The other day I was biking along, slightly annoyed that some dood passed me while I was trying to do speed work (so now I just felt s-l-o-w) when I saw two young men with their bikes. They were on the sidewalk with no helmets on bikes that SO did not fit their size. So automatically I just got irked. I passed them and noticed one was riding a bike on a FLAT tire. I muttered at the kid ‘you gotta flat’, he goes ‘yeah i know’.
I keep biking, annoyed that these probable bike thieves were on stolen bikes. Then I had the following conversation with myself:
Me: “Sparky – look at you, profiling these young men! Perhaps they are just out for a ride?”
Other Me: “I dunno. Those bikes look pretty stolen. This is Los Angeles, bike theft is the highest rising crime out here! Young men like that don’t just “go for a ride”
Me: “Aw come on. You are being racist. Go help them pump up their tire”
Other Me: “Fine. Let’s just help the bike thieves steal more bikes”
But “Me” won out over “Other Me”. I turned around and offered the young man to fix his tire. He happily accepts. The following ensues:
1. We pull over to some weird remote road (I was next to Los Angeles Airport, there isn’t anything immediately around there) and I become consciously aware I am alone with a possible bike thief who is a big dood, in a place where there is no one to hear me scream. “Other Me” starts bitching again.
2. Fortunately, “bike thief” is a polite young man who knows jack shit about bikes. We take off his tire, and I check out the tube. Couldn’t find a puncture, I was a total FAIL at trying to fix the tire.
3. His bike was trashed. Rusted chain, but at one point it WAS a very nice bike – a mid range cannondale trail bike.
4. I finally just asked him straight out: DID YOU STEAL THIS BIKE? I asked him that three times. He was like ‘nooo. I bought it off my friend for $50? How much do you think it’s worth??”
4A. THEN he looks at MY bike and goes “oooo how much did you pay for that? How much could you get if you sold it? Can I ride it?”
I’m like NO YOU CAN NOT GO NEAR MY BIKE (and “Other Me” adds in ‘you rotten bike thief’).
I told him my Trek 5200 (all Carbon) was only worth $25 on Craigslist if you could even get someone to buy it, and I bought the bike for like, $100 ten years ago. This is not true, obviously, but he was staring at my bike like it was a gravy train to easy dollars.
To be FAIR, he was very polite and did try to compliment me. The kicker is that his pedals were dual lock – one side takes clip in shoes the other side is a regular pedal. No homie of his is going to own a bike with locked pedals. *sigh*
I sent him on his way after telling him to not steal anymore bikes.
I leave you with this question: What would you do if you saw someone actually STEALING a bike?
I’ve been meaning to post about bike theft for awhile, since I know a few victims in the last year, and it’s the highest rising crime in Los Angeles (viva vigilante justice, though).
Then I saw this article today that even Jenna Bush (daughter of Former President George Bush Jr.) became a victim of bike theft (note that the bikes were in her garage).
Holy crap, people!
According to Kryptonite, a respected lock maker, these are the top ten worst cities for bike theft:
1. Philadelphia, PA
2. Chicago, IL
3. New York City, NY
4. San Francisco, CA
5. Tucson, AZ (tie)
Portland, OR (tie)
7. Denver, CO
8. New Haven, CT
9. Cambridge, MA
10. Austin, TX
This is the 2008 list, so I would not be surprised if Los Angeles ends up in a more recent list.
Kryptonite has a great brochure on how to lock up your bike. The research I did for this post also made me realize how pathetic my lock cable is – it could be snipped in seconds. A good bike lock IS expensive, but is it more expensive to replace your bike?
Check out this rad video where a dude grades how bikes are locked- people even lock down their seats (which you DO gotta do, sigh):
Ever had your bike stolen or parts stolen off your bike? Or are you a lock expert? I want to hear from you!!