January 20, 2009


OK bit personal this ‘cause today my precious nearly new MTB went walkabout :(

Sooooo after calls to campus security, local police and a chat with the new campus beat officer…

!WARNING! there is currently a serious threat of bike theft on campus with more than 20 bikes gone already this (calendar) year!!!

...of course had I known about such stats this morning my MTB would have been sat IN my office rather than locked up outside the main entrance to Medical School Building, Gibbet Hill Campus…

...however I DID NOT know about the stats :( and now the MTB has gone :(

DON’T get caught out!

- 18 comments by 9 or more people Not publicly viewable

[Skip to the latest comment]
  1. erm

    What kind of lock did you use? Evidently not a very good one…

    21 Jan 2009, 13:22

  2. Catherine Fenn

    Slightly more portable cable lock rather than usual heavy D lock… complacency from perceived low risk to bikes locked in that very public area :(

    Would have required a good set of cutters…

    Hopefully other bike users will read this and take note!

    21 Jan 2009, 14:06

  3. john Macintyre

    why do you not fit an RFID tag to your bike. It is virtually unremovable and cycle thieves tend to take other bikes rather than tagged ones. I carry out a role of police liaison for the tag conmpany and would be interested in spreaking to the University security or the local police. They retail for £13.99 but for police backed schemes we sell at £5.00 + VAT.
    If you want any more info e-mail me.
    John Macintyre

    21 Jan 2009, 15:00

  4. I had somebody try to take a hacksaw to my lock in my first year while my bike was locked up on Westwood. Not only did they not manage to get through it, but even if they had the front brakes wouldn’t have worked.

    21 Jan 2009, 21:35

  5. Steven Carpenter

    I had one of these fitted to my Marin – http://www.evnatech.flyer.co.uk/pages/home.html

    It’s £35 and sits inside the handlebar behind the grip, and has a small 3.5mm jack key to arm/disarm it. If the bike is moved the alarm goes off and although it’s not the loudest thing in the world (on account of it being stuffed inside the handlebar) it always gave me a shock if I forgot to disarm it first, amd would probably give a would-be thief a fright too. However, a caveat is that they ain’t very waterproof, and when I washed the bike once I got water in it and it stopped working, but I think I’m going to order another now.

    21 Jan 2009, 23:12

  6. Chris May

    Based on a sample size of one and a bunch of anecdotal evidence, I think that a good way of avoiding the theft of your commuter is to get one with dropped handlebars. Particularly if it looks a bit old-school and tattered; this seems to render bikes invisible to thieves.

    Presumably because it’s an awful lot harder to shift a 1990’s racer down the pub, than a mountain bike – especially a half-decent one. Full-length mudguards, artfully worn handlebar tape, a good coating of road grime and a few scratches on the top tube* all add to the air of unsaleability whilst not really taking anything away from the bike’s rideability.

    A side-benefit of this is that you can pick up second-hand old racers for next to nothing. And they go quicker than MTBs.

    n.b. please don’t test my theory with your ‘good’ road bike :-)

    * anyone familiar with my Kaffenback will know what I’m basing this on

    22 Jan 2009, 07:48

  7. Robert O'Toole

    Unfortunately, locks are no problem for experienced thieves. RiDE, Bike and Motorcycle News include tests of locks in almost every edition, with occasional tests to compare the best locks on the market. They include d-locks, disk locks, and the heavier duty motorcycle locks (great big chains with massive padlocks). An experienced ex-thief is used to break them. And here’s the shocking news:

    Even the best locks can be broken with the right technique very quickly. Most in under a minute, and many in just seconds.

    The advice for motorcyclists is: park somewhere very public, avoid parking too close to other bikes, use a bike cover to hide the bike, use more than one lock, chain to something entirely immovable.

    Some of that transfers to bicycles. Unfortunately, most bicycle parking is too overcrowded and badly designed, thus allowing thieves to surreptitiously break locks.

    22 Jan 2009, 11:24

  8. Robert O'Toole

    I’m carrying 2 d-locks (one is Sold Secure Gold). I also leave an Oxford motorcycle chain and lock at the cycle parking (the kind of thing that Brunel famously posed in front of).

    Carrying the 2 d-locks only increases the health benefits of cycling.

    22 Jan 2009, 11:39

  9. Mike Willis

    My, probably no longer ridable, mountain bike has a quick adjust saddle. I.e. instead of the usual bolt you have to undo with a spanner to adjust the saddle there’s a leave you pull and twist. This makes the saddle very easy to remove from the bike. So when I used to actually ride it and had to leave it locked up somewhere I took the saddle with me. Who’s going to steal a bike with no saddle? I also used two locks – a D-lock which came with a bracket to attach to the frame when not in use thus removing any issue of portability, plus a cable lock. D-lock went through the frame and rear wheel, cable lock through the front wheel. A bike with two locks on it is less attractive to a thief than one with only one lock. In theory at least.

    23 Jan 2009, 13:07

  10. Robert O'Toole

    Don’t be fooled into accepting that cyclists are entirely responsible for the security of their bikes. The charge is usually that bikes get stolen because cyclists are too lazy to lock them properly.

    The evidence from lock testing shows that to be a myth. D-locks are easily broken. A reasonable amount of locking is no defence against theft. I’m not even confident with the completely unreasonable number of locks on my bike.

    Only well designed parking areas, vigilant security AND locks will make a difference.

    23 Jan 2009, 15:57

  11. James Bateman

    I have 2 practical solutions.

    1.)Wiring up your bike to a live cardiac defibrillator would deliver a 200 Joule shock to any would be light fingered cycle afficianado, rendering the attacker unconcious and possibly with a life threatening cardiac rhythm disturbance. Obviously I do not endorse this strategy.

    2.)Alternatively, chain your bike to one of the 4 UK Trident nuclear submarine. These are kept under close guard by the militaryre: their nuclear arsenal. This is likely to put off oppurtunist theives.

    Hope these tips are helpful.

    PS Robert, if you use a gold bike lock, theives are likely to be even more incentivised. This also goes for platinum bike locks and jewel encrusted locks.

    23 Jan 2009, 17:16

  12. George Riches

    I’ll endorse the idea that a good individual solution to bike theft is to use an unfashionable looking bike.

    One of the bikes I cycle drifted out of fashion in the 1980’s the other in the 1960’s. I haven’t had one stolen since 1982. compared to straight handlebars (best for off-road0, dropped handle bars do make you go faster on roads while “sit up & beg” ones allow more stability and visibility – useful in urban situations.

    On a more collective level, why can’t the university have CCTV for parking areas? After a theft there would be more clues for the police to work on. It wouldn’t surprise me if there was a small number of people stealing a lot of bikes and selling them on.

    26 Jan 2009, 09:15

  13. My bike was stolen during my second year exams. It was locked outside Costcutter but there was no useful footage to find the criminal.

    It was a 21st birthday present from my grandmother and the theft helped trigger the most severe bout of depression I have ever experienced and, correspondingly, the single worst across the board exam scores I’ve ever received.

    Even now I feel a sense of despair every time I lock my bike, because of what this simple action says about humanity and how far we haven’t come.

    I’m getting angry just writing this!

    26 Jan 2009, 19:30

  14. Sara Kalvala

    John Macintyre – how do we email you about getting a bike RFID-tagged? Couldn’t you post the details here?

    27 Jan 2009, 17:06

  15. jeremy

    Best solution? get a brompton .. and take it with you.,..

    02 Feb 2009, 17:47

  16. Katharine Widdows

    I’m sorry to hear this Cath!

    My boyfriend had the wheel kicked off his bike from outside cost Cutter a few months ago. It seems no where is safe for the poor bikes :-(

    05 Feb 2009, 15:29

  17. Katharine Widdows

    That should read nicked, not kicked – I doubt there was violence involved. . . although now I come to think about it. . .

    06 Feb 2009, 09:52

  18. I use a top-of-the-range D-lock of my bike, and always lock it to something solid (in this regard, the Sheffield stands outside Biology are pretty good, although they could do with some covering so my bike doesn’t get rained on quite so much!). That way if it does get nicked (which hasn’t happened yet, touch wood!), I can at least claim on my insurance…

    19 Mar 2009, 10:20

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