Friday, January 02, 2009

Darwinian Bicycle Security

When I got out of work, I was planning on heading to the L Bus, which makes a bee-line for The Maul when it leaves downtown. It wasn't there. I rushed over to the A Express bus stop. I was a few minutes late, but all the usual A-bus riders were standing around waiting. Ah, Holiday Schedule!

I bid the bus-waiting-folks farewell and took off for The Maul, despite not feeling too well -- still fighting some bronchitis. I rolled up to my usual parking spot, and found a Trek 800, completely unlocked, just sitting there. I pulled my front wheel off, used my heavy duty chain and cable lock to secure it to a natural gas pipe that goes from the sidewalk to the building (not visible in the photo really)

Basically, my bike was pretty much the most secure bike in town.

After the meeting, we all went to a local Thai spot. I rode with a friend, who brought me back after dinner. The Mall was almost an hour past closing time. Both bikes were still there. Strange.

19.2 miles for the day, and a throat that's a little more irritated than it was this morning.


Anonymous said...


If I felt the need to pull my front wheel off everytime I would either....

A. Move to a safer city
B. Put pitlocks on everything.

I have a pitlock on the rear that secures my rohloff.

Noah said...

I usually don't pull the front wheel off. When I lock to a proper bike rack, the chain goes around both wheels, through the rear triangle, and through the rack. It just so happened that the pipe I locked up to was pretty low, and bikes that are locked up like this "Look" more secure anyways. As one who works in the security industry (infosec) I can say with confidence that things that look more secure are messed with less often, especially when something that looks less secure is nearby -- such as a Trek 800 without any locks.

Given that even the Trek 800 remained there when I came back for the bike some five hours later, I'd say Overland Park, KS isn't a terribly adverse place for a bicycle.

Anonymous said...

Noah, help. I got $90 of gift certificates to use at Performance Bike and would like some help deciding how to spend it. Right now I own little to nothing in bike accessories or clothing but have been doing many 15-20 mile rides. Been making do with what I have. What do you use the most? Treasure the most? Suggestions on a bike pump? Balaclava? Maintenance tools? Lights?

steven (dot) birrell (at) kimball (dot) com



Noah said...

Steven, your question is a good one with answers that I think might help many other commuters. Likewise, I think I might not be the only one with some good input on this. As such, I posted my own reply (and a call for opinions) over on commutebybike. Hope this helps.

Scott Redd said...

Perhaps the Trek 800 was locked up somewhere else, just as securely, or perhaps even more than yours. The thief used an assortment of lock picking tools, angle grinders, diamond tipped drills and saw blades, and brute force. He then rode the bike to the bus stop, and having no locks of his own, left it there, having no further use for the bike.

Every bike has a story. :)

speeddemon0117 said...

When I lock my bike, I put my chain through the front wheel and the frame.

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