Wednesday June 20, 2007

Case of the stolen bike

bike and lock

So, this* is a bike I’ve had for probably maybe about 10 years, and for most of that time it sat unused at my parents’ place. A while ago I brought it down, but I didn’t really start riding it until a couple of weeks ago, and you know what? It was fun. Cycling isn’t nearly as good exercise as running, but two hours on a bike is better then twenty minutes jogging, and you get to see a lot more. I’d even planned a bus+bike route to work. But getting the damned thing in and out of my closet was a pain in the ass, and leaving it in the middle of my living room was getting annoying, so, enter the above lock.

Long story short, the bike lasted two days on the bike rack in front of my building, and was gone. So, yes, I recognize that it’s a shitty lock, and probably pretty easy to crack. But my question is this: who stole my bike? Was it someone who just happened to see it (someone from the immediate neighborhood maybe) who recognized that the lock was easy to pick, and did it sort of for the heck of it, or was it more of a “professional,” who would have been able to get through any lock (bolt cutters?) and has some sort of buyer of stolen bikes lined up?

In the end, this is just a good excuse to buy a better bike. But I need to know if I can keep it outside (with, say, a Kryptonite New York Fahgettaboudit), or if it’s going to have to live in my apartment with me.

Marginally related: Abandoned bicycles of New York.

* This is the closest picture I could find. My bike actually had a 5-speed shifter and straight handlebars.

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  1. Duran    Wed Jun 20, 09:08 AM #  

    A U-Lock is your best bet, they are hard to cut through and as long as you lock both the frame and front wheel to something, you should be fine.

  2. Chris    Wed Jun 20, 09:39 AM #  

    If you are looking for a good used bike. I HIGHLY recommend Jay the Bike King (New Times 2007 Best Of)

    A bike you get from him is practically brand new. He may not have what you are looking for the first time around, but he is constantly getting new bikes in.

    He works out of his house near Bird and the Turnpike (usually weekends).

  3. jps    Wed Jun 20, 10:24 AM #  

    ... modern U-locks though, the one’s that don’t have locks that can be picked with a bic pen. The Fugheddaboutit is a good choice.

    Honestly though: Miami weather is murder on a bike. Constant rain means constantly having to spray everything down with GT80 or some other water repelling lubricant. You’d really be better off finding a sheltered/indoor place to stow it.

  4. Tere    Wed Jun 20, 11:25 AM #  

    If you want a mountain bike, contact Ben – he’s a bottomless well of knowledge on the topic (and could probably get you a decent deal).

  5. latinbombshell    Wed Jun 20, 11:36 AM #  

    Pity! I just gave away my mountain bike to Yvette!

    I always heard that bike theft was notorious in S. Beach. Sorry you had to experience this first hand.

  6. whl    Wed Jun 20, 11:50 AM #  

    well, my bike was stolen this year from my own apt complex. as a fellow south beacher, i demanded answers and finally just moved on and bought a new bike…and a better lock! It sucks when it happens to u, right!?

  7. Shawn    Wed Jun 20, 12:13 PM #  

    my bike was stolen awhile back from the university of miami. and they have security all over the place there. the guard told me bikes got stolen all the time and that the bikes would get put on a boat and taken to somewhere like Haiti where they would resell them. Who knows?!?

    Anyway, my suggestion is to bring the bike inside – but if you are like me you probably dont have room for a bike inside. the next best thing – remove the seat from the bike each time you lock it up. Usually there is just a simple lock on the bike seat that easily lets you pull out the seat and then put it back in the next time you get on. nobody wants to steal a bike that doesn’t have a seat. i did that for a long time and it worked fine in my opinion.

  8. Alex    Wed Jun 20, 01:12 PM #  

    The Kryptonite was the best lock on a Slate comparison a few months ago. But have you seen the thing? It weighs ten pounds (that’s 50% of my bike weight) and the chain wasn’t long enough. It’s a PIA to carry around. So check it out before you buy it.

    Don’t count on it being bulletproof either, professional thieves use power tools. Check with the retailer about the theft warranty, because some companies have a power tools exclusion. Removing the seat won’t work for many thiefs, they can easily get a cheap seat or remove it from another bike.

    If you can only keep it out, get the cheapest used bike you can stomach and that way it won’t hurt.

  9. l'elk!    Wed Jun 20, 01:16 PM #  

    my dad always told me there is a huge trade of stolen bikes being shipped to other countries though the miami river ports. of course there is also thiefs who sell them to pawn shops or other bike shops who strip them for parts. miami doesn’t have any respect for bikers and this includes our law inforcment doing anything about miamis horrible black market bike trade. they just turn their heads the other way. i think miami is rated #3 in america for bike theft. i know so many people who have had their bikes stolen. some lost several bikes. you just cant trust leaving your bike outside in the majority of areas in miami.

    and… never use a cheap bike lock!

  10. nonee moose    Wed Jun 20, 01:32 PM #  

    get something with a speed release front-wheel, while you’re at it. It’s easier to store the wheel inside than the whole bike..

  11. I was there    Wed Jun 20, 02:05 PM #  

    I lived and rode my bike around south beach for nearly eight years.

    My bike was never stolen.

    My secret was to use two locks, a Kyptonite u-lock and a cable lock.

    I always thought that the bike thieves were never prepared for two types of locks and it was not an easy target.

    Get two locks.

  12. J-J    Wed Jun 20, 03:14 PM #  

    alesh Here on the Beach is crazy. Evryone has a story just like yours…don’t leave the bike ANYWHERE over night…it will be stolen. and be careful with your seat—they’ll steal that too.

    what I do is I buy them at Target. I get them new and assembled for %50. A good deal

  13. Chris    Wed Jun 20, 03:34 PM #  

    I can vouch and say that I have seen large barges floating down the river PACKED/STACKED with bikes.

    Are they stolen? That I can’t answer.

  14. Grizz    Wed Jun 20, 04:00 PM #  

    I’m going on six years and the same bike here in South Beach. The NEW Kryptonite U-Lock has been great. Always THINK about where you lock it up and always bring it inside during the night. I did on occasion leave mine out overnight but always in front of 24hr businesses. I have a Giant Single and it has been great. It’s all aluminum, so no rust!! It lightweight on top of that so it’s easy to bring into the apt. I’ve raced road bikes and mountain bikes and this is one of the BEST I’ve ever owned.

  15. Roger    Wed Jun 20, 06:18 PM #  

    I live in NYC now and I’ve had my seat, a break, and one of my tires stolen. My advice is to get a U-lock for the frame and one of those faggedabout it doo-hickies for the front wheel.

    I mean, shit, that was a nice bike, dude. Of course someone’s gonna jack it.

  16. dreaming    Thu Jun 21, 01:12 PM #  

    your lock wasnt picked, it was cut.

    you cant leave a bike out in miami. even the bike store in south beach, which sells every lock including that ridiculous heav chain lock, told me it would be stolen no matter what lock i put on it.

    so, i keep it inside.

    when locking outside to go inside somewhere, always consider the location. no one is going to stop a bike thief because they figure he owns the bike.

  17. Vrat    Fri Jun 22, 05:31 AM #  

    Feel free to use my bike.

  18. duda    Thu Jun 28, 05:30 PM #  

    Sorry about your bike. Miami is not the only city where bikes get stolen. Just watch this video of a northern state victim posted as a catharsis.

    So what you “DO” is use people to drive you to Target, don’t offer one cent for gas money, act like a douchebag, insult your ride like YOU are doing them a favor by riding in their car, and then thrash talk about them behind their back, just like you do about this site (yet you keep posting here besides telling everyone who can listen how you think is over rated and badly written?) What you really need to do to lose pounds of that smelly fat ass is stop eating and go to the gym, and take a bath, you smell like a gorilla’s ass, fugly loser jerk.

  19. margaret    Wed Jul 11, 02:12 PM #  

    I’ve seen the bike barges too. I have no idea if they are stolen or legit.

    My father and I have had many bikes stolen going back to the 70s if not longer. You have to bring them inside. It’s the only way.