Those who have followed my blog for a while know that I like to walk at lunch time. I eat my lunch quickly at my desk or in the lunchroom, then rain or shine I head outside.
Now in my previous job at the, Holy P, I would walk to the wetlands park near my office and commune with nature. It was nice to get away from the office and hear the birds sing.
Well now I am at the Mighty P, right in downtown Seattle. Nope no wetland park here, but I still get outside, let the wind blow in my face, and see what there is to see!
Now instead of nature, I was erratic drivers dodge thrill seeking jay walkers. I watch helmetless bike riders bobbing and weaving through traffic as if they are bullet proof. There are panhandlers, and fashionistas, smilers and scowlers, brand new high rises and an old Greyhound bus station. All of this makes walking fun.
Also, being one of the best biking cities in America, there are bikes locked up everywhere. Bike racks, street signs, trees, fences, you name it, there is a bike locked to it. It’s great to see, as it means there are a lot of people, like me, using two wheels to travel all over.
HOWEVER, all is not roses and gumdrops.
A few days ago I was walking, and stumbled over this:
Yep, that person will not be happy. I rounded the corner and found this:
Now I am thinking one of two things here. 1) The person is being ultra-safe and took the wheel with him/her while the bike was locked , or 2) The person who took the rest of the bike in the first pic wanted the wheel to complete his newly stolen one. You know, back in the old west they use to hang horse thieves, how’s come we can’t do the same with bike thieves? (Git a rope!)
This had made me give serious thought to where I leave my bike. I have been known in the past to (ok this morning even) to leave the key to my bike lock IN the lock itself. Other times, I have even just left it thinking “Oh I will be RIGHT out.” I am very lucky that my work bike rack is in a garage, with cameras and security on site!
Shoot, in the organized rides, bikes are just left on their own everywhere!
Now I am planning to be much more careful. I have a pretty long cable lock that I always run thorough the frame, and back wheel. Granted, I could come out with the front one missing like the second picture, but at least it would be cheaper than a whole new frame, back wheel and cassette.
I am also going to look for places to lock up AWAY from the road. It would have been easy for a pick up or van to pull up next to either of these bikes, grab what was loose and be gone in nuthin flat. REI, for example, has indoor racks. MUCH safer. Shoot, I would even lock up there if I needed to and walk to the place I needed to be.
Or maybe I keep the bike with me. My bank (US BANK, they are great!) allows me to bring the bike in the lobby. No one can steal it that way.
Regardless, if you are going to ride TO somewhere and be off the bike (even if it’s to use the restroom) you need a lock. Don’t be cheap on this. Talk to your bike shop about what they recommend. Two things are key to me. It has to be:
1) Strong enough to protect your bike from a quick snatch and grab (no lock will stand up to someone determined to steal a bike, but if its not easy, most will move on to easier pickins)
2) Easy to carry with you. A lock does no good at all sitting at home. I have a pretty big bag on mine, so its easy for me. Some attach to the frame. The bike shop can help a lot here.
When I was younger, my kid brother didn’t lock my bike and it was stolen. I was mad then. Now I would be devastated. I am very attached to my bike (almost 12000 miles will do that). So I will do everything I can to make sure I keep it! I also need to record the serial number just in case the worst happens!
Either that or rig a remote control self-destruct switch! Now THAT would ruin a thief’s day! (Hmm maybe I can market that…)