DO you ever see someone lock their bike in a way that makes it easy to steal and tell them? I’m looking at a bike right now that has a u-lock around one side of the fork, the bike rack, and nothing else. Would it be bad form to show the owner how it could be stolen if I’m around when they come back?
This isn’t even taking the frame and leaving the wheel; it’s locked in a way that would allow a thief to take the wheel, too.
I usually make a comment, or sometimes I leave notes. In either case I usually start with “hey that’s a nice bike” and then comment on a more safe approach or how a u-lock could be better. Just try not to sound too preachy.
I would have no hesitation telling someone after telling them “nice bike, you probably want to keep it.” I did move a bike at CMU once- U-lock through the rear wheel only, front wheel in the rack. But it did not look like it moved much.
I always lock up with a cable, have been all of my life, and have not had a bike stolen yet since the Schwinn varsity was taken off my porch (unlocked) in 1974. I think it helps that my commuter is heavy and dirty- there are always much nicer bikes nearby. It is kept inside when I am at work and at home- I agree a U-lock might be better in some situations, but do not feel I need it.
I would never mess with someone’s bike, even if I was trying to help them, without their permission, BTW. Doing so could easily be misinterpreted. If I happened to see the person who did the locking I might point out how easily the bike could be stolen, in a really nice way, “What a great bike! Hey, did you notice that the U-lock doesn’t go through the frame there? I always lock through here. That makes it much harder to steal.”
My brother had a really old crummy Schwinn 3-speed stolen from a bike rack at a Washington Metro, where he’d locked it with a cable lock. Who knows, maybe someone took it for scrap metal. Anyway, things may be safer here in the hinterlands.