BikePGH!

It really sucks your bike was stolen…but how was it locked?

This topic contains 30 replies, has 17 voices, and was last updated by  Pierce 1 yr, 3 mos.

Viewing 31 posts - 1 through 31 (of 31 total)
 
Author Posts
Author Posts

sarapgh2

Private Message

Jul 11 2013 at 8:15am #

I know this is a sensitive topic after a bike has been stolen, since it really really sucks that a bike was stolen. But as a fellow cyclist I always want to ask how the stolen bike was locked up.

I don’t want to blame the cyclist at all and I realize we all have times we do stupid things (like not realizing a lock isn’t actually locked through anything, etc.). So I understand not asking.

However, I also want to have a current gauge on the level of bike thievery, ie. have we reached the point that u-locks are being broken?

I’d like to know this so that I can take further steps. (Like 2 u-locks, cables through both, etc.). Currently I just go with a u-lock and the Sheldon method and I’ve never had an issue. But if we start getting in NYC/big city bike-stealing levels I’d like to know in advance.

How can one sensitively ask how a stolen bike was locked, or is it better to just not ask at all?


rsprake

Private Message

Jul 11 2013 at 8:34am #

It’s a good way to learn. I think we should always ask.


dmtroyer

Private Message

Jul 11 2013 at 8:43am #

I still haven’t heard of a (properly used) u-lock being compromised in Pittsburgh.


jonawebb

Private Message

Jul 11 2013 at 8:49am #

In this post the owner of a stolen bike reported their bike was stolen when it was locked with a U-lock.


Drewbacca

Private Message

Jul 11 2013 at 9:11am #

I wouldn’t worry too much about a u-lock being compromised… the type of thief that would have the tools and/or know-how to get through a working u-lock seems to be a complete different profile from the majority of bike thieves in Pgh.

There are professional bike thieves in Chicago and I’ve heard stories of vans with angle-grinders driving around… but even the majority of stolen bikes in Chicago (that I’ve seen posted on the active-transit board) tend to be due to poor locking technique.

Bike theft is a crime of opportunity, don’t give thieves an opportunity. Even u-locks have their weaknesses… there was an entire line of locks with a cylindrical shaped key that could be opened with a bic pen (so, just because a u-lock may have been opened doesn’t mean that u-locks are no longer safe).


sew

Private Message

Jul 11 2013 at 10:19am #

I think this would be good data to have. Maybe a single thread with a template (like the introduction thread). When someone says their bike was stolen, ask them to fill out the stolen bike information thread.

Date:
Owner:
Bike desc:
Location stolen:
Type of location: (ie. street, porch, public rack)
Type of lock(s):
How locked?:

Recovery?
When/where?

On a related note. Has anyone ever done a heat map of stolen bikes? To see locations where they are more likely to be stolen.


sarapgh2

Private Message

Jul 11 2013 at 11:01am #

I agree that we’re not up to u-lock professional thieves yet, but would like know when/if that happens.

sew: I like the list of questions, not sure if it’s too emotional a time for people to fill out something like that? It’s never happened to me yet, so I don’t know.


Drewbacca

Private Message

Jul 11 2013 at 11:28am #

I’ve made a habit of photographing the serial # of friend’s bikes when given the opportunity… I doubt that it even puts a dent in the odds of recovery, but at least I can come to the rescue if any of those bikes get stolen.

It’s not just bikes. People just don’t want to take the few minutes necessary to create records. I’m terrible at creating a database of pertinent information… but I do keep a file of expensive electronics and other possessions in the form of photographed serial numbers. It only takes a second to snap a picture and you have it when you need it.


StuInMcCandless

Private Message

Jul 11 2013 at 2:30pm #

When I had a cheap bike and a cheap lock, I went through the motions of locking up, and never had a bike stolen. OK fine, but it’s like stealing an old car that’s running on five cylinders. Who cares?

Then my daughter got a decent bike but a cheap lock — that broke — and wouldnchaknow, within a week, no more bike. Lesson learned.

Don’t buy crap locks.

Meanwhile, now that I have a nice bike, I spent $30 on a decent U-lock, and now recite this mantra to myself every time I lock up:
* Through the rack
* Through the frame
* Through the wheel
* Test the lock
* Walk away smiling

…and lock it up every time!


ieverhart

Private Message

Jul 11 2013 at 3:22pm #

I was just thinking about this earlier today! Rather than a free-form message board posting, having a list of entries to fill would perhaps avoid needing so many follow-up inquiries to fill in the gaps.

Also just now, I saw a thin blue cable lock downtown lying on the sidewalk, cut, and an apparently-abandoned bike tossed in a bush around the corner… a cautionary tale in two scenes if there ever was one.

As to sew’s suggestion of a sticky thread, I think that would be OK except that you might get some confusion where it’s not clear who’s replying to whom, etc.

Finally, I’ll confess that in my own case, the stolen bike was not locked at all. (That’s a cautionary tale in one scene.)

I still haven’t heard of a (properly used) u-lock being compromised in Pittsburgh.

@Dmtroyer – I guess this goes to our definition of “compromised,” but in July 2011 my front wheel was stolen while the rest of my bike was securely still attached to the pole. (http://bikepgh.org/mb/topic/stolen-front-wheel-lawrenceville-720/). (I do note that at on that thread you do observe that “ Locking skewers are your friend when you do the sheldon lock.“)


Pierce

Private Message

Jul 11 2013 at 3:25pm #

Eh, some people just have to have their bikes stolen before they change their ways

Told a classmate about cable locks, person still uses cable lock

Left a note on a bike locked up only by the front wheel on a popular corridor, bike still locked to wheel a week later


salty

Private Message

Jul 11 2013 at 9:32pm #

I think pretty much every time a bike is reported stolen here someone just comes out and directly asks “how was it locked?”. who needs tact?

Although, we often don’t get a clear answer, like the post jonawebb linked to. Was the u-lock actually cut/broken, or was it the “bic pen” type drewbacca mentioned, or did they just lock it to something flimsy and the thief took the whole thing. I still haven’t heard of any case in pgh where a U-lock was broken.


atown

Private Message

Jul 12 2013 at 8:18am #

sarapgh2 wrote: Currently I just go with a u-lock and the Sheldon method and I’ve never had an issue.

You should be locking the frame if you can. Here’s a potential flaw with the Sheldon Brown method:


jonawebb

Private Message

Jul 12 2013 at 8:25am #

Wow. 30 seconds.
Edit: Ed’s post reminds me of this: http://www.nytimes.com/video/2012/03/12/opinion/100000001423494/bike-thief.html


edmonds59

Private Message

Jul 12 2013 at 8:27am #

Several months ago when I had a u-lock seize up in the Macy’s garage, I hauled down an angle grinder and 150 ft of extension cord to cut it. It was a pretty sizable effort. I tried to be super obvious, found a garage attendant and told him it was my bike and the lock was seized. He didn’t really seem to care. It was little odd. He said it would all be on video if I was stealing it anyway (?!).
Another time, in the same garage, a guy was regularly locking up a fairly nice cross bike with a tiny 1/4″ cable lock, I mentioned once that the lock wasn’t really very secure. He indicated that he wasn’t all that worried either. People.


Drewbacca

Private Message

Jul 12 2013 at 11:07am #

atown wrote:You should be locking the frame if you can. Here’s a potential flaw with the Sheldon Brown method:

I think it really depends on what the thief hopes to gain… in the above scenario, the thief will not be riding the bicycle away from the scene and they just destroyed the (likely) second most expensive object on the bicycle. There’s a good chance of damaging the frame in that scenario, as well. It also assumes that there is room in the rear triangle to use that hack-saw, which is very unlikely.

Could it happen? Sure… if someone has a car standing by or lives close enough to ditch the bike and pick it up later. I suppose there is a point if someone wants to steal a groupset or something. The Sheldon method will work fine to keep a kid from taking a joy ride and it’s a heck of a lot harder to defeat than a cable-lock.

Anyone that determined will get your bike no matter how you lock it. I’ll stick with the Sheldon method, myself. None the less, thanks for sharing the video! :D It’s a good reminder that NO method is perfect.


atown

Private Message

Jul 12 2013 at 12:03pm #

Drewbacca wrote:It also assumes that there is room in the rear triangle to use that hack-saw, which is very unlikely.

Unless they cut anywhere else on the wheel, break a couple spokes, and then rotate it.


wolfador

Private Message

Jul 12 2013 at 4:42pm #

I ended up having to “steal” my own bike yesterday. Rode to the grocery store and locked it up, came out side and my combo for my krytonite combo lock wasn’t working. Tried some wd-40 in the tumblers, no go. Walked the 5 miles home came back in my car with my angle grinder in hand.

Plugged into the outlet near the red box with an extension cord and had the ulock cut in about 15 seconds. Put the bike in the car and no one looked or said anything to me.

I was kind of hoping someone would question what I was doing but…..


Mikhail

Private Message

Jul 12 2013 at 4:48pm #

Drewbacca wrote:It also assumes that there is room in the rear triangle to use that hack-saw, which is very unlikely.

There is. You just start inside out. And you make two cuts so lock goes out very easy.


Drewbacca

Private Message

Jul 12 2013 at 4:54pm #

It was always my position that it would take two cuts… but the above video proved that assumption wrong.

@atown, point taken.

Either way, thankfully this is far above and beyond what the average bicycle thief would consider. Locker storage, when available, is clearly the best answer when you will be away from your bicycle for any lengthy period of time.


jonawebb

Private Message

Jul 13 2013 at 2:22pm #

I don’t think you need to worry too much about locking your bike when people are happy to leave perfectly good bikes completely unlocked. This was outside REI 20 minutes ago:

I’m not sure what was going on here:
1) Nobody would steal a bike with a trailer attached, that would be too mean.
2) No thief would know how to remove a trailer.
3) There are so many bikes here, it doesn’t matter that my bike is unlocked.


Drewbacca

Private Message

Jul 13 2013 at 2:54pm #

4) I’m near E. Carson and more worried about a drunk tripping over the trailer than trying to ride off with it.


jegyud

Private Message

Jul 13 2013 at 9:03pm #

Hi – I’m the one whose bike was recently stolen and whose info was posted on FB through Bike Pittsburgh.

I was using one of these:

http://www.amazon.com/Avenir-Combo-Cable-Lock-10mm/dp/B002KVOVDY/ref=sr_1_12?ie=UTF8&qid=1373766848&sr=8-12&keywords=bicycle+cable+locks

Before people blame me for being irresponsible or stupid for locking up my bike with such a cable, please be advised that I’m a relatively new cyclist, and I was told by a cyclist friend of mine that this would a good lock. I had no idea that these could be stomped through in a public cafe area, sitting underneath a security camera, properly locked (OCD triple-checked), in broad daylight right on Forbes.

I must say that I was initially touched by the outpouring of positive responses regarding my bike, but after reading this forum post (after coming here looking for support), I feel worse than I have all week. I didn’t intend on being irresponsible. I thought I had done my research, and I guess I was wrong…


StuInMcCandless

Private Message

Jul 13 2013 at 10:00pm #

Truly sorry to hear that.

When I said
When I had a cheap bike and a cheap lock,

…that is exactly the lock I had. (Have. Still. For the cheap bike. Actually I own three, for three cheap bikes.)

But I have one of these for the good bike.

http://www.kryptonitelock.com/Pages/ProductInformation.aspx?PNumber=997955

For an additional few bucks, Kryptonite Locks will insure the bike (up to $500) if a loss is properly and timely reported to the police. But at least register the number of the key in case of key loss so they can mail you a replacement key. You can do that for free.

You do get what you pay for.


salty

Private Message

Jul 14 2013 at 12:10am #

@jegyud – no one wants to make you feel badly about what happened; the person who stole your bike deserves all the blame here. the point of asking the question is to find out what the thieves are doing, not to shame the victim.

there are loads of bikes that get locked up with cable locks and never get stolen – even if a bike is left unlocked it’s obviously not acceptable for someone to steal it.


jonawebb

Private Message

Jul 14 2013 at 6:28am #

@jegyud, this is why @sarapgh2 started this thread. She wanted to find out how sophisticated thieves in Pittsburgh were getting without making anyone feel bad. But it sounds like it backfired. None of us here wanted to do that. We’re all sorry your bike was stolen, and believe me, most of us have been there. You blame yourself, and of course there’s always things you could have done. But mostly, you were unlucky and a thief armed with the right tools and bold enough to use them in a public place came across your bike. It totally sucks, and it could happen to any of us, no matter how good a lock we have.


Drewbacca

Private Message

Jul 14 2013 at 3:50pm #

jegyud wrote:Before people blame me for being irresponsible or stupid for locking up my bike with such a cable…

No blame intended… we’re just trying to keep track of trends and get the message out. If you don’t know what works best, you don’t know, and that’s all there is to it. You’ll get nothing but sympathy from anyone on this board if that is the case.


stefb

Private Message

Jul 14 2013 at 5:01pm #

In guilty of doing long group rides and leaving my bike leaned up against the glass outside of sheetz without anyone watching.


sierramister

Private Message

Jul 14 2013 at 6:21pm #

I was there at the same time you took the photo at the Works and I can see my bike in the reflection. The funny thing is that I couldn’t find my bike lock since I have recently moved here and ran into REI to buy a new lock so I could check out the street vendors at the Works. Glad you didn’t use my bike as the example!


StuInMcCandless

Private Message

Jul 14 2013 at 6:37pm #

It’s not just Pittsburgh. I just got this photo-tweet from a cycling friend in Boston.

Womp. An hour ago a bike was locked up here next to mine. pic.twitter.com/rfUqcjgyBr— Laurie (@lauriedeits) July 14, 2013


Pierce

Private Message

Jul 14 2013 at 9:30pm #

‘Left a note on a bike locked up only by the front wheel on a popular corridor, bike still locked to wheel a week later ”

When I passed the bike this week, it was locked to the frame, so maybe my note did work

Viewing 31 posts - 1 through 31 (of 31 total)
 

You must be logged in to reply to this topic.