: Elephant in the room Part 1: Bikes getting stolen
« Reply #16 on: May 06, 2013, 06:47:40 PM »
I picked up one of these http://tigrlock.com/ and in combination with a cable lock it works great.  I live in Japan where bike theft is a big issue and so far so good.

Bike theft is a big issue in Japan? When I lived there, people just used the little lock that put a small piece of metal between the back spokes so it wouldn't roll away easily and I never heard of someone getting their bike stolen...

Anyhow, looks like an elegant solution.

nktokyo

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Re: Elephant in the room Part 1: Bikes getting stolen
« Reply #17 on: May 06, 2013, 07:06:50 PM »
I picked up one of these http://tigrlock.com/ and in combination with a cable lock it works great.  I live in Japan where bike theft is a big issue and so far so good.

Bike theft is a big issue in Japan? When I lived there, people just used the little lock that put a small piece of metal between the back spokes so it wouldn't roll away easily and I never heard of someone getting their bike stolen...

Anyhow, looks like an elegant solution.

Massive issue. Bikes here are quite cheap and there are millions of them. Everybody has a bike and there's no room to park them inside.

Sparky

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Re: Elephant in the room Part 1: Bikes getting stolen
« Reply #18 on: May 06, 2013, 09:22:09 PM »
I wouldn't worry too much about getting your bike stolen overall. I've had 1 bike stolen in the 23 years of riding bikes, and even that one took 2 years of standing outside unlocked in front of a retail store (it was a beater too).... Now ride a $5k beast of a bike and still pretty casual about it.

Best advice about your bike is make the bike hard to find in the first place. Don't be afraid to park the bike inside stores entrances, work, peoples houses, parking garages, anything you can think of like that. I regularly throw my bike/camping gear into the forest and leave it there for hours/days at a time. Thieves aren't looking in bushes and in the forest, they are looking for easier pickings....

Next best things to do is make sure you don't have quick release stuff on your bike. Those nice QR seat post and wheel axels are just as easy for you as for the thieves.  Make sure your lights, racks, saddles, wheels, anything require actual tools to remove. Also park under security cameras when possible.

Skinnyneo

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Re: Elephant in the room Part 1: Bikes getting stolen
« Reply #19 on: May 08, 2013, 06:25:39 AM »
I picked it mainly for the weight but also the videos seemed pretty convincing (of course they are produced by the guys making it so that isn't surprising).  I liked that the metal flexes so thieves can't use a car jack to pop the lock.  I'm curious how long you think it would take to cut through that with the tools you have?  Also beings this lock would be on a bike would it be feasible for a theif to use power tools etc to cut this lock (ie maybe there is no outlet etc)?

It would probably take about half the time shown in the video for the hacksaw and angle grinder, which is by no means bad but isn't what they are advertising. I would also have liked to see the bolt cutter tried with the titanium strip held tall-ways; I think that probably would have worked. Not being jackable is great (this is the biggest failing of u-locks), but I do see a similar option... I think if a pipe of proper diameter was placed over the lock assembly, it could be used as a lever to pop the whole thing right off. For now though, that's a tool thieves won't have since these locks aren't very common. Overall definitely not bad. I'll be interested to see third-party verification when it comes out.

re: power tools, if power tools are in play it doesn't matter what lock you have, it will be broken. I wouldn't worry about that since it's an incredibly uncommon thing to happen.

All good to know!  I appreciate the info.  I guess that was another thing about the newness factor was that thieves might not have devised a plan font it yet.  I see what you mean about putting a pipe on the end.

Also as galaxy mentioned its really easy carry on the bike.  Just straps to the frame and very light.

I picked up one of these http://tigrlock.com/ and in combination with a cable lock it works great.  I live in Japan where bike theft is a big issue and so far so good.

Bike theft is a big issue in Japan? When I lived there, people just used the little lock that put a small piece of metal between the back spokes so it wouldn't roll away easily and I never heard of someone getting their bike stolen...

Anyhow, looks like an elegant solution.

Massive issue. Bikes here are quite cheap and there are millions of them. Everybody has a bike and there's no room to park them inside.

Your right that many people use those cheapo locks but that's also the problem, they can be cut like hot butter.  The police round up what they can but most people just buy a new bike.  It's almost more of an environmental problem as the bikes are usually just abandoned and the owner buys a new one.  It's one of the few crimes Japan has to tackle (which I'll take any day over murder, drugs, etc).

destron

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Re: Elephant in the room Part 1: Bikes getting stolen
« Reply #20 on: May 08, 2013, 07:53:33 AM »
I picked up one of these http://tigrlock.com/ and in combination with a cable lock it works great.  I live in Japan where bike theft is a big issue and so far so good.

Bike theft is a big issue in Japan? When I lived there, people just used the little lock that put a small piece of metal between the back spokes so it wouldn't roll away easily and I never heard of someone getting their bike stolen...

Anyhow, looks like an elegant solution.

Massive issue. Bikes here are quite cheap and there are millions of them. Everybody has a bike and there's no room to park them inside.

Craziness. I was there for 2 1/2 years and it was pretty much unheard of at the time... Of course it may also be dependent on where you live.

KatieSSS

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Re: Elephant in the room Part 1: Bikes getting stolen
« Reply #21 on: May 08, 2013, 08:54:37 AM »
Bike theft is huge where I live (Washington, DC). My bike was stolen outside of my work building two years ago. And it was locked up. Granted, it didn't have a U-lock, which was my bad. I thought that one day without the U-lock would be fine. It was also the first time I rode it in DC. And I kid you not that every.single.person. I know who has a bike has had at least one stolen. Bike thievery is a profession in our nation's capital.

My reason for not having a bike is that I can walk to work and the grocery store during the day. At night I take the bus if I have to. I also need to save up to get a bike that is decent. I'm not one that can just pick up any old bike and ride it without a problem. It needs to be pretty light weight for the hill that I would have to ride up everyday and for transporting groceries or other items.

Matt K

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Re: Elephant in the room Part 1: Bikes getting stolen
« Reply #22 on: May 08, 2013, 09:10:46 AM »
My wife works in the highest area for bike theft in our city. We have a really simple way of dealing with it - she commutes on a bike that both looks old, and we can afford to replace without blinking.

We picked up a 10 year old Specialized Hybrid for $80. We then spent $220 getting the drive train & tires replaced and the bike riding good as new. It still looks 10 years old though. $300 sunk into the bike. That is three month's of bus pass around here. So as long as her bike gets stolen less than four times per year, it is cheaper than taking the bus. Two years in, she's still on her first bike.

For a lock, she uses a Kryptonite combo lock. Against a professional bike thief, it is basically useless. But, a professional bike thief has better ways to spend his time than stealing a bike he'd be lucky to hawk for $50 in a hurry (and to part it out wouldn't be much more).