Thursday September 20, 2007

So long, bike!

Well folks, the Kryptolok South Beach Bike Theft Challenge ended this Saturday morning, when I walked outside to find my bike gone! That’s 47 days!! (A much nicer Raleigh mountain bike, which had been parked next to my bike for the past few weeks, was gone too; it had been secured by a very serious-looking Alcatraz chain/padlock combo. The pink bike remains.)

Personally, I’m thrilled — I went out Monday and bought a road bike to replace the mountain bike, getting a much better deal ($150 bike on clearance for $75), a much nicer, aluminum-built bike, and a much more realistic vehicle for practical transportation. I’ve actually commuted to work by bike/bus hybrid twice this week, and plan to do so regularly. (BTW, the new bike is a Crimson Triax)

So . . . what to do now? I’ve been keeping the new bike inside for now, mainly because I have no bike lock at all for now. The case of the Raleigh suggests that merely getting a “tougher” lock isn’t protection enough. So my options are: 1) As ‘I was there’ suggested, get two locks. For example, another Krypto U-lock, plus a heavy-duty chain and padlock from Home Depot. 2) Keep the bike inside at all times.

Having a bike in the apt. is a pain in the ass, although this one is a lot lighter, so lugging it in and out is easier. Another factor to consider is that the bike rack in front of my building, while behind a fence (the gate doesn’t lock anymore) is also behind a hedge; perhaps a more public place to lock the bike is something to look into. One more thing: a road bike is much harder to ride then a mountain bike — more difficult to steer, keep balance, keep an eye on the road, etc. — does that make it less desirable in the underground bike market?

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  1. Terry    Fri Sep 21, 09:01 AM #  

    The two lock thing is silly. You just found two bikes missing, which means two locks broken. Personally, I’d keep it inside.

    Or just paint it pink?

  2. Habla Mierda    Fri Sep 21, 11:47 AM #  

    I was in a similar boat with my motorcycle. I’m scared to death of leaving it out at night, but I don’t have any way to actually bring it into my apartment building. Luckily, our dumpster is locked away behind an iron gate and if you move the dumpster there’s a wooden gate that blocks off a small, maybe 4 foot wide, alley between my building and the building next door. So now the procedure is

    1.) open dumpster gate
    2.) pull out dumpster
    3.) open wooden gate
    4.) put bike in alley
    5.) Chain it to a water main
    6.) close wooden gate
    7.) roll dumpster back into place
    8.) close iron gate
    9.) go inside and grab a beer.

  3. billermo    Fri Sep 21, 01:48 PM #  

    krypto offers an insurance plan you can mail in if you keep the serial of the lock and register your bike with the police. they throw you up to $1000 if your bike is stolen by means of destroying the lock. its worth it esp if your bike/lock are new.

  4. Susan    Sat Sep 22, 04:58 AM #  

    make your landlord install lock on the gate; should help a little bit
    every little thing …

  5. I was there    Sat Sep 22, 08:13 AM #  

    I used two locks the entire six years I lived on South Beach and perhaps it was only dumb luck that my bike was never stolen.

    My thought was a thief who sees two different locks on one bike would not risk spending the time and effort to steal my bike.

    Terry has a good point. Seasoned professionals can steal dozens of bikes in a single night.

    I also covered by bike in a very unattractive layer of stickers, making it an eyesore.

    who knows?!

    The laws of karma have a lot to do with this situation as well.

  6. Onajídé Shabaka    Sat Sep 22, 10:56 AM #  

    Every bike I’ve had has been kept indoors. When I had two stolen it was right outside a glass door while I was buying a slice of pizza. One got stolen at a bike race. Amazingly, I got them all back. Pro quality bikes were easily spotted even when repainted. Stolen bikes were traumatic for me too… since I was racing and didn’t have a bike.

  7. whl    Sat Sep 22, 10:59 AM #  

    I too have a gated building but that didn’t stop the theif from taking my bike. Now I keep it indoors at all times!

  8. Irène    Sat Sep 22, 10:52 PM #  

    I seem to find that even cheap mountain bikes get stolen before hybrids or nicer road bikes. Our neighbor’s late 90’s Magma got ripped off while my husbands vintage Motobecane and my vintage Nishiki (each frame alone is worth three of the Magmas and hard to find) sat right beside it. Maybe the thieves are turned off because all the frogs hang out on our bikes (we are up in St. Pete, not Miami, so who knows what would happen down there!)

  9. sara    Sun Sep 23, 09:33 AM #  

    You might want to consider a folding bike next time. I LOVE mine (it’s a Citizen – I know the company – good people) and folds in half for storage and weighs 30 lbs. It’s not too bad for long distances too.

  10. alesh    Sun Sep 23, 08:30 PM #  

    billermo~ I was too lazy to jump through Kryptonite’s hoops last time, but it’s something to consider — do they pay if the bike and lock both just disappear?

    Anyone have any stories getting these payouts on south beach?

    I was there~ “talk shit about people on your blog/get your bike stolen” . . . yikes!

    Maybe Irène is right, and mountain bikes are more likely to get stolen (they’re much more practical for short-distance transport). My new road bike is much more fragile, though; I’d be reluctant to leave it outside.

    I think maybe the opposite of Habla Mierda’s approach might be effective for bikes — maybe the hedge that my bike was “hidden” behind made it easier to steal, since the thieves had a nice secluded spot to work in. Maybe locked to a lamppost on a busy, well-lit corner is a better spot for a bike to be locked overnight?

  11. I was there    Sun Sep 23, 08:43 PM #  

    What did I miss?