Monday, September 29, 2008

A question to ask when you lock your bike

Yesterday I chased a bike thief down my block.
Let me begin my story. I was home sitting on the couch watching some awful afternoon TV movie when I noticed outside my window someone in the yard next door. Then I noticed the fellow reaching over the fence. My first thought was that he was putting trash in my recycle bin. Then I remembered I moved the bin to stop people from throwing trash in it. Second thought was 'is this guy stealing my tomatoes?' And in an instant I realized he wasn't aiming for my tomatoes, the bastard had his hands on my roommate's piece of shyte bike.
I screamed stop kept screaming as I grabbed my keys and headed to open the door and stop him. By the time I got the gate door open the thief was two doors down and had just fallen off the bike leaving it on the sidewalk. He ran down the block and just turned the corner heading towards New Jersey Avenue when I realized I was looking at a man on foot and not a man on bike. I was still yelling at the top of my lungs as I debated for two seconds about unlocking my bike, chasing him and trying to play bicycle thief polo with his head and my u-locks. But I chose to grab my roommate's bike and put the stupid thing back in the yard.
I then did what my roommate should have done. I locked the bike in a way that makes it 'harder' to just lift and ride off with, I locked the rear wheel to the frame. I used one of my locks, and moved my bike inside as it was without it's normal 3 locks. Then I called the roommate and relayed what just happened and fussed.
The almost stolen bike is a piece of crap, which should have been its own anti-theft device. But it is a device that cannot work alone it needs a lock. A properly locked lock. It would have helped it said bike was locked to the fence, which it was not. Short of that it would have helped a lot if said lock was locked to a wheel, which it was not. Instead a newish $35 Kryptonite lock was locked to the frame and nothing else.
Where it was on the frame may have made biking on it difficult, making for a harder 'quick' get away. Add to the fact the bike is heavy and only one speed and no hand brakes, running on foot may have been better if you want to get away from an angry black woman.
So kids, when you lock your bike, look at before you turn your back and ask, can someone lift it and ride away? I got 3 locks, so the answer is, not unless they throw it in the back of a truck.



At 9/29/2008 10:37 AM, Anonymous jimbo said...

I always lock my bike to _something_, and I never leave it anywhere overnight.

And when I lock my bike near a panhandler who offers to "watch my bike" for me (a passive-aggressive "offer"), I offer in response that I won't kick his ass if I come back and my bike is in the same condition as I left it.

Those U-shaped Krypto-locks make handy blunt weapons when necessary.

At 9/29/2008 11:54 AM, Blogger IMGoph said...


first, your roommate is lucky to have had you paying attention.

second, you roommate is pretty dumb for not locking the bike to something, anything. i mean, that's SOP here in the district, isn't it?

third, how old was this man? want to give any details so we can be on the look out for this wanna-be perp?

At 9/29/2008 12:44 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Always lock your bike to something stronger than the lock is. And unless you carry a patch kit and pump with you wherever you go, think about getting rid of the q/r skewers on your wheels and replacing them with something else- maybe even something that requires a special tool to loosen. And, for the love of god, people, don't have a q/r device on your bike saddle.

At 9/29/2008 2:24 PM, Blogger Mari said...

I'll come clean and say that I haven't secured my bike to anything when it is in my yard, mainly because it would have meant plant damage. Everywhere else I lock it to something. When I put my bike outside again I'll cable it to something, making 4, 4 locks ha-ha-ha-ha (channeling Seasame St's Count).

The man who attempted the theft struck me as African. Not AfAm but foreign. It may have been the scarf/ sweater? tied around his neck. Also he was well color cordinated. He was a brown man wearing dark tan shorts, what may have been tannish sandals, something tan-khaki colored around his neck, and a brown print shirt.

At 9/29/2008 9:29 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

When I get a day off, I'm going to leave my bike out in the open and watch it from far away with ax in hand. I won't actually hurt the person who tries to take it, but I'll run at them, screaming like the zombies in 'I Am Legend', with the ax high in the air. I just got life insurance so I don't really care if I get shot/stabbed in the process.

At 9/29/2008 10:16 PM, Blogger Mari said...

I'm keeping the above because it did make me laugh, however the next anon gets axed.
And by the by I believe chasing someone with an axe like the energetic undead is called threatening with a deadly weapon. Cause dude I already have the phone numbers of the people I need to bail me out of jail in my head.

At 10/02/2008 10:14 AM, Anonymous bogfrog said...

Mari, I have a big section of chain I'm not using, if you'd like to affix your bike to some non-vegetative part of the back yard.

At 10/07/2008 10:28 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

This post has been removed by a blog administrator.

At 10/08/2008 8:23 AM, Blogger Mari said...

I'll spread the word, but because I said I'd nix the next anon post, I'm nixing the post but here's part of the comment:
"my bike was stolen from union station a few nights ago and i want to beat whoever did it down and pry my precious bike from their cold, dead fingers. Also, they moved the bike racks at union so they are surrounded by construction equipment and not well lit, so it gives people more cover to cut locks, etc. so please spread the word!"


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