The Chainlink

I just had my second bike stolen.  Last time it happened in September.

I'm done with this shit.

Obviously the solution is to use a welding torch to write my information onto the next bike frame I get.  Thankfully, a friend has a work shed attached to his grandmother's house, and has agreed to help me.

I'm afraid that the process will hurt the strength of the frame; he suggested heat treating it.  This can be done in two ways: with his assistance, and a shit load of sand (??? I don't actually know how this works) or by sticking the frame in a bigass oven at 450-500 degrees.  I don't know what this means for the paint.  Maybe I need to take ALL the paint off?  I'll find out.

Does anybody have a bigass oven at their disposal?  Who wouldn't mind a bikeframe put inside of it?

And has anybody ever tried this novel form of bike theft deterrent?   I'm hoping it is effective.  I'm thinking my name, and my phone number.  If I just painted on the infoz, it could be painted over.  But good luck painting over 3D information, asshole thieves.

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Dear Strawberry Girl:

I am so sorry your second bike got stolen since September.  2 stolen in 10 months - that must make you feel sick.  I feel so awful for you.  But in the future, I would really recommend you do big-time locking, that is the only way you won't get it stolen.  Just now, for instance, I went to Regal City Cinema North Stadium 14 to see Pacific Rim (which was a lot of fun - a cross between Independence Day and Transformers).  They have no biking racks outside the cinema (yes I am going to the city website right now to request them, so if they appear in the next few months you'll know who got them there!).  So I looked around - there was a city parking rack across the street on Schubert near a restaurant but there was no room for mine.  So now I look around for street sign poles.  I found one pretty close to that restaurant.  People were eating outside at the restaurant.  So I risked parking at one of those poles.  But normally if I leave my bike in the city for more than a few minutes I don't use those poles as thieves can unscrew them and slide the pole up and out of the bike.  But you have to use your judgment - they are not going to attempt this right in front of a restaurant with people who will see and call the cops on their cell.  So I think the risk of theft was minimal.  So how did I attach the bike?

I used a large Kryptonite U-Lock first.  Don't use the U-Locks by companies that have a round key design, like many of the Master Lock ones, though now Master Lock is changing on that score more and mroe, though not using the tough granite that Kryptonite uses - the round key locks are easy to open by jamming a pen in them - anyone can do that at home in under a minute.  The Kryptonites with the flat keys are much safer and much harder to break open.  Even Kryptonite assigns different levels of security to its bike locks - secondary, moderate, high and ultimate.  Only buy the ultimate.  The long wide Kryptonite U-Lock can easily fit around both the front wheel and the frame.  That is all I do if I am popping into a store for a few minutes.  My long U-Lock is attached to its holder under my bike frame so it is ready at all times.

But if I must leave a bike outside in the city for a significant period of time (like my movie today) I move on to lock #2, a much shorter (but still Kryptonite ultimate) U-Lock that can attach my back wheel to my frame.  I keep that one at all times on my bike too when I'm riding.  Some bikers remove their front wheel and then attach that to the back wheel and lock them to the frame and parking frame.   Some people even take their seats if they are expensive ones - plus who wants to risk coming back to a bike with no seat?  Mine is odd-looking.  It is a Spongy Wonder seat designed to protect men's "jewels."  Even though I have kids and my jewels are less "valuable," nonetheless I don't see any reason to invite the effects of all that pressure on my male parts that comes from us guys sitting on traditional seats.  Anyway, just to play it safe if I am parked outside in the street for hours (like during the movie today), I use my lock #3 which is a chain that goes through the metal post of my seat and around my bike frame.  That one could be easily cut with very large pliers but I think no one is going to take on a bike with 3 locks, plus no one wants to do all that work for just the seat, especially my weird one (it might not even look like a seat to the casual observer).

I would use your building's biking room if it is free - I even pay $50 a year to use mine.  It is a bit of a drag in my building too, but hey, it keeps my bike safe, so it is not going to make me less motivated to bike each day - in fact, getting bikes stolen would more likely reduce my motivation!  If you don't want to use that, definitely just wheel it into your home.

But PLEASE promise, dear Banana Split Lady, to use those locks on your next bike and double up on your safety regimen - it is no different than brushing your teeth so you get to keep those for a long time!  With proper attention to this, you greatly minimize the chances of losing #3!  And we definitely don't want to find out you lost another one anytime soon!

Hey Christine, it sounds like your lease has a provision in it saying that you are not allowed to bring your bike inside your apartment, have you considered asking for an exemption/change of policy or moving to a place that lets you bring your bike indoors?  As cycling became a greater and greater part of my life I started to make a lot of decisions based around the bike, if that makes sense. 

Sorry, there are things I don't post publicly on the possibility it may end up aiding the thieves. My goal has always been to make their lives harder. 

You're welcome to look through the recovered listings and make some assessments in regard to the ones that were recovered there.  You might learn more than if I just laid it out...


Eli said:

When a report comes my way and the details match the pattern of bikes that end up at Swap O Rama, I often reach out to victims, but most trips down there end up being a waste of time.

Out of curiosity, what is the pattern you're referring to? It wouldn't have occurred to me that a specific type of bike would be more likely to end up there vs other outlets.

Um, coach.... I have spent many long minutes waiting for a bus in front of the City North entrance, and there most certainly is a group of bike racks  in front.  Or was, at least.... have they been moved? Or did you just mean they were full?

SlowCoachOnTheRoad said:

Dear Strawberry Girl:

I am so sorry your second bike got stolen since September.  2 stolen in 10 months - that must make you feel sick.  I feel so awful for you.  But in the future, I would really recommend you do big-time locking, that is the only way you won't get it stolen.  Just now, for instance, I went to Regal City Cinema North Stadium 14 to see Pacific Rim (which was a lot of fun - a cross between Independence Day and Transformers).  They have no biking racks outside the cinema (yes I am going to the city website right now to request them, so if they appear in the next few months you'll know who got them there!).  So I looked around - there was a city parking rack across the street on Schubert near a restaurant but there was no room for mine.  So now I look around for street sign poles.  I found one pretty close to that restaurant.  People were eating outside at the restaurant.  So I risked parking at one of those poles.  But normally if I leave my bike in the city for more than a few minutes I don't use those poles as thieves can unscrew them and slide the pole up and out of the bike.  But you have to use your judgment - they are not going to attempt this right in front of a restaurant with people who will see and call the cops on their cell.  So I think the risk of theft was minimal.  So how did I attach the bike?

I used a large Kryptonite U-Lock first.  Don't use the U-Locks by companies that have a round key design, like many of the Master Lock ones, though now Master Lock is changing on that score more and mroe, though not using the tough granite that Kryptonite uses - the round key locks are easy to open by jamming a pen in them - anyone can do that at home in under a minute.  The Kryptonites with the flat keys are much safer and much harder to break open.  Even Kryptonite assigns different levels of security to its bike locks - secondary, moderate, high and ultimate.  Only buy the ultimate.  The long wide Kryptonite U-Lock can easily fit around both the front wheel and the frame.  That is all I do if I am popping into a store for a few minutes.  My long U-Lock is attached to its holder under my bike frame so it is ready at all times.

But if I must leave a bike outside in the city for a significant period of time (like my movie today) I move on to lock #2, a much shorter (but still Kryptonite ultimate) U-Lock that can attach my back wheel to my frame.  I keep that one at all times on my bike too when I'm riding.  Some bikers remove their front wheel and then attach that to the back wheel and lock them to the frame and parking frame.   Some people even take their seats if they are expensive ones - plus who wants to risk coming back to a bike with no seat?  Mine is odd-looking.  It is a Spongy Wonder seat designed to protect men's "jewels."  Even though I have kids and my jewels are less "valuable," nonetheless I don't see any reason to invite the effects of all that pressure on my male parts that comes from us guys sitting on traditional seats.  Anyway, just to play it safe if I am parked outside in the street for hours (like during the movie today), I use my lock #3 which is a chain that goes through the metal post of my seat and around my bike frame.  That one could be easily cut with very large pliers but I think no one is going to take on a bike with 3 locks, plus no one wants to do all that work for just the seat, especially my weird one (it might not even look like a seat to the casual observer).

I would use your building's biking room if it is free - I even pay $50 a year to use mine.  It is a bit of a drag in my building too, but hey, it keeps my bike safe, so it is not going to make me less motivated to bike each day - in fact, getting bikes stolen would more likely reduce my motivation!  If you don't want to use that, definitely just wheel it into your home.

But PLEASE promise, dear Banana Split Lady, to use those locks on your next bike and double up on your safety regimen - it is no different than brushing your teeth so you get to keep those for a long time!  With proper attention to this, you greatly minimize the chances of losing #3!  And we definitely don't want to find out you lost another one anytime soon!

Yeah, there are a ton of bike racks outside that theater. Unless they've been moved I'm surprised by that post.

Sorry - I must have missed them.  I was only looking at the road on the north side of the movie theater.  I wasn't on Western so if you mean there is a large bunch there, I didn't look on that side, SORRY! (but good to know for the future).


Alex Z said:

Yeah, there are a ton of bike racks outside that theater. Unless they've been moved I'm surprised by that post.

Ah! Yes, they are on Western. Though, I feel like they would be hard to miss by a person standing in front of the theater (on the SW corner of the intersection).

 

Glad you enjoyed Pacific Rim; I'm hoping to see it.

I am a scrap worker, and most of your recyclederos are wise to the fact that. These bikes are worth more than scrap price.(10-20¢/lb).best option is to bring it inside. Or as far away from the street or sidewalkas possible. Use a heavy gauge cable, or Heavy Duty square chain for over night parking. And be mindful of what you lock it to. Those chicago iron fences can be cut very easily.
Oh. U locks are also boss. Kryptonite or on guard. I have the uncommon means for truly testing all of these locks and I am a lock and safe cracking hobbyist. Also.... Chicago or a surrounding city. Should have a bike registration program. If you feel the need you can ENGRAVE!Gently! Your Bike ID on a STEEL FRAME ONLY! Back in 1972 LosAngeles grandpa did this to a brand new Schwinn SS that he gave to my dad. Over 40 years later the bike is still beautiful, numbers still there. And now it is my bike. But honestly really good locks and some smart placement are your most effective way. Scrap yards don't care and what # is on a bike. We really don't have time to check them. And police are wonderful but they aren't exactly putting a team of top gumshoes on your stolen huffy.

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