Keep Those Bikes Locked, Even in the Garage!

bikelock It goes without saying that you must lock your bike when out and about. Leave it unlocked for one second in most urban areas and you can bet it will be gone when you return. In San Fransisco, for instance, bike theft outstripped iPhone theft 3:1.

But there’s another kind of bike theft that a lot of folks don’t think about–theft from your home or apartment. Yes, even at home base your bike needs to be locked up. Some thieves drive around in pickup trucks looking for open garages with unlocked bikes. Several friends of mine have lost their bikes this way. Others have had bikes stolen from backyards and balconies. When I get around to remodeling the garage, I’m going to upgrade the crappy lock you see above.

Remember it’s in the Koran sayings of Muhammad, “Trust in Allah, but tie your camel.” Have you had a bike stolen? What happened?

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  1. Mine got stollen out of my garage when i lived in Santa Monica. I couldn’t believe it! Ahh to be young and naive again…

  2. Mine was stolen from the front of a local store, where it was locked to a rack. I had gone in for maybe 15 minutes to get some food to make dinner and when I came out it was gone. The lock had been cut. The bike included my panniers, and my rain gear. It was the bike I used for getting to work. I found out later there a string of robberies in our area – the police later caught some people stealing stuff from side yards and garages. I was able to get a replacement bike, but it really upset me – I miss that old bike.

  3. It seems you might need a better lock until you remodel the garage. Anyone locking a bike here is an anomaly.

    iphones are easier to ship overseas, where some are sent. I think it was China or Taiwan or somewhere.

  4. My husband keeps his three bikes secured in the rafters of our garage. Thieves would not see them if they managed to jimmy open our garage door. And I doubt anyone is going to be able to figure out his elaborate pulley system.

  5. When we lived in Santa Monica we locked our bike inside our locked garage, and it was still stolen! Where we live now in the Boston suburbs we keep bikes unlocked in full view on the front porch; 8 years in and so far so good.

  6. I did. I stupidly left it unlocked not last summer but the summer before and walked out one morning to find it gone. Found it the next evening, laying on a street corner with the tires slashed and all my tools gone. (They got my nice soma tool… and a space blanket and some bandages.) They left my pump though, which was the most expensive tool. Go figure. So, unless I’m at work or doing errands, the bicycles stay inside the apartment.

  7. Hello! I’ve been reading your blog since september? We live in Chicago, and adore your posts. I have never had my bike stolen, but that made me think of our awesome friends the Hinckleys! They are a family with three very troublesome boys and have a garage full of bikes. I mean like maybe 40! They have racing bikes, mountain bikes, dutch bikes, a tandem bike, a bin bike for kids, and crate-loads of helmets and gear. If a junker (the guys with the pickup trucks) were to fall upon the Hinckleys loosely locked garage it would be quite the tragedy.

  8. I used my bike like 5 times a day so I was lazy and didn’t lock it up during the day. The thief took the bike trailer off and took off with the bike and the seat of my crappier bike. You live and you learn.

  9. i don’t think that saying is from the Koran. i think it is a saying of the Prophet, Muhammed (peace and blessings be upon him).

    my dad had a saying, “locks only keep honest people honest.” in this case, i think the lock in the photo will keep lazy crooks at bay.

    • Jen,
      Wikipedia agrees with you–it’s in the Hadith literature, “According to Tirmidhi, one day Mohammed noticed a Bedouin leaving his camel without tying it. He asked the Bedouin, “Why don’t you tie down your camel?” The Bedouin answered, “I placed my trust in Allah.” At that, Mohammed said, “Tie your camel and place your trust in Allah.”

  10. Mine was stolen from behind a locked backyard privacy fence…it was a vintage ladies schwinn collegiate with a wicker basket and a cool old bike bell with St. Christopher on it. The next day I found my wicker basket smashed in the gutter, and somehow that made me more angry than the theft. Never got another one.

  11. We live in Newcastle Australia. I don’t know if thievery of bicycles is a problem, but in our city there is a man who gratefully receives unwanted bicycles and he repairs them and gives them away – no charge. He lives quietly in a back suburban street but everyone seems to know about him.

    This week we put a load of household items out for collection including an old bicycle. It was great that someone came along and took it before the garbage collectors came.

    These are just some examples of how bicycles can be reused and recycled!

  12. After having a front wheel stolen a few years ago, I changed out
    the wheel skewers (like the Pitlocks), which will slow them down.

    Also I found another way to go is to google “Ugly Your Bike” and make your bike superficially unattractive, but easy to make pretty again if you want to sell it.

    But even a lock will not make a difference if they are determined. There are some great youtube videos of some fellows who deliberately stole their own bikes and cut their own locks, showing that nobody paid attention to them — even when next to a policeman on the beat.

    The bottom line best strategy IMHO is to slow them down or do anything else that will cause them to move on and look for a different target.

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