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Re: [rootsradicals] Locks & stolen bikes

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  • Tone@moon-shine.net
    Jason, Sorry, if I am responding to your bike-lock e-mail after so much time has passed. My wife and I recently moved into our first home, a 1930 s built
    Message 1 of 23 , Sep 29, 2008
      Jason,

      Sorry, if I am responding to your bike-lock e-mail after so much time
      has passed. My wife and I recently moved into our first home, a 1930's
      built house, so there have been a lot of projects that had to take
      priority. On top of that the DSL took two and a half weeks to get
      hooked up, so I have also been trying to catch up on my e-mails as
      well. I think there have been around 1000 e-mails from just the
      RootsRadical list since I last checked my e-mail. :)

      I hate to break it to you, but as probably a number of people have
      explained... no lock is completely secure. If a serious thief wants
      your bike, they can probably get it regardless of what methods you
      might use.

      I consider myself a bit of an expert in this field because I worked as
      a bike messenger for several years in New York City and have known
      bike messengers from all over the world. I also have an odd interest
      in old-world thieves, antique locking mechanisms, and picking them, so
      discussions and shared knowledge about bike locks are common topics
      with me and any other cyclists I encounter. In the past on this
      RootsRadical list as well as the XtraCycle forums I have written a
      number of posts on the subject as well.

      The best defense I believe is to use a Kryptonite quadra-link style
      chain in conjunction with a typical store-front lock instead of the
      one, which comes with the Kryptonite chain. By store-front lock I mean
      the kind, which is used to lock roll-down gates over windows & doors,
      etc. They usually sell at Home Depot or Lowes for about $2$30.
      "American" and "Multi-Loc" are good brands. Make sure to get one,
      which has what looks like an hour-glass shaped cover plate over the
      key hole. This helps prevent a drill bit from drilling into the lock.
      The drill bit just jams into the hour-glass plate and spins the lock
      around.

      You run the chain through both your bike frame and your front wheel,
      then lock up the chain around a fixed immovable object like a tree
      trunk, railing, or fence, etc. This method can be defeated within a
      minute with a power grinder, and I know this first hand because I own
      a cordless power grinder. Even still, it is the toughest theft
      deterrent I know of because most people, including most bike thieves
      do not walk around with power grinders or metal cutters, even cordless
      ones.

      To lock up the rear wheel a small $3 mini keyed lock around the rear
      wheel's quick release can be used. Even just a hose clamp can be used
      instead of a mini lock as some level of deterrent, but a mini keyed
      lock is more secure and can be unlocked quickly to fix a flat tire.

      Cable locks, even thick ones, are not as effective as a good chain
      because almost anyone with a decent set of pliers, wire cutters,
      tin-snips, or bolt cutters can at least gradually chew through a
      cable. How many people out there have multi-tools like Leathermans?
      Just about any punk/thug kid can get a hold of some kind of wire cutter.

      U-locks are really bad. Almost any U-lock can be defeated within
      seconds with just a 2x4 beam or long metal bar. I have seen it first
      hand. This big guy disconnected the quick release on the front wheel
      of a locked up bike, then he twisted a 2x4 off a construction sign. He
      slipped the 2x4 into the U-lock and wrenched/levered it back and forth
      until the U-lock bent and popped open. The wheel got a little out of
      true, so he disconnected the front V-brake to avoid brake pad rubbing,
      locked down the front wheel's quick release, and biked away after
      dropping the 2x4. It happened pretty darn fast. The time was not the
      reason I did not intervene though. The big guy holding a long 2x4 with
      long nails sticking out of it had more to do with it. My bike was
      still locked up, so by the time I would have gotten my cargo bike
      unlocked he would have been gone, so I could not really go into hot
      pursuit either.

      I strongly recommend no one using any lock with a cylindrical key. If
      you search the internet/you-tube you can probably easily find videos
      of how just about anyone can use a plastic Bic round-tube pen to
      "pick" open the lock by sticking the pen into the lock around the
      cylinder and turning it back and forth until the lock opens as if it
      were the key. In the past I secured my FreeRadical to my bike frame
      with a Master-Lock "Street Cuff", but it uses a cylindrical lock, so
      once I found out about the Bic pen trick that ended the Street Cuff's
      street usage. While it lasted it was kind of nice having a Street Cuff
      back there though. Back then I still used my Kryptonite chain on the
      frame and front wheel, but one end of the Street Cuff secured the
      FreeRadical to my bike while the other end could be used on either the
      back wheel or as another lock up point on a pole, fence, rail, etc.

      I know chains are heavy, but they really are the best deterrent. Just
      make sure to invest in a nice thick Kryptonite Quadralink (or square
      link, not round link) chain. The square shape makes it harder for a
      bolt cutter to cut through the chain link. If you buy a new Kryptonite
      chain, do not buy one, which is less than $40. Kryptonite has several
      different models. The difference is in the thickness and the quality
      of the metal used. The good chains hardly ever sell for less than $60,
      but if you can find a used one to buy... age and even a little rust do
      not compromise its effectiveness.

      Hope this helps... and I hope MANY people read this because I have
      written so many times on the subject. :)

      Ride safe... and secure ;)
      _TONE_
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