Paul Andrews

Bike thieves among us

In Bicycling, Equipment reviews, Mountain Biking on July 17, 2009 at 12:26 am
Found on street in Menlo Park CA

Found on street in Menlo Park CA

Is bike thievery on the rise along with burglaries and robberies — another sign of hard economic times? No statistical data yet but anecdotal evidence suggests yes. The above photo was taken near a bike rack at the Caltrain station in Menlo Park CA. reports on a brazen thief caught in the act in San Francisco.

Photo gallery of the “asshat” stealing the bike. What was that Einstein said about people eventually getting the faces they deserve?

But hey, in the Wired Age, we have new tools to fight bike theft. Case in point: Twitter!

As someone who has had three bikes stolen in the past 15 years, I can attest: There’s no foolproof way to prevent bike theft.

The No. 1 most effective deterrent: Having the bike in sight, and locked. Any robust lock, cable or steel, will do in this case. But you do have to be paying attention.

No. 2: Locking the bike in high foot traffic areas. Using a U-Lock is probably the best thing here, although most people get by with cable. There’s always comfort in numbers. In downtown Seattle I always park right outside a main entrance and never in a parking garage (the City at one point made the mistake of mandating bike racks in underground garages, since remedied).

One problem: Pro thieves will come in and clean out an entire rack, especially in cases where there are lots of bikes jammed together as on University campuses, large corporate centers, train stations and so on. Particularly in the fall, right before classes begin and new students have their guard down, campuses are vulnerable. The thieves merely pretend they’re unlocking their own bikes.



No. 3: Using a Kryptonite New York lock and chain. These things weigh a ton and are inconvenient to carry around. But for locking to the back of my van or in unsecured areas, you can’t beat ’em. Having used the chain for more than a decade and not having my bike even bothered once, I really do “Fahgettaboudit.”

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