Saturday, May 28, 2011

Little Yellow Public Service Cards



Full suspension, XT-everything including disk brakes, cheap cable lock




It has reached epidemic proportions, I tell you: bad lock jobs, and even more serious, cheap cable locks, everywhere I look! I was eating dinner outdoors with my family at a lovely cafe this weekend, near a bicycle rack with five bikes locked up, all with cheap cables. Then a guy showed up with a road bike and a U-lock, and I thought, finally! THANK YOU! He proceeded to hook the U-lock through the quick release front wheel only. NOOOOO!!!!

I have good intentions here. Overall, having your bicycle stolen is a rotten experience, so in the long run, deploying my Little Yellow Public Service Cards (LYPS cards) (not to be confused with the old LIPS laser printers) would increase the overall happiness level, or, alternatively, decrease the sum of suffering, wouldn't they? Yet, people are unpredictable. Some would not welcome this gentle admonition. A few would fly into a rage. Most would probably ignore it. Suffering due to bicycle theft enabled by cheap cable locks and bad locking technique would continue. Perhaps an experiment: place a few cards on candidate bicycles, use a hidden camera to capture the results? Or more open and honest, excuse me, did you notice the Friendly Security Note affixed to your ride, near your terrible lock? What is your reaction, are you likely to consider using a U-lock properly in the future because of it? On a scale from 1 to 10, how happy would you say you were overall, before you saw the card, compared to how you felt afterwards? Great, now compare that to how you would feel if your cheap cable lock were cut with a cheap cable cutter and your sweet ride was stolen by a ne'er-do-well in search of an easy twenty bucks, where would that put you, 1 to 10? Get up. Go ride. Lock up.

  

10 comments:

  1. I'm guilty of the cable lock. I guess I just figure people are inherently good and wouldn't steal something that doesn't belong to them. (How naive I am!) I will, however, go to the bike shop forthwith and get a U-lock.

    ReplyDelete
  2. i took a photo of a u-lock locked to a bike rack with a cut cable inside it. Maybe I should post.

    I also saw what looked like my stolen bike the other day. I was going to work and the guy riding it looked like 'the rock'. too bad I had no time, I would have asked him to show me the serial numbers. hehe.

    ReplyDelete
  3. Make stickers and paste em to the racks.
    Hell I'll even donate to help pay for them.
    The stickers I mean.

    ReplyDelete
  4. I use a cheap-ass cable lock, but I don't leave my bike out of my sight for "any appreciable" time. I guess I just figure that PHX is not NYC.
    While I'm using acronyms, FYI I've had 4 bikes stolen out of my garage, none of them (stupidly) locked (I just figured "hey, this is inside my garage!"). Since I started using the cable lock, none. I guess I think you have to make some effort to secure the steed and that's going to be sufficient.
    jt

    ReplyDelete
  5. Conclusion: Nobody with an ounce of sense would want to steal a mountain bike AND nobody with an ounce of sense owns a road bike?

    OTOH, my own locking technique has been well documented and ranges from abysmal to wonderful.

    FWIW, I like the second note MUCH better!

    ReplyDelete
  6. Blogger lost some comments, I'm puttin em back:

    Jennifer wrote:
    I'm guilty of the cable lock. I guess I just figure people are inherently good and wouldn't steal something that doesn't belong to them. (How naive I am!) I will, however, go to the bike shop forthwith and get a U-lock.

    limom wrote:
    Make stickers and paste em to the racks.
    Hell I'll even donate to help pay for them.
    The stickers I mean.

    Jim wrote:
    I use a cheap-ass cable lock, but I don't leave my bike out of my sight for "any appreciable" time. I guess I just figure that PHX is not NYC.
    While I'm using acronyms, FYI I've had 4 bikes stolen out of my garage, none of them (stupidly) locked (I just figured "hey, this is inside my garage!"). Since I started using the cable lock, none. I guess I think you have to make some effort to secure the steed and that's going to be sufficient.
    jt

    FraSiec wrote:
    i took a photo of a u-lock locked to a bike rack with a cut cable inside it. Maybe I should post.

    I also saw what looked like my stolen bike the other day. I was going to work and the guy riding it looked like 'the rock'. too bad I had no time, I would have asked him to show me the serial numbers. hehe.

    ReplyDelete
  7. I had a good reply going, then Blogger went to la-la land for a little while. Deep down I tend to want to agree with Jennifer, but also know that some people give into temptation easier than others, so think that it has less to do with goodness than with lack of impulse control allied with need or want. I think U-locks slow thieves down some, and can serve as a deterrent more than a simple cable, which I do admit is better than nothing. After this post, I saw two bikes with no locks at all, at a rack, in Phoenix. More on this topic soon...

    ReplyDelete
  8. It's ironic that he went to the trouble of removing his front wheel to lock it to the rear. I've done that a few times with my u-lock in particularly sketchy areas. Lately, though, everytime I've gone to lock my bike up with my standard "u-lock through the rear wheel and around the seat tube", I've noticed people using cheap cable locks, or u-locks through the main triangle only. Mine would be the harder bike to thieve.

    ReplyDelete
  9. I, too, am guilty of using a cheap cable lock. But I do employ some additional techniques to help secure my bike.

    I don't lock my bike in an unseen, quiet area, but in a rack which is right out there, visible.
    I don't leave my bike without looking around to see if somebody is sitting in a van nearby, test-chomping a set of bolt cutters.
    I always strike up a conversation with the greeters and/or security guards (mostly off-duty policemen) at the stores where I lock my bike. (Some of them I notice wandering out in front of the store afterwards, checking out the bike rack.)
    I strip everything off the bike which is quick-release and take it with me in a shopping cart. This collection always includes the lights, computer and saddle; and sometimes even the front wheel if I notice a guy wandering the parking lot, looking for a cheap ride home.

    ReplyDelete
  10. rorowe, if you like cable irony, you'll love my next cable post in a day or two. And you're right, it's just about making your bike harder to thieve, less attractive to someone who may be inclined toward the easier pickings.

    BluesCat, I'm also surprised at how many nice accessories people leave stuck on their bikes: lights, seat bags, removable baskets, pumps, I guess it's all just a testament to the basic goodness of people that they all are not instantly ripped off the moment the owners walk away. I understand the just-a-minute cable lock-up, I do, but it only takes a second, and it doesn't even take a bolt cutter to get through most cables. Video coming soon regarding that.

    ReplyDelete

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