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Thread: Bike thieves

  1. #1
    Member Member PBI's Avatar
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    Angry Bike thieves

    So I took delivery today of my shiny new bike. Very exciting one might think, were it not for the fact that it is a replacement for my old new bike which was stolen from the bike rack outside my house back in February after being my prized possession for all of three weeks. Three months later and fifty pounds out of pocket to cover the excess, the replacement ordered by my insurance company has finally arrived.

    It on this note then that I would like to ask for suggestions from bike-riding Orgahs as to how best to prevent the same thing happening again. I'd be interested to hear about any methods you've tried and whether they were effective or not.

    My thoughts so far on various aspects:

    -Locks: I'm going to steer clear of cables since that was what was cut when my bike was stolen before. Reading around, most people seem to recommend D-locks although the consensus seems to be that nothing is really unbeatable given enough time and the right tools. I'm going to try and find one that comes with a guarantee so at least I won't be out of pocket if it happens again, though since my bike is my main means of getting to work the inconvenience of being without a bike for weeks on end is worse than the expense.

    -Marking the bike with an ID number so the police can identify if it is recovered. I neglected to do this last time, definitely going to look into it this time so there is at least the slender chance I might get it back if it's stolen.

    -Defacing the bike somehow to make it a less attractive target; I've heard various suggestions for this, ranging from sticking on a few gaudy stickers to slashing up the saddle and sanding away the paint in some non-vital area to encourage rust. Not sure if I might try this, it seems somewhat like cutting off my nose to spite my face, but I really don't care about the bike looking all shiny and new so long as the wheels still turn and the handlebars don't fall off while I'm riding it.

    -Finding a better solution for storing it overnight. Ideally I would just bring the bike into my flat overnight (I'm on the ground floor), but my flat isn't huge and the climate of south Wales ensures that my bike is generally covered in mud and sand by the time I get home. I'm thinking of maybe storing it on the balcony in the hope that thieves might be slightly more reluctant to come right up to the window than raid a bike rack in the middle of the car park, and bringing the saddle and probably both wheels (quick release) inside with me. I'm also mulling whether it might be possible to rig up some sort of primitive burglar alarm if such a thing could be designed to do anything other than simply wake the neighbours every time there's a strong gust of wind at 5am. Basically, any suggestions for anything which would make the thieves more reluctant to try stealing my bike, or else take longer about it and make more noise to increase the chance of them being caught in the act would help.

  2. #2
    master of the pwniverse Member Fragony's Avatar
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    Default Re: Bike thieves

    http://bikehugger.com/images/blog/dc_bike_valet.jpg

    Buy crappy bikes, they will get stolen, and you can buy something similar back at the trainstation for 10 euro.

  3. #3
    Prince Louis of France (KotF) Member Ramses II CP's Avatar
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    Default Re: Bike thieves

    Whatever kind of lock you use you have to consider the substrata it's connected to as well; a friend recently had his bike stolen when somebody just broke the wooden railing the lock was around. Personally the only effective method I've seen is to always take the front wheel off and bring it in with you. PITA to be sure, but the guy who owns the local bike shop rides his to work every day and brings the wheel in at after every trip. He's been doing it for years and never had (the rest of) his bike stolen.

    edit: I should add that the other guy working in the shop when I heard this story also rides his bike to work every day and refuses to go to those lengths. I didn't ask if he'd had one stolen recently or not.


  4. #4
    Oni Member Samurai Waki's Avatar
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    Default Re: Bike thieves

    Quote Originally Posted by Ramses II CP View Post
    Whatever kind of lock you use you have to consider the substrata it's connected to as well; a friend recently had his bike stolen when somebody just broke the wooden railing the lock was around. Personally the only effective method I've seen is to always take the front wheel off and bring it in with you. PITA to be sure, but the guy who owns the local bike shop rides his to work every day and brings the wheel in at after every trip. He's been doing it for years and never had (the rest of) his bike stolen.

    This is probably the best way to save you from a lot of unnecessary misery.

  5. #5
    Sovereign Oppressor Member TIE Fighter Shooter Champion, Turkey Shoot Champion, Juggler Champion Kralizec's Avatar
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    Default Re: Bike thieves

    I had four bikes of my own stolen
    I've had my current bike for almost a year now, wich is a personal record. Some of the following advice will seem self-evident, but anyway:

    The best is probably a steel chain with a lock. Quality varies so inform yourself before buying. If the thief really wants your bike, he won't be stopped. Shiny new bikes are especially desirable so messing it up is sound advice even if it sounds like a waste. You should consider spray painting it with a recognisable color, thiefs just might leave it alone to avoid the hassle of painting it again.
    Always attach your bike to something like a lamp post or a fence. Maybe if you're in a hurry or if you're only leaving it for an hour you'll be tempted to just put the chain through your back wheel but if you're in bad luck someone will come by and take it. I lost two bikes this way.

    A lot of students here buy stolen bikes because they figure they're entitled to it since their own was stolen too. I'm personally against this on principle (and tell everyone I know about it) since you're helping out the same thieves that stole yours and indirectly screw another person such as yourself. Besides if the bike has an ID chip and the police finds out someway you're screwed. Over here derelict bikes or bikes that are parked at forbidden spots are collected by the city and resold at bargain prices, if yours is ever stolen again you should see if your city does the same thing.
    Last edited by Kralizec; 05-11-2009 at 18:29.

  6. #6
    In the shadows... Member Vuk's Avatar
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    Default Re: Bike thieves

    lol, I am laughing, not at your loss, but that you have to keep them locked. Where I live in mid-WI people just stand em against buildings or trees. Hardly ever is one stolen. Once you get into bigger cities though, you have to lock em. I am not sure what it is like in the rest of WI, but I know when I moved to Chicago I was 'cause I had to take my light off all the time and lock my bike with a cable around the frame and wheel like I never had to do back home. The darn thing still got taken apart in the middle of the night, so I just stopped using bikes. Darn, honest people are worth their weight in gold...if only we did not have more of em.
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  7. #7
    master of the pwniverse Member Fragony's Avatar
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    Default Re: Bike thieves

    Sealing an old bike isn't really seen as a crime, more like borrowing without asking, GTB. An average dutch bike gets stolen 8 times I once read. An expensive bike is much less likely to be stolen.
    Last edited by Fragony; 05-11-2009 at 18:47.

  8. #8
    Honorary Argentinian Senior Member Gyroball Champion, Karts Champion Caius's Avatar
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    Default Re: Bike thieves

    C4 in the seat will do the work. You detonate it when you see it stolen.




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    Default Re: Bike thieves

    Buy a GPS/lo-jack for it, or do stuff the old fashion way, lock your tires up and take the frame... or do I have that backwards....
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  10. #10
    ............... Member Scurvy's Avatar
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    Default Re: Bike thieves

    buy a second hand-bike - my bike is almost 8 years old now, and was in use i would guess 2 years before that, and looks very old and I don't think anyone would really want to steal it,

    with a new bike, get a HUGE D-lock, it looks impossing, and its hard work for someone to discretely cut-through.

    beyond that, stand by it overnight with a shotgun


  11. #11
    Arena Senior Member Crazed Rabbit's Avatar
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    Default Re: Bike thieves

    A heavy steel chain, with a thick strong lock, looped through the bike and around something that can't be broken or cut. And take the front wheel off.

    I bought a motorcycle from a person who lived in Chicago, and they told tales of simply locking that thing up with thick steel chains and besting determined thieves.

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  12. #12
    Useless Member Member Fixiwee's Avatar
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    Default Re: Bike thieves

    There a many possible solutions for having an expensive bike.
    First, buy a cheap one to go around, and use the exp one to do you sports (downhill etc).
    Locking up with a Ulock to fixed metal pipe somewhere (streetsigns work here). I make sure that I lock the frame and the backweel, not the frontweel. The whole stuff at the backweel inclusind the wheel is more expensive and difficult to replace if stolen, then the simple frontwheel. Optional you can get a second cable lock which is felxible enough to lock the frontwheel, or you get a O lock to secure the front wheel. In larger cities this might be a good idea, a double locked bike is a lot of work for a thief, esp if it is locked to something, it makes it virtually impossible to jack it quickly. A thief can ice a Ulock, but he needs time for it.
    Marking as far as I heard does not help at all. It's a myth that thiefs don't go for them. As far as I can say, here in europe those bikes which gets stolen get moved out of the country asap.

    Well anyway, this is a good article about bike thieves.
    http://quickrelease.tv/?p=327

    Edit apperently a u-lock can be breached in seconds. Phew, didn't know that one.
    Last edited by Fixiwee; 05-12-2009 at 10:57.

  13. #13
    Needs more flowers Moderator drone's Avatar
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    Default Re: Bike thieves

    Quote Originally Posted by Fixiwee View Post
    Edit apperently a u-lock can be breached in seconds. Phew, didn't know that one.
    IIRC, you can use the tube of a Bic pen to open the lock quickly, somebody found that it fits just right. The old way was with some kind of jack, right?
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  14. #14
    Desperately Seeking Tamworth Member Ethelred Unread's Avatar
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    Default Re: Bike thieves

    I got a cheap bike bag from ebay (£20) and now store my bike inside. Failing that - use a motorbike chain and lock and always through the back wheel and frame. Take the front wheel off.
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  15. #15
    Member Member PBI's Avatar
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    Default Re: Bike thieves

    Thanks all for the suggestions.

    I went out yesterday and bought a hefty chain and padlock and good chunky D-lock following a suggestion I read somewhere that most of the lazier thieves will generally either bring bolt cutters to cut chains, or a jack to bust open D-locks, but not both. The D-lock comes with a guarantee too, so at least I won't be out of pocket this time if (when) it gets stolen again.

    The key thing is just to reduce the frequency with which I have to replace bikes by as much as possible - replacing a stolen bike once a year I can live with, once a month is just too much of a hassle.

    Quote Originally Posted by drone View Post
    IIRC, you can use the tube of a Bic pen to open the lock quickly, somebody found that it fits just right. The old way was with some kind of jack, right?
    Yes, as I understand it this was a problem a few years ago with D-locks using tubular keys - someone discovered the diameter of the key was exactly the same as a BIC pen. AFAIK they don't make that particular lock type anymore as a result.

    Quote Originally Posted by Caius
    C4 in the seat will do the work. You detonate it when you see it stolen.
    Quote Originally Posted by Scurvy
    beyond that, stand by it overnight with a shotgun
    Trust me, after a few days of trudging in to work late, footsore and soaked through, this was pretty much what I was thinking. Unfortunately, not only is that sort of thing illegal here, but as far as I can tell most of these homemade Indiana Jones type booby traps that people have tried only seem to end up either maiming the person who set the trap or else some unfortunate innocent third party who happened to walk past and cough.

    I do wonder about the possibility of something a bit more low-tech though, like simply disconnecting the brake cables or leaving one of the quick-release bolts loose.

  16. #16
    master of the pwniverse Member Fragony's Avatar
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    Default Re: Bike thieves

    Get one of these, good luck trying to cut through this.

    http://www.bakfiets-en-meer.nl/wp-co...7-ringslot.jpg

    I don't know how you call these guys in english; http://www.carpartsdewetering.nl/images/0060104000.jpg

    They will cut clean through any chain without any effort, trying to cut through the lock I just posted will just leave a nice lock-shaped hole in the whatsitcalled. Undestroyable, there really isn't a better choice.

  17. #17
    Devout worshipper of Bilious Member miotas's Avatar
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    Default Re: Bike thieves

    Quote Originally Posted by Fragony View Post
    I don't know how you call these guys in english; http://www.carpartsdewetering.nl/images/0060104000.jpg
    Bolt cutters.

    What is it that makes those locks so special, or are they just made of tough stuff.

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  18. #18
    master of the pwniverse Member Fragony's Avatar
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    Default Re: Bike thieves

    Quote Originally Posted by miotas View Post
    Bolt cutters.

    What is it that makes those locks so special, or are they just made of tough stuff.
    good steel, best lock there is. Better bring some heavy material if you want to cut through that. When done, buy new heavy material. Much more of a hassle then it's worth.

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