Saturday, April 5, 2008

FIFTEEN THOUSAND BIKES are reported stolen...

FIFTEEN THOUSAND BIKES are reported stolen in New York City every year. Experts believe that this figure represents only 20% of the actual total, only those that were reported. The real number is more like 75,000 bike thefts per year. Police recover less than 2% of them. If you've never had a bike stolen, you might not anticipate how really bad it can make you feel. Here at Bicycle Habitat we thought it would be a good idea to give our customers some tips on how to avoid theft.

First of all, we believe strongly, no pun intended, in the Kryptonite New York lock [$85.00]. It's a 3 ft. security chain and lock that bolt cutters, hammers and files will defy. Next up on our favorites list is the Kryptonite Gorgon braided-steel-strand cable lock [$45]. Being pliable it will not allow a thief to break it by using your bike as a lever--this is a problem with any U-lock. [We consider the U-lock to be good as a second or third lock, securing a wheel, or giving additional theft deterrence.] Another lock that may be more in your budget is the Trek heavy-duty armored cable lock [$35]. Here is a 32 in. security cable with mounting bracket. Armored rings work to deter saws and cable cutters.

No matter what lock you use, if you don't use it properly, you could get stung. Your bike is a ready-made getaway vehicle, so never leave it unattended. Always lock your bike to a well-planted, immovable object, such as a parking sign or a lamppost; remove your front wheel, securing frame and front and back wheel with the lock. For extra security add additional locks and cables to secure the wheels and seat. Finally, take a half a second to examine that all connections have been made and that the key(s) is/are safely in your pocket. Happy riding.

Good ideas for what TO DO:

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Lock your bike to an immovable and substantial object- that is, something stationary like a parking sign or a lamppost.

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Secure frame, wheels and seat

Remove front wheel and place it so it can be secured along with frame and back wheel by your main lock; a quick getaway is less easy for the thief who has to take the time for reassembly

U-locks are deterrent locks only; they are okay as a second or third lock to secure wheels; as the main or only lock, your bike can be picked up and used as a ready-made lever to break open the U-lock

If you have a quick release seat, either remove it every time you lock, or, better yet, re-attach seat with a bolt and keep a drive train chain threaded through seat rails to frame; a cable lock for seat is another option
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Use the best bike lock in existence

All locks will deter to varying degrees, but only the New York lock will STOP a thief

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Consider making your bike look undesirable, as a deterrent only

This may be a viable option for you: use spray paint, duck tape, rasp--be creative

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Protect your handle bars

Options: cover the orifice of the handle bar stem bolt with melted wax or by adhering a ball bearing with epoxy

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Lubricate lock mechanism every couple of months

A little WD-40 works just fine

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Register your lock

It helps if you lose both keys to take advantage of manufacturer's guarantees

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Keep a business card taped on the underside of your seat

In case you see someone on your stolen bike, it could be a method to prove that it is yours


Good ideas for what NOT TO DO:

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If you own an expensive bike, you may never want to risk locking it outdoors: you may want to have a second bike for that


And indoors, any bike should remain locked up; your expensive bike, with no less than a New York lock

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Do not lock your bike to transient or movable objects

Examples: scaffolding, door handles, newspaper dispenser chains

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Don't lock to an object which at first looks immovable but isn't

Check to see if that parking sign is really stuck in the sidewalk; wiggle it a little to check

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Don't lock your bike to itself and nothing else

Thief can lift your bike to a truck and break lock later

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Don't lock to a post that is so short a thief could lift your bike up over it

Do a test if you're not sure

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Don't lock to a tree

Trees in New York are precious; let them live.

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