Author of Blog: Daniel Day

Sunday, March 15, 2015

2000 Bicycles Stolen

On a Friday Morning I got tagged in a twitter feed from the Rivard Report about stolen bicycles in San Antonio.  In this story, they reported that over 2,000 bicycle were stolen last year. Now these aren't Huffys being stolen, but high end bicycles that someone had to dole out $300 plus to buy. Now I never had a problem about this because I knew that nobody would find my bicycles if they ever got stolen, so It was up to me to keep my bicycle from being stolen in the first place. I began to think like a thief and made sure at least on my end that no matter what happens, I would still have a bicycle even though I might not have a seat post or any lights left.  So here's some advice that I use everyday, even when I take my bicycle out and to other cities. 

1.   Nobody is going to stop the bicycle thief.:
If you think a passer by is going to stop someone from steeling your property, well I have some terrible news for you, nope.  I encounter some punk trying to steal a Mongoose at the Central Library like 5 years ago right in front of several people. As a matter of fact, at the same rack that you see as the backdrop to this blog  I was the only one to stop him and get the bicycle back to the proper owner.  The owner had purchase his lock from a dollar store and the thief was using some wire cutters from the same store.  I chased down the thief up to Savings and Main Ave before I lost my breath and he got away.  I haven't seen the guy since and chances are I'm not going to be around when someone steals your bicycle, so don't expect some passer by to defend your property.

Casey Neistats, a guy made famous for getting a ticket for not riding his bicycle in the bicycle lane in NYC, made another film about on how easy it is to steal a bicycle. He stole his bicycle not just in plain site, but in plain site in front of a police station and he only got caught when he took a power tool to stealing his own bicycle. Folks, nobody is going to stop someone from stealing a bicycle, so do what you can to make thief work to get your bicycle because I know you worked hard to get it.

2.  Make sure your lock cost at least 10% of the value of the bicycle.
Now this is hard for all of us, because the reason why we're riding a bicycle in the first place in San Antonio is because we can't afford a car.  We're glad to have gotten a damn good bicycle, but we're always broke and to people like us, well $80 is like two weeks worth of groceries.  Finding the money for a good lock is pretty hard to find, but it has to be done.  In the story, they mention Abus locks which is one I happen to have.  In San Antonio, make sure your lock is at least an rating of 7 or above.  Kryptonite also has a rating system as well and for their rating system, 6 and above.  Also make sure that you have a cable and I'll point out why you should have one a little later.
Image 37-1  Source: Rivard Report

3.   Always lock up your wheel and frame.
This is very important that everyone does where ever they lock up their bicycle.  You need to lock up your wheel and frame together.(Image 37-1)  Even when you come to a bicycle rack that only supports the wheel, (Image 37-2) then you better find a way to lock up that wheel or when you come back, you might no have a whole bicycle to ride home on.  Now this is where the Cable comes in handy for you might find that the only place to lock up your bicycle is at one of these wheel racks and well, you better make sure that your bicycle wheel and frame are both locked up.  Now I don't have a cable at the moment, but I do have a chain and I use it to make sure that both wheels and frame are always locked up. (Image 37-2)
"“The important thing is to make your property less appealing, less accessible to the thief, than your neighbor’s property, the guy’s property next door,” said Sgt. Javier Salazar, a San Antonio Police Department spokesman who I interviewed at the recent Síclovía press conference at the Tripoint YMCA. “That may be a cold way of looking at it, but it’s reality. The thief is going to look for the path of least resistance. If your bike is better protected than the next guy’s, so be it.”" Source: Rivard Report
Also, when you lock up your bicycle, make sure that nobody can move it.  If someone else can come by and move your bicycle, chances are they can steal it.  Hal Ruzal from Bike Habitat NYC can show anyone how to properly lockup  their bicycle and in the Video below, he'll do just that.  Also at the end of this post, you'll see another video explaining how to properly lock up your bicycle as well as a lesson on what not to buy when it comes to U-locks. 

4. Always take your lights off. 
Now you have your bicycle locked up, now it's time to take all the lights off as well as panniers and anything that can grow legs without you looking.   This also includes your helmet so make sure
it all goes with you. inside.

5.  Lock it up close to the Entrance
Where ever you choose to lock it up, try if possible to lock it up at the entrance of the building your going into.  Not everyone has a bicycle rack at the entrance your going to, but if the rack happens not to be on the same side of the building where the entrance is, then don't lock it up there.  Never, ever lock it up a bicycle  to a rack that is not on the same side as the entrance is.  If you happen to lock it up on a pole, make sure you cannot lift your bicycle up and over and remove it from that pole.  Also make sure the pole is securely in the ground and keep the bicycle away from the parked car.

6. When you get home, bring the bicycle inside. 
I don't know how many times I heard over Facebook that someone got their bicycle stolen off their porch.  I wonder why they never brought the damn bicycle inside because I always bring my bicycle inside when I get home.  I remember as a kid of getting my bicycle stolen off my deck. So after that, I simply brought my bicycle inside.  Now this doesn't stop thieves at all for I also heard that some bicycles got stolen after their homes where broken into.  Now I cannot help that, but I can always make some work for the thieves trying to steal the joy of two wheels, so if you don't bring it inside, don't complain that your bicycle was stolen outside on the porch.  But if you do bring it inside and are afraid of home break ins, take advice of number 6.

6.  When there's no place to lock up  your bicycle, Lock it up to itself. 
When I go inside a place where there's no place to lock up your bicycle, then I take out the U-lock and lock up the wheel and frame together.(Image 37-3)  Now Kryptonite doesn't recommend this, however but I do because I've heard several people getting their bicycle stolen when they went in for a quick Gatorade. I go to a lot of convenience stores and I can tell you that having my beloved bicycle locked up is just like taking the keys out of the ignition of a car. You don't leave your keys in the ignition when you go inside, you should do the same to your bicycle.  Now I do this because a lot of bicycles that get stolen is because someone rode away with it.  This method won't stop someone in a pickup truck, but when they get home, they'll have their work cut out to get that bicycle ready to be resold.

7.  Lock your bicycle up on the VIA bus.
Now remember, VIA doesn't want your bicycle being locked to the rack and for good reason because VIA has more problems with people leaving their bicycles on the bus then they do with theft from the bus and at the end of the day, they don't want to have to bend over backwards to get that bicycle off the rack so it is free the next day.  But that doesn't stop you from locking your bicycle wheel and frame together like I mention in number 6.  This is something I do all the time I ride the bus.  I've heard several stories of people getting their bicycles stolen on the bus, stories ranging from falling asleep on the bus and being left with a huffy to seeing someone take it off the rack and rode away with it while watching people get aboard the bus downtown.  So I do the same thing when I go into a convenience store, I lock up the wheel and frame together.  Now you might not think this doesn't prevent the bicycle from being stolen but back in April 2014, my bicycle was almost stolen on the Lineup.  As usual, the 12:30am lineup was being held up and as I sat down and started to stare at my phone, a guy wearing white and grey all over, came up and started to take my bicycle off the bus's bike rack but because I locked up the wheel and frame together, he eventually gave up and started to go after the other person bicycle which wasn't locked up.  It was after about a minute or two of trying to take my bicycle off the rack that he started to go after the other person bicycle which wasn't locked up. That is when the bus driver notice that the bicycles on the rack was being stolen. Remember, nobody is going to stop your property from being stolen, and she honked the horn and alerted us that our bicycle was being stolen.  The thief walked away very fast and if that wasn't the last bus out of downtown, I would have gone after that thief, but I was tired from work and wanted to go home.

8.  Put down Identifying marks.
When bicycles are made, they're pretty much the same with the same type of paint scheme.  So make your bicycle yours by putting a few dings and stickers on it.(Image 37-2)  This will help you identify it when you need to the most.  Also SAPD is going to hold an event called “Engrave and Save” on Saturday March 28th and I expect everyone to go to this event.  
"NEWSWIRE: Saturday March 28th, detectives from SAPD’s Central Property Crimes unit and SAFFE officers will host an “Engrave and Save” bicycle ID initiative in front of the Central Substation at 515 S. Frio St. from 8 a.m. to noon. Riders can sign a waiver and and get an “owner-supplied number” engraved on the underside of bike frames at no charge. SAPD will retain a copy of the waiver, in effect, registering your bike in the event of a future theft and recovery."
This will be posted at the top of my blog and if any more info is coming my way, I'll let you know.  Now another thing you can do is copy the serial number which is located underneath the pedals on the frame of the bicycle.  Keep a copy of the serial number with a picture that is no less than 2 months old of your bicycle in your wallet at all times so if goes stolen, you can post it on the twitter feed with photo and with the serial number to the police and to the national site that tracks stolen bicycles,

Now there are several videos out there on how to lock up your bicycle properly including a diagram that is posted (Image 37-1) Make sure you watch all those videos and get a good lesson on what not to do when locking up your bicycle.  The videos that are all posted here are called in order:  Bike Theft 2012, How to Properly Lock Your Bicycle With a Bike Lock (with Hal Ruzal from Bike Habitat NYC), How to lock your bike securely, and finally How to Break a Masterlock U-Lock bicycle lock.  All these videos will help you out in making sure your bicycle stays yours and not someone else.

37-1:  A diagram on how to show you to lock your bicycle up properly.  Can be found by clicking here.
37-2: A picture of my bicycle locked up at a wheel rack where it is virtually impossible to properly lock up your bicycle.
37-3: A picture of my bicycle of what I do every time I put it on the VIA's bus bicycle rack or go inside a convenience store.

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