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The Engineer

The Life and Times of Donald F. Simmons

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Alas My Bike...

Well, I'm now on my second stolen bike. Sigh...

On Sunday I had been biking around for the day, and was heading for my Film Festival film at the Paramount. I was running late, and when I got to the corner of John and Wellington (the Paramount is two blocks north) I saw a bike rack in front of this building. I was worried that I wouldn't be able to find a spot for my bike at the Paramount itself and I'd waste a lot of time trying to find a place, so I thought it would be best to use the rack right there. Now, this wasn't a hugely traveled corner on a Sunday evening, and I was a little worried about this, but figured it would be all right. My first mistake.

My second and biggest mistake is that I had gotten careless with how I locked my bike up. I have a U-lock and a Kryptonite cable, and I had gotten in the habit of threading the cable thru the post and each wheel, and then using the U-Lock to connect the two ends of the cable. This I found was often a lot easier then trying to maneuver the U-Lock so it got the post, frame, and a wheel. However, it means that all you would have to do is cut the cable, and the whole bike comes away, and that's just what happened. I found the cable (and it was a pretty good one!) neatly cut in two and my bike gone.

On my way home, I looked at every bike locked up that I passed, and every one of them was using the U-lock to connect the bike frame to the post, so you've have to cut thru solid steel bar to get the bike loose. Obviously the thief was looking for bikes just using a cable, and he found one with mine.

So the lesson here is always use your U-lock between the post and your frame.

I had gotten paranoid about people stealing my bike wheels (I have the quick release wheels), which is one of the reasons I started using the cable, it lets you secure both wheels with one lock. But almost none of the bikes I passed locked up seemed to be worried about this, a lot were just securing the frame to the post and bypassing the wheels altogether. I guess walking down the street carrying a bike wheel is a lot more conspicuous than riding an entire bike.

Anyway, I filed a report with the cops, and talking to my insurance company. My home policy lets me claim up to $1000 for a stolen bike, with a $200 deductible. And they'll take 2 years of depreciation into account, but I should get a few hundred bucks out of it.

And rather than let the days of fall slip away, I stopped into a couple of bike stores yesterday, and found a nice Devinci hybrid on sale. I should be able to pick it up Friday, and I'll use TWO U-locks on it!

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Ouch... yeah, the chain is only as strong as the weakest link, and in this case the weak link was the cable. I think the logic for doing it the other way -- U-lock on the post, cable on the wheels -- is that the wheels are cheaper to replace than the whole bike.

Did your cable have a replacement policy? I know that a lot of Kryptonite products (I love their U-locks) have a sort of insurance policy for replacing your bike if it gets stolen while locked up with their product.

I didn't have a replacement policy with the cable I had, but I do have one for the new lock I got yesterday!

Has Bikeman escaped from Arkham?! ; )

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