That's why I don't care about bike theft. Sorry, but of all the bad stuff that can happen to you, losing your bike is nothing. Nothing! Do you know what happens to you in India if you get gang-raped? The village elders punish sentence you to a gang-raping. So I'm supposed to care when someone's Surly gets stolen because there are still a few poor people who haven't been priced out of the neighborhood yet?
Nevertheless, tomorrow's entrepreneurs (or I guess today's entrepreneurs, I'm getting old so I forget that tomorrow is already here) are hard at work on the problem of ending bike theft, and here's a new technology that guaranteed not to make a dent in it whatsoever:
Just ask Nate, Atlanta cyclist and Linux devotee, who has round glasses and a beard:
Then immediately walk away, because life's too short to listen to a lecture about Linux.
Anyway, according to the people behind the Bike Index, nobody wants to buy a stolen bike, even though they often have the opportunity to do so at fabulous prices:
And to that I say, "Don't worry about it." For example, nearly 20 years ago now, a very anxious person approached me on the streets of Brooklyn with a racing bicycle that was clearly not his. Nevertheless, while he didn't understand the bicycle's clipless pedals and appeared to be under the impression that they were regular pedals that had broken, he was savvy enough to recognize me as a bicycle aficionado (for I was riding one at the time), and thus he offered me the once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to acquire "his" bike with the "broken" pedals for the price of $20.
So does the fact that I declined make me a better person?
No it does not--mostly because the only reason I declined was that I was already riding a bike, and had I attempted to transport both bikes home the very same person probably would have jumped me three blocks later for both of them and I'd have wound up with no bikes, just like that dog in the fable who tries to steal the bone from his own reflection.
Otherwise, I'd have been wise to capitalize on a stranger's misfortune, inasmuch as the misfortune of strangers is the driving force behind the American economy. And who am I to defy the American economy?
What do I look like, a communist?
Furthermore, assuming people are criminals just because they have runny noses, they're looking over their shoulders every four seconds, and the $5,000 bicycle they're attempting to sell you for $35 is nine sizes too large for them is just the sort of judgmental thing someone in Portland or San Francisco would do. Here in New York we're much more open-minded. We don't just assume people are thieving drug addicts. Maybe the guy just has a cold and he needs to sell the bike fast in order to fund treatment of a medical disorder that's causing him to shrink. Who am I to deny someone in need? Am I supposed to refuse and refer him to the Obamacare website? By the time he actually manages to log on he will have shrunk down to nothing! I'm doing a mitzvah, for Chrissake!*
*[Strictly speaking, I'm not sure you can actually do a mitzvah for Christ's sake.]
Furthermore, it's just like these liberal clods to expect you to give money to the needy for nothing, yet when a destitute person is giving you a perfectly serviceable bicycle in return, not only are you supposed to refuse them, but you're also supposed to totally "narc" on them and call the cops.
Of course, the Bike Index is going to put an end to all of this, because it will permanently save your bike's serial number:
Which I guess is useful, unless the thief removes the serial number, in which case all of this is moot--though obviously if you buy a bike with a serial number that has been ground off you can't really delude yourself into believing that the bike wasn't actually stolen, which is the most essential part of the buying-a-stolen-bike process. Another tip-off that the bicycle you just bought may have been stolen is if it has been hastily spray-painted and is shaped exactly like a Citi Bike:
(Spotted by a reader in Brooklyn)
To be honest, I was mostly kidding about the whole "buying a stolen bike is no big deal" thing. I wouldn't really do it. Mostly it's just fun to say because it gets people annoyed--sort of like pushing the cat into a full bathtub, which I do all the time because it's hilarious, especially if you also coat the sides of the tub with Vaseline so the cat can't get out. I will say though without even a hint of sarcasm that I would have absolutely no problem buying a stolen Citi Bike, because I mean come on, it's a fucking bank. Other stolen bicycles I'd have no problem buying because the owner is corrupt would be:
--Any bicycle stolen from a Pro Tour team;
--Any stolen Budnitz (though the creaking serves as a built-in alarm);
--Any stolen bicycle with the word "Roubaix" in the name that is not a Specialized, because Specialized owns the name, concept and spelling of the word "Roubaix," and how dare anybody do anything that might eat into the profits of the Specialized Corporate Bike-Designing Concern, Inc., including using it as the name of a town in France.
So yes, I'm against stealing bikes, and buying stolen ones, and all the other things that harsh hapless hipsters' mellows, but I still think there's humor in it--just as I'm against doping but still think there's humor in it, especially when the doper is a Cat 3 in his late 30s and the "sport" is cyclocross:
Baker was taking synthetic testosterone in a therapeutic dose under the care of a physician and although he disclosed that information during the sample collection, he did not follow the Therapeutic Use Exemption (TUE) requirements prior to competing.
There was a time when cyclocross was a respite from the sort of weenie-ism that infests the amateur road bike racing scene, but I think it's fair to say at this point that those days are over. Some of the comments on the article are pretty amusing, too:
Dan Baker simply was unaware of the rules, end of story. No excuse, to be sure, but he was simply taking his doctor's advice. He is a great guy and as a Cat 3 really just races for fun. I don't think he's won much, if anything, and doesn't value winning over all else like some racers. This isn't a story about doping, it's a story of not knowing the rules.
Is it even possible in 2014 (or 2013, which is when this happened) to not know there's a rule against racing your bike while taking testosterone? Also, he may be a guy who "really just races for fun," but he did finish 8th on the second day of racing at Gloucester, which is where he turned in the positive sample. The Cat 3 race at Gloucester is basically the World Championship of Sandbagging, so it's pretty laughable that someone who's taking testosterone and finishing top 10 in that field has no idea what he's doing. He may indeed have fun racing his bike, but there's a big difference between doing the Cross Crusade in a dress while taking beer hand-ups and finishing 8th place at Gloucester on testosterone--even if you are a New Englander.
I wonder if this guy also didn't know the rules:
LeDuc, 62, tested positive for the presence of a steroid of exogenous origin, recombinant human erythropoietin (“rhEPO”) and amphetamine, a prohibited stimulant, as the result of an in-competition urine sample collected on September 6, 2013 at the Masters Road National Championships in Bend, Ore. Anabolic Androgenic Steroids, rhEPO, and amphetamines are all prohibited under the USADA Protocol for Olympic and Paralympic Movement Testing and the UCI Anti-Doping Rules, both of which have adopted the World Anti-Doping Code (“Code”) and the World Anti-Doping Agency Prohibited List.
That is one doped-up master.
Lastly, speaking of not knowing what you're doing, Klaus of Cycling Inquisition forwarded me this:
The summary is as follows:
New cyclist buys Gatorskin tires;
New cyclist unwittingly installs tires inside-out;
New cyclist destroys tires in short order:
Installing your tires inside-out by accident seems even more unlikely than racing your bike on testosterone by accident--though I suppose it's possible if you're taking a lot of banned substances.