Stolen Bikes

mcguff biker
April 2008 (Earth Day) I had a bicycle stolen from me because I lent it to someone to “take it for a spin.” You can read all about my lack of better judgement here.
Well I learned a lot from that experience and was fortunate to get my bike back with the help of a group of really amazing, dedicated members of our bicycle community.
Because of my tale, I wanted to add a page to this blog which may be used as a resource for those to report bicycle thefts in the hopes of preventing them and getting OUR BIKES BACK.

Here is a really good posting from everyone’s favorite cycle cynic Bikesnobnyc, about how to not feel like a victim and cope with bike theft.

There is a new revised website created to help with stolen bikes in NYC:
also on twitter: @bikewatchnyc

This is an excellent social network resource.

One way of registering a bike is:

from their site:
Register your bike in the National Bike Registry. We will send you a Certificate of Registration and a tamper-resistant NBR label to identify your bike. Then, if your bike is ever stolen and recovered, no matter where, it can be returned to you.
or call: 1-800-848-BIKE
( Source of the photo.)
The Facts of Lock-How to keep a bicycle secure.

It is hard to quantify bike theft in NYC. Has there been a steady increase in theft or is there an increase in reporting though social networking sites, blogs and websites? What we do know is with more bicycles on the street, there are more opportunities for thieves who have become more savvy to the price of parts and bicycles. However, if your bike is properly secured, you should significantly lower your risk of theft.

Basic theories:
1. If you truly love your ride and could not bare the thought of losing it, take it inside as much as possible. Try and frequent establishments that allow you to bring your bike with you.
2. Do not assume anything. We’ve heard a lot of reports of theft in hallways, and outside spaces of apartments where owners thought they didn’t need to lock up their bikes.
3. Due to the strength and portability of power tools these days, we can make no guarantees for bikes left out on the streets, and especially for long periods of time. But here are some tips to help make your bike as secure as possible. Your best bet is due diligence, make thieves think you’ve done a good effort in locking and hopefully they will move on to another bike who didn’t take our advice.

Starting off with a good lock is your best line of defense. We call these primary locks.

Chain locks
• Description: Heavy-duty steel chains sold with mini u-locks that are often reinforced with pick-proof disk cylinders.
• Characteristics: Square or hexagonal shaped case hardened steel links to prevent cutting with standard bolt cutters. They come with cordura sleeves wrapped around the chain to prevent damage to bike frames and wheels. Be advised chains come in different lengths (varying from 3 to 5.5 ft.). Include spare keys. Some manufactures offer key registration programs and anti theft payment programs.

• Popular Manufactures: Abus, On-Guard and Kryptonite.
• Price Range: $85.00-$119.00
• Weight Range: 5.1-12 lbs
• Pros:
• Sends a message to thieves to move on.
• Offers a feeling of confidence that you have a secure lock.
• Allows the ability to lock more than one bike.
• Cons:
• Heavy.
• Expensive.
• Hard to transport.

Use these as Secondary Locks.
• Description: U-shaped steel locks that vary in size. The long curved U-shape fits into straight cross bar.
• Characteristics: Double dead-bolt, highly resistant to cutting and intense leverage. Come with spare keys and have anti-theft registration programs. Some come with mounting hardware to affix to the bike frame.
• Popular Manufactures: Abus, On-Guard, Kryptonite, Bell and Master.
• Price Range: $41.00-$62.00
• Weight Range: 2.2lbs-5.2lbs
• Pros:
• Easy to transport.
• Relatively affordable.
• Cons:
• Varying lengths often require the need for more than one lock.
• Vulnerable to extreme force.
• Not good for overnight lock-ups.
• Limited to how many bikes you can lock.

Cable locks
• Description: Steel, flexible cables wrapped in plastic sheathing.
• Characteristics: Sold with combination locks or to be used with keys. Some models are sold without locks and the cables come with loops at each end to accept other locking devices. Made to coil up and come with a velcro fastener to keep them together.
• Popular Manufactures: Abus, On-Guard, Kyrptonite, Master, Avenir.
• Price Range: $10.00-$40.00 (with locks)
• Pros:
• Good option to lock a bike seat.
• Used in combination with other locks.
• Easy to transport.
• Inexpensive.
• Cons:
• Not good to be used as primary locking method.
• Easily cut with standard bolt cutters.

Locking Skewers:
• Description: Metal skewers that replace existing quick releases on wheel axels and seat posts.
• Characteristics: Sold in combination packs for wheels and or seat posts. Come with special multi-pin key and with key registration programs.
• Popular Manufactures: On-Guard, Pin-heads, Sunlite.
• Price Range: $60.00-$90.00
• Pros:
• Easy installation.
• Allows for the elimination of at least one heavy lock.
• Cons:
• Expensive.
• More keys to carry.

How to lock a bike.
1. Use primary locks to secure wheel and frame to a permanent structure, such as a street-sign post or designated bicycle rack. Make sure the chain goes through the frame. You would be surprised how often this is overlooked.
2. Use a secondary lock on the opposite wheel. Remember, back wheels are more expensive than front due to the gear(s).
3. To eliminate transporting heavy chains, some cyclists rely on u-locks for their convenience. Use two of them, one for the frame and front wheel to a pole and a second for the back wheel. For maximum security, add a cable lock through the frame and both u-locks, total weight will still be less than a chain-lock. Be aware of the size of the U, a mini won’t fit around one wheel the frame and a standard street sign post.
4. Seat posts and seats are often stolen. Take them in or lock them with a cable. Some cyclists use a bicycle chain and permanently attach it through the seat to the frame. Wrap them in a 700c inner tube or have your local bike shop install it.
5. Take in everything you don’t want to lose. Lights, water bottles and clip on fenders are easy targets.
6. Do not assume bikes are secure if you’re just running in somewhere for “a minute.” Thieves pray upon this behavior.

Where to lock a bike
1. Make sure street signs and bike racks are permanently installed. Often they can become loose in their mooring and bikes can be slipped off. Also make sure street poles have signs attached at the top for the same reason.
2. Avoid close proximity to movie theatres and college campuses because thieves assume you will be gone for awhile and therefore will have time to work on your bike.
3. Avoid locking to scaffolding. Cross beams can easily be removed with a standard wrench.
4. Avoid locking to private property such as MTA subway railing and brass poles of doorman buildings.
5. Seek out areas that have a lot of foot traffic and are in close proximity to other bikes.
6. Due to the Bicycles Access to Garages law, parking Garages allow bike parking. Edison ParkFast, one of the largest chains in NYC, offers a rate of $1.00 per day and $20.00 per month. You have to bring your own lock and park at your own risk. Note: other garages across the city do not offer the same low rate and are also attempting to charge a 8% surtax which is only intended for automobiles.
How to carry locks.
1. We don’t recommend carrying chain locks on your person because they can be dangerous in the event of a collision. If you want to wear chains, carry them around your waist instead of slung over your head and shoulder like a messenger bag. Keep a spare key in a safe place. Otherwise carry locks in bags, affixed to the bike itself, on bike racks or in front baskets.
2. U-locks can be carried in back pockets, under belts or in special hip holsters.

Here is a hilarious video made by Streetfilms, where life long bicycle shop owner and mechanic of Bicycle Habitat, Hal Ruzal, pokes fun at how people do and do not properly secure their bikes in NYC.