Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Keeping Your Bike From Getting Nicked!

Humble readers, perhaps you, too, have had a bike or two or few (like me!) stolen. Few things enrage me more, let alone produce homicidal fantasies. Stealing a car is one thing, but—call me biased—stealing a measly bicycle from someone who is committed to endangering their life to use a mode of transportation that is not destroying the planet is supremely fucked, as far as I'm concerned. (Which is why, if I had it my way, bicycle thieves would have their own plain of hell in Dante's Inferno.) Do we really need a commandment to know that stealing is wrong?

After getting one too many bikes taken from me over the years, some completely dim-witted on my part for lack of theft prevention (RIP Rosa) or for leaving them overnight by an East Bay BART station (RIP Rocinante II), others just completely unexpected (RIP Charlene, RIP Rocinante), I went online to look for resources on which bicycle locks work best. The truth is that any lock can be broken. The goal, as bike mechanic extraordinaire Hal Ruzal says in a video posted below, is to lock up your bicycle so that it will take too much time and effort for a thief to steal it.

Here's a surprisingly entertaining video of his to show how to secure your bicycle and its parts:

And here's another:

If you're like me and learned way too late how thieves can use a car jack to bust open a U-lock, seeing is believing:

I hope these videos can be instructive. Hopefully, all that anguish I went through with my stolen bicycles can be prevented for your two-wheeled babies!

Parting Tips:
●If you live in a town like Oakland, use two U-locks, one for each tire. Trust me. (Since I moved to Oakland a year and a half ago, I've come up with a motto that I learned the hard way: Oakland is a two U-lock kind of town. San Francisco's Mission District can be bad for two-wheeled thievery, but fuck, not nearly as bad as Oakland.)

●Don't be stupid like me and leave your bicycle locked late at night outside most East Bay BART stations unless it's a really shitty-looking bike. (In the industry, we call them "clunkers.") After getting Rocinante II stolen outside the Downtown Berkeley station, now I just imagine a ravenous, bicycle-stealing monster that comes lurking out at night for bikes and bicycle parts to gobble, targeting the immediate radius of East Bay BART stations.

●And if you're going to lock any tire to a bicycle rack or street post, lock up the back tire; that way, they're not stealing your rear derailleur, too, which will cost you.

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