Location, Lock-ation...

The Co-Habitant started a new job this week, and with it a new commute. The trip is about the same distance as before, but his cycling ritual is much changed. Previously, he rode to work on his fully loaded Pashley Roadster, which he would lock up in the secure bicycle cage inside the building's parking garage. The new job's parking facilities are less secure, and it is in an area where he does not feel comfortable leaving his Pashley on the street all day. So he will now be commuting on his old Motobecane roadbike, which he has stripped down to the bare bones.  This is what Myles looks like in his normal role as touring bike. And above is the new pared-down version: No saddlebag, no twined water bottles, no pump under the top tube. A U-Lock and an extra long cable lock are wrapped around the seat cluster. The battery headlight on the fork is detachable, and the tail light will now be attached to the messenger bag he plans to carry.

The Co-Habitant's response to his new commute underscores the differences in our attitudes toward bicycle security.  His Pashley is a comfortable, upright bicycle and if it were me, I would continue to ride it despite the change of location and the less than ideal parking situation. I would remove the Pashley's luggage, get a detachable pannier for the rear rack, use a U-lock plus long cable combination, lock it up outside and stop worrying about it. But then again, some would say that my own lock-up methods are scandalously lax, because I typically just use a cable lock. In short, the Co-Habitant and I are separate people and often our views on things differ. I respect that he does not want his "nice" bicycle to get stolen, but it just seems like such a shame to ride an aggressive roadbike (with clipless pedals!) to work and carry all his stuff in a messenger bag, when he owns the perfect commuter bike. 

How much of a factor is the location of your job (or residence) in your choice of what bicycle to ride and in your lock-up methods? 


  1. A really big factor! The ability to store my bike safely and commute by bike to my employment are two of my top five reasons for picking a workplace. (The others being the shifts I want, a good bunch to work with and the choice to wear what I like).

    Currently I have a pleasant train/bike commute and my Surly leans against the filing cabinets in the Nurse's station. It is a 'staff only' area and my lovely co-workers are more than used to having to turn my front wheel inwards if they need to photocopy anything.

    Actually, I think it's become a bit of a mascot. I often find it has been decked with a flower to cheer it up or a pink slidesheet (for transferring patients in bed) has been folded into a flag and stuck on a pole through the rear rack.

    I would find it a little frightening to leave the old darling out on the street, but, by the same token what's the point in having a bike you love if you don't get to ride it often?

    (In case I sound a little spoilt, I should just add that I would not be as picky if I were in debt or had a family to support).

  2. It'll make a lot of difference and that's part of the fun.

  3. It makes a huge difference. My old commute involved leaving my bike locked up all day in an underpass where there were a lot of damaged bikes. Even though I parked right in front of the CCTV camera and used two locks I knew I was taking a calculated risk and I would never leave my current bike there (or my Brooks saddle) even for an hour because I love it too much. It effects even little things like not having a basket because they get filled with rubbish (thanks people). Sure, you can take everything off but who wants to be monkeying with a quick-release on your saddle when you're rushing to catch a train? And although my bike never actually got damaged, so the risk paid off, I did get my light brackets stolen twice and there were times when my bike smelled like a urinal (thanks, guys) when I picked it up. Of course, these days my bike is lightly coated with cow manure but somehow that's not as bad. At least I can leave it unlocked outside a shop or lightly locked with lights and saddle in place and be reasonably confident everything will be there when I come back.

  4. Lightly coating the bike with manure, now there's a strategy : )
    Thanks, townmouse!

    Steve - did I mention that his ride to work is 10 minutes?

  5. Congrats on the new job and new commute! and wow, his ride to work is 10 minutes? lucky dog, is it worth the hassle to bother with the clipless for such a short ride.

    Mine is an hour and 20 minutes, and if i could i would ride an upright, but that doesn't really make sense for me. I'm not a racer, but with a 20 mile commute through traffic and the minuteman, i want to make it shorter if possible!

    That said, I also park my in my cube (against company policy, but that's another can of worms!) and so i don't even have to carry a lock at all. But I'm actually building up a winter bike, which is also stripped down!

  6. huge factor;

    In my last place of employment I would occasionally ride my "nicer" bike, as it had secure indoor bike parking (and a gym with a shower, lockers, etc... sigh) That is something I would never do now, as my current place of employ has no secure bike parking and I must lock up on the street.

    At one point, I bought older "beater" road-bikes as my commuter bikes, but year-round riding prompted me to buy something a bit more robust and capable for all-weather... I bought the least expensive thing I could (on-sale, no less) just to reduce my potential loss if it were stolen.

    As for methods; U-lock the front wheel and frame, with a cable through the frame and back wheel.

  7. I'm with you V. Bikes are meant to be ridden. To keep things in perspective, we need to worry more about our own safety on the commute than the safety of the bike once we get to where we are going. In my case, that means riding the bike I feel most comfortable on, not the bike that even a thief wouldn't find comfortable.

  8. Big factor - where I work the bicycle parking is very secure. I take my good bike and leave my pannier and lights on it.

    When I go shopping in the nearby city (Philadelphia) I take my cheap, stripped down bike witht he seatpost botlted on. I do use a removable pannier as I can't stand to have heavy loads on my back. But I lock it up with a U-lock and cable, take everything off it when I go. A big pain in the winter when I need lights that sometimes dissuades me from shopping there - I'll go a little further and shop in a safer suburban area.

  9. As with most responders, I totally factor in where I am riding and potentially locking up my bike to what I ride around Vancouver. But in my case my more urban upright is for jaunts within town or to work, and I ride my more expensive bike for when I am trying to ride a bit of a distance for exercise and exploring. I dont' want either bike to be stolen, but I will leave my urban upright, Sally, double locked, in places where I would not consider leaving Robbie at all. Interesting your pick of the name Myles - thats the name of my mtn bike I have up at our cottage - always thought it a good name!!

  10. Both of my bikes are what I consider "nice" bikes and not beaters, though my VO mixte is probably nicer than my single speed. I take whichever bike strikes my fancy that morning. As it's only a 15 minute commute, it doesn't make much difference which bike. The single speed is slightly lighter and faster than the VO, but my speed seems to be determined more by traffic and traffic lights than anything.

    Anyway, I do park on the street. I am technically allowed to bring my bike into my work, but I find it such a pain to maneuver my bike into the elevator and thence into the narrow spot for it in the break room. So I park on the street. It's the main downtown area of my town with lots of foot traffic and there's also a police station nearby, so we have lots of cops on segways patrolling the area. I lock up with NY fahgettaboutit u-lock through the rear wheel and a cable for front wheel. My lights are all battery lights which I remove every time, nor do I leave anything else portable like that on the bike. I do sometimes worry about somebody taking my saddle just to be a jerk, but as I only use vinyl saddles anyways (I'm a vegetarian, no nice Brooks saddles for me).

    In short, I lock up with the most expensive lock I could find, make sure there isn't much to mess with and try not to worry about it. Honestly, I feel my bikes are more vulnerable in the bike storage room of my building, where only an average lock in the door handle style lock separates them from potential thieves and there is nothing to lock them to. (Before you ask, no, I am not carrying my bike up and down four flights of steps every time I want to use it, and there wouldn't be enough room in this apartment for all our bikes even if I did.)

  11. rose - Off topic, but can you please tell me more about your VO mixte? How do you like it, how does it ride, etc? I was very excited about the release of this model and have been dying to hear from readers who actually own one.

  12. Being able to bring my bike inside the office makes a huge difference for me. I also work downtown and there are a couple of other semi- covered areas where I could lock up if for some reason I couldn't bring my bike in. Our building changed hands about a year ago, and the new company's official policy is no bikes, but there's not a front desk or security guard, so we come in anyway. I do take steps to make sure that my bike doesn't drip slushy dirty water on the carpet, so I don't feel guilty about it. But I agree with the above poster that I would place a higher value on having a bike I feel comfortable riding in traffic than a bike that people wouldn't be interested in stealing.
    I would also recommend that he investigate nearby options for bike parking other than his actual office, as well as "forgotten" spaces (the office basement, the office back deck, the office porch, which might be in the weather and less convenient, but secure.

  13. Having had a cheap bike from Target stolen from the train station, I will no longer leave any bike locked up at the station. Now it goes on the train with me and I park it in a corner of the office. It's too bad, all the light rail stations here have racks, but they're useless if you can't count on your bike being there when you come back. I have a big chain lock for my vintage bike now but I still can't bring myself to actually lock it up anywhere out of my line of sight.

    OT, Velouria, how do you protect your nose and mouth when cycling in cold weather? Winters here in North TX are not as cold as Boston, but there is often a strong headwind on my route and it really hurts to get a lungful of that when it's cold. I tied a silk scarf over my nose & mouth yesterday which worked ok but it wasn't great.

  14. i'm lucky that i can lock my bike in a secure-access bike cage during the day, but that's not too much of a factor in how i choose to secure my bike. with or without a secure cage, i typically only use a lightweight cable lock, and i never bother to secure any of my accessories like lights, saddle, luggage, etc. i only lock the bike + front wheel (more to prevent wheel flopping than wheel theft). call me lazy, call me naive, but i just don't like the burden of carrying multiple, heavy locks requiring multiple keys and a tedious process of locking and unlocking. i use the one cable lock whether my bike is in the secure cage during the day, or on my porch overnight. if my bike gets stolen from my porch, i can claim it on my renter's policy, and lose out on just the deductible.

    on the other hand, i do believe that bikes that are left for a long period of time (several days or more) unchecked pose a greater risk for theft, as some thieves stalk bikes to assess the risk of the owner seeing them. if i have to leave my bikes locked for several days or more, such as if i take a long weekend out of town, i move all my bikes into my basement. and if i had no choice but to leave a bike locked on the porch for multiples days, i'd secure it with two locks.

    i've never once had a light, saddle, or luggage stolen off a bike... if a thief really wants some removable part, it's worth the small loss i'll incur for the freedom of never worrying about stuff like that on a day to day basis. further, if a thief wanted the whole bike, then i don't think it would matter what lock i'm using-- the thief will get it. then again, if it were to actually happen, my attitude may change and i may become more like MDI :). but until then, this is my modus operandi.

    oh, and i once cut through a NY fahgettaboutit u-lock in five minutes with a rotary cutting wheel :). no, i wasn't stealing a bike, but severing two bikes that were sold at auction, locked to each other. there's a youtube video showing a demonstration of someone doing the same thing in a few seconds on a NY street, with a battery-powered rotary saw. so again, i don't see the difference between using a cheap cable and a $100 NY fahgettaboutit. multiple locks will slow a thief down, but man, what a rigmarole to have to go through every day.

  15. I currently store by bike inside a courtyard at my clinic, but when I work at other locations I'm willing to park it outside at a bike rack during the day, with a U-lock and a cable attached to my O-lock (wheel lock). I wouldn't want to leave it outside overnight, however.

    Why doesn't the Co-Habitant attach a rear rack and pannier to his bike? For a 10 minute commute the messenger bag isn't a huge hardship, but pannier are so much more comfortable. It would also provide a better place to attach the rear light. Putting the light on the bag (on your back) means it will never be aimed straight backwards where people can see it at a distance. With a 10 minute commute thru the city he should be fine.

  16. Bikes are meant to be ridden. Hiding away a bike for fear of theft? Is that really any better than having it stolen?

    To me, that's like covering an ipod with an ugly case to prevent scratches. Or covering yard furniture with an horrible blue tarp to protect it from the winter.

    I would always rather face the risk of having my bike stolen than the certainty of not riding it.

    With that said, you should invest in two hefty locks of different types. (Also a third one for the saddle.) It helps to have a basket to drop them in so they don't weigh you down. Even if each one can be cut in 5 minutes, 10 minutes of cutting locks in a public space seems like an eternity to me. Plus it would probably require a fully charged dremel, or an accessible power outlet.

    If you add a wicker basket to the Pashley for the locks, and let it get a little dusty, no one will notice it anyway.

    Dog Friendly Dallas - I wrap a wool scarf around my face, much like Dottie does with hers in her video:


    My method has worked for me even during the coldest days, here in Boston and in colder locales.

  17. I'm a Dog Walker in Chicago, and ride my bike around to my various walking appointments. My 64 Raliegh Sports gets locked by the top tube to any secure object. My 60's Bottechia Fixed Gear goes inside when it can (when I know the owners don't mind me bringing it in), and gets locked with two U-locks when it can't. My Co-worker is more paranoid and uses two u-locks and a cable lock when he has to leave his bike outside, and he doesn't stray far from his bike while out walking the dog.

  18. I think the Cohabitant just made way across the line from which dictates your methods, the job or the bike...
    I'm lucky to have plenty of room in my office for whatever bike i ride to work, but regardless i would rather invest in a more secure LOCK than sacrifice my choice in ideal commute bike.

  19. I use two locks on my bicycle. Kryptonite's New York Fahgeddaboutit, and their tiny little orange one. Reason being, both of them are very secure because they both leave no open spaces when locking. This way, a thief cannot force a car jack into the opening of my u-lock, break it, and run away with my child.

    Also, if you were a thief and you had a choice of spending at least a good 40-60 minutes cutting through two reinforced u-locks in a public area or, 10 seconds snipping a cable, which one would you

    People invest a lot of money into their bicycles, but they hardly even invest money for a decent lock from what I can tell here in my town.

  20. My employer recently moved to a new location a block away from the old one. The old one had a patio right outside my office where I could lock up the bike. The new one has a no bikes policy. I no longer ride any of my good bikes in. I lock it up in a garage right across from the manned exit stations with the motorcycles with a U-Lock and STRONG cable. Nobody loiters around motorcycles, and the proximity to garage staff and security is also a deterrent. I lock up the locks to the cable fencing where I lock up the bike - no carrying back and forth. I commute on a single speed Raleigh Super Grand Prix with bolt-on axles, or I ride my '79 Trek 1x5 with fenders, depending on the weather. Neither has racks or bags left on them; lights are removable.
    So, while I haven't gone looking for different employment (I have both debts AND a family to support!) I've solved the problem. My commute of 4 miles is about 20 minutes in the morning (downhill) and 30 in the afternoon. I don't know what I'd do if I had to park on the street, probably park further from work in a secure space.

  21. At my current job, parking isn't an issue at all, since the bike parking looks like this:


    There are always a lot of people around, and theft hasn't been a major issue there at all.

    Honestly, anywhere in Portland proper that I had an actual bike rack to lock to (and not just a pole or something), I'd feel pretty good about leaving my bike during the day. Everything bolts on, nothing is quick-release, I have a rear frame lock and a chain to lock up the bike, it's heavy, and I've never had any issues anywhere I've been, even with stuff being taken out of my panniers (I've left things in them unattended for hours and never had anything stolen).

    Overnight is a bit of a different issue, but I wouldn't really mind doing that in some places either.

    However, if I lived in a place where I felt less comfortable about the city in general, I certainly would be concerned about having secure bike parking of some sort, though I think there would have to be a real, documented problem with theft before I would get too worried.

  22. I used to commute with a road bike, then I discovered the joys of city bikes.

    I'm a recent convert to a Batavus Personal Delivery bike. I still preach the Gospel of Batavus whenever someone asks me about my ride.

    Anyway, about my locks...

    I was a fervent user of U-locks. I owned Bulldogs and Kryptonites. I found that in cold weather, the locks will sometimes freeze up. Both brands also come with very poor mounting brackets.

    With my Batavus, theft was a concern. The bike is nice. However, its so nice that it's a shame to leave at home.

    Now I use three locks (yes, three):
    - A 3.5-foot Abus City Chain
    - An Abus Bordo Granit X folding lock
    - And, of course, the ubiquitous frame locks found on many Dutch bikes.

    I lock up each wheel and the frame.

    About the Abus Bordo: it's very expensive, but it's oh-so-easy to carry. I'm also a convert to Abus.

    Three locks sound excessive, but once I got used to it, the ritual isn't that annoying. I only use chain if I'm just ducking into a store or running a quick errand.

  23. Good post on the all-important bike security issue. A co-worker's beautiful vintage Bianchi MTB was stolen one day after she got it back from the shop. It was sad, but she had used only a cheapo Kmart cable. I bought a separate cable to lock my wife's VO saddle, and she uses two U-locks to secure the Raleigh. A frayed, beater saddle can be a theft deterrent as well.

  24. I wince to read that you use only a cable lock. All it takes is a discreet pocket-size tool to defeat those in an instant! As good as unlocked to opportunistic thieves.

    I take some comfort in riding bikes unusual and distinctive enough not to appeal to most thieves, whose winnings come from rather generic high-tech objects, or at least from bikes fitted with mainstream parts that can be stripped and sold or fitted to other (stolen) bikes.

    I have had 4 >$1000 bikes stolen in 20 years. The last was 9 years ago. All but one were unlocked in places I thought were secure. I learn slowly, i guess. I had a u-lock defeated on the street in Boston.

    I feel most at ease with my Brompton, with which I carry no lock at all. It comes with me wherever I go. Restaurants. Movie theaters. Doctors offices. Airplane cabins. Any place my Brompton is not welcome, I am not welcome.

  25. Update: I have access to a card-reader accessible parking garage under the building. In it are several bike racks, full of bikes.

    Some people park their bikes standing on a kickstand with a U-lock through the frame and rear wheel. That's what I am doing, since all the racks are full.

    I am going to add my saddle bag and lights and stuff back on.

    The cable + U-Lock + stripped bike were just for day 1 when I left it literally out on the street.

    It's true that clipless is silly for a 10 minute commute. I did it because my least valuable bike had clipless pedal. I will probably start riding my Pashley or DL-1 now that I have garage access. I just need to see where the best spots are before I bring my nice bikes.

    In the meantime, my commute is 5 minutes if I go 20mph and don't stop. :)

  26. Neither of my jobs offers indoor bike-parking. They both offer outdoor racks. At my main job, my bike is often the only one there. And it's in a high-crime area. The situation at my other job is the exact opposite: The racks are often full, and the area is safer.

    As the ride to my main job is about an hour, and the ride from that to my other job is about half an hour, I'd like to ride one of my nice bikes. But the risk of theft is high at one job, and there's some risk of damage at the other because the bikes are so tightly packed together.

    So I ride my "beater," which really is a pretty good bike. And, because I absolutely must ride a saddle I like, I have fastened it, by the rails, to the seatstays. I cut a length of an old track chain, put it in a length of old inner tube that's about 3cms shorter, thread the encased chain through the saddle rails and around the seat stays, and rivet it together.

  27. HUGE! I live in the city in order to be able to be car-free in all my daily activities. Also, when looking at employment opportunities and/or when I'm interviewing, I always check out the area for bike parking. Right now I work for an employer that allows me to keep my bike in my office. That is SUCH a great perk for me, and one I don't take for granted. I feel where the Cohabitant is coming from... I do not like the idea of leaving my bike exposed to the elements or greater possibilities for theft. If I was in that situation, and I had multiple bikes to ride, I would think about using the one that was of less value to me, either monetarily or whatever other criteria I used to determine value.

  28. Interesting to hear that so many people take their bikes indoors; I wonder whether the Co-Habitant can do that with his 200lb Pashley.

    MDI said...
    " my commute is 5 minutes if I go 20mph and don't stop. :) "

    MDI - You want me to worry about you and to nag you, is that it?

    todd - Somewhat in my defense, I do not leave my bicycle for longer than a couple of hours, and I often find ways to keep an eye on it while it is parked. Also, I have seen U-Locks removed with the same discreet ease as cable locks, so I feel the only thing using a U-Lock will accomplish is extra weight and a limitation on where to lock up the bike. Also, I think what is on my side is that most of my bicycles are simply unattractive to thieves. Heavy girl frame - who needs that?

  29. For me its a huge factor.

    I go for a two or three hour ride every morning
    on my way to work (start at 6am arrive at 9am),
    so I want to ride a nice bike.
    I currently ride a frame/fork I built myself,
    so I would just hate to have it stolen.
    It might not be the best bike in the world,
    but it is a one-off.

    I currently park my bike in my office, but there are murmurings that bikes in offices will be banned, due to "heath and safety" issues.
    I work in an area were bike theft and bike "trashing" are high, so it has me thinking about getting another job.

    It sounds a bit crazy and extreme, now that I have written it down, but my morning rides are a big part of my life; pleasure relaxation and health.

    Thanks for this post, and thanks for all the people who responded. It is good to know I am not alone - I might show this to my manager so she knows it too!

    John I

  30. All encompassing. I make absolutely no decisions in regards to my everyday bicycle's components without giving careful consideration to security. If I'm unable to lock my bike on the most theft prone streets of my city for hours on end I simply don't feel secure. Every component has redundant security features. If I'm leaving the bike unattended I use two independent locks, one high quality u-lock and one lower quality combination cable lock, one goes through frame/wheel/stationary object and the other goes through frame/other wheel/stationary object. My skewers are locking. My seat post clamp bolt is taped,twined & shellacked. My saddle hex-hole has a bb glued on the inside, and I have the saddle cabled to my frame with an old bike chain in a tube. My handlebar stem hex-hole has a bb glued on the inside, plus is bolted to the basket which in turn is secured to the front axle by the locking skewer. Excepting the pedals and bottle cages, not one component can be stolen without a half hour of effort or an entire van full of bike theft tools. Also, while the bike is fairly high quality, it certainly doesn't look like anything special.

    I find this all perfectly practical and can still lock and unlock my bike in under 30 seconds. It's just too important to me to be confident that the bike and all its parts are still there when I return to not do all of that. The only drawback is that I really hate snap off lights. And really wish there was such a thing as secure permanent bicycle lighting, but no system is perfect.

  31. What about components on the bike, though?

    I'm not so worried about the bike itself being stolen (a good U-lock WILL protect the bike) as to every removable object being stolen. Since I need a headlight and taillight most ofthe winter, I have to take those off. The saddle has to be secured, the wheels have to be secured ( but I use a cable lock for that). Even my bell is likely to be taken.

    I HATE having to strip the bike everytime I stop somewhere for more than 30 minutes. So I often avoid going to the city on my bike.

    Myabe a bike with integrated lights is what I need.

  32. @Peter: It depends on the place of course, but having nothing on your bike that is easily removable definitely helps - no quick-release wheels or saddle, clip-on lights, etc. People trying to nip stuff are going to go for the quickest and easiest first, so if all your stuff is bolt-on, you're that much less likely to have stuff ripped off.

  33. I am definitely in the use your nice stuff camp. The thieves here are either sophisticated crews with vans and power tools or drug addicts looking to quickly resell a bike for a fix. I feel like if the former dudes want my bike it's going to be theirs pretty much no matter what so I try to avoid leaving it around at night in areas where they are most active but generally feel pretty philosophical about it. I use a fahgettaboutit mini plus steel cable to deter the other thieves. I also try to lock up next to fixies :) since they are far more desired than my Retrovelo, which, while absolutely gorgeous to me, kind of confuses people here. Like: what is that thing? I hear that a lot.

    I have bike parking near my office and bring my bike inside our house at night. Parking garages here are now required to provide bike parking and you can park at the biggest chain here for a dollar a day or 25/monthly. I haven't seen what it's like yet, but this could be really nice for New Yorkers who want to ride their nice bikes but can't bring their bikes into their offices.

  34. Jose B: you said "I'm also a convert to Abus."

    i love abus locks, and have one of their massively heavy chain locks. however, i rarely use it because it's so heavy! maybe i need to rethink my bike lock attitude; the measures people are taking here seem extreme to me... i better move closer to the center of the bell curve :-).

  35. somervillain: "multiple locks will slow a thief down, but man, what a rigmarole to have to go through every day."

    All you can do is slow them down, which is why I go with redundancy. I can totally see why it seems excessive, but all that stuff can be be perfectly convenient and quick. If I'm stepping into a store I'll only lock the u-lock to the frame like a normal human being; but taking the time to go through frame and wheel and attaching a separate cable to the other wheel still takes less than 30 seconds, so it's only a minute out of my day.

  36. somervillain - "multiple locks will slow a thief down, but man, what a rigmarole to have to go through every day."

    Nope, not if you have a nice basket or pannier to drop the locks into (without having to worry about stowing them away securely) and you use at least one U-lock (U-locks are especially fast). I only use one lock in safe areas.

  37. I'm lucky in that I have the option of parking in my building's underground parking garage. There are also racks aboveground on street level and they are highly visible and in a high traffic area across from a coffee shop and where people usually take smoke breaks. But I got a new Pashley this year and I would still worry more if I knew she were on the street so I park underground.

    I also probably wouldn't take a job that would require me to give up biking to work or use a car instead (been there, done that). So I can't take a job in the suburbs for example. I average about 30-40 min to get to work although I could take the subway but it became so unreliable and I had finally moved closer to my job downtown so I gave biking a try and I love it (even if last week I got a nasty bruise from a car door despite thinking the passenger had heard/seen me).

    I use a kryptonite u lock and the wheel lock the bike came with. If I were to leave her on the street I would probably add another small ulock. My other bike had a removeable seat post w a Brooks saddle so I would often take it with me. I bring my pannier with me as well.

    I should mention that I see a lot of nice bikes on the street nearby - other Pashleys, Batavuses and just the other day I saw a new Linus. I must be more paranoid or just can't afford to replace the Pashley if it were to be stolen.

  38. "Security" of the parking spot of the bike is a factor in the choice of bike for me too.

    I have a short bike commute (15 minutes) to the train station where I leave the bike till the evening. So my choice of bike was a classical french mixte ! I live in the suburb of Paris, so this kind of bike is easy to find for cheap and does not look trendy. Still, it's a very practical bike !

    A good U-Lock is also a must-have. Sadly, it is the only efficient (and not always enough) protection against theft. If a thieve has the choice between your bike protected by a good U lock (several minutes of hard work to open it) and an other one protected by a cable (less than 30 seconds to topen it), you stand a much better chance of finding your bike at the end of the day...

  39. I'm a teacher, so my last two jobs allowed me to take the bike into my classroom, which was nice. I'd set up a cardboard box (cut down) and put it on there, if it was nasty outside, but I didn't have to worry about locks.

    My last job though was 8 miles of dirt and gravel roads, so it necessarily forced me to have wider tires and a more stout bike. My two go-to bikes were a hybrid I drop bar-ified, and the Phillips Sports. They're both rocking 38's for tires, and were good for this. The previous commute was all paved, so I could pick and choose no matter what.

    Unfortunately, my current job is 45 miles away, so my transportation seems to be by dinosaur at the moment...

  40. This has been very interesting reading. Lots of good information. It does sadden me that so many ride something less than their best bikes for fear of them being stolen. Just reality I suppose.
    My workcycles bike was (I hope) shipped today. I have a Kryptonite U lock and cable waiting. I hope I feel secure enough to use this wonderful bike. I certainly will Not buy some less quality bike to use so I feel OK about leaving my bike locked.

  41. I have the option of taking my bikes inside to my office, but I don't feel like hauling it up in the elevator. Instead, I leave it under a covered, yet unsecured outdoor bicycle parking area. I think that the Motobecane would be more of a theft target than the Pashley, at least that seems to be the case around here, where road bikes seem to be more targeted. I use a single small U-lock to secure my old girly (a DL-1 and Nishiki mixte) bikes-- so far so good.

  42. one of the reasons location doesn't make a big difference to me is that i've heard of thefts from all sorts of places. true, train stations are among the worst, and some places pose more risk than others... i don't deny that. but we've had bikes stolen from our "secure" bike cage at work (although, the thefts thus far have all been of bikes just "parked" in the cage-- not locked up). all it takes is for a "piggy backer" to follow an employee into the cage (who asks to see other people's IDs?), and that's it. sure, there are security cameras, but they don't prevent thefts. they only help you get a picture of the person who stole your bike, after the fact.

    it would be nice to be able to bring my bike into my work, but that's simply not an option.

  43. I work at home, and transport my work-product by car out of necessity, so my bike is an errand and pleasure machine. I really don't like locking it up at all, except in direct sight. As far as I know, it is the only diamond-framed DL-1 in my city, and the bicycle thieves here are so brazen and ruthless that even the city-provided free bike-share bicycles were all stolen a while back. Several of the city parking garages have individual bike lockers, but they are usually occupied.

    When I do lock up, it's a higher-end Kryptonite and cable lock combo with a cable for the saddle.
    (And I cheerfully advocate manslaughter for bicycle thieves.) I would never leave either of my bikes outside in unsecured areas overnight. No one here likes to do that, if they can help it.

    My residence is in a semi-rural private gated neighborhood, but we get enough transient traffic through here that the bikes are always behind lock and key. Unsecured ones have been known to or walk away, if they are in good condition or easily saleable.

    Corey K

  44. I am of the opinion that there is always a place to store a bicycle to the point of owner satisfaction.
    If a person looks close enough the answer is right there, up there, under there, flat against the ceiling, or on the roof if need be.
    Seriously...just how much space do you need?

  45. I'd actually recommend a removable seatpost mounted blinky such as a PB superflash, blinky 7 or Cateye TL-LD 1000; I see so many poorly aimed blinkies mounted on messenger bags.
    If he were to ride the Pashley - I'd recommend Pitlock nuts (or pinhead skewers) on the front generator wheel. He might be also able to find a location where he could leave a heavy chain and lock attached to a rack or other permanent structure.

    My own generator equipped mount has lived on the streets, hitched to a parking meter, for the past three years at work. Pitlock nuts on the front wheel, Krypto Evo-mini plus cable as the locks. I have never had a problem with him being on the streets.
    He has a nice warm indoor stable, in the kitchen, at home.

  46. Since I am moving to a town 45 miles from work I will no longer commute on my ANT. It's a multi modal commute now. Bike plus train plus bike again. I got a beater bike, a lovely old Nishiki mixte that I believe is unlikely to interest thieves. I will lock it up at a train station using cable plus U lock and then I will have to hope. At my destination I will try out our city's new BikeShare bikes, eliminating the need for a 2nd beater and eliminating parking worries too.

  47. anon said: "I see so many poorly aimed blinkies mounted on messenger bags."

    ha! this is one of my biggest cycling peeves! people, if your light isn't aimed properly, it's not doing any good!

  48. I would argue that a light mounted on clothing, on a bag, or on a helmet is de facto aimed improperly, because its instability in space is confusing to others.

  49. "I would argue that a light mounted on clothing, on a bag, or on a helmet is de facto aimed improperly, because its instability in space is confusing to others."

    I totally agree - not to mention if you take a big LED searchlight and mount it to your helmet - guess what? You're now blinding everyone you come across. Yeah, sure, you might be visible, but you're then making it impossible to see people around you, and making it impossible for people around you to see anything but you (and even for several minutes after you pass as their eyes re-adjust).

  50. elouria, let's agree to disagree on the helmet-mounted light thing, which we've discussed before. four years of commuting and wearing helmet-mounted lights (in addition to bike-mounted lights) has me convinced of their effectiveness, and this has been confirmed by motorists-- i've gotten countless positive comments from motorists on the effectiveness of my helmet-mounted lights (including expressions of appreciation for having seen me clearly *above* the sight line of motor vehicle traffic-- no bike-mounted light can do this!). however, i haven't received one negative comment about them. the rear one is self-leveling so it is always properly aimed (except that it does rotate around a bit when jostled). the front one is fixed in place. however, i can aim the front one wherever i want at will, since it is in a firmly fixed position on my helmet. this has a distinct advantage over any bike-mounted headlight, in that i am able to aim the headlight at will directly at drivers who i think aren't paying attention or from whom i get the sense that they don't see me, and it gets their attention. this was a use that i never anticipated when i started wearing one, yet i've become hooked on this "feature". not to mention the indirect advantages, such as being able to see my watch, or my keys when i'm locking or unlocking my bike in the dark.

    see, i think that having a combination of fixed, bike-mounted lights along with a second set of above-traffic level, helmet-mounted lights makes for an overall more effective lighting setup. i am not convinced that one of those lights that may have an unstable focus plane causes more harm than benefit. as both a cyclist *and a motorist*, i still prefer seeing cyclists with unstable lights than no lights.

  51. portlandize: i would agree with you that a big ol' searchlight on a helmet would be overkill. my light is not bright enough to blind those at whom it is aimed, but bright enough to make them aware of my presence (which is the point in the first place). i do think that the brightest light should be the one that is illuminating the road in front of you and not blinding people, and that the weaker one be the "beacon" to make sure that others can see you.

    as a motorist, what i consider useless is a low mounted taillight. a low-mounted headlight is not as bad, since i *usually* see oncoming bikes in the opposite lane with either a low or high mounted headlight (i still see higher ones better-- especially in situations where bikes are sharing the lane with cars, and are directly behind cars so as to "take the lane" prior to making a left turn). but i simply don't see bikes in my own lane traveling in my direction if they only have low-mounted taillights. having just one car in front of me completely blocks me from seeing cyclists, whether they're in the lane or in the bike lane. that's just my observation, again, as a motorist, not a cyclist.

  52. The level of bike parking security that I have in a job tends to make a difference in whether or not I take the job ... not the bike ;)

    I used to work in a tech startup that was headquartered in a converted furniture factory near the Cambridgeside Galleria. Bike parking there was on a set of racks in a courtyard set in from the street. No cameras, no guards, no weather protection, but a lot of windows that look down onto the rack. Back then, I was on a Trek 730 hybrid and locked it up with no problem. There was one day where I forgot to bring my lock and just left it in the rack and would anxiously check in on every hour or so, half-fearing that it would get stolen, but it was left unmolested. I think that switched my sense of fear/paranoia and I recalled what Jane Jacobs wrote about with regards to crime in The Life and Death of American Cities. If a neighborhood has a lot of people out and about, and a lot of potential witnesses then, regardless of the income level, the neighborhood will generally be safe. Crime festers in the zones where nobody is looking.

    I've had accessories stolen from my bike(s). Lights, water bottles, wheels, computers, etc. and even had a bike stolen once ... but in every case it was a matter of doing something stupid like leaving the bike locked up in the same place overnight for several days in a row or leaving on an accessory that can be removed without tools.

    When the job moved to an office park in Bedford, I'd ride out every day on a Trek 520, and then my ANT and leave it in a computer room that sits behind a key swipe. Nowadays, I'll ride the ANT into downtown and leave it locked up in a parking garage in plain sight of a pair of security guards who know me and know my bike. That's about as safe as one can ask for.

    I'll also leave the ANT parked outside of the Middle East in Central Square or in front of a bar in the Fenway if I'm hanging out with friends. And, yes, sometimes with nothing more than a cable lock (because sometimes, that's the only lock that will work with a lightpost). I've locked up next to titanium IndyFabs at the Fenway Cinema, and I've also seen an A Homer Hilsen with a SON dynohub and a Supernova E3 parked out on the street in the middle of downtown for hours at a stretch.

    The one thing I will not do is leave any of my bikes locked up on the street after the bars close and the city goes to sleep. It must always be in sight of people; and it must always come home with me. The Girl once had her tires slashed outside of her office (she had to lock up on the street while the cage was being worked on), and we've specifically gone back with the car and brought the bike back to the house to repair the tires because we know that trick and were pretty sure that if she planned on just fixing it in the morning, it wouldn't be there.

  53. I read a blogger who claimed that good bikes are less attractive to "illicit 2:nd market distibutors". He suggested to get a expensive but unusual bike, not a bling hybrid from the big box store. I can see his point, but many prolly just pair them down to parts anyway!

    I 4 bikes in 20yrs is a normal standard of loss, its a livable problem unless you must ride a Cervelo.


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