Thursday, December 22, 2011

The Indignity of Commuting by Bicycle: Locked and Loaded

Bikes. Who doesn't love them? They look good, they feel nice, and they smell fantastic. In fact, bikes are so delightfully fragrant that people sometimes even take them without asking. This is called "stealing." Nobody likes having their bike stolen. When someone steals your bike it means you have to put a missing bike post on Craigslist, Tweet about it, and send lots of emails containing frowny-face emoticons. Boo:(

There's no sure way to keep your bike from getting stolen, but there are things you can do to make it less likely, and when I'm forced to be away from my bike I use an old messenger trick called "locking." This involves finding a stationary object and fastening your bike to it using a keyed device of some kind. Until now this was secret knowledge possessed only by hardcore urban cyclists from the streetz, but I'm going to tell you how to do it and ruin the whole locking scene for everybody:

1) Find a stationary object that's not made out of ice, velvet, or Jell-O. Metal's good. If you're not sure something is metal, put your tongue on it. Also, don't lock your bike to trees, they can't be trusted.

2) Look out for filmmaker Casey Neistat. If you so much as touch his bike while locking yours, he'll get one of his starry-eyed NYU film school intern groupies to cut your bike in two with a Sawzall, then he'll make a movie about it for his unwatchable HBO series.

3) Take your keyed locking device and make it go around both the bike and the non-Jell-O object, carefully avoiding anything belonging to Casey Neistat. Once you've finished, flag down a suspicious-looking person, show them the bike, and ask, "Excuse me, does that look secure to you? I don't want my bike getting stolen, it cost me $2,500." If he replies, "Sure it does, I'll even watch it for you," you're in good shape. Also, leave him with a copy of your key in case he needs to move the bike for you. (For example, Casey Neistat might want the pole to himself. He has a special bike parking placard thanks to his work for the DOT on the "Don't Be A Jerk" campaign.)

4) Go away from the bike and do the thing you have to do. If it's still there when you get back, ride it to the next place you need to go, making sure to remove the locking device first. (Attempting to ride a locked bike is the second-most common form of locking-related injury.) If the bike is still there but part of it is missing, establish which part is missing and whether or not the bicycle is still rideable. Do not attempt to ride if it is missing a vital component. (Attempting to ride a bicycle after a thief has removed the saddle but left the seatpost is the first-most common form of locking-related injury.) If someone steals your cockpit, you are an idiot. If the entire bike is gone, take the bus, buy some Rollerblades, or steal Casey Neistat's bike. Then, when you get home, write a Craigslist post like this:

Mercier Kilo TT Stolen - $1000 (Williamsburg)

My Mercier Kilo TT bike was stolen today from in front of that place that sells $35 beer cocktails. Very recognizable--it's completely stock with a "One Less Car" sticker on the bar that goes across the top. Can't think of any more details, it's not like these things come in sizes or anything. It was my baby! $1,000 reward if found, I know that's three times more than the bike cost but its sentimental value makes it irreplaceable.

Then, if you're lucky, someone will find it and the police will make you steal it back:

“How do we know it’s their bike?” a police spokesman asked later. “We can’t give people back stuff just because they say it’s theirs. We need some sort of proof of purchase and a serial number.”

It seems to me that in the case of a stolen cargo bike it's pretty easy to verify a claim of ownership by means of a simple "sniff test," since all cargo bike riders have a strong odor of smugness wafting off of them. Instead, though, the police took the passive-aggressive approach:

“He told her, ‘I’m going say to you that the lock doesn’t look like it would be that difficult to cut,’ ” said John, who rushed to a hardware store, bought a bolt cutter and used it to liberate his stolen two-wheeler, one of an estimated 100,000 cycles that are stolen each year in the city.

I hope our emergency services also start using this method, since it should make for some entertaining scenarios. "'I'm going to say to you that that fire doesn't look like it would be that difficult to extinguish with a garden hose,' said the fireman who arrived at the scene." "'I'm going to say to you that that bone doesn't look like it would be too difficult to set yourself,' inferred the EMT to the cyclist lying under a minivan." (Actually, given the state of health care in this country, this is pretty much how it works already if you don't have insurance.) "'I can't have my assistant cut that lock for you because it's not inconveniencing me directly, but I can't tell you not to see if Hal Ruzal is available,' explained Casey Neistat." And so forth.

Anyway, speaking of locks, lately I've been "testing" a lock from Knog:

By "testing" I of course mean I've been putting it around my bicycle and seeing if it's still there when I return. Thus far, it has been:

I wouldn't ordinarily be commuting on a bike like this, but that happened to be the bike closest to hand at the moment. It also used to be my Ironic Orange Julius commuting bike, but then I "promoted" it to my ironic singlespeed cyclocross racing bike when the Scattante came around:

I have configured this bike in a number of ways and I think I may have finally settled on the optimum setup, though I now regret having gotten rid of the chainguard and may fit one for even less "street cred." Incidentally, those packages are indeed as precarious as they look, but I was caught without my "smugness flotilla" and had to make do with what fasteners were available:

It's the unexpected loads that are always the messiest.

Another thing that's messy is the streets of New York, especially when it comes to cars parking in bike lanes. Even though the city is growing preternaturally quiet as the holidays approach, there are just as many cars blocking the bike lanes as usual. In fact, the relative quiet only serves to emphasize the problem:

I go through phases when it comes to bike lane squatters. For months I'll be outraged, and then I'll suddenly decide to approach the whole thing with zenlike calm and smile at them as I ride around them, and then I'll find it really annoying again. Lately, I've been in an annoyed phase once again:

What's most annoying about it is that there's really very little you can do, since double-parking is a deeply-ingrained way of life here that predates most of the bike lanes. However, I think I've finally come up with a solution, and that's harnessing the awesome power of Homeland Security:



You may decry the fact that we're now supposed to be a nation of suspicious tattletales, but why not use it to our advantage? I mean, how do I know the Escalade in my path isn't full of nerve gas or deadly explosives? Who's to say that minivan isn't part of an insidious plot of some kind? Really, sitting around idling in a bike lane is pretty suspicious when you think about it, so maybe if we all "say something" then the government can start clearing them in the interest of national security. Then again, it's probably a bad idea, since instead of removing the cars they'll just remove all the bike lanes, like when CBS News said that terrorist cyclists might try to use the bike lane to blow up the Israeli Consulate.

Of course, if it's not cars in the bike lane it's pedestrians, and this very morning a man stepped in front of me into the bike lane while jockeying his cellphone. I saw him in plenty of time and gave him a wide berth, yet as I passed he exclaimed, "Hey, you almost clipped me!" Perhaps he'll pen an angry comment on an article about bike lanes, even though I had his safety in mind while he was preoccupied, and even though I was going very slowly--though not as slowly as this guy:

Must be one of those folding bike trials riders.

116 comments:

Anonymous said...

TACOS!

Anonymous said...

mamacita!

Anonymous said...

Detroit Mac in early

Anonymous said...

I've been blessed by Lob.

Anonymous said...

ung! I did it! duuuuuuh

recumbent conspiracy theorist said...

In the lead group.

Jasper said...

Early doors - ish

Anonymous said...

Panties!

Anonymous said...

top 10?

Anonymous said...

ZOOOOOOTS!!!

theEel said...

almostteneel.

Anonymous said...

why did i read! would have been Podium for HUGGY

Etherhuffer said...

Egg KNOGG

nick said...

that is sure one tall headset you you have there.

Anonymous said...

Grannie you Halfsteppin

crosspalms said...

What, no minimalists today? I feel cheated...

Too bad there aren't locks for lights (or reminders for people like me who are dim enough to think you can leave anything on a parked bike all day and expect to ever see it again). A few weeks ago someone edited my bike by removing the lights. If it had been a lighting "system" I could understand it, but blinkies?

mander said...

Scranus/ Top Twenty

Audiosnobnyc said...

I saw the Bose box in that precarious pile of packages and had to wonder if the bike snob got taken with over-hyped marketing selling cheap crap?

Anonymous Coward said...

@crosspalms - perhaps they wanted to add to their holiday light display and thought you were kindly providing that extra sparkle they needed?

Anonymous said...

Ugh,
Maybe not cool to hack saw someone's bike, but I had to wait for several hours for someone to return after he inadvertently lock my bike to his. If I had had a sawz-all I would have used it without hesitation.

Also, it bugs me when people
A). use a bike rack in such a way as to use up both spaces (on a rack designed for two bikes), and
B). knock my bike about with their bike when they park next to me.

alex said...

yay. for the return of bike snob posts about bikes.

i can say that i live with your cycling of love-hate-love but mostly hate of cars that obstruct bike lanes. and annoying pedestrians who use them as a sidewalk extension.

Anonymous said...

And if I can continue my rant against cyclists ignorant as to parking etiquette, there is very limited parking at my local post office. Some "off-the-grid" hippie with an MTB and really long trailer full of scavenged groceries has taken to using the only rack as a permanent spot. Seriously, it's always there. Sometimes I have to go a block away to park.

Also, the camping gear in his trailer stinks really really badly.

ken e. said...

i was hoping loaded referred to some kind of seasonal disorder... happy holidays WCRM et all!

Anonymous said...

More crotchal splendor orima fukink ill u

grog said...

I was wondering whatever happened to the old Ironic Orange Julius.
Aren't we supposed to scratch the double-parked vehicles as we ride by? Proper etiquette, you know.

Anonymous said...

Ride a horrible bike (or apparently horrible....) and it's less likely to get nicked. Don't wash it either.

hey nonny mouse

Marcel Da Chump said...

..."it's not like these things come in sizes or anything"...

WTF? Too many $35 beer cocktails for that trustafarian.

crosspalms said...

Anonymous Coward,
Good point. Who am I to complain about riding unlighted for a night when another cyclist could dazzle one and all for the whole season? I'm such a whiner.

I actually saw a cyclist the other night with Christmas lights all over his bike, including the wheels. Kind of Dorkmas but very cheery. Made me smile.

Etherhuffer said...

@crosspalms: My spouse was furious that I should suggest she remove her lights while in the store shopping. I was not a trusting person. They editing of her blinky changed her mind. Really, a blinky. Almost like stealing used underwear in my book.

Anonymous said...

Bikes? This whole blog is about bikes! There's not a single mention of artisanal mayonnaise! Why do you call this blog "Mayo Snob NYC" if you're not going to rant about artisanal mayonnaise and make obscure references to Hellmans and Miricle Whip???

I guess I'm just wasting my time.




balls.

CanadianJohn said...

Is this the first time that the identity of the Ironic Orange Julius gets revealed? Did I miss a post? I thought this would be huge news! Wow, it’s really not Orange, I knew it! Oh the irony. Or is it really sardonic, I never know.

Edward said...

How many bikes do you own Snobby???

CommieCanuck said...

William Gibson got it right, he wrote about a bike capacitor that got charged up while you rode, then it would fry any would-be bike thief into crispy bacon bits.

In our pre-apocalyptic world, I'd like to see security saddle that worked like this: without inputting a PIN number, it would Tazer™ your scranus© within a half a block.

Patent pending.

CommieCanuck said...

I actually saw a cyclist the other night with Christmas lights all over his bike, including the wheels. Kind of Dorkmas but very cheery.

If it was an aluminum frame, it was a Festivus bike.

CommieCanuck said...

Ride a horrible bike (or apparently horrible....) and it's less likely to get nicked. Don't wash it either.

The "Johnny Depp" approach doesn't work. I had a $13 death trap POS bike once in Toronto, they actually cut a hole in the fence is was locked to, to carry it off.

SCNS TAZR

Anonymous said...

Holy Christ on a stick!
I can't believe that you are publibly advocating that every reader travel to Portland with all deliberate haste, break into the Museum O' Fredliness and steal Casey Neistat's bike.
I just can't fucking believe it.

recumbent conspiracy theorist said...

Nice link Commie!

philip williamson said...

I had just merged into the cellphone lane outside my building when a cyclist almost clipped me!

Anonymous said...

That scatannte photo looks like a how to load your bike article straight out of the rivendale reader..
innertubes are my fave too...





mr. pissta--that was a long night last night

bikesgonewild said...

...GONE...in the blinky of an eye...

Anonymous said...

Wildcat, not only do you have douchetastic taste is overpriced custom bicycles, you have douchetastic taste in stereos.

Buy Other Stereo Equipment

BikeSnobNYC said...

Edward,

I own exactly too many.

--Wildcat Rock machine

BikeSnobNYC said...

Anonymous 2:54pm,

It's only for when the Coby is in the shop.

--Wildcat Rock Machine

8===D ~ ~ ~ said...

I am going to describe my favorite cycling cartoon:

Panel one: Fat guy looking at calendar that says "bike ride with Miss Daisy"

Panel 2: Fat guy and cute girl riding bikes up a big hill.

Panel 3: Cute girl admiring view from top of mountain, while fat guy struggles to summit.

Panel 4: Fat guy sniffing the girl's sweaty saddle.

LOL EVERY FUCKING TIME.

ervgopwr said...

An entire post on bikes...praise the lob.

But interestingly a surprising amount of Bose-Snobbery.

If bose is so douchtastic, for which Wildcat will surely acknowledge, what other stereo equipment should one artisianly listen to?

BOSE SNOB

crosspalms said...

Commie,
That was no bike. I've been eyescrewed!

Anonymous said...

BOSE is like the Cannondale circa mid 90's of stereo gear.

Anonymous said...

If you just want a Ipod dock little jimmer jammer, they are going to sound like crap regardless, so get a $100 Sony, it will sound the same as the Bose.

If your want something that sounds decent for not too much, a basic Yamaha, Onkyo receiver, and some decent bookshelf speakers will do you nicely.

crosspalms said...

I checked over at StereoSnobNYC and they say the handlebar-mounted Quad electrostatic speakers are laterally stiff and vertically compliant. and don't cost nearly as much as a Venge.

Anonymous said...

No highs,
No lows,
It must be
Bose

Anonymous said...

@ Etherhuffer

While on the BART platform I saw a junkie trying to sell a blinky, it didn't even have the clamp attached. Thieves just steal what they can and worry about what they can get for the item later.

@Canadianjohn

Ironic Orange Julius bike was "outed" ages ago, and multiple times - before the book was published even.

CommieCanuck said...

I've been eyescrewed!

Happy Festivus!

BikeSnobNYC said...

Bose Haters,

Perhaps in tomorrow's post I will reveal the true story/excuse behind the Bose in question, even though it is not about bikes and is boring.

--Wildcat Rock Machine

Anonymous said...

Well, it's working for me! I didn't say that it was foolproof, mind....

I had 2 new bikes in the 80s and they both got nicked, so have had varying degrees of shed-bikes ever since (although I did buy a Pista a few years ago; hated how it rode and sold it again!).

hey nonny mouse

CommieCanuck said...

My next bike stereo system will be endorsed by a licensed professional, like Dr. Dre.

Anonymous said...

P.S. - Bang&Olufsen

hnm

Anonymous said...

@ervgopwr - Screw stereo equipment altogether. Put a fisher price turntable in an acoustically perfect opera house... enjoy your disney tunes.

CommieCanuck said...

You should look hard at the Pistadex in 2012, with the failure of Greece/Italy and gold at record highs, retirees are going into Pistas in a big way.

MY mutual fund company is specialized (pun)on the Pistadex. Look it up, "The Pista Way to Financial Freedom", or "Pistaway" for short.

Anonymous said...

how long before the blue bra babe gets meme'd?

g said...

Commie,
Funny, my 401k was managed by a company of the same name. Spelled it "Pissedaway", though. [in case someone didn't get the original joke]

Unexpected Load said...

re: bike lane double parking, stay Zen; anger is losing proposition and you'll squander your rage for when its really needed, i.e. red light runners and motherfuckers who blow 4-Way Stop and Right Turn Allowed After Stop

Also, while I don't condone bike theft unless you're stealing it back, SMUG Mercier fetishists can stand to be taken down a few notches.

Anonymous said...

That family has had that cargo bike locked to a pole sticking out into the sidewalk for years, I'm surprised no one stole it before this

leroy said...

If you love your bike, park it free.
If it is there when you return, it was meant to be.

But if it is not....
Hunt down the thief and thrash him with your U-Lock while admonishing him to "stop stealing bikes bro'."

Just make sure you post a video documentary about it. Love isn't love unless it's shared.

Anonymous said...

MEANWHILE ON THE LEFT COAST


http://sfbay.craigslist.org/sfc/mis/2765007933.html

Steven said...

"It's the unexpected loads that are always the messiest."

-I see what you did there

leroy said...

Honestly, I don't get all the stereo snobbery.

When riding, I eschew Bose and all others and adhere to the following advice:

"Make your own kind of music
Sing your own special song ...
Even if nobody else sings along"

It annoys the hell out of my dog.

CommieCanuck said...

It annoys the hell out of my dog.

You must have an awesome falsetto.

CommieCanuck said...

Wasn't one of the Gibb brothers mauled to death by his own annoyed dog? I'm pretty sure I read it on the internet.

CommieCanuck said...

But if it is not....
Hunt down the thief and thrash him with your U-Lock while admonishing him to "stop stealing bikes bro'."


Knog should sell tiny punishment U-locks that can lock the perp's schlong to his nads. I'm sure you can find these on the lower East side.

crosspalms said...

My first 10-speed was a Mercier. Black, $99, and a nice bike. I was smug till I met a woman who had a Bob Jackson frame. She put a kickstand on it. She also used the removable bar plug to hide her weed. I don't believe she was Amish.

Alex Rains said...

Bose sounddock BS? That's a little bit minimalist don't you think?

Anonymous said...

and the BoB Jackson said

better a kickstand than a dickskank

Bobby said...

"It's the unexpected loads that are always the messiest."

That has an awesome double meaning, Sir Snob, are you referring to truffle odors? Hehe.

Ground Round Jim said...

Wow NYC has gotten PC. Niestat was justified, if slightly dramatic. The guy was ok w/it. I actually saw the vid. The end.

crosspalms said...

Well, here I thought I was just out of touch and Urban Dictionary would have to bail me out again. No such luck.

bikesgonewild said...

...true story...hangin' w/ a pal (californis st & the ave's), workin' on my car (hey- no denial) in sf the other night when a guy & his son in a front carrier on a clapped out ol' bike stop 'cuz the little man wanted to see what's up...

...i look at dad's ratty ride & commented on the front brake which wasn't hooked up...

...dad sez "...this bike lives locked up outside my building & friday morning, my front wheel was gone...kinda disappointed 'cuz my my little guy likes our evening cruises...but i came home from work friday night & the front wheel had been replaced - with a different wheel..."...

...beat that, nyc or portland...we might have bike thieves but we got folks covering for them to make sure you're not too inconvenienced...

...now THAT is a bike community...

McFly said...

What diameter have Peta's bossom swollen so majestically up to by this phase in the gestation? Aerola

Maximalist. said...

I buy the $40 speaker sets & they sound just fine for about a year. After they crap out, I drive back to Best Buy and purchase another set for $40 and stack it on top of the old broken ones. A little bit of duct tape keeps them from collapsing onto my stack of Acer laptops.

JB said...

"[The stolen bike was] completely stock with a "One Less Car" sticker on the bar that goes across the top. [deleted superfluous crap] $1,000 reward if found, I know that's three times more than the bike cost but its sentimental value makes it irreplaceable."

I'm no economist, but I believe one could make about $650 by buying a stock Mercier Kilo TT, slapping on a sticker, and selling it to this idiot for a grand.

Anonymous said...

Bose speakers? Man, with my six figure salary and stock options from my startup, I usually go for speakers at least twice as expensive. That's just me, though, sharing my experience.

Anyways, the left coast craigslist posting is pretty sweet. Like how this woman gives everyone a taste of her hotness: "was on a date," "going great," "you were staring at me, lustfully," "did I almost kill you-(with my hotness)." Then she continues to post the pic online. That's personality.


http://sfbay.craigslist.org/sfc/mis/2765007933.html

here's a link to the likely inspiration high fivin' video
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QMQk8Uncl9k

ervgopwr said...

I totally forgot about Banging the Olfusen Twins. That's good speakerboxxx.

BANG OLSN

JDH said...

"It's the unexpected loads that are always the messiest." That's what SHE said.

Jase said...

AYHSMBOSE

Anonymous said...

"tiny punishment U-locks"

No need, you can do all the punishing you want with cable ties.

Ouch.

hey nonny mouse

I ask the tough questions said...

Dear Bikez Znob,
Are there Car Clubz in New York?(Of course there are) Do they alwayz have to name them zomething like Exzotic Kreationz? How sly iz that? A "Z"? Reallyz? In Pariz(not Francais)Tn every damn one has the sweet Z or auspicious K in lieu of a C. I GETZ IT, YOU ARE CLEVER WITTYZZZZZ. BOZE LOVR

Mike Moffitt said...

Dear WCRM/RTMS/BSNYC,
You're a phony. Love, Mike Moffitt

Anonymous said...

This is an email, not a comment.
-----------------------
Have you seen my website
Moving-Earth DECEPTION!!

http://sites.google.com/site/earthdeception

Kind Regards,
Bernie

The King of Park Slope said...

What flavour of jello?

Fakenger said...

Locks? Pffff, all you need is Tynan's (*insert copyright logo here) Anti-Theft Paste.

The most effective deterrent around...

Fran said...

When you doing a TED talk Snob? Topic? Prop?

leroy said...

Commie --

I don't know if Knog makes those tiny you locks of which you speak, but I am sure you can get them in the East Village.

But there more likely a fashion statement than an anti-theft device.

leroy said...

Oops. Wrote "there" by misteak. Of coarse, I mint "their."

Honestly, sometimes I'm not all they're.

Leroy's dog said...

I told you Typo is no name for a dog. Live with it, Leroy.

lxpatterson said...

All cynics are minimalist at heart (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cynics). Therefore, if you (bikesnob) are cynical about minimalism, you are literally the minimalist of minimalist...making you tinier than tiny...like a virus! Minimalism been around since before Nas was rappping, like this dude in Ancient Greece lived in a barrel (without any moving walls) http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Diogenes_of_Sinope....eat that, you candy-ass manhattan minimalists!

Come on you Vassar-educated "great books" majors [I'm a public university educated biochemist]!

Fergie said...

Modified! Damn, it has been a long time since I had the trials bike in NYC.

EWR Forever!

Paintless Dent Removal said...

Yes, no body likes their to be stolen, but most of them would like to have others though, interesting coverage.

Anonymous said...

Bike theft is the getting towed of cycling. Think about that, it's really a truth in that bike theft is both b.s. and 99% preventable. And remember where you heard it first, ballzdeapp al frisco.

Anonymous said...

i am just guessing leroy is neil browne.
same level of something...what is it?

Bali nature said...

the can even stole it if u put it in you pocket...thief are kind of intelligence people

recumbent conspiracy theorist said...

Comment #100

Open the pod bay doors Hal said...

More shit about Casey Neistat or Ima fucking kill you

aaron said...

Do you write for Cracked? Your style and format sure seem like it.

Great article. Full of info and lulz.

yogisurf said...

Hate bike lane salmon, parked cars, yada yada yada....Happy Hanukkah

MyHarpoon said...

Sweet filth prophylactic!!!

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zedon said...

The most efficient of these three is high-pressure sodium, which gives more of a hid lighting ballast , followed by metal halide, whose emission closely resembles natural light.

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Davidd419 said...

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helena said...

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jachmilli said...

If there are signs or flashing lights stating to walk your bike please obey, it will help ensure your safety and the safety of others around you.
Schwinn

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Bike Locks said...

Good point. Who am I to complain about riding unlighted for a night when another cyclist could dazzle one and all for the whole season? I'm such a whiner.

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Fixie Bikes said...

That bike with the bose stuff is asking for it.

Bike locks said...

By using this lock I can park bike in small location like as show in picture. Some time no space are available in the parking .so by using this lock we can park the bike in small places.