During the last the past year, I have put over 1000 miles on my bicycle. I have locked it in basements, and cities, and parks and backyards. Whenever I leave my bicycle in a new place, that same slimy feeling always crawls up my spine and seats itself in the center of my conscience. Will my bike be here when I get back?
I take basic precautions, nothing extreme. I removed the wheel quick releases in favor of hex wrench bolts. I use a kryptonite U-lock around the frame. All of this aligns with my goal of not being the easiest target on a given bike rack. I hear, almost monthly, of a friend whose bike was stolen or vandalized. So, I count my lucky stars that it hasn’t happened to me. Yet. I try to secure my bike to most sturdy metal item around, not always an easy task.
Bike thieves: if you are reading this, go no further.
As you can imagine, I have had 100’s of hours of time upon the seat. Usually it is my daily meditation time. I let my mind wander freely. Though, often it settles upon bike security.
Here is how I would steal a bike: Make a fake bike rack.
It may take you day’s work and 50 bucks, but you could make that up in a single heist. I’d make one version that secures to concrete, and one version that stakes into dirt. The concrete version would secure via a large anchor and some adhesive to prevent sliding. The dirt version would include ground stakes, and would end up appearing as if it went deep into the ground.
The racks could be secured permanently with a quick release, but likely you’d only get one or two uses out of a location before your rack was discovered. So a temporary unit is the way to go.
You’d plant the faux racks in the night, and then patrol the area the next day. As soon as an adequate bike was locked up. You could swoop in and grab it in a handful of seconds. Either toss the entire setup, bike and rack, in your car, or use a quick release you built in.
True, this is more work than the traditional method of patrolling an area until you see an easy to steal bike. However, now you can get access to bikes that are usually locked up well. And I would imagine that the nicer the bike is, the better it is locked up.
The moral here is twofold. First, be careful what you lock you bike to (watch out for sucker poles) Second, be thankful that most highly educated people do not pursue crime.
That is, unless you are one of these characters:
Ted Kaczynski: the infamous unabomber, wikipedia says it best “American domestic terrorist, anarchist and mathematical prodigy.
Frank Abagnale: the movie Catch Me if you Can was based off of this brilliant man. Perhaps, the greatest imposter of all time.
“Dan Cooper”: The name described an unidentified, and uncultured man, who hijacked a Boeing 727 in 1971, and ended up parachuting to his escape, along with $200,000 ($1.1 million in 2016 dollars) in ransom.
So, lets be sure to keep supplying legal financial incentives to those among us who are brilliant, driven, and entrepreneurial. We can’t afford to have all of our bikes stolen.
Header photo © Jake Strangel, outsideonline.com 2016