Thursday, August 21, 2008

This Is What Bike Thieves Do To U-Locks Or I Wish I'd Known This Before My Bike Got Stolen

Bike Thieves > Bike Locks

This is what's left of my Kryptonite U-lock. This is what it used to look like. It's a 5" x 9" KryptoLok, with a security rating 8 out of 12.

Here are some detail shots of the damage on my U-lock from whatever tools the jerk who took it used:

Click the images for higher resolution.

After compulsively surfing the Internet for about three days in search of my bike, I've learned how fast these locks can be opened by a determined thief; 6 to 30 seconds.

Read that again. In under half a minute, someone can walk away with your bike if you leave it in the wrong place at the wrong time. What about chains, like the Fahgettaboudit? Well, I've read about those getting cut too.

Kryptonite has a anti-theft protection available with many of their products. If you ever buy one of these locks, make sure you activate your anti-theft protection (this has to be done within 15 days of purchase). Not surprisingly, I forgot about this little detail when I got my lock.

Protecting Your Bike
My approximate 20+ hours online since Tuesday morning (yeah... I'm a bit obsessive and really tired) have also taught me how to protect my bike in the future.

  1. Write down the serial number
  2. Learn how to lock your bike safely
  3. Register your bike with the National Bike Registry
  4. Hide a note with your name and other information inside your bike

Make sure you have your serial number; this will be your main weapon in getting your stolen bike back, as it is the most effective way to prove your ownership. I hadn't written mine down, and couldn't find my receipt, but luckily the bike shop where I got my Bianchi had all of my information and were very helpful. Mind you, I bought my bike new so the store had all of the information in their database. If you bought your bike used, you should definitely write down the serial number and store it somewhere safe. Bike Jax has a blog post on DIY Bike Info Cards. You can download a .pdf from their blog, print it and write down all the important information on your bikes to always have it readily availble.

Jim Langley has written an interesting article called "How To Lock A Bicycle And Get A Stolen Bicycle Back". I wish I would've read it BEFORE my freaking bike got stolen.

Register your bike with the National Bike Registry. It's $10 for 10 years. Law enforcement anywhere can access their database, so if your stolen bike would ever surface, there's a chance you might get it back if it's been registered. You will need your serial number for this. You can also register stolen bikes, which is what I've done, for the very reasonable price of $0.99. This will pay 6 months of search for your stolen bike. I had some problems paying online, if you'd encounter the same problem, don't hesitate to call their super helpful customer service and register over the phone.

As a last security measure, hide a note with your name, phone, e-mail and the bike's serial number inside of your bike. Put one in the frame, one in the handle and one in the seat post. Stolen bikes often get stripped of their parts, so try to put your information inside as many parts as possible.

All of that being said, I'm still looking for my bicycle. And day dreaming about inflicting whoever took my bicycle much pain. Lots of pain.

No comments: