Lock it Up!

The other day I witnessed a crime…

Lock it Up!

The wheels had “quick-theft” levers and the whole transaction was done in 2 minutes. Which made me wonder how many bikes are lost to poor lock-up jobs just waiting for the wrong person with the right tool to come along…

Lock it Up!

And if that doesn’t happen, there could be another fate waiting…

Lock it Up!

But in addition to having a strong lock you need to actually lock it to something secure. However that has become much easier here in Somerville lately:

Lock it Up!

So there is no excuse for this!

Lock it Up!

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  • Opus the Poet July 26, 2012   Reply →

    Shouldn’t bike racks (that’s what the second-from-the-left bike is locked up to) be secured a little better than that? And I frequently have nothing better than handicapped parking signs to lock my bike to when I go shopping. The one (1) bike parking spot at the store is always full because there are workers at the store that ride bikes and first to the store gets a place to lock up.

  • Frank July 26, 2012   Reply →

    The way you lock up your bike is indeed as important as a good lock or 2.
    A lot of bikes are being stolen or vandalized in the netherland. And every lock can be picked of course, so a bicycle insurance is important too.

  • mech1 July 26, 2012   Reply →

    Seeing all these situations … thanks to god for my folder :-)

  • cycler July 26, 2012   Reply →

    Tall Bike Parking! HA!
    I’m loving the bike corrals popping up everywhere- need more in Boston!

    • Pete Stidman July 27, 2012  

      Where do you want them in Boston exactly?

    • bostonperson whohasbike July 29, 2012  

      just get rid of all metered spaces and replace them with bike corrals- that’ll make EVERYONE happy ;-). I’m also waiting for the day you can take your bike on the T during rush hour – not holding my breath, though.

  • Matt the Mechanic July 26, 2012   Reply →

    Those flimsy locks! Most of them you can pop open with a screwdriver.
    I have to admit, I’m pretty jealous of all the bike locking opportunities (lockportunities?) you get up there! Around here it seems like businesses are going out of their way to make it harder to lock up nearby.

  • anotherbostonbiker July 26, 2012   Reply →

    Yep, you can’t swing a bike tube in Boston without hitting a poorly-locked up bike. But I’m amazed at how often unsecured wheels with quick-releases _don’t_ get stolen — I’ll pass the same poorly-secured bike for weeks and the wheels will remain intact.

    One potentially hidden hazard that many cyclists don’t think of is the _unsecured street sign._ One day I saw a bike locked to a street sign, and several hours later, the bike was gone, and the street sign was lying prone on the ground — it wasn’t actually secured in the cement and the thief just lifted the sign and absconded with the bike. So always make sure your street-sign-of-choice is actually connected to the street!

  • shebicycle July 26, 2012   Reply →

    Excellent – and always humorous – illustrations of the way it tends to be too often. Biggest problem here is like the last panel – no secure fixture to lock to. Fortunately, my volunteer “job” allows me to bring my bike into the office; the rest of the time it’s always a challenge around town.

  • Dorea July 26, 2012   Reply →

    I hope that is our lovely bakfiets in panel 4 … though I’d love to see one of those cargo bike racks for real!

    I do keep meaning to switch out those quick-theft levers on my crappy commuter bike…I sometimes rely too heavily on low quality for theft deterrence for that bike.

  • Ryan July 26, 2012   Reply →

    Great stuff, thanks for the great drawing and the laughs today

  • lummox July 27, 2012   Reply →

    Hello, love the blog :)
    I’d love to hear how it all played out. Did you step in and say something? I saw a guy the other day witha giant circular saw cutting off a U-Lock shotting sparks all over the sidewalk. I thought that’s just too blatent to be thievery, but I guess you never know.

  • Matthew J July 27, 2012   Reply →

    A delivery truck backed over a foot onto the sidewalk and wrecked my bike just as i was walking to get it. Miserable experience.

  • Joanne Bilbrey July 28, 2012   Reply →

    Great post! I have to admit I am always nervous locking up my bike in public, especially in _certain_ neighborhoods.

  • Vocus Dwabe August 1, 2012   Reply →

    Last month some idiot had inadvertently locked my bike as well as his own to a stand in the high street. It was only a weedy little wire cable lock; so I went and bought a £1.99 Chinese hacksaw and cut through it in about twenty seconds, leaving a polite note telling him/her to pay more attention next time. Though the street was full of passers-by, no one asked me what I was doing or even seemed to notice.

    (NB: the other bicycle was a battered £70 Halfords-cheapo job, so if anyone thought it worth stealing I don’t suppose the financial loss was very great. I could have waited for the owner to come back I suppose: but I might still have been waiting at midnight or indeed for ever: the racks at the university where I work are full of abandoned bikes).

    The ideal solution is a Dutch-style permanent ring lock on the rear wheel (amazingly difficult to cut since you can’t get at the shackle with bolt croppers or an electric grinder) plus a good chain lock to secure the bike to something solid. Seeing that, all but the most determined thieves will steal someone else’s instead.

    In London of late one trick reportedly favoured by bike thieves has been to lock the bike they intend stealing with a chain of their own, hoping the owner will go off in search of assistance – or better still, home for the night – leaving them to remove the bike at their leisure.

    • Rudy Breteler March 15, 2014  

      That happened to my friend in Cambridge, MA, earlier this year. Someone slapped a Ulock on there, and I assumed it was a thief. We called the police, but they refused to cut the lock because she had no proof of ownership for the bike (it was an old bike). So we attempted to bust it ourselves, in broad daylight (and failed, proving that we would not make very good bike thieves). The interesting thing about the exercise is how, in the middle of busy Inman Sq, nobody said anything during the two hours we were out there trying various forms of leverage and force to break the lock. Finally, one group of students stopped and asked us rather hesitantly whether it was our bike. They said they only stopped and asked because of all the Youtube videos they had seen of people trying to steal bikes in broad daylight with nobody intervening.

  • y.t. August 6, 2012   Reply →

    THANK YOU for representing chopper/freak bike parking options! That totally made my day. Safe travels in your journeys!

  • Nye Martin August 20, 2012   Reply →

    The drawing of the bike going “Oww” reminded me of the time I lent my bike against a wall and it fell over and I said “sorry”! :)

  • Pingback: Bike Theft: Fold It Up. Take It Inside. October 16, 2012   Reply →
  • Frank November 5, 2012   Reply →

    I really wish you knew what you were talking about. A bagel works every time for me. Sometimes even a donut if I’m in a pinch.

  • Rudy Breteler March 15, 2014   Reply →

    Blaming quick releases for wheel theft is a little silly. A thief in the market for a wheel is going to walk around with a hex key and a wrench, and will remove a wheel just as quickly with those tools. If you have lock-on wheels then you may have some defense, but otherwise, you should still carry a cable to loop through the wheel that you don’t protect with your Ulock. The quick release allows you to easily solve minor issues out on the road (one that comes to mind is an improperly tuned derailleur limit screw that allows your chain to become wedged on either side of your cassette), without needing to walk your bike home and be late for work.

    Also, fellow bicyclists of the world, PLEASE DON’T LOCK TO ACCESSIBLE PARKING SIGNS, pleasepleasepleaseplease. I couldn’t care less what else you lock to (ok, perhaps try not to obstruct fire exits either), but locking to a sign that marks a parking spot for a person with a disability is extremely uncool. I’m all for locking to small children though.

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