Note to Thieves: Please Do Not Steal My Bike. Thanks.

11.9.2005 | 4:38 pm

Once my boss’s boss’s back gets better, he’s considering doing some bike commuting. He’s getting a light setup, already has a good rain bike, and definitely has the fitness. As part of figuring out the logistics for the bike commute, he asked me where I keep my bike.

“Locked up at the bike rack by the locker room,” I said.

“Are you serious?” he replied. “I would never put a several-thousand-dollar bike out where someone could just steal it.”

Thanks a lot, Mr. Boss’s Boss. Now I’m totally convinced every day when I go to the bike rack to go home that my bike will be gone.

I still leave it locked up at the bike rack, though.


Why I Use the Bike Rack

Here are the reasons I have for locking my bike up at the bike rack, along with my best attempt to grade how rational each reason is.

  • The bike rack is in a high traffic area. Thieves would be foolish to try to steal a bike from that rack, because they are likely to be discovered. I give this reason a C-. The rack is in fact in a spot that every car must pass in order to enter or leave the parking garage, but how many people in cars look over at the bike racks as they go by, checking to make sure nothing is amiss? And for those who do look, can they tell the difference between the guy who is opening his lock legitimately and the guy who is picking the lock with a ballpoint pen? After all, once when I lost the keys to a lock, I had my wife drive over with the bolt cutters, at which point I cut the lock to my bike. Nobody stopped me, nobody asked any questions. Still, a visible, public area for a bike rack is a lot better than a secluded spot. It’s bound to make thieves jumpy.
  • I’d rather assume people are good and leave the bike in a rack than assume people are bad and live with the logistical nuisance of portaging my bike up to my office every day. This is my noble, philosophical reason for leaving my bike in the rack, and it deserves an F. It’s great to think of humanity as basically good, but that’s no excuse for ignoring the reality that there are a lot of exceptions. This reason is so laughably bad that I shouldn’t have even typed it. The problem is, I actually think this way. I’m a fool.
  • I’m lazy, and the bike rack is the closest place to the locker room that is at least kind of secure. OK, this reason deserves a B for honesty, since this is in fact the primary reason I put the bike there.
  • I’ve been lucky so far. I’ve been leaving my bike locked up at one bike rack or another for a year and change now, and nobody’s stolen my bike yet. Every day as I lock up my bike, I at least briefly consider the possibility that someone might steal it. Then I just think to myself, “Yes, but today is not that day.” Nothing wrong with that logic. A+++!
  • My bike isn’t the nicest looking bike in the rack. This is actually a double reason. First: there’s safety in numbers. This would be a good reason if the bikes protected each other (D+). Second: Thieves will go for nicer bikes, instead of mine. This is a great reason, provided we live in a Bizarro univers where thieves are capable of stealing only one thing at a time (D-). Combined grade: D.
  • I’ve never heard of bikes getting stolen here. This is actually a pretty good point. But then again, I’ve never gone out of my way to find out whether bikes often get stolen here. B+.


OK, now that I’ve vetted my reasons for continuing to use the bike rack and found them lacking, what do I do?

Well, I expect to continue to use the bike rack. I’m just not willing to start going to the extra effort of moving my bike into my office every day. Especially during the winter, when a slush-soaked bike wheeled down the office hall might cause a few problems of its own.

And besides, I’m reasonably certain my homeowner’s insurance policy covers my bike, even when it’s not at home. Hmmmm, maybe I better check on that.


Neglect as a Strategy

Here’s the thing: The only bike I’ve ever had stolen was the one I left sitting out front in my yard for three or four days after my first big crash on my first mountain bike ride. I wanted someone to steal that bike.

Since I’ve been riding seriously, though, I’ve accidentally left my bike unlocked on my car rack probably fifty times. I’ve never had a bike stolen.

I think it’s possible that “not getting my bike stolen” is my super power. I’m thinking of buying a cape.


The Big Banjo Brothers Questions of the Week

So, here are the things I’m wondering:

  • Have you ever had a bike stolen? If so, was it locked up when it was stolen? Bonus points if you have an amusing anecdote about the theft, and double bonus points if you have a story about how you cleverly recovered the bike.
  • Do you lock your bike up at bike racks, or do you consider bike racks shopping malls for bike thieves?
  • Do you have a strategy or learned wisdom for keeping your bike from being stolen?

Of course, I don’t expect you to answer all these questions.  Just tell me about your bike theft advice and / or experience.


Tell Them What They Can Win, Johnny.

The super-cool Banjo Brothers have got a messenger bag (not the super-big one they’ve been letting me test, a normal-sized one) for the winner of today’s comment contest. The Banjo Brothers rule.


  1. Comment by Unknown | 11.9.2005 | 4:56 pm

    i have had one bike stolen, a schwinn homegrown full suspension bike i got on a sponsorship deal. the details are boring.however, the proper way to look at having bikes stolen (or even driven into the top of the garage) is as a golden opportunity. it’s time to go bike shopping. could there be a happier day for any of us? because, yes, your homeowners insurance does in fact, cover your bike, no matter where you were when it was stolen (and if you’re well-connected at bike shops, even a $500 deductible can be worked out).did you use the word "vetted?" you’re a dork.

  2. Comment by Tom Stormcrowe | 11.9.2005 | 5:05 pm

    I came on a guy spinning my combination lock one time, he told me he’d forgotten his combo when i asked him what’s up in a friendly way! I offered to give it a try, and he was amazid when I opened the lock first tryu! A lite bulb apparently went off over his head at this moment and he figured out I owned the bike!::GRIN:: I’ve never seen a faster sprint in my life, he should’ve tried out for the Olympic team!

  3. Comment by Jim | 11.9.2005 | 5:16 pm

    If you try to make a claim on your homeowner’s ins. you will wish you hadn’t because if you are not dropped by your carrier, your new rates will not make you happy. Besides, what has your bike done to you that you won’t even let it stay inside where it’s warm and cozy?If you make a mess in the office hallway, too damn bad! You’re doing everyone else a favor by commuting. Better yet, hang your stinky chamois where everyone can see it. Maybe if they get sick enough of it, they’ll start a chamois laundry service at work. I’m sure they are spending money on more marginal items.

  4. Comment by Ashbygirls | 11.9.2005 | 5:21 pm

    this is a friend’s story.mark, a student at the local university, never locked up his bike on campus. it was about the cheapest bike you could find, so it didn’t seem worth the hassle of keeping locked. one day he came out of class to find his bike gone. he just shrugged his shoulders and started thinking about where he was going to get his next cheap bike.a couple days later, it occurred to him that the culprit was probably a freshman. so, that afternoon he went on a little tour of the big bike racks located behind all the on-campus dorms. sure enough, the second rack contained his bike, still not locked (apparently the thief also deemed the bike too cheap to bother locking). so, he stole back his bike and rode it home. still doesn’t lock it.

  5. Comment by Unknown | 11.9.2005 | 5:24 pm

    While living in Mexico (‘82-83) I purchased a Benotto. This was my first "racing" bike and I thought it was the coolest thing I owned. Due to a dramatic downturn in the Mexican economy, as well as a currency devaluation, my job prematurely ended and I had to move back to the US. For a period you could not purchase US currency and you were prohibited from taking pesos out of the country. I stuffed thousands of pesos (bills, obviously) down the seat tube and in the tires and flew back to the US where I was able to exchange them for dollars.I returned to Cincinnati and lived in the Mt. Adams area (well worth a visit, or if on a bike, a climb) and lived in a small efficiency apartment. I stored my well-loved and well-ridden Benotto in the unlocked storage room next to my basement apartment. The saddest day of my tenure there was the day I saw the apartment handyman (boy, actually) riding away from my building on the seat of my splendid ride. He, of course, was never heard from again.I was devastated. It was another 15 years before I bought another bike. Actually, my wife bought a Klein Q-Pro Carbon for me that I had been lusting over at a local shop. Once I saw that bike I knew I had to ride again. The change was amazing. I hadn’t thought about riding since the day it was stolen and suddenly it’s all I wanted to do.If this one is stolen I’ll be really pissed.

  6. Comment by Zed | 11.9.2005 | 5:36 pm

    Way back when, somebody gave me a helmet as a birthday present. That was nice of them, except that it was a flashy rainbow-colored helmet, and I have certain reservations about wearing rainbows. I avoided using it for as long as I could, even though my other helmet was slowly disintegrating. I moved to Grand Junction a month later and was late for going to help out at an oldfolks home with a riding buddy. I grabbed the rainbow helmet and ran out the door. We parked the bikes against a sign outside the home, and I started locking up the bikes. "Nobody’s going to steal them," the buddy said. "Let’s go. We’re late." I left the helmet hanging from my handlebar. Gosh, was I relieved to come back and find that helmet missing!

  7. Comment by Zed | 11.9.2005 | 5:41 pm

    BTW, with regard to insurance claims, I have a friend whose GF Wahoo was stolen. The insurance paid out well, and he upgraded to a Big Sur. It’s not fair.

  8. Comment by a | 11.9.2005 | 6:17 pm

    my sister took my first mtb to the local swimming pool, and it was stolen (she claims she locked it, but when quizzed, she didn’t even know the combination to the lock).i have far more interesting stories from my youth about stealing other’s bikes (hey, i was young and dumb), but i’ll not share them right now.i read this somewhere a long time ago:two guys are camping in an area known for its abundance of bears. when it is time to go to bed, one guy puts on his running shoes. his friend tells him he’ll never be able to outrun a bear. he replies, i don’t have to outrun the bear; i just have to outrun you.the moral: just make your bike the hardest one to steal from the rack, and you’ll usually be safe.

  9. Comment by Unknown | 11.9.2005 | 6:23 pm

    6 words that can tell you how to keep your bike safe.Out of sight, out of bike.

  10. Comment by rich | 11.9.2005 | 6:34 pm

    dug, its your lucky day. I’m keeping your pig, which is currently in my garage. Let me know how the insurance claim works out.I have had 1 bike (son’s nice bmx) stolen from my garage. I have had 1 motorcycle stolen from a trailer in my driveway. Fatty, congratulate yourself that you moved out of my crime ridden neighborhood.Despite this, I don’t lock things. Its impossible to keep the house locked w/teenagers going in and out all day, so I have given up and don’t lock anything. Its not that I believe in the goodness of mankind, I am simply a fool.

  11. Comment by Unknown | 11.9.2005 | 6:41 pm

    Last Summer i came home from work one friday afternoon and something was odd in the house. The geriatric dog had a ‘i’m sorry’ look on his face. I went to the basement right away. 2 team replica scalples were gone. They were both hanging from the ceiling with a cable lock locking them to a rafter/floor joist. There was a pile of keys on the floor, but in the end they used my hammer and my chisel to break the lock, they got in through the dog door, that also had it’s lock in place. In my house, in the middle of the day, locked in the basement, still stolen, moral of the story– if they want it, it i theirs. On a side note, the change in the tone of the insurance conversation when you say 2 bikes that retail for over 5 grand each is classic. The police woman that came to take fingerprints, when we joked about CSI said, yeah CSI 1968. Salt Lakes finest.When i ride to work, my bike joins me in my office. if i am going to the store, i use the old GT cx bike, please steal it.

  12. Comment by Unknown | 11.9.2005 | 6:56 pm

    I have this riding friend who, in an effort to upgrade his lackluster skills, upgraded his lackluster bike. Actually, he bought the Specialized S-Works Enduro in 2003–the whiz-bang super cool anodized one with the Talas fork and the "itch-switch™", price tag $5,300. Geez it was a nice bike. And geez he wouldn’t stop yacking about it. So, when he went on vacation for a week, leaving said bike alone at home, I slinked into his garage (actually, I had the super skinny 9 year-old slide under the cat sized opening for…well…the cat, in the garage door) and I stole the bike. After he returned, I had it in my home for three days before he noticed that it was gone, and before he noticed the ransom note taped to his front door, replete with disturbing photographs of the bike bound and gagged with me cleverly disguised as a terrorist with a hacksaw preparing to lopp off some critical parts. The ransom demands were simple: A block of sharp cheddar cheese, a Metallica CD, a copy "Mein Kompf", and $25. He thought that I was kidding–obstinate fool. He held out for a week until he realized I was serious. He delivered the goods, all but the block of cheese. "No bike monkey boy–not until ALL of the demands have been met." Later that day I ate cheese, had a good read, and some head bangin’ whilst he got re-acquainted with his now tainted aluminum buddy.Moral: you can’t stop a determined thief, you can only hope to detain them. I keep receipts for upgrades and I take comprehensive photos of my bikes so that when/if it is stolen (which often I hope it is to the degree that I leave the garage door open hoping some opportunist skulks by with a lust for high end componentry) the insurance company and I are not at odds over the true value of the stolen machine (reference Fatty’s "Bike Snobbery" entry and the answer to question "B": "Really, just gold? Well, I guess that’s how much mine was worth before I upgraded the wheelset." If you must leave it outside, lock it in the most conspicuous place possible, but don’t be surprised if it goes missing someday. dug is right–when they go missing, it’s time to go shopping. Giddyup.

  13. Comment by Mike | 11.9.2005 | 7:01 pm

    The only bike I’ve had stolen was a pretty nice BMX bike I had back in the day. They also stole my dad’s department store bike. I had gotten the frame from a friend. I had to get the wheels, the tires, the brakes and a few other parts to put it together. Pretty nice bike for a 14 year old. Had a cool custom paint job with little specks of various colors over a black base coat. It was the first bike that I had ever built up, and now it was gone. I went looking for it, but never found it.The other thing I’ve heard is the 35lb rule. Your bike and the lock will always be equal or greater than 35lbs. If you have a cheap and heavy bike, you’ll need a cheap chain and if you have a expensive and light bike, you’ll need a more expensive and heavy lock. Although today with some of the suspension bikes and 29 inch bikes it’s more like the 45lb rule.Mike

  14. Comment by Unknown | 11.9.2005 | 7:16 pm

    I had my Diamondback mountain bike stolen off the front porch of my apartment in Boston while I was on vacation. It wasn’t anything outrageously expensive – just a $500 mountain bike that I used mostly to get around the city – but it was bright red and I loved it. I had been living in this apartment for 6 months without incident and always left my bike out on the screened in porch. There was nothing to lock it to there, but it was never a problem before. I figured with the neighbors always close by and the homeowners living upstairs, it wouldn’t be a problem.Well, I got back and my bike was gone. I was pissed at being robbed more than upset about losing the bike – I wasn’t THAT into biking then. The homeowner said they had never had a theft in the 30 years they lived there.Fast forward 6 months, and my girlfriend bought me a used 1997 XC Rigid GT Timberline as a replacement. I instantly fell in love with it and have put 3000 miles on it in 6 months. In a related story I proposed to this girl 2 weeks ago and we’re now engaged. Not wanting to be outdone with the engagement ring, she has pledged to buy me the road bike of my chosing at a cost of up to $2500. Hands off, fellas – she’s mine!

  15. Comment by Unknown | 11.9.2005 | 7:16 pm

    I had my Diamondback mountain bike stolen off the front porch of my apartment in Boston while I was on vacation. It wasn’t anything outrageously expensive – just a $500 mountain bike that I used mostly to get around the city – but it was bright red and I loved it. I had been living in this apartment for 6 months without incident and always left my bike out on the screened in porch. There was nothing to lock it to there, but it was never a problem before. I figured with the neighbors always close by and the homeowners living upstairs, it wouldn’t be a problem.Well, I got back and my bike was gone. I was pissed at being robbed more than upset about losing the bike – I wasn’t THAT into biking then. The homeowner said they had never had a theft in the 30 years they lived there.Fast forward 6 months, and my girlfriend bought me a used 1997 XC Rigid GT Timberline as a replacement. I instantly fell in love with it and have put 3000 miles on it in 6 months. In a related story I proposed to this girl 2 weeks ago and we’re now engaged. Not wanting to be outdone with the engagement ring, she has pledged to buy me the road bike of my chosing at a cost of up to $2500. Hands off, fellas – she’s mine!

  16. Comment by Unknown | 11.9.2005 | 7:21 pm

    I haven’t had a bike stolen, but I came very close once. I was riding home from work one day in Los Angeles and got mugged on the bike path. They took my backpack and they were going to steal my bike, but when they got a close look at it, the decided not to take it. They said something like, "Oh man, this bike’s no good!" and let me go. So there are sometimes advantages to having the worst-looking bike around.

  17. Comment by kris | 11.9.2005 | 7:37 pm

    I had a piece of crap Schwinn mtb that I bought in 1991 to ride around school with. Three years ago (before I started mountain biking) I left the garage door open during the night, and the next morning my bike was gone, but my brand new John Deere rider sitting next to it was still there (go figure). About two months later I was riding to work (on my road bike, of course) on a Saturday morning, and catch up with this kid riding a black mtn bike. "Wow, I miss my mtn bike" I say to myself. "Hey! That’s the same kind of bike I had." "Wait a minute, that’s my bike!!" (It had a city registration sticker still on it from when I had first bought it) I ride up next to him(he’s 12 or 13 y/o), and compliment him on the bike. "Thanks" says the perpetrator. "Where’d you find that thing? It’s almost as old as you." Ever the jokester, he says "Garage sale". He about crashed when I told him that he was riding my bike. Of course, he denied it, but when I told him to stop the bike or the cops would be called, he relented. When I showed him the info I wrote on a piece of paper and shoved in the seatpost, he admitted that he and his brother took it from the garage. I made that little prick hoof it, and rode it straight to the YMCA and asked them to give it to a kid that they thought would need and use it. That’s nice and all, but I’d already convinced the little lady that I needed another mountain bike, and didn’t want to ruin it by bringing my old one home. I didn’t tell her that story until after I had the new one in hand.

  18. Comment by Unknown | 11.9.2005 | 7:38 pm

    When I was a little kid, 10 years old or so, we lived in a semi-rural area on a road that was bordered by forest and corn fields. A lot of teenagers would drive up our road, park and get stoned. We weren’t supposed to ride on the road. One day I was out with one of my sisters, who was about 7, tooling around on the road on my little red and white Schwinn with coaster brakes and 16” hard rubber tires. This green stationwagon with about 5 teenagers in it pulled up, and a couple kids got out while two or three stayed in the car. One kid blocked my forward progress, and the other knocked me off my bike and then rode away. My sister started crying and screaming, I started crying and screaming, and I was pissed and scared and totally freaking out, in an enormous hysterical rage. Taking isn’t nice, I guess.Just then, I noticed these big rocks about the size of bread loaves or a little larger just off the side of the road adjacent to the cornfield. In a total Hulk fit, I hoisted a good sized rock and threw it, soccer throw-in style over my head with two hands, onto the hood of the car. It bounced across the hood leaving a basketball-sized dent and some scratches. The two or three teens in the car started freaking out. While they discussed the situation and shouted to their bike thief friend, I kept screaming and crying, and I hoisted another big rock and heaved it, putting another huge dent in the hood. The teens were shouting at each other. Meanwhile, I hoisted this enormous rock that was almost too big for me to lift. I was still crying and screaming and blubbering, “I hate you I’m gonna tell on you I hate you” and so forth. I stagger over to the car holding the enormous rock, getting ready to take out the windshield. The kid driving the car gets out of the car and I noticed he’s crying, “this is my father’s car he’s going to kill me! Stop! Please! Stop!” So I blubber “gimme my bike back” and stood there with the rock over my head, basically holding the windshield hostage. The thief finally saw what was happening, and started riding back to the car. I backed off a couple steps, the teenagers started getting into the car and yelling to the thief, “that little kid is &%$@ing crazy, give him back his bike.” The thief threw the bike past me into the field and jumped into the car, and they peeled away, and I eventually dropped the big rock. When I finally stopped crying and freaking out and hyperventilating, my sister and I agreed to never speak of this to our parents.

  19. Comment by Alan | 11.9.2005 | 7:39 pm

    Back when I was in highschool, circa 1990, I had a friend who rode a ugly neon green 23" Miele mountain bike. One day his bike was stolen out of his garage. By some lucky coincidence later that very night, after his volunteer shift at the local hospital, he went with a couple of his buddies to a pizza joint. Parked outside was his bicycle, still with his lock attached, so there was no doubt about the ownership. Inside, they found the bike thief playing an arcade video game bragging to his buddies about how he cleverly managed to steal a fancy I-talian bicycle, (Miele is not really italian). So while buddies #1 & #2 blocked the view, my friend stole his bike back. The thief noticed, but my friend managed make good his getaway. I couldn’t believe his luck.A few years later, we attended the same University and he still had the same ugly green bicycle. He lent it to somebody, and later that day we found it locked to a rack, but only by the front wheel. We decided to teach this careless bicycle-borrower a lesson. I played the role of bike thief, and I released the front quick release and made off with the rest of the bicycle.Meanwhile my friend (the owner of said bicycle) stuck around to see what would happen. He watched as our victim came out and stared in disbelief at the solitary bicycle wheel locked up to the rack.In hindsight, we realized that this wasn’t such a great idea, as our intended victim had a very explosive temper. So rather than tell him the truth, we made up some story that we found the bike abandoned somewhere. However, it was a few weeks before we came up with that story so my friend was without his bike for a while.The day he brought it back out, he parked it at one of the buildings at the university. Unbeknowst to him, somebody else on campus who happened to own the exact model and colour of bicycle, had had theirs stolen recently. By some unfortunate circumstance, they noticed my friend’s bike parked outside the building that day, mistaking it for their own, and notified the the campus police. Since the campus police had nothing better to do, they staked it out like a swat team watching a terrorist cell. As my friend went to unlock his ride, he heard somebody yell "Step away from the bike!" and instantly he was swarmed by the authorities. It was another few weeks before he could ride his bike again, because he had to dig up the receipt for his 5 yr old bicycle. Meanwhile it sat in limbo because the person who had ratted him out couldn’t prove it was theirs either.As far as I know, he still has this bike today, although he’s moved to SF recently.

  20. Comment by Unknown | 11.9.2005 | 7:42 pm

    Two stolen bike stories & some advice.In my youth, my younger brotherhad a paper round, which for some reason he couldn’t do, so I offered so long as I could borrow his brand new 10 speed racer. I did the round and was coming home down a very steep hill. A momentary lack of concentration caused me to run into the back of a parked car, snapping the forks off the new bike. Obviously, I could tell the truth, so I chucked the bike in a hedge, walked home hiding my considerable injuries and claimed the bike was stolen while I was delivering papers. Insurance payout – everyone happy.When I was a student, I used to leave my bike outside my girlfriend’s (now wife’s) halls or residence, locked with a particularly crumby combination lock. One night I came out to find it gone. Reported it to the police & thought nothing more. About four days later it was back where I had left it, locked with my lock, with two flat tyres. About 6 months later it was stolen from the same place again, but this time never came back. A few months later, I was walking past a city centre office block and saw what looked like my bike stashed under the stairs. I went in & not only was it my bike, but it was locked with my crumby combi lock. Unlocked the bike & started walking off, only to be stopped by the building security, who called the police, who arrested me for stealing my own bike. Several hours later and a good trawl through their stolen bike reports, I walked free of the police station with my recovered bike. 1 week later, it was stolen once more from outside my wife’s halls, never to be seen again.Advice – always ride a single speed, fixed wheel road bike with mudguards, crappy paint job & spds and park next to a mountain bike. Any mountain bike will do, even a "£99 mail order from the Daily Express lump of crap"®. The mountain bike will always go first.

  21. Comment by Unknown | 11.9.2005 | 7:46 pm

    I’ve had my bike stolen twice. Both times were equally traumatic. At the young age of 12, my dad purchassed me my first real "road bike." It was a nice pink schwinn that was for "young adults." My dad obviously had to get his own bike the same day, i have yet to understand his reasoning, so we left them in the garage while we went inside to get changed to go ride. We left the garage door opened since we live across the street from a library in an incredibly small town, and it was a nice sunny afternoon on the weekend. We come out 30 minutes later, and our bikes were gone. We called the police and found out that there has been a bike thief in the area, and we should lock our bikes up. Their information was obviously helpful.My second stolen bike incident was when i worked downtown in nice happy Burlington, Vermont. I used to bike to work and would always lock my bike up on one of the multiple bike racks on the main pedestrian road, right outside of where i worked. One night it was pouring rain, so a co-worker offered me a ride home. We both agreed that no one would steal my bike since it’s out in public, it’s pouring rain out and it’s burlington. Next day i walk to work, and find that my bike is missing both wheels, crank, handle bars, pedals, brakes and all brake lines. The theif was very kind and left the frame of my 2 year old mountain bike.Both lessons have taught me to always keep my garage closed and to take my bike into work and have it sit next to me until it is time to go home.

  22. Comment by Unknown | 11.9.2005 | 7:50 pm

    I had my cross bike stolen from outside of a coffee shop in Baltimore, MD the day before cross nationals! We didn’t lock our bikes and were in the shop for less than 5 minutes when it happened. My 2 teammates and I leaned our bikes up against the wall and went inside. Mine, of course, was the last one left there and the most convenient to steal. My 2 teammates both jumped on their bikes and headed out looking for it, but since we didn’t see which way the theif had gone neither of them found my bike. Fortunately I was able to borrow a bike for the race and may Dad’s (yes I was living at home, but in college at the time so I don’t feel like a deadbeat) home owner’s insurance covered it and I had a check for $4200 in less than a week to replace my Bianchi cx bike with Dura-ace and carbon wheels.

  23. Comment by tayfuryagci | 11.9.2005 | 7:57 pm

    I’ve never had a bike stolen so no messenger bag for me :)I lock my bike to racks but moreoften to electric posts and lampposts. that way they feel more secure to me and I use an as-thick-as-my-wrist lock, piece of crap actually but looks intimidating to opportunists. when I ride to school I hide my bike under a giant ligistrum and lock it to a nearby lamppost so noone knows there’s a bike there. as for malls and such I try to use two locks at a time so thieves will go for the ones with only one lock on them. mine will be relatively safe (or I’m delusional.)to keep my bike from being stolen I keep it as dirty as possible. always covered in mud and oil. it works!

  24. Comment by Unknown | 11.9.2005 | 8:02 pm

    I have a story of a stolen bike but it is, alas, deeply sad. The first real bike, a Trek 320 or some such number, a tourer with the nifty shifters in the drops, champagne. Bought it with my highscool graduataion money in 1979, rode it everywhere, moved in with a girl I thought I loved, possible drank too much and certainly engaged in mild drug abuse. Wandered out of the apartment to drink too much, left the door ajar, returned to an emptyied out shell of a place. For an argument about the need to protect your bike from theft by spending more on it see

  25. Comment by Unknown | 11.9.2005 | 8:18 pm

    Not a stolen bike story but very vaguely related.My wife ands I have done bike tours in France, Germany, Belguim, Holland and Austria, where it is normal to leave your bike in the hotel garage or outbuilding of some sort. Then as a special treat we did a three week tandem tour of Arizona and southern Utah, Pheonix, Sedona, Flagstaff, Grand Canyon, St George, Bryce, Zion, eventually finishing in Las Vegas. In all but one of our stopovers, the hotel staff said to keep your bike in your room. This was totally unheard of in Europe at the time and a bit surprising. So when we got to Las Vegas and were treating ourselves to a night at the Las Vegas Hilton, we took our tandem in with us to reception. The reception staff and the duty manager had never seen a tandem in Las Vegas before and, after we had checked in, insisted that we demonstrate tandem riding. So Jayne and I rode our tandem across the lobby of the Las Vegas Hilton. I think we are probably the only people to do so.CheersTim

  26. Comment by Richard | 11.9.2005 | 8:28 pm

    I flew out to Oakland where a teammate picked me up in a rented car to then drive down to some races in Fresno. After the races, we drove back to Oakland and got back in very late, and decided just to leave our Merlin Extralights in the trunk and pack them in the morning. Overnight, two young punks stole the rental car. While I was flying back home to Albuquerque, the police actually caught the kids and recovered the car, but the bikes were gone.Two months later my teammate’s bike was recovered as the kid’s mother turned it in hoping for a lighter sentance for her kid. A few day’s later, my bike was confiscated from the other kid by a cop on the beat.Right about this time we were in Ohio for road nationals and people from the marketing department of our sponsor in San Francisco went to reclaim the bikes. My teammates was returned in good order. Mine, however, had magically turned into a Stumpjumper Mountain Bike. The marketing person insisted to the police that it was the wrong bike, but they insisted the paperwork was correct. Our marketing person persisted and they searched the impound lot, only to find my bike in the lawn mower impound lot (who knew they impounded lawn mowers?). My bike was recovered and returned to me the day before the nationals road race. Question is, what was the monkey business with my bike? Did someone in the Oakland police department think it was nice, try to "misplace" it and take it home later. I’ll never know.

  27. Comment by Donald | 11.9.2005 | 8:40 pm

    After 30+ years of riding bikes ive noticed if i lock up a bike, it gets stolen. If i dont lock it up, it stays. Ive never figured it out but it just works for me like that. Andits always the cheap bikes i own that always get stolen. My K-mart special, gone. my discount Diamondback, gone. My Cannondales and S-works, never move. Even all my bmx bikes never got stolen if i left em sitting around, but the minute i locked em up, Gone.

  28. Comment by Unknown | 11.9.2005 | 8:56 pm

    This is going to be a hard decision! There are so many great stories here today. First I thought Al (and I still kind of lean towards Al) and then Alan and then I kept seeing more and more great stories. My daughter has had several bikes stolen in her life, all but one when she was in elementary school. The last one was after my dad died and she got a little inheritance and bought exactly the bike she wanted (for a lot of money) and rode it to her college, 10 miles away. She also bought a special "pick-proof, thief-proof" lock for a bunch of extra bucks. First day it was stolen from a busy spot in the middle of the college in broad daylight and was never recovered. What I think is that some people have thief attraction and some don’t. You obviously don’t. You have a kind of force field that makes your bikes invisible to thieves and flashes neon signs on others that say "take me, take me!"

  29. Comment by agreenmouther | 11.9.2005 | 9:00 pm

    Rocky wins by far. Can’t compete with that.

  30. Comment by Unknown | 11.9.2005 | 9:01 pm

    You’re right about those Banjo Brothers! I’m going to go and look at their bags and see if they can be adapted to work on an electric wheelchair! I’d get one for the Huffy but a bike bag for an exercise bike would be stooooooopid, eh? I know there are probably already bags available for electric wheelchairs, but heck.. they aren’t trendy or cute!

  31. Comment by Tommy | 11.9.2005 | 9:03 pm

    Just a comment about bringing your bike into your office: I used to work in the building you’re in now. It’s really not too hard to bring the bike up to the stairs. And when does it ever get "slushy" around here? Wet, yes. Adorned with pine needles, yes. But slushy? Maybe, maybe once a year? I never had a problem with bringing the bike into my office.I did bring in some cloth for the wheels to rest on since the road grime can make a mess, but that’s the only precaution I have ever taken.I’m now on the first floor of my building and very near an outside door, so it would be far more inconvenient for me to find a rack where I could lock the bike rather than bringing it into my office.

  32. Comment by Sydney | 11.9.2005 | 9:23 pm

    You would think that the safest place for your bike is inside of your house right? After all, the garage is a place where you don’t necessarily need a key to get inside of and it’s just not as safe. I found out that I was very wrong this past summer.You know how there is always some sort of sentimental value associated with the first thing you own of something? Well.. this was my first road bike.. a baby blue Bianchi Eros Donna. My bike had just gotten back from it’s first trip to California and I had never felt better on it.Everyday when I drive home, I pass the front of my townhouse before driving through the alley to get into my garage. I normally pause in front to check if I have mail to pick up. On this particular warm sunny day as I proceeded with my daily routine, my mail was there, but my first floor window screen was on my front lawn and my front door was wide open! I couldn’t believe my eyes! I parked my car and called the police. They told me not to go inside of the house and they would send someone over. There was no way I was going into the house but my bike was in the front hallway.. was it still there??? I walked across the sidewalk trying to peek inside the opening in the doorway my thief had left (he could have been at least courteous enough to close the door and not let the air conditioning out!). I couldn’t see for sure but my heart told me that it was gone – probably to be sold at the flea market on sundays. After the police came.. I was right.. it was gone. My bike.. laptop.. passport.. social security card.. backpack (the thief couldn’t possibly hold the laptop in his/her hands while riding away in my poor bianchi)And here is the saddest part of the story..I didn’t think I’d ever see my bianchi again.. after all.. Chicago is a huge city! But I still looked at every bike on the street that I saw everyday. And then… one week after the incident.. I was driving down the street and saw a man riding a bicycle while carrying a ladder cross the street right in front of me. I thought.. how weird is that.. that guy is carrying a pretty long ladder and biking at the same time.. and then i looked at the bike.. it was my bianchi!!!! I was so shocked I didn’t even think to try and rescue my bike from this man, and by the time my senses came back to me, it was too late, he was gone. That was the last time I saw my bianchi, but I still look at every bike I see everyday, hoping I will see it again.

  33. Comment by Unknown | 11.9.2005 | 9:27 pm

    So there I am on the first day of my junior year in High-school. I had just purchased my first ever brand-spankin’-new Schwinn road bike one week earlier and boy was I ever so proud. You see, I had worked the summer to pay for it myself since my older brother had used up all of my parents money over the years so when I wanted anything the answer was always "pay for it yourself." (Apparently when it came to me, they had learned their lesson, but that’s another story.) I parked my brand-spankin’-new Schwinn at the bike racks along with the approximately 200 other bikes and threw my trusty chain style lock on it and never gave it another thought. At lunch that day I took a couple friends outside to look at my brand-spankin’-new Schwinn. (of course one of the reasons may have been to stroke my own ego) I was ever so proud. After the last bell sounded I raced for the exit as most students do when school is finished, however, I did it so I could get out to my brand-spankin’-new Schwinn. I raced out the fieldhouse door and headed to the bike racks ready to mount my trusty steed and start heading fo……..It’s gone… My trusty chain style lock lies on the ground with it’s head bowed before me so as to hide it’s shame in not being able to protect my brand-spankin’-new Schwinn from some dirty, nasty, evil, perverted perpetrator. I can not blame my trusty chain style lock, however, for you see it was someone elses trusty bolt cutter that had apparently assaulted and brutally beaten my trusty chain style lock. It was not my trusty chain style lock’s fault. No, it was you. You know who you are… I found out the next day, according to the accident report, that the evil vermin that stole my bike that day was headed home on my brand-spankin’-new Schwinn when he rolled through a red light at a famously busy intersection. The Ford F-150 did not have time to stop… I take solace in the fact that a broken leg and collarbone would have sidelined that evil vermin for quite some time. I was told that was yet another of a long line of offenses for him and he would be heading for juvenile detention somewhere. He was never seen at school again. I was awarded the full $400.00 in restitution but he, nor his family ever had the means to pay. I saw $25.00 of it and continue to be bitter to this day.

  34. Comment by Trevor | 11.9.2005 | 9:35 pm

    When I first read this particular blog, I thought "idiots, who would let their loved ones be taken from under their noses?". Then I realized that I too had had not 1 but 3.5 two wheeled machines removed from my ownership against my wishes. The first, and most classically stupid, was actually a Honda NightHawk motorcycle. I had put it up for sale ($1800), received a call from an interested party, and agreed to meet the following day at noon. The next day I was running about 20 minutes late, called my roommates (all of which were incredibly hungover) to ask them to have the guy wait and that I would be home soon. I arrived home to find a) roommates still laying around hungover, b)helmut and keys to motorcycle gone, and c)no evidence of a drivers liscence, car keys, or deposit from the prospective customer. After some incoherent muttering I went outside and waited. And waited. And waited. After an hour I went back in to confirm that my friends(?) had not even gotten off the couch when the guy knocked and came in. They just said "the keys and helmut are right there" and he left, never to be seen again.Although the stories are not near as entertaining I have also had stolen my first road bike, a champagne colored Lotus (high-end Taiwan), the wheels off a Trek 8000 (thus the half-bike), and my pride and joy Yeti-built Schwinn Homegrown Pro.Judge not…………P.S. You were sitting next to me (or I to you, as the case may be) at the LT100 Race meeting. What an ass-kicker, can’t wait till next year (Time: 11:41)

  35. Comment by BIg Mike In Oz | 11.9.2005 | 9:51 pm

    Mr7 left his supermarket BMX under the treehouse in the park when he ran home in the rain. He didn’t mention that the bike was over there and when we went to retrieve it for school the next morning it was gone.I had a properly locked superbe pro/columbus slx road bike go missing from the university racks in 1985. I put in a report with campus security and the police. About a week later I saw a bike suspiciously like mine in the rack behind the science labs. I sidled over and had a look. I recognised the scratch on the down tube. Then I recognised the lock. Then I remembered that I had visited a friend on the way to lectures on that fateful day. And had arrived from a different direction, and used a different bike rack, and had a memory like a sieve.

  36. Comment by Unknown | 11.9.2005 | 10:05 pm

    It was the last day of my college career, senior year. I had just handed in my last paper that morning. I had been feeling like complete crap (like seriously sick) for maybe a day or two now but I was glad to just have everything done with. I forget where I was coming from, possibly my girlfriend’s house at the time (we broke up shortly after) riding my sweet green GT mountain bike. This bike was given to me by my dad, it was a great bike, not sure exactly which model but it was a fairly expensive looking one. I was not an avid cyclist, or should I say overly obsessive bike-zombie at the time although I can’t help but think that the green GT had something to do with my trasnformation. So anyway, I slugged my way back home to the fraternity house which I inhabited, threw the bike in the front room and went up to my 3rd floor bedroom to try and sleep. After an hour of trying to sleep I realized that my lymph nodes were swollen up to the size of golf balls and the headache I had for three days just wasn’t going to go away. I decided to go to the ER. When I came downstairs to get my bike to ride to the hospital it was missing. Living in a frat house my first conclusion was that one of the guys was playing a joke on me. So I promply visited every room to grumpilly chew each brother out with all the energy I could muster. After several confrontations I realized that they actually didn’t take my bike. It was a genuine theft. I don’t know why I was so surprised since we had a habit of never locking the door and the house was located in west Philadelphia. I was amazed since I had only placed the bike there about an hour ago. The worst part was that I now had to walk the ten blocks to the ER, where I was given an inconclusive diagnosis, only to find out days later that I had mono. I feel like the mono was in some way just one giant three week hangover after four years of partying. To this day I still look for the bike to no avail. I guess some bum just walked in and grabbed it. Stranger things have happened. What makes the story even better was the way that my dad had aquired the bike. In a manner COMPLETELY uncharacteristic of him he went to a police auction, took the bike out for a "test ride" and just rode it home. I guess it is in some small way justifyable since the bike didn’t directly belong to anyone at the time, and he wasn’t that pissed when I told him it was stolen. What goes around comes around.As far as locking the bike up, I used to lock it to the bike rack at work. It was a fairly well traveled area so I was under the impression that it is safe. I always use a nice hefty U-lock. It hasn’t been stolen in two years. In some cases I have left it there all weekend. I just put it next to a bike that is locked up with some type of contrived wire/chain lock shaped object. You know, the ones you can break just by looking at. I also work on the basis of probability, assuming that the less time you leave your bike outside the less time a theif has to steal it. Besides the mountain bike I’ve been lucky so far.

  37. Comment by Unknown | 11.9.2005 | 10:27 pm

    This one is visceral for me. When I was a lad of 8, my Mom bought me my big person’s bike; a new Raleigh Gazelle. I rode my Gazelle throughout the neighborhood in the early mornings and thus established a deep and life long habit of early morning rides that is attached at my core and I follow to this day. One day, I was at the "gully" in our nieghborhood finding lead pieces (treasure) from a target shooter long past, when I heard a couple of big kids laughing. I looked up and noticed that the bike they were riding (away from me quickly) looked familiar. It was my Gazelle. Needless to say, my existence was , well, shattered. I eventually resigned myself to the loss and got back on my 20" Schwinn hand-me-down. Many weeks later my big brother spotted what he thought was the Gazelle in the bike racks at the junior high he attended. He noted the serial number and indeed it was my bike. The police and my brother and my father all waited for the thief to come to the bike and confronted him. I got it back, fenders missing and the handle bars turned upside down. It was cool. I was happy to have my bike back. I rode it for years and eventually traded it for banjo lessons when I was sixteen. I wish I hadn’t. I miss my Gazelle to this day and I sometimes think I should find another one for old times sake. Nowadays, I only leave my bike unattended outside of grocery stores in small towns where I have stopped for treats. I haven’t had any problems.

  38. Comment by Rachael | 11.9.2005 | 10:39 pm

    I am the proud loser of four, count them, four bikes in a four year period. Bike #1, my cutesey chick mountain bike. Scene- day 1 of college. Rode to the bar. Drank pints. Returned to bike location. No bike. Did consider that poor eyesight and failing ability to stand might be the reason for loss, but did actually turn out to be a theft. Bummer since the bike was 1 day old and I was 4 miles from my apartment with no cabs around. Bike #2, my replacement ‘trade up’ mountain bike. Lived in the kitchen of my college house due to Bike #1 dissappearance. Bike was removed to the yard for all fry up/ chilli/ curry type experiments and returned post dish washing to avoid odor contamination (did I mention I love my bikes?). Except the third time I did this, bike #2 had decided to seek less odorous living arrangements. Ably assisted by a slouchy looking dude in a black overcoat. (my roommate thought he was a date or something, which says something about my dating preferance back then).Bike #3 was my dream bike – by this time I was well versed in the ‘approximation of value’ for insurance paperwork and had managed to trade up to full XTR. This time I swear it was the insurance dude who came over when we were in class and stole the bike after learning of its value.Bike #4. By this time I had learnt my lesson and was riding my Mum’s 1952 sit-up-and-beg granny cruiser. Rusted, hard rubber tyres (the originals from 1952) and the requisite basket on the front. Not really a good downhiller but a definately vehicle of style for poverty stricken youth. And I definately got respect on the local single track. At this point I’d decided inside the house was more dangerous than outside the house, and despite the three locks, motorcycle lock and being chained to a WALL, it went missing and was later spotting being ridden around by a slightly familar looking slouchy dude. The moral of the story. Buy a car. And avoid slouchy looking dudes.

  39. Comment by Unknown | 11.9.2005 | 11:07 pm

    I once had the front wheel from my mountain bike stolen. I had been riding at Crystal Cove near Laguna Beach, CA. I finished the ride, put the bike in my VW camper, and drove off without putting the front wheel back in the van. Imagine my surprise when I went back to look for it several days later and it was gone. I learned two valuable strategies to combat theft from that experience. 1. Even the wealthiest people in the world steal. 2. Don’t be a complete idiot and leave your stuff lying around. My other day-to-day strategies for avoiding theft are ridiculously over or under cautious. When riding along the Burke Gilman/Sammamish River Trails here in Seattle I absolutely refuse to take a bathroom break without bringing my bike in with me. Even if my 220 lb ex University of Oregon football star friend is with me and offers to stand outside and watch the bikes I politely decline and clumsily walk my bike in with me while I take care of business. Realistically I know that 99.9% of the trail users out there are wealthy soccer moms walking their dogs, but I don’t trust them, they might be from Laguna Beach. When I go into a coffee shop it’s a different story. I whip out my $12 lock and pray for the best. If someone really wanted to they could cut this lock with a sharp pair of scissors, but strangely I have little problem leaving my irreplaceable Waterford build Rivendell sitting outside with the equivalent of a thick shoe string holding it to a “No Parking” sign. I suppose the vastly different attitude has a great deal to do with where I am at the time and what the consequences of a stolen bike would be. Standing outside a trailside bathroom in full riding kit with no way home seems embarrassing, undignified, cold and kind of gross. Sitting in Victor’s Celtic Coffee would be warm, adventurous, and probably garner sympathy and free coffee.

  40. Comment by Kevin | 11.9.2005 | 11:48 pm

    I’ve had 3 stolen bikes. 2 as a kid, and the other one wasn’t mine (a loaner).One time I left a bike on my back porch untethered with the exception of a lock between the frame and the front wheel. When l came out the next morning the bike was still there, but the back wheel wasn’t. Stupid. (I’ll let you decide who was stupid).Anyways, I’ve found the trick to keeping a bike in your possession is the paint. I commute on a great but old Nishiki road bike. I can’t call it ugly – since it is my baby – but the unsuspecting thief will not notice that underneath the paint chips and the spray paint is a finely tuned machine.Just make sure to lock up any quick-release wheels.stupid…

  41. Comment by Conejita | 11.10.2005 | 12:43 am

    Okay, I have three stories for you, one about a stolen bike, one about a "lost" bike, and one about a stolen car that was just too ironic to leave out.Stolen bike first. A doctor friend of mine had just gotten a brand new bianchi road bike which he diligently rode to work everyday to capital hill all the way from issaquah. However, they dont exactly have the "facilities" in a hospital to store a dirty bike, so he was forced to lock it up infront of the building. Needless to say, his bike was eventually stolen and he had to resort to driving his car to work for about a week until……he was in pioneer square on a Friday night and saw some guy riding his bike! He had had too much to drink and proceeded to try and kick the crap out the guy by ripping him off the bike and throwing punches. Now if this isnt bad enough, if you know anything about seattle, we will riot over nothing ( WTO, Mardis Gras 2001, need I go on?). So, after a few minutes of fighting, half of the bar they were standing in front of has been emptied out and is joining in on the fight. My friend ended up getting arrested and spent half the night in jail until his wife drove to bail him out. He had to pay a $500 fine for fighting in public, another $500 for disturbing the peace and another fine for insighting a riot. He still to this day swears that it was worth it since he did get his bike back.On to the "lost" bike. My boyfriend, who also works for MS, got a cheap bike to commute to work since he lived so close to campus. After riding the bike for about a week, he bit it hard going over a curb in the parking lot at work, busting open his chin and having to get 7 stitches to close it up. One of his coworkers did him the favor of locking the bike up on one of the racks while he was being hauled away in an ambulance, and there it sat for almost a year. He finally decided that he wanted to start riding it again only to find out that microsoft campus security does a sweep of all the bike racks once a year and auctions off any that havent been moved in a long time. I dont know if this helps you or not fatty, since it was a crappy bike and not a nice one, but his sat on campus for that long without ever being stolen.Finally, the weird stolen car story. When my brother was a junior in highscholl, his jeep was stolen out of our driveway. It was recovered just a few days later, but the thieves had made off with all of his soccer gear(cleats, uniform, warmups) and his lettermans jacket. About six months later, a kid that my brother played soccer with when they were about six or seven, was 4-wheeling out by snoqualmie when he ran over what appeared to be a pile of garbage. He turned around to look at what it was. It was a whole pile of discarded junk from stolen cars (the cops guessed probably from about 15 different people)! The other kid recognized my brothers name on the lettermans jacket and was able to return all of his stuff to him. The cops were also able to stake out the dump site and they caught the people who had stolen the car when they went on their next dump run.

  42. Comment by Big Guy on a Bicycle | 11.10.2005 | 12:47 am

    I had a cheezy Sterling bike (made by the same folks that brought us the Univega) when I first went to college. I, along with most everyone else in the dorms, used to lock up my bike at the racks in the center of the dorm quad. I didn’t use it a lot in those days, since I walked to classes and drove to the grocery store, but I did ride at least once a week.One Saturday morning I got up to go meet a couple of other guys to go ride, but when I got outside, my bike wasn’t there. Neither was the bike that had been parked next to mine. Nor the one next to that, nor…Fact is, none of the bikes that had been on the same rack as mine where there. They were all gone. As was the rack. Someone had come along in the dead of night and stolen two entire racks of bicycles. Probably twenty or so in all, but only one or two were likely worth much.

  43. Comment by Robert | 11.10.2005 | 2:07 am

    Well, I’m very lucky and have never had a bike stolen. Not even over the four years when I locked up a somewhat decent bike at high school. But I always worry about any bike I lock up. But this story won’t get me a messenger bag, so instead I’ve come up with a way to solve bike theft with a messenger bag.I’ve figured out that the key to not having your bike stolen is to never leave it anywhere. Now I can hear you saying, "But Rob, if you use a bike for anything practical (ie. anything that’s not group rides, training or racing) you’ll have to leave your bike somewhere at some point". To this I respond, "That’s what I thought too, my unenlightened friend. Untils now."If I had a messenger bag, say a Banjo Brothers messenger bag, I would never have to leave a bike anywhere ever again. That’s because with the monstrosity known as a Banjo Brothers messenger bag, I could carry my bike around with me. Simply take off both the wheels, and run the straps that close the messenger bag around the main triangle of the frame, and also pass it through both wheels. Think of how the messengers carry the tubes with large papers in them. Now replace the document tube with your bicycle’s frame. I have a small frame (51cm) so your mileage my vary.Now for some of us, this poses a problem as most wheelbases of bikes are longer than we are wide, which leaves the extremities of our bike’s exposed to damage by accidentally hitting things while walking along. But for you Fatty, I think your width is more than adequate to protect the bike.Now, I can hear you saying "But Rob, I’ll look stupid walking down the street with a bike strapped to my back." Well my friend, do I have a solution for you. If you have a folding bike, the entire thing will probably fit inside a messenger bag. I mean, those bags are huge. A folding bike will fit no problem. But you’ve got to ask yourself, would I look any more stupid walking down the street with a bike on my back than riding a folding bike down the street? See, there’s a reason why I didn’t suggest the folding bike first.Alright, so that’s my idea. I’ll test my idea just as soon as I get a messenger bag…Your other solution, Fatty, is to ride your fixed gear to work. Sure it might get stolen. And sure, the theif might make off with it. And yes, the theif wants to make a quick get away so he pedals hard and gets up to speed quick. Now since the bike theif isn’t a cyclist (cyclist’s don’t steal bikes, remember?) he gets tired quickly and decides to coast for a while. At this point, the bike theif gets flung off the bike by the pedals since it is a fixie. I’ve heard of some track racers winning a race, raising their arms in victory, coasting and promptly getting flung into the crowd by their still turning pedals. Your bike may be gone, but at least you have a picture in your head of the SOB sprawled out on the road covered in road rash.

  44. Comment by Sue | 11.10.2005 | 2:09 am

    Can I PLEASE have the bag? I’ve had 2 bikes stolen. One from university rack, other from car in university parking lot.Botched

  45. Comment by Unknown | 11.10.2005 | 2:43 am

    You people need to get some BFRs… Big Freakin’ Rocks. Except the guys who get their Bianchis stolen. What’s worse guys – (1) losing the bike you’re all pervy about, or (2) knowing for a fact that that the moronic scum sucking fiend who stole the bike totally doesn’t know anything about it, except it’s got this weird old fashioned green paint job that they plan to hit with black Rust-o-Leum as soon as they can steal a can? If you’re real Bianchiphiles, it’s #2. And not even a close question.

  46. Comment by Elaine | 11.10.2005 | 3:02 am

    I remember recovering my friend’s little brother’s bike from a neighbor boy. This little brother is the one we made eat a mud pie by telling him not to eat it. I confronted the older boy who had it, and slapped him in front of all the other kids when he wouldn’t give it back. My parents told me they were proud of me, I think I was 7 years old at the time.The first bike of mine was stolen last year. The second was stolen just over a week ago. The first one I’d had for about 10 years, loved it, and at times had neglected it, leaving it locked to a chainlink fence behind my apartment building for over a year. It was finally stolen from the ’secure’ parking garage in my apartment building, after I started commuting on it again. It was locked up using a u-lock.The bike I bought to replace it was a generic looking mountain bike purchased from Costco. It had a permanent parking place in my apartment hallway. I got rid of my car last year and the bike has been my almost exclusive mode of transporation for 6 months. It must have looked attractive with the shiny black fenders, lights and mirror so someone stole outside the drugstore in my nieghborhood on a busy Saturday afternoon right beside the bus stop. I had replaced or added about half of the parts on the bike since I’d bought it a year and a half ago. This one was only locked with a cable lock at the time, I was thinking it would be a quick stop and since it was fine parking there the last months …While looking for a dependable used bike that’s ugly enough not to be stolen (is there such a thing?) I came across an early 70’s 3 speed made by Raleigh. It’s green, with chromed rims and fenders, but when I first saw it it was all brown with dust from being hung in the garage for decades. I’m cleaning it up, but don’t want to let it out of my sight. It was only $50 but too cute to loose. It shifts and runs perfectly but I haven’t figured how to remove the front tire yet (locks?) or the rear (the hub cable?!?), so if I get a flat I’d be hooped. I found another one this last weekend, an 80’s? Maruishi mountain bike with huge tires and white fenders, scratched and with rust spots. It runs like a tank, in a good way, except I’m not used to as many people passing me on the way to work. It has Ovaltech chainrings. I was planning on having a drunken custom painting party for it, but the lastest idea is to paint it with chalkboard paint and buying different colour chalks to draw pictures and messages on it. Why cover your bike with stickers if you can change the message every day? I could leave chalk with the bike and people could leave me messages on it! Would someone dare steal a bike like that?Elaine

  47. Comment by Cuddlydoll | 11.10.2005 | 4:11 am

    Fatty, just so you know, I’m pretty sure I’m your biggest fan. Well, not literally since I’m only 5’1”. This is a little long but it’s the best story I know of a bike thief. It didn’t happen to me, but to my dad who is the publisher of Cycling Utah. Perhaps you’ve heard of him, he’s quite famous in some circles. He was out riding on a clear evening he was not wearing a jersey since he did not own one at the time having only recently become a “born-again cyclist” as he says, so he placed his wallet in a handlebar bag. He was descending a small hill on 90th south toward 7th west in Sandy, Utah (if you are familiar with the area). There was a car coming in the opposite direction and was signaling to turn left. It stopped in the turn lane so he coasted to make certain the car was waiting for him to go by. Just as he started to pedal again the car accelerated and turned right into him (perhaps a little familiar for you, although I don’t think this person was a church-goer). He catapulted off the bike and somersaulted through the air landing on his head and back. Thankfully his helmet took the brunt of the blow.After landing, he lay there for a few seconds. He heard the car accelerate and he turned his head enough to see the car driving away, sparks flying out from underneath it. The sparks were caused by his bike which was pinned beneath the car. The car then stopped, and he looked away, too shocked to think clearly. Someone came up and asked if he was alright. He said he thought so, and the person asked what happened. He said he was hit by the car parked on 7th west and when they looked over the car was gone.The police and ambulance came and he told them what happened. They looked all around, and never found the bike. Apparently the driver, when he could not just drive away, stopped, pulled the bike out from underneath and took it with him leaving my dad to be cared for by some good Samaritan(to me, Sandy’s a lot like Samaria. I’m from Murray). He endured a trip to the ER and a very painful night. The next morning, some amazingly nice person called because they had “found” my dad’s wallet. He asked how my dad had “lost” it and after my mom told him he asked if my dad was alright. She said he was sore but would be alright. He then said he’d drop the wallet off and my mom, being the trusting person she is believed him. Needless to say, the wallet never showed up, but some nice charges to the tune of about $1000 dollars on my dad’s credit card did. Most amazing of all, my dad is still an avid cyclist.

  48. Comment by Unknown | 11.10.2005 | 4:41 am

    Oh, Al Maviva as a little stoner definitely takes the cake…My story has a holiday theme.One bright Halloween morning several years ago, I stepped out onto the sidewalk, ready to unlock my bike and ride it to work. I didn’t see the bike at first, and figured that I had locked it somewhere other than the usual spot across the street from my apartment. Okay, no bike with the usual street sign. Um, wait…no sign on the signpost. Signpost no longer entirely vertical, either. And two milk crates, along with some heavy-duty recycling pails, all piled up around said naked, tilted signpost.Duh-uh: Mischief Night. Somebody had actually gone to the trouble of taking apart the street sign and shinnying my U-locked bike up the post, piling up every recycling receptacle they could lay their hands on in order to grab enough vertical to push the bike past the top of the signpost. (From the Pisa-esque angle of the signpost the next day, they obviously barely cleared it.) They had then taken a non-rolling bike wrapped in both a U-lock and a thick cable lock and spirited it away.I had to give ‘em their props — it was literally a Frankenbike, assembled by Philly’s own Frankenstein Bike Worx and sporting a big ol’ Frankenface plate in the front. Who wouldn’t want a trophy like that on Mischief Night? I actually felt kind of bad that the derailleur was so crapped out that the chain was dropping with almost no provocation; whoever worked that hard to get the bike and cut off the locks had really earned a little better booty.One tip: We’ve actually got bike snatchers here in town who zoom in, wrench open headsets, and make off with primo suspension forks, leaving behind frames with just front wheels locked to them. I kid you not. So lock up your fork if you don’t want it to sport a bit more travel than you ever intended.

  49. Comment by Jim | 11.10.2005 | 4:46 am

    I had a bike stolen when I was about 15 years old. ((double bonus points information)) It was my BROTHER’S bike.A friend and I rode to a local pond for a little night fishing. We ditched our bikes just off the road, but obviously not far enough. We hopped the fence, and took off for the pond. We saw a truck pass by on the road, slow down, stop and back up to where we left our bikes. The truck’s occupants decided to take my brother’s shiny new bike and left my friend’s old hooptie-looking bike where it was. We were afraid we had been seen and simply laid low until they left. Upon leaving, I discovered my brother’s shiny new bike was missing.I cried all the way home, trying to figure out how I was going to tell my brother that I was the reason his bike was stolen. I ended up mowing yards the next summer until I could buy a replacement. Bike racks are so sparse here in Middle Tennessee that statistics about whether they are a theft deterrent or not cannot be measured by current scientific means. The only place I can remember seeing bike racks locally is on college campuses, where they are used and seem to be a deterrent. At least I used to see the same bikes in the same rack where I parked mine every day when I was in school. My solution to bike theft? Simple. Just ride a hooptie (or at least hooptie-looking) bike and generally nobody will mess with it. Like you said fatty – thieves will generally pass by most average looking bikes and go for the shinier, racy looking bikes. At least that made logical sense to me. Either that, or my limited budget (which keeps me riding a not-so-flashy bike) causes me to believe that my bike is reasonably safe. And your homeowner’s policy should pay for a replacement bike should yours be stolen.At least my insurance guy/weekend group rider friend says so.

  50. Comment by EricGu | 11.10.2005 | 5:50 am

    I had a bike stolen when I was 11. A Schwinn fastback 5-speed with a banana seat a big-ass shifter on the top tube.When I ride my bike to work, I keep it in my office. You need to do some arranging to make it fit.

  51. Comment by Nanget | 11.10.2005 | 11:22 am

    In high school we had a bike rack/cage. It was my first year and bikes being stolen was a normal occurance. I had a low end trek mtb with suspension forks, hardly a racing machine. To the students it was a racing superbeast. No one had ever seen a bike with suspension… wow. So to protect this "holy grail" of the bike rack i would unhook the brakes, drop both wheels out put quick release skewers in my bag and chain frame/wheels to a pole.There was a guy (mr.x) a few years/grades older than me and every time he saw it he would try to ride it through means of bribe/intimidation/begging. there was no way i would give it to him as i had been told that he had the reputation of borrowing things without ever intending to return them. after about 8 weeks this guy would be on my case every minute of the day. one day i was putting everything back together. i put the wheels back in and went to put my chain back in my bag, zipped it up, looked up and the bike had vanished. I see mr.x disappearing around the back of a classroom on my bike. I give chase and as a get around the back of the classroom i see mr.x tangled between a fence and my bike. I walk down to him, tear my bike off him look at the bike and say "brakes weren’t connected" (plus a couple of other choice words). I hooked the brakes back up got my bag and rode home. The next day he had the usual grazings/cuts you get from crashing and he did not speak to me ever again.Sean Eadie had his bike stolen whilst at the Tempe velodrome (which is in Sydney). he was packing up his bike/gear into his van went back inside the velodrome to get more gear, came back and his track bike was gone. the thief stole a carbon fibre monocoque GT, which also just happened to be the only one of its type in australia. those who know of sean know that he is a australian olympic sprinter so its highly likely that the bike had a massive gear on it. Somehow the thief managed get away unnoticed through the streets of sydney on a fixed wheel with an enormous gear on it. I have no idea if it was ever recovered.

  52. Comment by uncadan8 | 11.10.2005 | 11:45 am

    I have never had a bike stolen, but I have a good reason why. I put my bike in the company bike rack like everyone else, and I don’t even lock it up. However, I do sit about fifteen feet from the bike rack where I occupy my post as a security officer. We are required to carry a firearm for work, so I figured I can skip the lock.

  53. Comment by Unknown | 11.10.2005 | 2:28 pm

    I have never had the faith in humanity that you seem to have, Captain Fatness. I have always made sure to keep an eye on my bikes when travelling or when sitting in a rack somewhere. When I used to ride to school/work, I would always be walking around the halls with my bike, just to make sure I had it when it was time to go home. Needless to say, I am a bit on the paranoid, anal-retentive side. This being true, imagine my feelings of idiocy when travelling home from college one year, getting reading for an awesome summer of riding, I arrived home and removed my bicycle from the trunk rack and dropped it to the ground in a heap. Why? Both wheels had been stolen somewhere in my travels and not only did I not spot the actual theft, but I still didn’t realize they were gone while removing the bike from the rack. It was not until the bike landed with a thud on the ground that I realized that the wheels where missing. Idiot boy rides again (or walks in this case, until I could make enough money with my summer job to afford two new wheels).

  54. Comment by Douglas | 11.10.2005 | 2:48 pm

    Fatty, I wish I had a personal story of bike theft that had great value, but the only result of my own experiences was a ruined day and a season riding a 30lb Rockhopper with a softride stem. I think that I know where the good karma from the karmic black holes goes though. This last year, a freind of mine opened a bike shop in Salt Lake, and things were going well for him. One day, a customer that my friend charitably describes as a "mutant" walked in, with an extremely nice bike. Let’s face it, Serottas aren’t your typical DUI bike. The customer asked my buddy if he could fill up the tires and give it a look over. With his bike theft radar going off, my buddy told the customer that he would be happy to work on it right then, and the customer could go next door for a cup of coffee and be back in 30min or so. After a few calls, my buddy was able to find out who in town had sold the bike and the owner. The owner was notified, as were the police. When the customer returned from his coffee break, by buddy had the tires aired up and ready to go. After thanking the customer for coming in and handing over the bike, my buddy just happened to mention that the kind officers just wanted to ask him some questions. The happy ending is that the bike went back to its owner, and the mutant got his reward. Good bike karma: 1, bike thief: 0.

  55. Comment by Fat | 11.10.2005 | 2:56 pm

    I’ve never had a bike stolen so far (knock on wood). But I have a pretty funny story about my cousin’s bike being stolen.In the summer time of my highschool years, I would go and spend time with my cousins. They lived out in the country/cowland where as I’m used to living "in the city." I discovered a whole new world out there. To be able to bike where ever you needed to go was just amazing to me. The summer of my seinor year my cousins and I went to a bonfire party. Of course there was drinking but we all had bikes so had no worries. It started getting late so my cousins and I decided to go home leaving my cousin, Jayme, behind. He usually stayed out later than us since he was older. At about 3:30am Jayme comes running into the bedroom that I was in, panicked and rambling on so fast that all I caught was, "aliens, my bike, help." After swallowing a bunch of coffee and having him settle down and finally have him tell me that he was on his way home from the bonfire party when weird things started to happen to him.He said that the light on his bike started to blink, his gadget that recorded his mileage started blinking at him as well, and when he looked at his watch on his wrist the time had stopped. He was convinced that he was about to be abducted by aliens (in other words too drunk to realize how stupid that was) so he jumped off his bike and ran the rest of the way home.Once I finished laughing my butt off at him, we got into a car where I drove us back to where he abandoned his bike. Unfortunately, it was gone.It was about two or three weeks later that he found it in their back yard inside the cow barn. It had some sort of sticky substance on it (I was thinking cow drool) and two big red alien looking eyes with a small red mouth drawn on his bicycle seat. I laughed so hard I almost peed myself. From that day on he was convinced that aliens had come for him but took his bike instead.~ Fat Chick

  56. Comment by Unknown | 11.10.2005 | 3:14 pm

    I had a vintage Diamondback I’d inherited from my brother-in-law stolen when we lived in Vegas. I know, who’d think immoral people lived in Vegas? (Not me, you fathead – the thieves) The interesting thing was that I had it chained to the railing of our second floor balcony at the time. Somebody worked WAY too hard (climbing up there with a bolt-cutter? Ninja bike thieves?) for what would probably have been worth about $200 at the time, if I hadn’t already beat the hell out of it playing around in Utah. The Gary Fisher seat was probably worth more, but I’d quick released that and taken it inside.

  57. Comment by Unknown | 11.10.2005 | 3:33 pm

    July 23, night before a race. Trundling gear and misc. from basement to vehicle for an early morning depart. I had my bike leaning against the back of my car, in my driveway, behind the house. (with shoes clipped in, Polar HR/speed/cadence watch on the handlebar) So I’m making 2 minute trips, back-forth, basement-car. Suddenly I notice that there is a 47 pound "Magna" Kmart MTB in the exact spot where my magnificent road steed was only minutes before. Awwww must be a joke….expecting one of ‘the guys’ to hop out and say "gotcha"…..nope. A frantic recon of the ‘hood ensued in the passenger seat of Johnny Law… recovery, to this day ‘gone in 60 seconds’. After all that I went to the basement again and selected a fine ‘84 Schwinn Voyageur, removed the kickstand and fenders and rode with anger and fat tires to a gratifing 4th place.

  58. Comment by joan | 11.10.2005 | 3:57 pm

    OK – I do have a good story about having a bike stolen. I had put my road bike on my bike rack one day after a ride and, due to the ride-induced malfunction of my brain, forgot to lock it. I went to run an errand and came out of the store after being away from the car for 10-15 minutes max. Not only was my bike gone – but my rack had also been stolen. It was not a particularly valuable nike – but it was what I could afford at the time – and I was ripped. I’m a nurse and had to be in to work that night – and was assigned to work in the ER. My 3rd patient of the evening was a young guy in his 20’s who came in with a fractured collarbone and quite a few scrapes. We got to talking about biking and the rides we had both enjoyed in the area. At that point, he told me that he’d had a bike vs. motor vehicle encounter that had brought him into the ER. His girlfriend says "You’ve got to see the bike – it’s on the rack but it’s totally messed up!" I went out to the parking lot – and of course, it was my bike, my rack, and my helmet – which I hadn’t even realized was missing!! Guess that vehicle was one of those newfangled karmas…

  59. Comment by Sarah | 11.10.2005 | 3:59 pm

    My mom’s bike lived over at her aunt and uncle’s house for a while when she was first married to my dad. Her cousins rode it around or something. Anyways, one day it was stolen from their garage, where it had been unsecured and the garage door was hanging open. One day, at my dad’s bike shop, some guy walks in with a blue Nishiki that freakishly resembles my mom’s and is trying to sell it back to my dad on trade-in. We don’t live in that small of a town (i.e. there is more than one bike shop) so I find the coincidence pretty hilarious. My dad calls my mom from the back room and is whispering to her over the phone about whether or not my mom knows the serial number to her bike or if she can give him a full description of it, and then tells her to call the cops! Well my dad must have distracted the guy for a few more minutes until the fuzz showed up and arrested him for trying to sell my mother’s stoeln bike to my dad. True story. :)

  60. Comment by Unknown | 11.10.2005 | 4:47 pm

    I haul my bike into my office, mainly because I don’t want to get on a cold and/or wet seat, even though we have covered racks. My morning ride is short enough, only about 20 minutes, where I don’t get real sweaty, so a quick wipe down (psudeo sponge bath coupled with baby wipes), rather than a full shower, gets me cleaned up. I change in my office as well. The closest shower is nearly all the way across campus, and I just don’t need a shower. Plus, hauling a lock is just more stuff to lug around. Finally, with my bike in my office, my students see that I ride to work a lot and they get interested in it. Maybe some day they’ll start commuting by bike. Yeah, and they’ll adopt my neo-bolshevist politics as well. Afterall, I’m a college perfessor (sic by the way). So, talk to Jake and tell him you want to ride with Brad over in Spokane sometime, or when I come to Seattle to ride with him. We’re family, Jake and I.

  61. Comment by Unknown | 11.10.2005 | 6:45 pm

    I hope you realize that you have become a cultural icon and your fame will only spread farther and wider.WAY TO GO!Hugs,MuMo

  62. Comment by Unknown | 11.10.2005 | 7:22 pm

    Being a native of the Netherlands I’m no stranger to bike-thefth. Thousands of bikes are stolen every day and there is no trouble in getting a ‘ second hand’ bike. Most of these second hand bike salesmen are junkies who need their daily dose of whatever they get their kicks from. The fact that they steal the bikes is partly accepted in The Netherlands. I once noticed a junkie stealing a bike in a very crowded shopping area and it bothered nobody. The fact that he was using a large sturdy metal pole to destroy the lock was probably one of the reasons….. The second hand bike trade is so accepted that people feel no shame in buying one. I have never bought one, because my bike has never been unvoluntary stolen. There even is a theory why the junkies steal the bikes. The most fascinating theory is the one of the lease bike. According to this theory if you buy a bike from a junkie and it gets stolen a couple of weeks later it means that your lease contract has ended and that you haven’t renewed on time. As I mentioned before my bike has never been unvoluntary stolen….. A couple of months ago I bought a new bike and had to get rid of my old and very dodgy one. I could have sold it, but it was way to much trouble. My solution: ride the bike, but don’t lock it. If it gets stolen: no problem I already have got a new one. It actually took four days before the bike got stolen. During these days I drove the bike to the train station, the shopping centre and my own street. All these places are very popular among people who are in the bike trade…. and still it took four days to get my bike stolen!

  63. Comment by cosmogrl | 11.10.2005 | 8:04 pm

    I once had a bike stolen from a bike rack. My bike’s name was Big Red. I loved that bike. This was a very traumatic experience that occured in grade school and left a stinging scar. Since then, I never put my bike in bike rack. Of course, I also don’t own a bike at the present time…… hehehehe …….. due to circumstances beyond my control…… no, actually, I gave my mountain bike to someone who had no mode of transportation. Since I am not an avid biker and own a car, I figured they could use it more than me. I say keep the positive mental attitude that today is not the day for your bike to get stolen. I am convinced that had I been saying that to myself every day back in the day, Big Red would still be with me today. Whew! That was a konfusing sentence–but then again, that’s what I do best! You are hilarious and your blog rocks! —Wen

  64. Comment by knobby tires | 11.10.2005 | 8:53 pm

    back in high school, i owned a forest green huffy superia. while this wasn’t the nicest bike, having owned it for over 8 years, it and i had been through many adventures over the years. it was the bike that got me started, and i still ride it when i go back to my parents house (if nothing else, huffy builds them to last!).on most days, i would ride my bike to the bus stop, lock it up, get on the bus and go to school, confident that my loyal huffy would be awaiting my return. but one day, i got off the bus, and where my stoic bike had been, there was only a broken chain lock. someone had cut my lock, and kidnapped my bike. heartbroken, i walked home, never expecting to see my wayward companion again. i made it through the week, walking past the empty bike rack everyday, hoping to see my bike, waiting for me to take it back home; but no dice.well, the weekend rolled around, and about an hour into my shift at the local supermarket, i noticed a familiar green shape hiding amongst the shopping carts in the cart corral. thinking quickly, i called my dad, and we loaded my huffy into the back of his pick-up, and he drove it home to the safety of our garage. i spent all morning on cart duty, hoping to find the SOB that’d kidnapped my huffy, but no one ever came back looking for it. too bad; i woulda really liked to share my feelings with moral of the story: one way or another, a good bike will always find its way home.

  65. Comment by Unknown | 11.10.2005 | 11:32 pm

    Oops, Bianchiphile right here. Guilty as charged. I even whisper sweet nothings when I lock it up… "Don’t worry, this won’t take long. I’m in, I’m out – stay put sweetheart.."Well, I am actually OCD about my bike, but just kidding about the latter part (or was I).


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