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keeping your bike from getting stolen?  RSS feed

 
Aaron Festa
Posts: 149
Location: Connecticut
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I decided to ditch the car. I have a fairly level 4 mile commute to the commuter lot where I catch the bus to work. There is no bike rack so plan to lock my bike to a street sign. I have a u-lock and cable to use but Im also thinking of taking off the seat everyday and bringing it with me. The lot is in a heavily traffic area and visible. Is there any more I could do to make sure my bike is still there when I get back from work? The bike isn't worth stealing but I feel as soon as you put a lock around you are challenging the skills of any would-bike thief.
 
allen lumley
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Aaron F. : I am sure you will get lots of answers, so I'll just go for the obvious, Visibility, right out in plain sight, and after you remove seat (and seat Post?)
make sure you lock-up the frame and both Tires every single time!

And If. . . . When you get back to your bike scan the area, if every thing does not look right, announce it to every one on the bus, nothing like having 30 +
witnesses that you know something is not right!

If it comes up missing there is a chance that . . if reported it will be found, if found you don't want it to be auctioned off because you did not report it and they
don't know who it belongs to !

Check your homeowners/renters policy to see if lose or thief is covered ! Big AL
 
Roberto pokachinni
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Aaron Festa wrote:I decided to ditch the car. I have a fairly level 4 mile commute to the commuter lot where I catch the bus to work. There is no bike rack so plan to lock my bike to a street sign. I have a u-lock and cable to use but Im also thinking of taking off the seat everyday and bringing it with me. The lot is in a heavily traffic area and visible. Is there any more I could do to make sure my bike is still there when I get back from work? The bike isn't worth stealing but I feel as soon as you put a lock around you are challenging the skills of any would-bike thief.


Great idea, ditching the car if you can!

Be sure that the sign is actually fastened hard to the ground. Some can be lifted right up, leaving the bike shackled to air.

Be sure that the sign attached to the pole is also not easily removed. Sometimes a socket wrench is all it takes to remove a sign and then lift the bike up over the pole.

Be sure the U-lock is not one of the older kind that have an octagonal type round key. Some ass posted on the internet how to pop these with the uncapped back end of a bic pen.
I used to be a bike courier and bike racer and I've had a few bikes stolen and have heard of many more.

I went to a police auction to look for the last bike I had stolen. I didn't find it, but I ended up getting a pretty awesome deal on another bike. I hate the fact that the police are making so much money on selling stolen bikes though. It hardly gives them any incentive to catch bike thieves. But the reason I brought up the auction was that you would be surprised at the sort of bikes that were there. Most were not worth stealing. The really crazy thing about the auction though was that most people were so unknowledgable about what they were looking at that the bikes were often going (used and in crappy condition) for more than they retailed new (after auctioneer fee and taxes were added). I was one of the very few that actually got a deal. Paid $900 for a $2700 mountain bike in near mint condition.

I'm assuming that the cheaper bikes were not locked well, and that they were stolen for "A to B" transportation needs by people with highly developed anti-social skills, and were found by someone after said "A to B" trip.

Locking it well might make people think it's worth something... maybe. I'd lock it well though. My commuter isn't worth nearly what my mt bike is, but I lock it all the time. If you are not worried about the seat and you are comfortable with it's height, instead of removing it, you could strip the bolt round with a file so that it can't be removed (It can always be removed with a couple pair of vice grips by you).
 
John Saltveit
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There are a couple of other things you can do.

If you have an expensive seat, etc., you can change that lock from EZ unclamp lock to a real bolt and nut, so it's not so easy to steal.

If you use a $40 used bike, people are less likely to steal it, and if they do, you're only out $40. I had a friend who never used his bike as a shuttle while canoeing, because it cost $1200. Mine cost $20 and I use it all the time. Never had a problem.

I switched out the seat on my best looking bike, so my worst looking seat is on my best looking bike, and vice versa. It is in terrible shape and covered with old duct tape. That way no one really wants to steal it. I think they would be ashamed to be seen with it and definitely can't sell it. No one would buy it. Thieves are too lazy to switch out seats, etc.

Don't leave your bike over night in the same place. If you have to leave it the same place every day for work, leave it in a really public place that is uncomfortable to be at: narrow, loud, can't pull over next to it to throw it in their pickup truck.
John S
PDX OR
 
Ludger Merkens
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Location: Deutschland (germany)
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perhaps this is something for you?
LOCK8 - the World's First Smart Bike Lock
The Kickstarter project was successfully funded in december, they currently ship test locks to distributing partners, operators and sponsors only.
But perhaps something to watch? (webpage lock8.me)

--- Ludger
 
Joe Bramblett
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Can you not take the bike on the bus? When I was riding D(allas)ART, it took a little planning, but I could actually speed up my route a bit by taking buses to high spots and riding downhill to other stops for routes that got where I wanted to go quicker. Since then, DART and FWTA have been adding racks to the front of many of the buses to make it a lot easier than dragging the bike into the passenger compartment, plus you can see it right there at the bottom of the windshield the whole time.
 
Aaron Festa
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Location: Connecticut
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Next year they are redoing the bus lines where it will be more bike friendly (you can bring your bike right on the bus). So I'll be all set in a few more months.
 
Joe Bramblett
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Aaron Festa wrote:Next year they are redoing the bus lines where it will be more bike friendly (you can bring your bike right on the bus). So I'll be all set in a few more months.


Grab the route maps and a topo map of the area, and see what you can do. Often, routes ran more or less E-W or N-S, and I'd need to move both directions on the grid, so by, say, taking a bus east to a hilltop and bombing downhill to where I could catch another eastbound to my destination, I could shave several minutes of waiting for the connecting N-S bus, ideally catching an earlier run of the last bus. In high-stop-density areas, the bike is significantly faster than the bus anyway especially when you can hit 30+ going downhill. River and/or rail trails are generally near dead level, so they factor into the plan well too.
 
Chris Knipstein
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Location: Fort Wayne, Indiana
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You could also help get your bike back if it does get stolen by making it easy for the police to know it is yours.

Put your name, and contact info on a piece of paper then laminate it or at least cover it with transparent tape. Then roll it up and put it down in the frame tube under the seat. You could also put a smaller one up in the seat tube as well.

If you do your own tire maintenance you could put a strip of paper inside the tire on the rim saying something like "This bike is the property of <your name and info> please confirm this if you are working on this bike." You might get lucky and if stolen they take it to a bike shop to fix a tire and the shop owner gives you a call to confirm it's your bike.

If you don't plan to sell the bike eventually, and don't mind the look of doing it, taking a rotary tool like a Dremel and in a very obvious spot etch your name on the frame where everyone can see it might make someone think twice about taking it.

Another thought is that many thieves are really dumb. Printing up a very nice and professional looking tag that you can place in an obvious place like the handle bar that said something about this bike being protected by internal RFID tag for GPS location in event of theft just might fool the dumb ones into leaving it alone. You could even copy the company logo of an alarm company or similar to put on the tag. Maybe use the Lojack logo, the car recovery system lol. Some might just fall for it and walk away rather than think about taking it.
 
Aaron Festa
Posts: 149
Location: Connecticut
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Chris that is brilliant!!!
 
Joe Bramblett
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Chris Knipstein wrote:You could also help get your bike back if it does get stolen by making it easy for the police to know it is yours.


http://www.bikeregistry.com/

The decal kits are $1, and are as tough as they claim. You'd pretty much have to chip the paint off where they're applied to get the labels completely off. I've had them on the insides of the chainstays and a few other spots on my Trek for 3 years now, and they're still eye-catching and legible. I put the regular decal on the seat tube where it's immediately visible to anyone just looking over the brand and model tags. The smaller, tough reflective tags go in less obvious places, but still where they'll be found by a potential buyer inspecting the bike or a cop looking for identifiers. Shining a flashlight at the bike makes the white Scotchlite stand out really well, and locations like the inside of the chainstay or bottom of the seat just scream that there's something unusual about having a reflector there, so someone seeing it will usually take a closer look. They say two tags, but each has the website listed three times, so you can cut them in to a total of six small tags to put in different locations.

No charge for the registration, and anybody who suspects a tagged bike may be lost or stolen can go to the site to look up the serial number. Since it's based on the bike's serial number, you can also check untagged bikes that may have had tags removed, and you can just buy a good pile of tags for future bikes or to give out to friends, too.
 
John Saltveit
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Great ideas, people. Some of these ideas can make a big difference if many people use them over time.
John S
PDX OR
 
Zach Muller
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The bigger the u- lock, the easier it is to pop. Reason being many of these are popped by using small car jacks. If the jack fits between one side of the 'u' and the pole then it can be easily popped in minutes, no matter the strength of the lock. The best I have seen are the smallest ones that can really only fit the bike frame and the pole through it, very hard to pry apart that way.
 
Joe Bramblett
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Zach Muller wrote:The bigger the u- lock, the easier it is to pop. Reason being many of these are popped by using small car jacks. If the jack fits between one side of the 'u' and the pole then it can be easily popped in minutes, no matter the strength of the lock. The best I have seen are the smallest ones that can really only fit the bike frame and the pole through it, very hard to pry apart that way.


Bulldog offers a small one with a cable that I've used a lot. The bigger U-locks are more effective for playing dog polo when one latches on to your ankle.
 
allen lumley
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Joe Bramblett : My last 'Century' is almost 50 years behind me and everyone I know ! I'll bite, what is your definition of "Dog Polo"?! Big AL
 
Joe Bramblett
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allen lumley wrote:Joe Bramblett : My last 'Century' is almost 50 years behind me and everyone I know ! I'll bite, what is your definition of "Dog Polo"?! Big AL


It's that rather unpleasant time of having to bash a dog off your ankle while trying to keep the bike upright and moving so you can sprint away as soon as the mutt is detached. Frame pumps tend to be too light to get the point across to most dogs big enough to be a problem, but large U-locks are about right.
 
John Saltveit
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I have often started calling the dog to come with me, which confuses him, and then he realizes he's too far behind to catch me.
JohN S
PDX OR
 
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