I've been riding downtown for 4 years now and have never had my bike messed with...until lately. I commute from the SW burbs on the Metra Rock Island everyday. When I get downtown, I commute approx 2 miles to my job each way via bike and enjoy biking the lake front on lunch. I park a cheap junk bike at the station in front of One Financial Place and leave it overnight.
Over the past month I have had my bike vandalized 3 times. The first time was the night the the Hawks won the cup. I returned the next day to find that all of the spokes were kicked in and my cheap brake handles smashed into little pieces. I went to the McDonald's Bike facility and had the rear wheel re-trued and fixed, and a new set of brake handles installed. I wrote this off to some moron walking to the train trashed after celebrating. Since then I began parking my bike under a camera near the CBOE.
A week later I noticed that the air was let out of my rear tire. No big deal, I just put air back in it.
Today I show up and found that a number of bikes (5-6) all had the rear tires slashed with what seems to be a knife. I have three q's - 1) If i find em - Hang em' or electrocution? 2) Anyone know of a better place (sheltered/monitored) at or near the Lasalle Street train station? 3) Has anyone noticed an uptick in bike vandalism?
Julia, A quick tip.. before I get on my bike, I squeeze the tires to check for air, spin each wheel to make sure nothing is rubbing or worst, then I bounce the front and then the back wheel if anything is loose it will make a racquet, this all takes only a moment but it is so worth while.
The best recommendation I have for you is to NEVER EVER park near a train station. Find a good spot a block away, or better yet, several spots and move the bike around a bit. Obviously any bike downtown overnight is pretty vulnerable, but the more someone who is looking for bikes to mess with sees the same bike in the same spot, the more they're likely to think the bike is abandoned/safe to mess with.
I am leaning towards vigilante justice in this case, but prefer to leave the culprits alive so they could relate the story to their douchebag friends... of course it won't be a pretty story from their perspective