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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I work part time in a bike shop in DC. There is rarely a day where someone doesn't come in to replace their stolen bike. We show folks over and over again how to lock their bike but do they listen? Heck no!

DC is a great city for bike commuting. The weather is pretty good, cycling facilities are not bad, the Metro is over capacity and auto traffic is amazingly congested. At my day job downtown I see hundreds of bikes parked all over the place.

Very few are locked up correctly. It is easy picking for any bike thief with ambition.
 

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Discussion Starter · #2 ·
How not to lock your bike.

#1 Don't just run a lock thru the front wheel or someone will remove your bike from the wheel and get a wheel from...

#2 & 3 Don't just lock the frame or the guy who just took #1 will steal your wheels and ride away..

#4a Don't rely on a cable lock alone. For one thing they are crazy easy to cut away which brings us to...

#4b Lock your bike to something solid and make sure your bike can't be lifted over that something solid (BTW trees are not solid).

#5 If you have locks use them all the time, don't leave them dangling from your seat. Make your bike harder to steal than some one elses bike and yours is much more likely to be there when you get back.

#6 Use your very expensive lock correctly. Lock both wheels, the frame and your seat if you can.
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
How to lock your bike.

#1 Run a U-Lock through the rear wheel and the frame and something solid AND lasso your front wheel with a sturdy cable that runs over your frame through the seat and down to the U-Lock.

#2 Use a big motorcycle security chain and lock through the wheels and frame and around something solid. Bonus points for being inside a locking cage. Double bonus points for being inside a secured building (don't be foolish and not lock your bike correctly in a cage, bikes incorrectly locked get taken from places like this all the time).

Bonus Note. OLDER LOCKS WITH CIRCULAR KEYS ARE NOT SECURE. I opened this lock with the Bic pen shown here. If you have a lock like this replace it now.

Few things rile me as much as bike theives, don't encourage them by making it easy for them to steal your bike.

BTW I have never had one of my bikes stolen (knock on wood).
 

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Great post, MB1. I've never had to lock a bike (well, not since I was a kid at the swimming pool, 20 years ago). I am either on mine or it's next to my desk. Most places I have lived have minimal bike services around town, so I would rather take pubic (public) transit around town and leave the bike at the office.

I have been thinking about painting over the nice paint job on my 2005 Cannondale and making it look as bad as possible. My friend did that to his Specialized and it has worked for years.
 

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I'm not like anyone else
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MB1 said:
I work part time in a bike shop in DC. There is rarely a day where someone doesn't come in to replace their stolen bike. We show folks over and over again how to lock their bike but do they listen? Heck no!

DC is a great city for bike commuting. The weather is pretty good, cycling facilities are not bad, the Metro is over capacity and auto traffic is amazingly congested. At my day job downtown I see hundreds of bikes parked all over the place.

Very few are locked up correctly. It is easy picking for any bike thief with ambition.
I can tell you from experience... In a past life I was a cop.(1976 -1982) IF someone really wants to snag your bike, they will. Locks don't mean anything but added time to the heist. A pro can use a straight awl or cutters to cut through anything that is out there. The only thing that stops them is where you put your bike.. Keep it in sight of lots of people or yourself and never think it's out of reach. Truthfully, in a high crime area, nothing is safe. Not even virginity! Apology to all ladies but it's true. And yes, I am synical. However, experience is a good teacher.

Cheers...
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
That is exactly why you need to lock it correctly.

everydaybike said:
I can tell you from experience... In a past life I was a cop.(1976 -1982) IF someone really wants to snag your bike, they will. Locks don't mean anything but added time to the heist. A pro can use a straight awl or cutters to cut through anything that is out there. The only thing that stops them is where you put your bike.. Keep it in sight of lots of people or yourself and never think it's out of reach. Truthfully, in a high crime area, nothing is safe. Not even virginity! Apology to all ladies but it's true. And yes, I am synical. However, experience is a good teacher.

Cheers...
Then they will go steal some other bike that isn't locked up so well. But yes, if someone really wants your bike it is gone, all you can do is improve your chances.
 

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MB1,
what is your opinion of the Master Lock Python? I like the ability to get both wheels, the frame and the seat, and still get everything snug (no room to generate leverage). I am just not sure about the mechanism that binds the cable, some sort of cam that just gets tighter the more you pull is my guess.

best,
Gordon
 

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Beetpull DeLite
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Cerddwyr said:
MB1,
what is your opinion of the Master Lock Python? I like the ability to get both wheels, the frame and the seat, and still get everything snug (no room to generate leverage). I am just not sure about the mechanism that binds the cable, some sort of cam that just gets tighter the more you pull is my guess.

best,
Gordon
I tried one of those - it was awful. I purchased it just for secondary security (to lock my good bikes to the frame inside a locked storage room outside my apartment), so I wasn't too worried it was a cable.

Well, I got home, locked it, and never got it unlocked again. I had to take a Dremel tool to it to get it off. It was a piece of crap.

Plus, it's not secure - get a U-Lock and cable lock at the least.
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
I'm really conservative about security.

Cerddwyr said:
MB1,
what is your opinion of the Master Lock Python? I like the ability to get both wheels, the frame and the seat, and still get everything snug (no room to generate leverage). I am just not sure about the mechanism that binds the cable, some sort of cam that just gets tighter the more you pull is my guess.

best,
Gordon
I am not a big fan of trying something new like that until it has been around for quite a while and is proven. We had the Python and the Cuff locks in the store for a while last year, all the young sales kids loved them because they were new. IMHO they didn't work all that well, they didn't solve a problem better than proven older designs and they wern't all that secure. We no longer sell them.

My personal choice for security is the Kryptonite New York Series or their motorcycle stuff or never having my bike out of my control. $100 worth of locks in a city or college campus provides a lot more that $100 peace of mind-anything less than that and you are just wasting your time. YMMV
 

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Thanks

Thanks for the post. Had never thought about locking the seat down before. As much as they cost I should have. In the future I'll be running the cable through it also.
 

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Great thread, thanks!

I don't usually carry a lock b/c I keep my bike in my office, garage or under my butt at all times. But I may occasionally have to make a side trip and leave the bike outside. The tips on this thread are great.

How bad is bike theft in Cambridge, MA (in the heart of the Harvard campus) during the daytime? I'm wondering if it's worth bringing my good bike (2000 Bianchi Veloce) and locking it with a U-lock and cable as described here, or if I should just bring my beater (1976 Peugeot UO8) on days that I have to spend time there.

I know the beater makes way more sense, but my good bike is so much more fun.... :) How much of a risk would I be taking? I would only be doing this a 1-4 times a month, in all likelihood.
 

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Discussion Starter · #12 ·
Ask the local police or a bike shop.

SkiDiver said:
How bad is bike theft in Cambridge, MA (in the heart of the Harvard campus) during the daytime? I'm wondering if it's worth bringing my good bike (2000 Bianchi Veloce) and locking it with a U-lock and cable as described here, or if I should just bring my beater (1976 Peugeot UO8) on days that I have to spend time there.
Campus Security Officers often downplay bike theft and other crimes so don't rely too much on what they say. Real police and bike shops are likely your best source of information.
 

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Fair Harvard is a great place to be a bike thief

MB1 said:
Campus Security Officers often downplay bike theft and other crimes so don't rely too much on what they say. Real police and bike shops are likely your best source of information.
Back in my days at Hahvuhd (said with nose tilted up at appropriate angle), 1982-1987, bike theft was epidemic. Anything that could be stolen, would be stolen, on campus or in Harvard Square in general (or anywhere else in the Boston Metro area). I would never have dreamed of leaving my race bike outside locked or unlocked. I did leave my beatup old Fuji 10 speed with steel rims locked up outside when I absolutely had too. I had front QR and a nutted rear, so it was fairly easy to lock it relatively securely with a U-lock and a plumbing "T" joint from a hardware store so thieves could not get a good purchase on the end of the U-lock with a pry bar. Still, as others have pointed out, if anyone had really wanted my bike, they would have gotten it. I know at least three ways to get through the locking setup I just described in under 30 seconds.

Bring the beater! Leave the nice bike at home or keep it in your room at all times!

Yours,

Forbes B-Black
Santa Clarita, CA
 

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locking your bike

As earlier stated, thieves will/can go through any lock, just give them the time, and no-one is going to stop them. i wish i could put out a highly publicized study showing that bike theft leads to worse crimes, police seem to respond to studies like that. The recent crack down on misdemeanor's in many city's has people afraid to litter (not NYC though, people still throw their garbage everywhere but the trash cans here) however bike theft still seems to be a largely ignored crime by the police.

suggestions:

make your bike the biggest pain in the ass to steal, ie: 2 or 3 locks, even one of those "u locks" through a frame and wheel, a high quality chain and pick-resistant lock also through wheel and frame.

I have a friend who has no idea how to lock up a bike and has had three bikes stolen this year from union sq area in NYC(she doesnt seem to worry cause shes loaded). Also, locked up to the same bike rack she uses are two extremely nice bikes (a beautiful ciocc steel frame, and a waterford era schwinn paramount with king headset). these two bikes are locked up all day with two NYC kryptonite chains (w/ molly locks) and one even has an additional small u lock running from frame to front wheel) Neither has been stolen all year. the moral of the story, make your bike a pain in the ass to steal. it takes a good 20 minutes to get through those kryptonite chains with electric cutting tool..
 

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Is my lock rubbish ?

Great post, MB1.
The safest way to keep my touring bike overnight when I do cycling tour in China is to sleep with my bike, i.e. I lock up myself, my bike and all of my belongings in the hotel room. Commute by cycling in China and probably in Hong Kong will often be looked down by people (perhaps different if you are a white European ). We often have to make the Hotel/Guesthouse reception to understand that to let us bring our bikes in the room is one of the conditions that they have to agree even before price bargaining, i.e. if you want the business you have to agree or we go find somewhere else.
Back in the days when I worked in Tai Po ( an new/flat area of Hong Kong where it is planned to be more bicycle friendly), I will go shopping/lunch/fooling around every day with my HK$1000 (US$120) bike. I had great success with this lock (as shown in picture attached). After seeing MB's Bic pen circle rubbish lock, it appears that mine is very similar. My question is, is mine the same rubbish lock and I was lucky that I didn't get my commuter stolen OR that is a good one and I should keep using it.

MB1 said:
#1 Run a U-Lock through the rear wheel and the frame and something solid AND lasso your front wheel with a sturdy cable that runs over your frame through the seat and down to the U-Lock.

#2 Use a big motorcycle security chain and lock through the wheels and frame and around something solid. Bonus points for being inside a locking cage. Double bonus points for being inside a secured building (don't be foolish and not lock your bike correctly in a cage, bikes incorrectly locked get taken from places like this all the time).

Bonus Note. OLDER LOCKS WITH CIRCULAR KEYS ARE NOT SECURE. I opened this lock with the Bic pen shown here. If you have a lock like this replace it now.

Few things rile me as much as bike theives, don't encourage them by making it easy for them to steal your bike.

BTW I have never had one of my bikes stolen (knock on wood).
 

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kai, i think its alright..

kai-ming said:
Great post, MB1.
The safest way to keep my touring bike overnight when I do cycling tour in China is to sleep with my bike, i.e. I lock up myself, my bike and all of my belongings in the hotel room. Commute by cycling in China and probably in Hong Kong will often be looked down by people (perhaps different if you are a white European ). We often have to make the Hotel/Guesthouse reception to understand that to let us bring our bikes in the room is one of the conditions that they have to agree even before price bargaining, i.e. if you want the business you have to agree or we go find somewhere else.
Back in the days when I worked in Tai Po ( an new/flat area of Hong Kong where it is planned to be more bicycle friendly), I will go shopping/lunch/fooling around every day with my HK$1000 (US$120) bike. I had great success with this lock (as shown in picture attached). After seeing MB's Bic pen circle rubbish lock, it appears that mine is very similar. My question is, is mine the same rubbish lock and I was lucky that I didn't get my commuter stolen OR that is a good one and I should keep using it.
Kai

i believe what you have is an older generation u-lock, shown not to be susceptible to the bic pen trick. to test it take a typical bic pen, pry off either end so your left with just the white tube, see if its the same diameter as your key, if not, your good.
 

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Discussion Starter · #17 ·
That type of key is easy to bypass.

kai-ming said:
My question is, is mine the same rubbish lock and I was lucky that I didn't get my commuter stolen OR that is a good one and I should keep using it.
I was quite suprised to find out how easy it is to open that sort of lock with a BIC (or similar) pen. If you can find a stiff but flexiable tube (like the colored BIC pens-not the clear ones) and jam it into the keyhole the tube will deform and end up matching the key profile. It only takes a few seconds to do and if a passerby saw it they would think you were the owner of the lock since it opened so easily.

Your locks keyhole may or may not exactly match the size of a BIC pen but there is likely something out there to match it. If you are worried about bike thieves replace the lock but be aware as we have noted several times in this post no lock is theft proof-all you can do is make it harder in the hope that some other bike will be more attractive than yours.
 

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For more security without adding much weight or bulk I would suggest NOT securing the cable with the U lock. Lock the cable with a separate lock. That way the thief would have to cut the cable and U lock to steal the bike or wheels. The way you have it secured all the thief would have to do is cut the U lock and the cable is free. Fortunately, I live in a very low crime area and work at the courthouse. My bike is parked at a rack right in front of the police and sheriffs offices. It's a high traffic area and very visible, security cameras and all with cops coming and going all day. In addition, it's where all the prisoners on work realease park their bikes so the jail monitors it quite well. I only use a hefty (5/8") cable and hardened steel shackle lock through the wheels and frame and around the rack and have had good luck. If I locked it anywhere else I'd use two locks. Good work and good advice.
 

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bumping this up as a spring time reminder...
 

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1. Never lock up a bike you aren't prepaired to have stolen.
2. 2 locks is better then 1. (and if just one, run it around the rear wheel between the stays and seat tube. To get the frame they would have to cut the rim/tire)
3. See rule #1, buy a beater for errands
4. Your lock is only as secure as what you lock it to. Chain link fences are not secure.
5. In cold weather verify the lock is secure, often they can semi-close. Give it a tug.
6. If you see anyone looking suspicious around bikes, tugging locks, Playing with parts on a locked bike, call the cops. We are each others eyes.
 
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