I've just received an entreaty from a fellow blogger, Michael Green of Bikeblog, whose bike was stolen in New York City only yesterday. His plea bore all the hallmarks of the theft victim's lament; it was filled with anguish, desperation, and shame. He wanted me to share his story in the hopes that someone might read it and help him recover his bike. I was compelled to do so not only because I'd like to help and because he's a fellow blogger, but also in the hopes that by discussing bike theft openly we can erase the stigma of victimhood. Here is his tale:
Happy Earthday...I got a great present: MY BIKE STOLEN
I'm in shock. Someone just stole my track bike, and I let them do it. After biking in NYC for 18 years I just fell victim to a scam. It happened April 22nd, 5:00pm. I was on 1st ave between 13th and 14th, in front of the birdbath bakery, which gives you 25% off if you use a bike. I wanted to bring my bike in the store but instead took a minute to look for a place to lock it up. A Hispanic male about 5'8, stocky, short cropped hair, looking kind of pale like he was on the methadone program. He was fit. A good 250 lbs. Wearing a white button down short sleeved shirt with a huge airbrushed image of scar-face. Jean shorts, white sneakers. He had some religious tattoos including a cross on his hand that looked home-made. He walked by me, then turned around and came back. He walked up to me and asked where he could get a bike like mine. Then he asked if he could feel how heavy it was. I knew he was going to want to try it out and I knew I would SAY NO! Then for some dumb ass reason, I gave in and let him ride it. Before this happened he gave me the keys to his car which he walked over to a car parked in the street and turned the lock. I didn't pay to much attention to these details...YEAH I know...I should Have. I shouldn't have even let him touch my bike...going with my initial gut feelings. This will be the hardest part to swallow. I share it with you knowing the embarsment I will have to live with for the rest of my life. I had a policy, never to let people ride my bike, never to stop on the Bridge if someone flagged me down. WHY WHY WHY did I let down my guard.
Then the guy rode back and forth up and down the block between 14th and 13th. 3 times. On the third pass he headed North on 1st and then crossed 14th street on a green light, stopping traffic. He took off down 14th street towards AVE A. Sorry, I'm still in shock and have to write this as fast as I can.So I called the police. They came right away, they were nice and helpful. We took a ride. We went over to Continuum bike shop to see if he tried to make the quick sale. Jeff at the bike shop told me someone else had this happen to them too, recently, he said a lot of people have been reporting bike theft. I knew about this. I had no idea the same scam was being tried on other people.If you see this bike please please please let me know.
It is a a orange khs bike all covered up with round green and white crumpler stickers. It has a gold Kris King headset. It has a green areospoke front wheel with a green tire. It has green Oury hand grips. I love this bike...really. I feel like a total schmuck.Please help me get it back. Any information will help.
Here are pictures:
I’m not going to make any cheap shots about the Aerospoke, nor am I going to point out that you should never trust anybody wearing a “Scarface” t-shirt, airbrushed or otherwise. The fact is that while it might seem obvious in hindsight what this guy’s motives were, sometimes things aren’t quite so clear-cut while they’re actually happening to you. I can also sympathize with Michael here because I too have been a victim of the old “Let Me Try Your Bike Flim-Flam.” Of course, I was like seven years old at the time and my mother and I recovered the bike about 20 minutes later from the front of the thief’s house, its Skyway Tuff Wheel IIs mercifully in situ, but it was still a painful experience that haunts me to this day. So I’m putting out an RTMS Amber Alert on Michael’s bike:
MISSING Giant T-Mobile (TCR Alliance) - $200 (Chelsea) [original URL: http://newyork.craigslist.org/mnh/bik/652136121.html]
STOLEN SEROTTA MEIVICI - BIG REWARD!!!!! (West Village) [original URL: http://newyork.craigslist.org/mnh/bik/650471515.html]
Reply to: email@example.com
Date: 2008-04-21, 7:13PM EDT
STOLEN SEROTTA MEIVICI - BIG REWARD
I had my Serotta Meivici stolen Friday afternoon 4/18/08 from Houston and 6th Ave in New York City. I am putting out the word and offering a big reward for anyone who can help me to locate it. I have serial numbers for the frame and SRM unit. Here is a description of the bike:
Serotta Meivici 08 frame and fork
Custom 53.5” frame
Paint scheme: black naked carbon with white painted Serotta decals
Campy record groupo 8 with FSA/SRM cranks and bottom bracket (have a serial # for this as well)
SRM Powercontrol V unit mounted to bars
Daeda Blackstick seat post
Fizik alliente carbon seat – white
Richie Evolution bars with white Cinelli tape
Mavic Ksyrium SL wheels with Specialized Roubaix Tires
Arundel Cage Dave-O grey Titanium
Please contact with any information!
Cell: 917-209-5584 email: firstname.lastname@example.org
STOLEN->Red Fuji Track, Bway and Houston, (Downtown) [original URL: http://newyork.craigslist.org/mnh/bik/648135492.html]
Reply to: email@example.com
Date: 2008-04-19, 10:11AM EDT
My Red Fuji Track Got stolen last sunday, right on Broadway and Houston its a 58 cm, had a brooks, brown wrapped straight bars, a purple chain, and pretty generic/unbranded other parts. also had an "also known as" sticker on the downtube
If you see/have seen it please hit me up @ Nine One Seven 658 5422
if you do somehow get it back, ill be glad to give you a reward, also i heard someone saw someone buy the bike off some dude over on delancey and essex, if this was you, please please return it, i really love that bike plus my brooks was just getting broken in, and it fit me really nicely
Can Be seen here:
To me, the frustrating and disconcerting thing about all these ads is that there’s little to no information about how the bikes were stolen. I attribute this to embarrassment. Again, there’s nothing to be embarrassed about. I’ve had bicycles stolen from my premises. I’ve had bicycles stolen due to weak locks. I’ve had bicycles stolen that were secured with strong locks to seemingly permanent features of the urban landscape that were, unbeknownst to me, actually removable. The method was different every time, but the result was always the same: it sucked.
The fact is though that bike theft is a fact of life. This is a shame, because it’s probably one of the main reasons more people don’t ride in the city. Pending more secure bike parking, though, we’re just going to have to deal with it. Here are my tips for how to do that:
1) Have Many Bikes
When a male fish eats its mate’s eggs, do you think the mother cares? Not really. There are plenty left. In fact, the male is kind of doing them both a favor, since fewer eggs makes life easier and means more resources to go around. This is how you should view bike ownership. Don’t just have one really nice bike—have a bunch of “meh” bikes. Any time someone’s selling a decent one that you can afford, snap it up. That way, when one of them gets snagged, you’ll almost be relieved. It’s one less mouth to feed and a few more feet of wall space.
2) Don’t Form Attachments To Your Bikes
As I’ve said before, I’m a strong believer in loving the ride, not the bike. The latter can be taken from you at any moment, but the former really can’t. The fleeting satisfaction you get from constant upgrading, detailing, and fussing will inevitably re-visit you in the form of mental anguish when your bike is either stolen or crashed. Should you treat your bike well? Yes. Should you take every precaution when it comes to theft? Absolutely. Should you treat it like a human child and invest in it a part of your soul? Only if you’re the kind of person who falls in love with strippers. In fact, it’s probably a good idea to treat your bike like a stripper. Enjoy it but don’t get too attached, put a few bucks into it now and again, and just shrug and move on when it takes up with someone else.
3) Don’t Have A Pretty Bike
Speaking of strippers, the explosion of fixed-gear mania has turned the city into one giant strip club, in that everywhere you look there are pretty things hanging off of poles. Fixed-gear riders upgrade their bicycles constantly, festooning them with color and costly baubles, and walking down the streets of trendy neighborhoods is like walking along a sidewalk lined with lush, blooming shrubbery. So what opportunist wouldn’t want to pluck off a piece of fruit? I’m not sure when every urban fixed-gear bicycle I saw suddenly had Phil Wood hubs and a Chris King headset, but it's definitely become the case over the last few years. If your bike’s going to be spending its life hugging poles in an urban environment, skip the expensive stuff. For the price of one of those hubs you could buy another cheap bike and be in compliance with my rule #1.
4) Know Your Bike Will Get Stolen
If you lock your bike outside, it will get stolen one day. Whether it’s nice or crappy, and whether you lock it well or lock it poorly, sooner or later you’re going to come outside and it’s going to be gone. So do not close that lock and walk away unless you have already come to terms with the fact that there’s a good chance you’ll return to find nothing there. This above all else should be your main criteria in choosing a bike for urban riding. Don't lock it if you're not prepared to lose it.
Yes, it it's too bad, but that's the way it is. At least until we get one of these.