The Chainlink

Hi all,

I hope this is the appropriate place to post, and if it's not then please forgive me on account of my surprise and dismay at what happened.

Tonight I locked my bike for about 6 hours while I was volunteering which took me far from the bike.

It was locked with a U-lock and cable wrapping together the wheels and frame. When I got back to it I saw that my handlebars had been broken off and were nowhere to be seen.

My two questions are:


Is this common?

What can/should I do now (as a general question about bike-related theft)?


I walked the bike home and it is sitting in my garage. Nothing else was taken and the locks were not broken.

This happened at Ravenswood & Leland (just south of Lawrence) somewhere between 6:30PM and 12:30 AM.

Is there any point in filing a police report? *Can* I file a police report? I don't know what to do in this situation.

Thanks for any help!

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Just to make sure I understand, you and Ryan were there at night taking pictures of locked bikes?

Anne B. said:
I recently saw a ghostbike on Lincoln near Irving Park also with the handlebars taken off.

Ryan, your post cracks me up because I've been at the same place taking pictures at night before too and probably 3 cop cars drove by while I was out there and did not give me a second look- I think they could just tell, what with all my reflective/safety gear that I was up to nothing bad, just being a total geek.
Anne B. said:
I recently saw a ghostbike on Lincoln near Irving Park also with the handlebars taken off.
I ride by there on the way to work at least twice a week. I noticed that last week. WTF!? why?
I was actually there with my BF riding in circles taking nighttime flash pictures of each other now that we've added lots of reflective tape to our bikes...just being geeks! Did not bother to take pictures of any locked up bikes, haha.

Seems as though police patrol there very regularly but I guess not enough to prevent bikes from being stolen. I'm going to park on Lawrence by the pancake place from now on. I noticed that on the stolen bike report website that there's been a number of thefts in this area/Lincoln Square/Ravenswood generally so everyone please watch out!

Erin said:
Just to make sure I understand, you and Ryan were there at night taking pictures of locked bikes?
Anne B. said:
I recently saw a ghostbike on Lincoln near Irving Park also with the handlebars taken off.

Ryan, your post cracks me up because I've been at the same place taking pictures at night before too and probably 3 cop cars drove by while I was out there and did not give me a second look- I think they could just tell, what with all my reflective/safety gear that I was up to nothing bad, just being a total geek.
heather stratton said:
Re the triathletes at Ohio Street beach, I think that is actually a case of the community policing its own space. I did the triathlon in 2008 and spent quite a bit of time at that beach. There is almost always someone by the bike racks, getting dressed, locking up, etc. Maybe it was just naïveté, but I came to believe that any one of those people would have confronted a theif. I actually left my bag locked to my bike, with keys, wallet, and phone inside-- for an hour-- and nothing was ever taken.

S said:
Ryan L said:
The corner or Ravenswood and Leland is a pretty secluded area. I ride through there quite often and am always amazed how many nice bikes are locked to the racks under the Metra tracks. One night I rode over to check out some of the bikes and take pictures, which I do sometimes like a creepy person. I was probably there for 30 min before a car or anyone went by. I would never feel comfortable leaving a bike there for a long period of time, day or night.

I'm also amazed by the bikes that the triathletes lock up at the Ohio St beach rack when they do a swim workout. There are some pretty expensive bikes locked up there. A friend saw a Cervelo TT bike locked there overnight. I have no idea why anyone would leave a 4+k bike locked there overnight since it's pretty isolated.

I do the same when I do swim workouts there. I'm always amazed that nothing gets stolen given the bags/stuff that gets locked up to the bikes there. Well, knock on wood I guess.

It was the family's wish that the sign be removed. Without the sign it's just an abandoned white bike to some. There has been a steady stream of contacts from neighborhood folks since that bike was placed asking to get it removed, demanding that the city remove it, and it's actually been removed and replaced at least once (maybe twice).
I say it's had a good run and it's time to retire it.

Fred Noinaj said:
Anne B. said:
I recently saw a ghostbike on Lincoln near Irving Park also with the handlebars taken off.
I ride by there on the way to work at least twice a week. I noticed that last week. WTF!? why?
Are you seriously going to risk being charged with a false 911 call to get a police response?
No reason to wait-- the Ravenswood Metra station is being hit every single day for bikes and parts. Go stake it out. At least a photo and maybe a license plate/vehicle description to spread around would be helpful, if confronting someone on your own doesn't make sense.

Join/use this group to coordinate.
cutifly said:
So sorry for your loss, but it's history. I will be happy to stand outside with you and one of my bait bikes at the same spot, phone in hand to report an armed robbery in progress. I don't live to far away and am not afraid of punk bike thieves. Any more brave vigilant persons to add to our crew ?
It's not just the Leland side of the station. Parts also get stolen pretty regularly on the Lawrence side. Last week I came back to the station and it appeared that someone was messing with my back break/rim. The cable was pulled loose knocking the back break out of adjustment and the quick release lever was unlocked (like someone was trying to take my back rim). I guess they didn't see that I had a cable going through both rims at first.
I wish the triathletes really did police the area, over the summer I know a girl who had her Cervelo P4 stolen from there and remember seeing lots of stolen high end tt bikes being reported on the registry and craigslist over the summer.

heather stratton said:
Re the triathletes at Ohio Street beach, I think that is actually a case of the community policing its own space. I did the triathlon in 2008 and spent quite a bit of time at that beach. There is almost always someone by the bike racks, getting dressed, locking up, etc. Maybe it was just naïveté, but I came to believe that any one of those people would have confronted a theif. I actually left my bag locked to my bike, with keys, wallet, and phone inside-- for an hour-- and nothing was ever taken.

S said:
Ryan L said:
The corner or Ravenswood and Leland is a pretty secluded area. I ride through there quite often and am always amazed how many nice bikes are locked to the racks under the Metra tracks. One night I rode over to check out some of the bikes and take pictures, which I do sometimes like a creepy person. I was probably there for 30 min before a car or anyone went by. I would never feel comfortable leaving a bike there for a long period of time, day or night.

I'm also amazed by the bikes that the triathletes lock up at the Ohio St beach rack when they do a swim workout. There are some pretty expensive bikes locked up there. A friend saw a Cervelo TT bike locked there overnight. I have no idea why anyone would leave a 4+k bike locked there overnight since it's pretty isolated.

Guess you were just blowing smoke.
Deleting the group now.

H3N3 said:
Are you seriously going to risk being charged with a false 911 call to get a police response?
No reason to wait-- the Ravenswood Metra station is being hit every single day for bikes and parts. Go stake it out. At least a photo and maybe a license plate/vehicle description to spread around would be helpful, if confronting someone on your own doesn't make sense.

Join/use this group to coordinate.
cutifly said:
So sorry for your loss, but it's history. I will be happy to stand outside with you and one of my bait bikes at the same spot, phone in hand to report an armed robbery in progress. I don't live to far away and am not afraid of punk bike thieves. Any more brave vigilant persons to add to our crew ?
Ugg, I live right there and always see missing bike parts locked up.

Hopefully things will change if and when they redo Lawrence Ave and redo/move the Ravenswood Metra stop to the north side of Lawrence.
Would you consider revealing the location of these locked up missing bike parts? I'm sure their owners would be interested.

Julie Hochstadter said:
Ugg, I live right there and always see missing bike parts locked up.

Hopefully things will change if and when they redo Lawrence Ave and redo/move the Ravenswood Metra stop to the north side of Lawrence.
Nope! A block and a half away....

M.A.R.K. said:
Do you have a cameras eye view of the area?

Julie Hochstadter said:
Ugg, I live right there and always see missing bike parts locked up.

Hopefully things will change if and when they redo Lawrence Ave and redo/move the Ravenswood Metra stop to the north side of Lawrence.

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