Wednesday, April 23, 2008

Victim Complex: Coping With Bike Theft

As a rule, I don't make fun of victims on this site, unless they are fashion victims. In particular, I avoid making fun of theft victims. Bike theft is perhaps one of the most infuriating yet degrading things that can happen to a cyclist. There is shame and stigma attached to being a bike theft victim, and when you're forced to report one you feel like Lionel Ritchie probably did when he reported his wife for spousal abuse. As such, to make fun of somebody under such circumstances would simply be inexcusable. (Though in the case of Lionel Ritchie, ridiculing him years after the fact for being abused by his wife is perfectly fine.)

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:

If you have any leads, please contact him.
I also want to thank Michael for his candor in describing how his bike was stolen. Michael may feel like a “schmuck,” but he shouldn’t. It’s important to know how thieves operate so that we can learn how to avoid them. A surprising number of thieves will in fact attempt to cajole you into letting them “see” your bike. As I mentioned before, because of the shame and stigma attached to bike theft victimhood, too many people don’t describe how their bicycle was stolen, since they wrongly feel that the fact that it was stolen makes them stupid. The fact is that bikes are stolen every day, and it can happen to anyone at any time. Here are just three of the most recent ones currently being sought on Craigslist:

MISSING Giant T-Mobile (TCR Alliance) - $200 (Chelsea) [original URL:]
Date: 2008-04-22, 3:17PM EDT
It has been stolen at front of Gotham Bike Store(112 W Broadway) 1:30 PM 4/17/08
I don’t care who Return it, $200. Bart 646-272-9579 Giant TCR Alliance T-Mobile. I brought it from Taiwan. Size: XS. There are some scratches under down tube, pencil mark in stem, and many of my name stickers.

STOLEN SEROTTA MEIVICI - BIG REWARD!!!!! (West Village) [original URL:]

Reply to:

Date: 2008-04-21, 7:13PM EDT


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
Speedplay pedals
Mavic Ksyrium SL wheels with Specialized Roubaix Tires
Arundel Cage Dave-O grey Titanium

Please contact with any information!

Mark Heithoff
Ph: 212-941-1549
Fax: 212-941-1186
Cell: 917-209-5584 email:

STOLEN->Red Fuji Track, Bway and Houston, (Downtown) [original URL:]

Reply to:

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.


Anonymous said...

No. #1 again!

M. Weed said...


Anonymous said...

You guys just stole a march to get on the podium.

Chartier said...

Best young commenter and podium!

erik k said...

douche bag

Anonymous said...


Anonymous said...

Top 10!

Todd said...

Best tip I ever got when I moved the the big city is that if someone shady ever asks how much your bike cost play dumb and say it was a gift and you don't know.

If you ever give an amount over $50 you're as good as peeled.

Todd said...

Best tip I ever got when I moved the the big city is that if someone shady ever asks how much your bike cost play dumb and say it was a gift and you don't know.

If you ever give an amount over $50 you're as good as peeled.

Anonymous said...

Top Ten!!!!!!!?

Anonymous said...

"If you’re bike’s going"

Its "your" dude. Come on, that liberal arts education surely had some impact on your addled brain.

erik k said...

when I was 10 I had a bike stolen right out of my garage! in a suburban neighbor hood, during the day, while we were home. It was a red bmx style schwinn with coaster break. I still miss it. To whoever stole my bike, your a douchebag

Anonymous said...

Damnit Erik K don't make my head explode here.

BikeSnobNYC said...

Grammar Jackass,

I do my best to make careless mistakes so that people can experience the tremendous sense of satisfaction that seems to come from pointing them out.


Anonymous said...

There was no line of cyclists waiting to collect their wheels at the little pink elevator... only in a perfect world... sweet!

Anonymous said...

Snobby, I know you chose to not make fun of these people but maybee those that break your rules deserve to be made fun of. "Let me test ride your bike?" H*ll NO. I live in portland and saw a Vanilla locked to park bench with just a simple U lock. A very nice hand built wheel set on Chis King hubs would have been mine with less then 5 seconds of quick release action. Does this man deserve to have his stuff stolen? (I of course didn't out of respect for the parts themselves) Did Michael?

Anonymous said...

Always remember, for adult-sized road bikes, the weight of your lock is inversely proportional to the weight of the bike:

A 15 pound bike will require a 30 pound lock.

A 20 pound bike will require a 20 pound lock.

A 25 pound bike will require a 15 pound lock.

A 30 pound bike does not need to be locked.

Also: To the first annonymous podium chaser, Saying "No. #1" is redundant. You're killing your time with the extra "Number" weight... just think, leave that off and it'll be like you're riding a carbon frame while all the other losers racing you to post first are on lugged steel.

Anonymous said...

Frankly, Michael deserved what he got.
He made a stupid decision and thought that NYC was the safe little college town he moved from in 05.
Yes, I've had bikes stolen but I didn't just hand them to the thief.
And yes, I got stolen bikes back. So there is a good chance Michael will get his ride back. Who else will want that ugly ass trendy thing?

OpenYourEyes said...

I could not understand what the hell that video was about- hello, it was in ANOTHER LANGUAGE! Shit!

And if it only takes 22.84 seconds to fetch your bike, what if your ride has aero gear all over it? Would it take 21.87 seconds instead? What if you have a carbon gruppo and carbon saddle rails to shave grams- 21.55 seconds?

Couldn't a tower deal be set up like that for humanoids needing a place to sleep? Why don't you try that out first in NYC instead of all the hobos sleeping in pools of their own vomit in the gutters?

Last, when someone posts a bike just got stolen ad, it really takes some guts. You are basically saying "I had an over-enthusiastic and misplaced attachment to my $400 bicycle, and I could use some professional help - either that or a puppy, or a friend for that matter..." It really takes balls to admit, and knowing you need help is the first step, so I congratulate you.

Strayhorn said...

That bike tower is sweet. Now that I'm commuting, I've actually gotten some mild flak for keeping my bike in my office. Our "bike rack" consists of some power-line conduit that runs up the back of the building. We've been invited to lock our bikes there. Fat chance it's safe given the number of times I've arrived at work to find that some bum, er, unfortunate homeless guy has taken a leak or a dump on the doorstep.

There's also the matter of the shower in the basement that's being used as a storage room, but that's a rant for another day.

Anonymous said...

You forgot the most important piece of advise. 5) Never ride your bike. Then complain to your coworkers who do ride that you wished you could commute, too, but know that all the thieves will target your bike the second you take it out of the locked storage closet in the basement camouflaged by several mattresses and bed frames.

Anonymous said...


You can always use the line:

My bikes are like my bitches. No one rides them, except me.

Please feel free to use this in the future. I consider it my donation to the anti-theft cause.

Anonymous said...

That video at the end was great. Maybe someday we'll have cool bike parking ....

In the meantime, the only Japanese phrase I could understand, came from one of the kids at the end of the video:

"Ah na tah no wah ha-ha oya-san Langster desyo."

That of course translates to "Your mother is a Langster."

Wonder what that was all about?

Anonymous said...

i fucking hate bike thieves....I have a sign on my front door that says "bike thieves will be shot on site"

and it will happen

Colin R said...

rule #4 is where it's at. someday when my stupid commuter bike gets jacked, maybe i can get a replacement that actually fits me.

broomie said...

No one deserves to have thier things stolen.

Condolences from California. I doubt I'll see your bike, but if I do.

Anonymous said...

So, did the keys work in the car?

AnnaZed said...

Ah yes, New York bike theft. Makes me nostalgic almost. When I lived in NYC I considered it a form of tax. It worked out over 20 years to be roughly one bike per year (I am a true commuting rider – early one less car type wingnut actually - so the bikes spent some time outside no matter what).

I did do the thing where I wrapped the entire bike in black cloth tape (which fools no one, but makes it pretty comfortable to grab the top tube and haul it up the stairs - this was a pre-top-tube-pad time). I also had a bike chain in place under the seat connecting the rails to the frame - unsightly, yes, but never once did I come out to see my poor steed sans saddle. Though they do make these:

Which are better looking.

They also make these:

Locking skewer deals which are cool.

Having said all of that once I was out here in the sleepy suburbs of Los Angeles I let my guard down and had two bikes stolen from me in 2 months! Even though I work in bike stores for a living my bikes are never expensive, just commuter bikes, still it chafes to walk outside and find the dang thing gone if for no other reason because I then will have to take a bus for 2 hours for a ride that would take me 40 minutes tops.

So, sympathy for Michael, and Dude, don’t beat your self up for being scammed. It could happen to anyone. That car key deal was a nice touch. Thanks for telling the whole story.

Having said all of this I will also say that once I got my bike back – from the cops who called me 20 minutes after I called them. Two junkies were trying to drag it down the street with the lock still attached. They had broken the fence it was attached to, har! Apparently they were about 3 or 4 bags into their day and they thought this was a cool idea. I hoofed it over to the cop shop (East Village) with my keys and presto chango – my bike back! I was the one who was high for the rest of that day – couldn’t believe it!

Anonymous said...

okokokokokok - granted its bound to happen to everyone at one time or another, usually when youre a kid and not a grown man but still, you gotta brush that guy off with a "im busy" or "in a rush man sorry" or my personal favorite.......just ignore him totally and risk the chance of getting cursed out than loosing your bike

Anonymous said...

My dream: Nice bike, cantilever brakes, undo the bridge cables, lock with indifferent lock to object at top of long hill with busy cross street at bottom, walk off, thief comes along, down hill, aieeeee, crash! Ahh, I'm smiling already.

Anonymous said...

been fortunate not to have a bike stolen while under my watch, but i did have a roomate get one of my bikes stolen. Not sure where that falls in the spectrum, but it didn't piss me off as much as it could have I guess.

Marrock said...

'nuff said.

DB said...

"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."

Classic BSNYC/RTMS line....

thefutureofamerica said...

Yeah, I fell for the old 'let me try your bike' once when I was 9 or so - kid let me hold his shitty old BMX while he rode off on my new mountain bike.

The cops took his shitty old BMX as evidence and my dad bought me another bike. Who wins the class war now, shithead?


oh damn, In all seriousness I locked up a bike for the first time last weekend. My wife bought me a nice lock @ xmas and I've been aprehensive to use it, In all my years riding and commuting(over 20) I refused to lock up any of my bikes point blank. As a kid having had too many bikes stolen whether it was at the hand of 5 bigger kids or right out of the very bike store I was in left me way to paranoid.
And now I read this and am reminded of the gamble, I'm fortunate that I can bring my bike up to work and have enough space at home for my rigs but It does remind me that I live in nyc( or any city) especially each morning having to ride by my car to make sure its still there and the windows aren't smashed, i just can't handle that with my bikes.

Anonymous said...

This reminds me of a story from Toronto in the 90s. Toronto is the bike theft capital of North America, it even beats NYC. U of T campus alone estimates 15,000 bikes/yr stolen.

Anywhooo... police were called at 5am to high Park in Toronto to find a man duct-taped to a tree standing up with his pants down and a Zefal pump inserted far into his rectum. From the bolt cutters and tools they found in his knapsack, and the fact that he could not explain his predicament, the police concluded he tried to steal a bike from the wrong guy.

That, my friends, is justice, and far more inventive than just shooting someone. Kudos.

Bike thieves universally are to be cursed with terminal hemorrhoids.

AnnaZed said...

Commiecanuk, whoa there Dude, relax. There are limits.

Anonymous said...

I had my yellow Schwinn Sting-Ray stolen from in front of the corner market when I was 9 and it still pisses me off to this day. I'm hoping it was stolen by pump-up-the-pooper guy in Toronto, but seeing as I grew up in Southern Cal, probably not... I hope this guy gets his bike back. Nobody deserves to be victimized, except maybe that Girls-Gone-Wild asshat.

Anonymous said...

Cheers, BSNYC. You've addressed a serious subject with the same eloquence as we're used to seeing in your humor.

As a followup, how about a post about crashing? Probably the only other thing you can guarantee WILL happen to anyone who rides long enough. . .

Anonymous said...

PS I ran into a pickup truck last night.

Anonymous said...

Yea, the duct tape is really going to hurt coming off.

Back to bed

Anonymous said...

I seriously doubt that the duct tape was what the gentleman was thinking about.

Anonymous said...

"Here in New York, we've learned not to grow attached to our bikes in the same way that the gazelles of the African savannah know not to get too attached to their young."
-BSNYC, Feb. 12, 2008.

Anonymous said...

AnnaZed said...

Commiecanuk, whoa there Dude, relax. There are limits.

Maybe a mini-pump, but that's it.

Anonymous said...


Wow. Nearly speechless... but the thief deserved it. Canadians have always had a much better justice system.

punkinpants said...

I had a similar experience in March. I had just dismounted my bike and was walking it up to my apartment building when a guy aproached me and said he was stranded in the city and needed to get back to Jersey. He kept eyeing my bike like he was going to steal it but gave up haggling me for money or my bike when a girl from my building stood on the stoop and gave him the look of death.I have to constantly remind myself that NY isn't safe and people WILL steal your bike.

punkinpants said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Anonymous said...

Smartypants, if you would like some company, I went down hard on my commute in yesterday (f*ing trolley tracks) and I have nobody to blame but myself. And many thanks to the good people of SF who stopped to help me out as I flailed around on my back for five minutes groaning in pain. The world may be full of douchebags who will steal your bike, but it is more full of kind people who will help you out when you eat the pavement...

Anonymous said...


I think a post like this can help. It's basically what I do for our Neighborhood Watch association -- let people know the facts and increase community awareness and cooperation. People must be witnessing some of the thefts -- there are few perfect crimes -- it would be helpful if the suspicious activity were immediately reported, or better yet, interrupted. Be vigilant!

Non-attachment is harder when you have limited funds.

Unknown said...

Uhh, so he said he had the keys to the guys car, but never followed up on that? Whats with the car keys?

Anonymous said...

Mine was more of a slow-motion bump than anything. Was behind pickup in left turn lane, traffic was clear, we both started rolling. I glanced down, and when I looked up, he was stopped. My wheel met his bumper, and I went over the handlebars, bounced off his tailgate, and landed on my feet (no, really! I didn't even do the classic "sprawl on the pavement.")

No damage to the bike whatsoever. The wheel isn't even out of true. Say what you want about how trendy deep-v rims are, but dang they are tough!

Anonymous said...

great one today, bikesnob.

anybody out there have a lock combo they swear by for nyc riding? i blew an obscene amount on a kryptonite new york ulock and chain recently and was wondering if dragging all this extra steel around makes any significant difference to thieves, other than just making them work a little harder with the boltcutters or hacksaw...

Anonymous said...

you know what we need? Seat bag monkeys, a derivative from trunk monkeys

and yes, I plan to link every internet monkey site to this blog.

TwoCentTommy said...

The Tokyo Bike Tower is fantastic, though I doubt many would at first trust their carbon tri-spoke or otherwise expensive wheel to a giant pincher. For the idea to be realized here in the US, it seems at least one thing has to happen first: there have to be so many bikes clogging the sidewalks and streets that a separate parking stucture is necessary to aleviate the congestion. So, BSNYC/RTMS's recommendation #1 would help not only alleviate the pain of having a bike stolen, but might also contribute to reducing bike theft.

Anonymous said...

I think you need to include this one:
bathroom monkey.

Jim said...

Oh yeah, sure, CommieCanuck... blame Canada for bike theft. Racist!

As for Michael... it's good he feels like a schmuck. Let's see... he loaned his bike to a guy who looks like a prison-hardened gang banger, told him to go ahead and take it for a test ride, and then expected to get it back?

Criminy. Charles Darwin wept.

Anonymous said...

Aaron 2:36 - Have you looked into a Kryptonite Fuggedaboutit? Stupid expensive but comes with something like $3000 worth of insurance, it's also a tow chain weighing about 40 pounds but still.

Cheaper soloution: Go to Home Depot, get the toughest 1" chain you can find. Get a MTB tube. Insert the chain into the tube (tube is to protect your frame and add ghetto-goodness to the contraption). Find the best and biggest friggin' lock you can find. Use that to secure your cherished posessions. The best part, when a dog/mugger/alien attempts to attack you the whole thing makes one hell of a personal defense item.

Anonymous said...

Uhh, so he said he had the keys to the guys car, but never followed up on that? Whats with the car keys?

Durrr maybe the bike was worth more than the car?

No wait, maybe there's another explanation...

When it's over it's over, drink up. said...

I wonder how many times this hayseed has been taken in 3 Card Monty?

LK said...

I love it. Thief (Jive Ass Bullshit Cholo or Cholo wanna be) stands in front of a bakery that gives discounts to people on bicycles, asking people if he can test ride your bike. He knows that he'll find all sorts of gullible bleeding heart white liberals there because it's a cool neighborhood where lots of people go that want to be cool. He doesn't even bother getting out of his clown costume.

He should feel foolish. Good for him for admitting it.

How about a treatise on the desperate need to appear COOL?

Rule: Never lend out anything you may want back. Books, money, bicycles, cars, girlfriends. Especially to family members, friends and girlfriends.

Here's how I kept one bike:

I'm locking my bicycle up in front of a restaurant in the East Village where I'm meeting friends.
"Wow, that's a nice bike," says the Crackhead and friend.
"How many speeds is that?"
"Is it fast?"
"How much it costs?"
"Can't help you there."
"What you won't tell me."
"What's your problem? You just a racist. Fuckin white asshole."

They continue yelling for several minutes as they slowly move away.
I stay with my bike until they go away.

Twelve years later I gave that mountain bike to my sister-in-law.

Anonymous said...

Forget Kryptonite locks, the fine print on the $3000 "insurance" means it's impossible to claim, and, they knowingly made a barrel lock for YEARS that could be picked with a ball-point pen.
Don't bother with chains, they are too easy to cut.

Get a 1/2" steel twisted wire cable with looped ends welded in place and a good padlock.

Anonymous said...

Why should we trust you? You steal hamburgers.

Anonymous said...

mr. complaint 3:18:

The problem with your story is that there are probably lots of us who would rather give bikes to crackheads than anyone with the term "-in-law" as part of their name.

Barbarosa said...

I remember the time that I locked my bike up, came back three hours later to find it had disappeared without a trace. Then I noticed I had locked it to a three-foot tall, smooth post with absolutely nothing stopping anyone from sliding the bike w/lock up and over the post.


A few years later, I discovered someone had done the same to their bike so i took the bike, went on a 2 minute ride and put it right back where and how I found it!

Anonymous said...

It would be rad if the Tokyo tower had a shuffle mode.

LK said...

poor smartypants:

I love my sister-in-law, I'd even give her my car.

After all, her sister makes me happy happy happy.

Unknown said...

I follow your rules, and have multiple bikes that are all worth 'crap'; In my 'hood' all nice things I own are crap from Walmart.

Unknown said...

Damn!! Mark's bike got stolen the night before Battenkill!

Peter M said...

The best advise I ever received was. Never love anything that can't love you back.

Pedal Strike Force Agent Down said...

Sycophantic Backstabber 3:23 pm

There's a Trek mountain bike parked like that every day outside my work.

If I was a bikestealing-scum-of-the-earth it would be easy pickings.

Anonymous said...

$300 will buy you a reasonable bike, $350 buys you a cordless angle grinder and any bike for like

Anonymous said...

"I had a policy, never to let people ride my bike, never to stop on the Bridge if someone flagged me down."

Why do you not stop on the Bridge?

Anonymous said...

Rube from the sticks:
Didn't you see the trunk monkey throw that dude off of the bridge?

KanyonKris said...

Where do all these stolen bikes go? Pawned? eBay? How does the thief get money from the bike?

I wish bike manufacturers would put RFID tags on bikes. Nationwide database of tag #s of stolen bikes. Cops could walk / drive streets scanning. Pawn shops required to scan all bikes. Not perfect, but might help.

Anonymous said...

I am a VERY bleeding heart liberal and I see nothing wrong with the Toronto justice approach.

Should have left him taped up for a while so that others could learn vicariously.

Anonymous said...

My bright yellow Vista Esquire Ten Speed with teh toe clips and analog speedometer was stolen from my family's garage in the summer of 1975. That spring, I regularly reached 40 mph on commutes home from school (big hill). It was the first new bike that I had owned. It was even locked. But I'm not bitter about it- stupid bike thieves. You are right, it is best to resign oneself to any bike being stolen. It is just a thing, and can always be replaced.


Andrew said...

"Non-attachment is harder when you have limited funds."


but, good call on cross-promoting this theft from the Bike Blog.

Fuck bike thieves.

Capital punishment.

Anonymous said...

"I wish bike manufacturers would put RFID tags on bikes. Nationwide database of tag #s of stolen bikes. Cops could walk / drive streets scanning. Pawn shops required to scan all bikes."

RFID tags are a joke. Most fail after a year in service. They can be disabled by a nice sharp blow from a hammer or like object. Really, try it on your RFID'd US Passport. Think of it as an anti-hostage technique.

Besides the cops have better things to do (if only in their own minds), the pawn shop wants to do the deal and I really don't see shelling out extra bucks to a manufacturer for a anti-theft device that only works once the bike is stolen.

Dear anonymous 2:17
"irony: a contrast between what is stated and what is meant, or an incongruity between what might be expected and what actually occurs. Irony can be rhetorical (i.e. verbal), situational, or dramatic. Example (rhetorical - ironic understatement): Michael Jordan was okay at basketball. Or: anonymous 2:17 had an uncanny grasp of other's ironic statements."

Definition stolen from

Back to bed

Anonymous said...

Since we're all one big cycling community, why don't we all pitch in a few dollars and offer a reward? Such reward will be given to whomever can tell us what happened with the goddamn car keys.

Anonymous said...

Why is everyone stressing about, "But what do you SAY to someone that asks to ride your bike without sounding like a dick?!!"? Say nothing and ride away. Anyone that has any clue what-so-ever about bicycles would know enough not to ask a stranger if they can ride their bike.

And yeah, it just might actually be the case that the person asking really DOES want a bike, has never had one before and wants to get more info...if so, kindly direct them to google. They can google their curious little hearts out and learn the same way that most people do. Or they can go into any bike shop in the world and test ride a wide range of bikes.

I ride BMX and there is NO WAY I would ever let anyone else ride my bike. I put too much time and effort into getting it dialed.

Don't be nice. Just say "No.", firmly and directly. Look them straight in the eye when you do it, too.

- Stu

Anonymous said...

So, Back to Bed, would "anon 217 couldn't give a flying fuck that back to bed can look up a word on the internet" qualify?
just checkin'
anon 217

Anonymous said...

If I had a bike that ugly, I'd thank someone for stealing it.

bikesgonewild said...

...obviously micheal green made a foolish mistake, but i applaud him for the fact that his first thought was of an altruistic nature...he was willing to share something as personal as his bike... retrospect, hey, not so smart but nice to know there are a few trusting souls about, even in nyc...

...& commiecanuk, you proverbial 'monkey's uncle'...i thought yer story about the bike thief duct'd to the tree in TO was poetic justice...
...but you should have reassured annazed, that being canadians, the 'pay-backers' were polite enough to use pedro's chain lube on that zefal, so that the thief wouldn't suffer any undue chaffing irritation...

...while rtms/bsnyc wrote todays post w/ his somewhat subdued but usual candor, supplemented by the requisite bon mots, it wasn't easy to chuckle considering the topic...
...good luck, mikey g...

When it's over it's over, drink up. said...

Fucker has a better chance test riding my wife than my bike.

Anonymous said...

Hey BGW you sure that you are not collecting a fleet of Serottas... just asking

My beastie goes every where with me as I know damn well I could never afford to replace it. People in lifts etc give me glances but I tell em if you knew how much it was worth let alone the emotional attachment, you would do the same

Bluenoser said...

My answer to this is the grenade bike lock. Get one grenade, fasten the cable to the body. Fasten the other end to the lever. Lock your bike and pull the pin.

May God help everyone near.


Anonymous said...

goddamn, you gotta love the japs.
I felt like I was inside a giant Death Star Jukebox.
What are they gonna think of next?

Anonymous said...

Thievery is the ultimate chickenshit crime.

Anonymous said...

1. Michael: you note that the thief was in good shape and 5'8" and 250 lbs. I'm 5'8" and 150 lbs, so I'm wondering how someone 100lbs heavier than me can be in good shape.

2. Has anyone noticed that all 3 thefts BSNYC posted happened in biketrendyland aka lower Manhattan?

3. If you don't want to lose it, don't let anyone else ride it (duh), and never leave it outside in the public eye, locked or unlocked, when you aren't actually riding it.

RMM said...

Boston, this just in:

Anonymous said...

If we deported all the "wetbacks" then you could leave your new Look or other $7k bike unlocked everywhere and never worry about theft

Anonymous said...

for sale:
one chris king headset, gold.
one green aerospoke wheel, green.
with green tire.
hit me up if intrested.


orange bike frame,

i really love these

Anonymous said...

You know you have a thriving bike culture when the Pistadex is so high that Scarface clad thugs are making off with fixies.
As a ten year Los Angeles bike commuter this is amazing insight into the NY bike culture. The idea of an LA crook even looking at a bike, a fixie no less, much less knowing how to ride it or where to sell it, is just not an issue. I've locked my bikes up all over and never had them fucked with. I guess that's the advantage of living in a car town, nobody, not even the crooks pay any attention to bikes. But don't fall for the, "Hey can I try out your Hummer." Cause I did and I never saw that baby again.

Philip Williamson said...

So there are 71,000 students at University of Toronto. If 15,000 bikes ("estimated") get stolen every year... that's one theft for every 4 or 5 students per year. Since there's no way every student has a bike... it's (estimated) more like one in, oh, 4 or 5, they've got to be stealing the SAME 400 BIKES over and over.

bikesgonewild said...

...hey there, andy pandy...i would say that just one nice serotta would be good...& i totally agree w/ ya about taking my baby everywhere...

...anon 10:32pm...ya, right...dick...

...chris..."don't fall for the 'hey, can i try out your hummer'...cause i did & i never saw that baby again"...dude...if you'd let your girlfriend give those to other guys, whatcha expect ???...

...hey, phillip williamson...those numbers are gonna be different cuz, well, they use that metric system up in canada...

,,,just sayin'...

Anonymous said...

Phillip Williamson, its a Canadian thing. You wouldn't understand.

Anonymous said...

1. Loved the video. Couldn't understand a word of it, but I think I got the gist. Fantastic.

2. My wife's bike was stolen. She was very upset to realize that the steel rack she had locked it to outside of a metro station in DC was defective. The thief simply had to lift the bad section of the rack away from her lock and off he went with her bike... and lock. I hope he ended up in Toronto.

3. I had an almost opposite experience in DC, where I frequently commuted by bike. I returned to my locked bike one evening only to find that some fuckwit had locked his bike to the rack AND my bike. It took me an hour to locate him. I suppose it could have been worse; but, still, what a dumbshit.

4. "Treat your bike like a stripper..." Thank you, BSNYC/RTMS, for this levity in an otherwise relatively serious entry. I feel bad for ANY victim of bike theft. Props to Michael for coming clean on the stupidity, but theft is theft.

5. Just today I was perusing the bike forum on CL and saw a posting from someone in SF who surmised that his missing bike was stolen from his car's roof rack while he was on his way home... while stopped at a traffic light?! WTF?

Anonymous said...

How did he ask though? If it was, "Let me ride your bike, bitch!". Then that's another story.

Anonymous said...

(oh where is my gun?!?)
If some cagey looking douche walks up on you and says 'Where can I get a bike like that?' your answer is "I got mine at Fuck You!' I don't care how big he is. He can front all he wants. That's why you have a big heavy lock in your hand. Come on already...

Anonymous said...

Now multi-speed hipsters (is there such a thing?) can ugly up their cycles as well:



Anonymous said...

AnnaZed said...

Commiecanuk, whoa there Dude, relax. There are limits.

Nope. Should have used a Floor Pump

Anonymous said...

Phil, if you ever attend a university on a downtown campus, you will see that a University is not just students. U of T holds most of the land in downtown Toronto and is the largest University in North America. It also has the highest undergraduate academic standards in North America, according to a Harvard survey.

It is a Canadian thing, they don't just educate the rich.

Anonymous said...

Phil Will....U of T campus is most of downtown, and ~3 million live there.

After my 5th bike was stolen in three years, I took BSNYC's advice and invested in a $22 (likely 4-5x stolen according to the williamsondex) turd on two wheels. F-ing thing almost killed me with a snapped crank and brakes made of a material resembling metallic chocolate. The lock cost 3X.

Some wanker stole it by cutting a 2ft. hole in a wooden fence and taking the turd and fence in one piece.

Floor pump indeed, with optional C02 cartridges.

I guess I should mention at this point that High Park is a major big gay cruising park, so the whole pump-in-the-anus thing may have been recreational.

Anonymous said...

Anon - April 24, 2008 6:05 AM

"I got mine at Fuck You!" is undoubtedly the finest piece of eloquent understatement ever posted on this site - one of those laugh out loud-ers. After all the serious advice and all the empathizing, it's nice to hear someone who has their head on straight.

OAP said...

Same situation happened to me some 10 years ago. However the guys offered 40$ instead of bogus car keys. I refused, but my bike was stolen a year later: left it unlocked at the video store. There was a armed robbery nearby so the police suspected it was the same guy who took my bike.

Danimal said...

I think I may be the kind of person who falls in love with strippers. Damn it.

Kaptain Amerika said...

I can't believe the number of people posting who think those were really that little POS's personal car keys and that was his car... Wait, of course I can believe it.

Mike N. said...

I've been known to leave my mediocre race bike on my car rack unlocked. If someone steals it, I'll have to write them a thank you note; it's insured for replacement value.

That being said, I had a bike stripped while on the rack before. They took everything that could be removed with an allen wrench: handlebars, brifters, stem, spacers, even the bolt that held the derailleur hanger--but not the hanger itself!

Cuinas! said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Mimi said...

There's an MTB instructor here in the Seattle area who has only 1 leg.
He owns a very expensive custom bike which was stolen recently. The thief abandoned the bike after a couple blocks because he discovered it had only one pedal!! :)

Anonymous said...

so why did the biker have a problem? he was given the keys to the thief's car.

innerlighter said...

RE: the stolen T-Mobile Giant.
Is it possible that covert operatives "in no way connected to Bike Snob" quietly removed the bike overnight to remove the pie plate?

A bike theft story with a happy ending:
12 years ago my Cannondale gets stolen when I stupidly left in front of a store window while I turned my back on it for literally 15 seconds to choose a doughnut. (me=stupid)
Police report, bike shop price quote and insurance claims followed.
(renters insurance+me=smart)
Insurance check buys me an even better custom steel/Dura Ace dream bike.
About a year later some goof comes into one of the local shops I'd made friends with (still one of the most important things a cyclist SHOULD do) toting my Can-o-ale to get some work done on it. I and the po-po get a call from the shop after the schmuck goes home to wait on the repair. I show up, identify bike, cops take picture, I leave with bike, cops wait for Schmuck.
(me=wodering where good karma from)
I get a call from the investigating officer; seems the guy had an unpleasant surprise waiting for him on his return to the shop. He got leniency for leading the cops to the guy who sold him the bike (dude, $400 for a $2500 bike should be a tip off!).
The best part is the schmuck, through the cop was asking me for the $60 he put into accessories for the bike! Kidding right?! My reply? Yeah, as soon as he gives me $170 to replace the Speedplay pedals the thief stripped off before he sold it. Cop and I shared a laugh. Message forwarded.

Lesson 1) patonize your local shops and make good friends with them.
Lesson 2) get insurance if you have a nice bike
Lesson 3) if you can't afford lesson 2, don't buy doughnuts

P.S. I live in CA so forgive me if I spelled schmuck wrong.

Anonymous said...

Laughing at MimiTabby...

Loved the bike tower video. Nice blog!

Brooklyn Biker

Anonymous said...

Bike thieves are dog shit. Why do you live New York anyway, it's a 20 mile long Cantina Bar.

DickDoc said...

When I was in Junior High, Jackson Browne (the super star writer and performer of the same song for forty years) stole my bike. It was a black J.C. Higgins 3 speed. Does that make my bike famous?

Thomas said...

I've had 15 bikes stolen in the 19 years I've been biking, 2 in 2008 alone. I've had 7 bikes stolen in San Francisco, one each in Palo Alto, Los Altos, Sunnyvale, Redwood City, and San Jose, and four in Mountain View. All except two were reported to the police.

King Lou said...

Finally a nice story about some Bike Justice!. A stolen bike recovered!

Anonymous said...

Last month I'm on the roof of the three-story building in Park Slope I live in, having a final beer with a friend and watching the ongoings in the street. Two guys come cycling up the street and stop to look at a map, one sitting down on some stairs across the street, the other leaning his high tech-looking bike against the fence on this side and walking across to his friend with the map. A guy walks past the leaning bike, takes a quick look, hops on it and is ready to take off, rolling down the street for some 10 yards. The bike owner sees it, runs across the street and stops the thief, who just says, "Oh, dude, is this your bike?" Right, it's okay to steal bikes, *except* when the owner is in the vicinity. They are talking for a little while and then part, SHAKING HANDS!

To finish off the fun evening, a next-door neighbor comes home, judging from her clothing possibly from exercising, and sits down in front of the house next door to talk on the phone, all the while extensively scratching and rubbing her crotch, her leg movements clearly indicating she's having fun.

Colon Cleanse said...

It was by chance I stumbled upon your blog. I have just spent the last 20 mins reading over some of your other posts, your writing style really helps to explain things in a way I can relate to. keep up the good work.

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rbaumann said...

Whoemever wrote this has some pretty bad advice. "Whenever you see someone selling a cheap bike, pick it up"....And he wonders why people steal bikes, way to perpetuate the problem.

milton.chua said...

thank you mr. blogger. i have recently got my bike stolen and reading about these is kinda like group therapy.

Bike Tourer said...

don't steal bikes bro

L said...

It's not like I'm one of those super riders like you guys,I just wanna take my bike for a ride and do some heavy grocery shopping around town or whatever.
But whenever I leave my bike outside my heart just stars beatin and I just get so nervous that someone will take my precious bike.
My bike is cheap.Real cheap.
It's hot pink...
And yes I'm attached to it.
Called it BOB
Bob is a fun loving,homosexual bike I got from toys R us.
I hope hope hope hope hope to death no on touches him:(

Anonymous said...

No. Please ignore all these rules.

Locking up a candy colored track bike with chris king headset is fine, as long as you use a U-lock or something. Go ahead. Easy come easy go.

The more fancy-schmancy bikes left outside unattended, the longer it will take for my rusted commuter to get stolen. Thanks kids!

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TKR said...

Im A Professional Bike Theif On a Mission this Goes to Everyone who doesnt care for there bikes I WILL take them myself. and care for it if you Dont SO Keep it Clean like a PET

SHE & WOLF said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Jess said...

I don't know if I am posting this in the right place but I stumbled upon this blog about a week ago when my bike was stolen from me. The reason why it is worth mentioning is due to the fact that I GOT MY BIKE BACK!!!! I wanted to tell this story because I do want to give people hope that it can happen, maybe 1 in a million but I had a feeling I would find it so I searched craigslist every night and I found it!! My husband and I met up with the thief and we took it for a test spin ( to pretend how the ride was ) and we biked off!!! There are more details to the story and some of you might not believe it but it happened. Yes, I did get what I deserved when my bike was stolen because I had the worlds most horrible lock but I wanted to find it and get it back and I did. The police report is filed but who knows what they will do with this craigslist thief. If anyone would like to hear more about this story then let me know.

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