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brokenbikelock3 Bike Theft: Thinking Outside of the Lock
There’s a joke among cyclists that goes something like this:

“All bikes weigh fifty pounds. A thirty pound bike requires a twenty pound lock. A forty pound bike requires a ten pound lock, and a fifty pound bike doesn’t need a lock, because really, who wants a fifty pound bike?”

In a post that takes this question seriously, Mike Estee writes…

What is the utility of a fifty pound bike? Would anyone ever ride it? What if we took the idea of building the fastest and lightest bike, and flipped it on its head. What if we designed for more weight instead of less? How heavy would a bike need to be to not require a lock? How would this change our social interaction with the humble bicycle?

Mike suggests that one way to start would be to fill the seat tube with cement and sink a GPS unit into it, so you’d always find the bike if it were stolen. I’d pick a unit that consumed little power and use a Faraday generator so I’d never have to give it a second thought.

Short of mechanically hoisting your bike up a lamppost, what else could be done? Are all bikes really fifty pounds? In most large American cities a burly U-Lock and/or chain is essential. The Kryptonite New York U-Lock weighs in at 4.5 pounds, and the Kryptonite New York Noose chain is a hefty 6.8 pounds. This doesn’t quite live up to the fifty pound joke, but it can drastically increase the weight of your ride. Most urban cyclists keep both a chain and a U-Lock for versatility’s sake, since they can never be sure what they’ll be locking to.

Let’s hear it in the comments. If you had an extra twelve pounds to make your bike theft-proof, how would you do it?

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Michael Colombo

In addition to being an online editor for MAKE Magazine, Michael Colombo works in fabrication, electronics, sound design, music production and performance (Yes. All that.) In the past he has also been a childrens’ educator and entertainer, and holds a Masters degree from NYU’s Interactive Telecommunications Program.


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