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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?

More:

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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Comments

  1. mrfnk says:

    I just drag the bike in the liqueur store with me.

  2. Jim(my) Orr says:

    First idea off the top: Arduino + accelerometer + keypad for lock/unlock codes + siren + GPS beacon

    If you “lock” the bike, the accelerometer will notify the Arduino of movement, which will signal the siren to squeal. Keypad allows for one-button locking and multi-digit unlock codes. Weld the enclosure in an unobtrusive spot on your frame. Will of course need batteries, maybe these can recharge either from external power or dynamo-rig.

    The GPS Beacon’s a bonus for finding the bike in case the deterrent fails to deter.

  3. Anonymous says:

    Just get a decent operating bike from your favorite auction (police, craigslist, ebay, farmhouse), and paint it and scratch it up ugly as sin.

    Or mount a dead dear-head on it, or something as tacky.Yes, no one wants a 50 lb bike, but thieves also don’t want a ugly one either.

    When it comes down to it, the bike is a mobility tool. It’s not a decoration.
    So it need not be pretty, to get you where you’re going.
    But if it’s extremely heavy, and you’re exhausted and on a hill… then a 50lb bike..will.

    1. Anonymous says:

      I went the freecycle route, and got a cheap, almost new 18 speed mountain bike. 10 mins with marker pens, paint and files added a bit of age, 6 months of commuting have added grunge and rust (the chain and vital bits are looked after!), and its locked with an £80 motorbike lock, that stays where the bike is parked. – This makes a better deterrent as its a bitch of a lock so the thieves are more likely to go for a neighbouring bike that is a) cleaner/nicer and b) easier to steal!

    2. Hugh Daly says:

      works on my car: https://fbcdn-sphotos-a.akamaihd.net/photos-ak-snc1/v2666/146/31/75900453/n75900453_30857552_7466217.jpg

  4. Electrified frame, and CS gas that goes off when you try to remove the wheels/ seatpost

  5. Rob Colby says:

    A mercury trigger and a block of C-4…?

  6. Anonymous says:

    Build the lock into the bike! Place the lock (either key or combination) near the front fork and have the bolt slide into holes drilled through the fork when it is turn 90° degrees. When it is locked the thief can only ride around in circles. Bicycle racks could be built to accommodate the new lock, but they would take up more space. Busting the lock would damage the bike.

    1. Adam Pearce says:

      Actually I have an old Raleigh with a built in fork lock that locks the front wheel straight. Effectively does the same thing since it stops the rider from dynamically balancing. 

    2. Adam Pearce says:

      Actually I have an old Raleigh with a built in fork lock that locks the front wheel straight. Effectively does the same thing since it stops the rider from dynamically balancing. 

  7. Rkt88 Edmo says:

    I ride a “longtail” cargo bike, a Surly Big Dummy to be exact.  It is ~45#s as normally outfitted by me and may even be 50#s when wearing the kids seat I designed for the long deck.

    Even though longtail bikes are heavier, larger, and more readily identifiable due to scarcity, theft problems definitely still exist.

    Maybe @ 70#s it might make more of a difference.

    1. Mike Estee says:

      You come to the heart of the point I was trying to make ;) A long tail bike still has a lot of utility at 45Lbs, a 50Lb fixi? not so much. But where is that tipping point? I think it’s a fun thought experiment :D

      @TwoReplies:disqus observation that you’ll probably get more milage out of uglifying your bike is spot on. I’d also be interested in seeing how long an ugly bike takes to get boosted if left unlocked.

      I think there is a research paper or three in the psychology of bike theft.

      1. Rkt88 Edmo says:

        But you are measuring the utility and weight issue from a reasonable point of view which I don’t believe is shared by thieves.

        They aren’t so much into the utility of something, if they can steal it with a seemingly low risk at that moment, they will.   A 50# fixie is still a bike they can sell for $20.

        I did a full 100mile century on my dummy, so that may impair my own claim to reasonableness.

      2. Rkt88 Edmo says:

        But you are measuring the utility and weight issue from a reasonable point of view which I don’t believe is shared by thieves.

        They aren’t so much into the utility of something, if they can steal it with a seemingly low risk at that moment, they will.   A 50# fixie is still a bike they can sell for $20.

        I did a full 100mile century on my dummy, so that may impair my own claim to reasonableness.

  8. Steve Hoefer says:

    Integrate the lock into the frame.  If you cut through the lock you’ve cut through the frame and ruined the bike.

    (Though @TwoReplies:disqus idea of uglifying a bike works a lot better than you’d think.)

    1. Scott Rocca says:

      If you look at the basic bike frame and how it works, this is a very easy thing to accomplish. Not only that, but if done right, the extra weight can be used to thicken the walls of the bike’s frame tubing to help to account for anti-theft. A good 8 to 10 lbs heavier spread out across thicker walled tube could accomplish this.

      Humm… To SolidWorks!

    2. Mike Estee says:

      this is a really great idea :) the top tube on a pivot of some sort seams like the first place to try this out. As Scott says “To SolidWorks!” :)

    3. Jeff Haskell says:

      Make the upper crosstube two pieces – one welded to the seatpost, the other welded to the fork tube, with a chunk at each end that is solid instead of hollow. Put a relatively deep tongue and groove joint about 2/3 of the way out from the seatpost, with a key lock built in. Lock it to ride, so that the frame is rigid. Unlock at destination, and it should have just enough flex to go around modest items (up to 3 or 4 inches maybe?). Re-lock the frame. I think that’d be just about perfect for keeping it locked, and only add 6-10 ounces to the weight.

    4. Jeff Haskell says:

      Make the upper crosstube two pieces – one welded to the seatpost, the other welded to the fork tube, with a chunk at each end that is solid instead of hollow. Put a relatively deep tongue and groove joint about 2/3 of the way out from the seatpost, with a key lock built in. Lock it to ride, so that the frame is rigid. Unlock at destination, and it should have just enough flex to go around modest items (up to 3 or 4 inches maybe?). Re-lock the frame. I think that’d be just about perfect for keeping it locked, and only add 6-10 ounces to the weight.

    5. I like the adjustable u-locks (http://www.kindminds.com/adjustable-motorcycle-u-lock-K343-15.html) with the locking bit integrated into the frame. You’d have to make it so the keyhole is at right angles so you can unlock it.

  9. gingerjet says:

    A problem that is being worked on:  http://tigrlock.com/pages/

  10. Kevin Bates says:

    How does a heavy frame prevent theft?  I can just be ridden away…  Unless the point is that its so unable to be ridden that you cannot use it either…

    1. Michael Colombo says:

      A 50lb bike would be a bit extreme of course, but if you’re already carrying a bunch of weight in your locking hardware…

  11. RFID tag sensor in seat, card in pocket, deactivates alarm.

  12. Br.Bill says:

    Two words: square wheels.

  13. Eric Stinger says:

    obviously one needs to connect an electrical fence energizer to the bike…just don’t forget to disarm it!

  14. Anonymous says:

    I think instead of theft prevention, we should be encouraging the theft with honeypot bikes. Let’s make bike thievery too expensive by catching every thief we can. Maybe the bikes take pictures of the thief. But don’t stop there, let’s get the next level up. Who pays for these stolen bikes?

    Can anyone think of a way to make private bike registration? Maybe you can’t sell a bike without title. RFID tags can provide the vin. Lookup the current owner at BikeVIN.com.

    1.     I cannot agree more with a national registration system. Selling a stolen bike will be much harder if there is a sort of registration system.
            However, this type of registry has to be nationwide and recognized by law enforcement. Private bike registration is exactly the problem. Too many private companies offer bike registration and there is no communication between them and law enforcement.  I live in Italy and a company called EasyTag was the first to establish such a registry. I though it was a good thing but almost immediately others followed and no one wanted to register their bikes because there was no recognition by law enforcement.
         The only way a true bicycle registry can happen is if there is an equivalent of a motor vehicle dept. for bicycles. 

      1. Mike Estee says:

        the down side of a registration system is that it is highly likely it will become a source of tax income :/ not necessarily a bad thing if those taxes can be used to build up bike service infrastructure, but it’s a double edged sword.

        1. Archer Sully says:

          There have been a couple of proposals for mandatory bike registration, in some cases requiring renewal, but none have gone anywhere. I think you are being a bit paranoid.

          Besides, a tax dedicated to bike infrastructure could be a good thing. Bike paths need maintenance just like roads, and if we pay for it ourselves, that gives drivers one less avenue of attack on cyclists.

    2. Mike Estee says:

      honeypot bikes are an excellent, excellent way to increase the opportunity cost of stealing a bike. they have been used in a few cases to great effect.

      maybe its a thing people (i.e. local bicycle clubs) could start setting up in co-operation with their local police departments? the main barriers to entry for this kind of program are the technical know-how, and the administrative time.

      here’s one half of that equation:
        http://hackaday.com/2008/07/26/honeybike-bicycle-thief-honeypot/

  15. You don’t need a lock if you ride the proper urban bike: http://www.bixi.com

  16. David Harvey says:

    High voltage capacitors on the lock, seat, and handlebars. They’re light, and could be easily charged with a dynamo or solar. Small rubber flaps cover the contacts when you are using the bike, and are removed when you leave it. It’s better than a siren – the thief’s screams and stream of expletives upon being zapped will be loud enough to attract attention.

    1. Rahere says:

      Someone actually did that with a Porsche, after it had been considerably interfered with back in the 1970s. Turned out it was the garage safety guy who sued after he was thrown in a somersault ofer two cars and landed on his head. He lost, thankfully.

    2. Rahere says:

      Someone actually did that with a Porsche, after it had been considerably interfered with back in the 1970s. Turned out it was the garage safety guy who sued after he was thrown in a somersault ofer two cars and landed on his head. He lost, thankfully.

  17. Anonymous says:

    Well, cutting the metal of a U-bar could generate a small electric current, or once totally cut, open the circuit. Simply replace the other part with one that have a siren or if you’re a lot more evil, a pipe bomb. Ok, maybe something in the middle like fireworks, wouldn’t necessarily harm the thief but would definitely won’t go unnoticed.

    1. Quite a few terrorists come to premature ends because of their lack of expertise when preparing explosives – I’m not really confident enough in my home made explosive skills to feel comfortable riding around in a mobile bomb. It’s also got to add quite a bit of weight to the frame, and doesn’t really eliminate the need for a u-bar lock. After some consideration, I’m going to stick with more conventional means.

  18. Anonymous says:

    Well, cutting the metal of a U-bar could generate a small electric current, or once totally cut, open the circuit. Simply replace the other part with one that have a siren or if you’re a lot more evil, a pipe bomb. Ok, maybe something in the middle like fireworks, wouldn’t necessarily harm the thief but would definitely won’t go unnoticed.

  19. Dan Retzlaff says:

    While thinking about the most basic car theft prevention (the keyed ignition), I hit on the idea once of putting a lock on the crank that is integrated into the frame.  It wouldn’t weigh much, but would stop someone from riding it away.  Also, cutting it off would ruin the frame. (Though you’d have to somehow account for people who steal wheels :( )

    1. Anne Speck says:

      Hmm… and the secondary car prevention is a club lock through the steering wheel — you could do something like that through the chain ring with an arm into the frame to keep it from turning. Still just a deterrent, but pawn shops are far less likely to be willing to disassemble/reassemble the drive train in order to sell a bike.  

  20. Lisa Parratt says:

    Motorbikes weigh considerably more than 50lbs, but still get stolen frequently.

  21. Lisa Parratt says:

    Motorbikes weigh considerably more than 50lbs, but still get stolen frequently.

  22. Lisa Parratt says:

    Motorbikes weigh considerably more than 50lbs, but still get stolen frequently.

    1. Motorbikes have a motor. Weight isn’t as much a factor when the rider doesn’t need to power the device.
      My bicycle is actually heavier than the ones my parents use, despite being smaller; I need to put a bit more effort into using it than they do over an equivalent distance.

    2. Motorbikes have a motor. Weight isn’t as much a factor when the rider doesn’t need to power the device.
      My bicycle is actually heavier than the ones my parents use, despite being smaller; I need to put a bit more effort into using it than they do over an equivalent distance.

  23. Rahere says:

    Park your bike opposite a café, enjoy a coffee with a steel bar alongside you, and watch.

    1. I think this and a whole lot of other suggestions unfortunately falls under vigilantism :-/

      It feels great, but it’s illegal, a better option would probably be to record the bike thief in pictures and video, then take these to the authorities, when the police refuse to do anything about it, you could post them on the interwebz, still vigilantism though :-/

      There was a danish television broadcast where they installed a TrippleTrack GPS (http://www.trippletrack.dk/) unit on a cargo bike (common theft object) and had it stolen, the bike thief even admited on tv that he’d stolen lots of bikes, sadly, consequences were never any different.

    2. I think this and a whole lot of other suggestions unfortunately falls under vigilantism :-/

      It feels great, but it’s illegal, a better option would probably be to record the bike thief in pictures and video, then take these to the authorities, when the police refuse to do anything about it, you could post them on the interwebz, still vigilantism though :-/

      There was a danish television broadcast where they installed a TrippleTrack GPS (http://www.trippletrack.dk/) unit on a cargo bike (common theft object) and had it stolen, the bike thief even admited on tv that he’d stolen lots of bikes, sadly, consequences were never any different.

  24. Martin Spong says:

    GPS built into the frame charged by the bike and synced to iphone app. I have heard of pneumatic clamps fixed between frame and wheel to stop wheel aways, still doesn’t stop 2 guys in a truck going around and just lifting them in.
     A friend used to have a ‘trick seat’ in his backpack that had spikes (sharpened nails) welded to metal base just sticking through normal looking black pvc. He said he would come out of the shop many times to a guy rolling on the ground holding his backside often being laughed at by his own mates.

  25. daniel says:

    You should have a look at this nice Dutch bike (chain lock built into the frame).

    http://www.vanmoof.com/vanmoof-no5

    1. Anonymous says:

      I can’t stand the inadequate lights on these bikes. Many riders, I notice, won’t supplement them with better lights–because hey, why get more lights when you’ve got built-in ones?–and it makes them in-freaking-visible to cars on the road.

  26. daniel says:

    You should have a look at this nice Dutch bike (chain lock built into the frame).

    http://www.vanmoof.com/vanmoof-no5

  27. tokyokevin says:

    Move. Outside the US. Here in Tokyo, I ride a $1,000 recumbent and never lock it. Or start paying enough taxes to avoid a Beirut environment. It’s not about the engineering. 

    1. Matt Katz says:

      So true.  The key is that everything is a tradeoff.  Securing individual bikes works in a system where bike theft makes sense.

    2. JamesW says:

      I don’t think anyone would steal a recumbent in the U.S., either.  Because recumbent.
      :-)

  28. Bryn says:

    seen a number of bikes locked to lamposts but completely kicked to pieces – not sure why some people feel compelled to do this…

  29. asianmack says:

    If someone wants your bike—no matter what it looks like or how heavy it is—he or she will steal it. If no one wants your bike (not even you) then why bother riding it?

  30. I had a friend who was a grad student in Berkeley, living in a house near the top of one of those Berkeley hills.  He had a beater bike, which he left on the porch, and didn’t use that much, because the brakes were very iffy, especially given the steepness of the hills.  One day, he woke up and found the bike was gone.  He has no idea if the thief survived the realization that he was racing downhill without real brakes.

  31. I had a friend who was a grad student in Berkeley, living in a house near the top of one of those Berkeley hills.  He had a beater bike, which he left on the porch, and didn’t use that much, because the brakes were very iffy, especially given the steepness of the hills.  One day, he woke up and found the bike was gone.  He has no idea if the thief survived the realization that he was racing downhill without real brakes.

  32. I had a friend who was a grad student in Berkeley, living in a house near the top of one of those Berkeley hills.  He had a beater bike, which he left on the porch, and didn’t use that much, because the brakes were very iffy, especially given the steepness of the hills.  One day, he woke up and found the bike was gone.  He has no idea if the thief survived the realization that he was racing downhill without real brakes.

  33. Max Hodges says:

    @Tokyokevin: You gotta be kidding. Bike theft is one of the most common crimes in Japan! If you think bike theft doesn’t exist in Tokyo, you must not have been here for any length of time. Bike theft is quite common here too. Just look at all the industrial locks people with nice bikes are using in Shibuya. I had my bike stolen in a quiet neighborhood (Ikejiri-Ohashi) while in the supermarket for 15 minutes. One of my gf bought a new fixie for 120000 yen and it was stolen a few weeks later. It was locked – they carried it away. I know these are just anecdotal, but I don’t have any stats sorry.

  34. Max Hodges says:

    @Tokyokevin: You gotta be kidding. Bike theft is one of the most common crimes in Japan! If you think bike theft doesn’t exist in Tokyo, you must not have been here for any length of time. Bike theft is quite common here too. Just look at all the industrial locks people with nice bikes are using in Shibuya. I had my bike stolen in a quiet neighborhood (Ikejiri-Ohashi) while in the supermarket for 15 minutes. One of my gf bought a new fixie for 120000 yen and it was stolen a few weeks later. It was locked – they carried it away. I know these are just anecdotal, but I don’t have any stats sorry.

  35. Max Hodges says:

    @Tokyokevin: You gotta be kidding. Bike theft is one of the most common crimes in Japan! If you think bike theft doesn’t exist in Tokyo, you must not have been here for any length of time. Bike theft is quite common here too. Just look at all the industrial locks people with nice bikes are using in Shibuya. I had my bike stolen in a quiet neighborhood (Ikejiri-Ohashi) while in the supermarket for 15 minutes. One of my gf bought a new fixie for 120000 yen and it was stolen a few weeks later. It was locked – they carried it away. I know these are just anecdotal, but I don’t have any stats sorry.

  36. Jared Solomon M.D. says:

    Sounds like someone needs to design a quick-release for the sprockets on the bottom bracket and the rear hub.  Then you park your bike, remove the sprockets (or pedals, or some other necessary piece of the drive system), and worry less.  The bike is now sufficiently unrideable.  Of course, it could still be disassembled.

  37. Jared Solomon M.D. says:

    Sounds like someone needs to design a quick-release for the sprockets on the bottom bracket and the rear hub.  Then you park your bike, remove the sprockets (or pedals, or some other necessary piece of the drive system), and worry less.  The bike is now sufficiently unrideable.  Of course, it could still be disassembled.

  38. Jared Solomon M.D. says:

    Sounds like someone needs to design a quick-release for the sprockets on the bottom bracket and the rear hub.  Then you park your bike, remove the sprockets (or pedals, or some other necessary piece of the drive system), and worry less.  The bike is now sufficiently unrideable.  Of course, it could still be disassembled.

  39. whizdumb says:

    Internal electro magnet(Make the bike frame a super strong magnet), when on makes it nearly impossible to take off any sort metal structure. You could solar charge the battery so you wouldn’t have to worry about running out of juice. And could be used in conjunction with any other lock. 

  40. Paul McEvoy says:

    I invented this a long time ago.  All you need to do is have a switch on your bike that when you flipped it, increased gravity on the bike, so the bike would weigh 300 pounds.  Flip it back and ride away. 

    Just have to work on the gravity thing.

  41. Anonymous says:

    I have toured all over the world, and have never had a problem, even in the sketchiest neighborhoods (touch wood, or aluminum in any case). The only lock I carry weighs 120 grams. Here is how: I ride a Montague full size folding mountain bike. It has Pitlock skewers on the wheels, and MKS Lamda quick release pedals. I also carry a very thin cable with combination lock built in. There are two scenarios: the bicycle is parked where I can keep an eye on it, such as sidewalk cafes, thread the lock through the frame, pop the pedals off, and throw everything into my saddle bag, then pop off the seat and saddle bag and use the post as the handle: instant handbag. A bicycle without a seat and without pedals is pretty hard to ride away on, and even if someone came by and quickly snapped the cable, I’m pretty sure unencumbered I could outrun them and beat the #%€¥+£!!! out them. Scenario two is a bit more involved and is what I do when checking into hotels, taking the metro, going to nice restaurants, or visiting museums and art galleries. This takes about 5 minutes. This requires pulling out the soft case (weighs one pound) folding the bike, and checking it into cloak rooms or whatever. At restaurants it sits nicely leaned against the wall or under the table leaning against the table support.. Given enough time and opportunity, any lock can be beat, so why risk it? I have walked into 4 star hotels with my packed up bicycle and no-one even raised an eyebrow. Try going through the lobby with a mud encrusted non-folding bicycle.

  42. I carry a really cheap cable lock — the kind of thing a pro could break an about 30 seconds. But it’s light and prevents people wheeling away with it from in front of a store. When I’m at home, the bike is in the house. When I’m at work, it’s in my office. Basically, I don’t give the pros the opportunity.

  43. James Soper says:

    When my third bike got nicked I went here.
    http://www.brompton.co.uk/
    Yes its a compromise but not as much as you might imagine and it is always ready to ride home because you’ve taken it into the cafe or wherever with you.

  44. James Soper says:

    When my third bike got nicked I went here.
    http://www.brompton.co.uk/
    Yes its a compromise but not as much as you might imagine and it is always ready to ride home because you’ve taken it into the cafe or wherever with you.

  45. Anony send says:

    Honeypot bikes with the quick release removed on the front wheel?

    1. eyeburn says:

      See my post above. Bike theft is not a violent crime and doesn’t merit injury for anyone.

  46. Tom Karches says:

    Ride a unicycle. Take it with you :-) Works for the riding part of my daily commute.

  47. Hugh Daly says:

    New York is a different animal, but when I lived in a small town that was decently flat, I just turned a road bike built from dumpster parts in to a really high-geared singlespeed. Drop it outside the bar, pick it up ten feet away where it was left when someone decided it was too hard to pedal. 

    I know it’s not a solution for those of you with nice bikes, but I’ve often operated on the principle that bikes in a city are almost disposable items. Spend $50 getting a bike rideable, and if you get 20 trips out of it where you’d have to take the subway otherwise, it’s already paid for itself. Eventually someone will take it, and you just find yourself another trashbike to sink a couple bucks in to, and ride on. 

    Beyond that, bringing it inside overnight cuts down on the chance of theft by like 98%. 

    1. eyeburn says:

      I used to go the “junk bike” route, but then one day the quickrelease on the front wheel failed and http://chadvonnau.com/brokenface

      Now I have a $1000 bike and keep it in my apartment. I let it get dirty and use a good U-lock whenever I’m out. 3 years in NYC, pretty good run so far.

  48. xzavier onasis says:

    i covered my bike with stickers.  makes it easy to identify and hard to repaint.

  49. Anonymous says:

    What are we doing with our bike lock? We can’t make our bike impregnable, but just making it harder for someone to steal the bike before we get back to it. A lightweight solution would be to reduce the second time. Add a silent radio alarm that lets us know when the lock is being tampered with, so we can hurry back to it. 

    It’s that or shotgun shells in the seat tube.

  50. Anonymous says:

    What are we doing with our bike lock? We can’t make our bike impregnable, but just making it harder for someone to steal the bike before we get back to it. A lightweight solution would be to reduce the second time. Add a silent radio alarm that lets us know when the lock is being tampered with, so we can hurry back to it. 

    It’s that or shotgun shells in the seat tube.

  51. Anonymous says:

    What are we doing with our bike lock? We can’t make our bike impregnable, but just making it harder for someone to steal the bike before we get back to it. A lightweight solution would be to reduce the second time. Add a silent radio alarm that lets us know when the lock is being tampered with, so we can hurry back to it. 

    It’s that or shotgun shells in the seat tube.

  52. Daren_Gray says:

    Smear the AIDS virus on handlebars.

    Attach sign that says: “AIDS on this bike.”

    Pros: Bike will not be stolen.

    Cons: You will get AIDS.

  53. Helgi Már says:

    My http://www.batavus.nl/collectie/fietsencollectie/allround-fietsen/modellen-2011/Mambo/Mambo-Supreme.html bike is almost 50 pounds. I guess that after I put few extras on it I don’t have to lock it anymore (it is pretty easy to cycle on it but there are no hills in The Netherlands :)).

  54. JerryL says:

    Buy a lightweight high-racer recumbent like a Bacchetta. After all, who’d steal a bike they can’t ride?

  55. Will Daloz says:

    I made a sneaky little mod to a POS scooter I had which would shock the piss out of a rider anytime the brakes were pulled unless a secret hidden switch was flipped, could be pretty easy to work out on a bike too. this means a unknowing unauthorized rider (i.e. thief) riding on the bike would be cruising away, probably rather quick, then go to slow down at the first obstable and be severely zapped! then they’d probably loose control and crash into wahtever the were braking to avoid. HA. revenge serve hot.

  56. Anonymous says:

    Legal issues aside, booby-trapping a bike will only anger the potential thief who will then destroy the bike where it sits.  It only takes a single stomp to wreck a wheel, one more to bend the frame.  You have to either lock it securely in a high traffic area or take it with you.  Your lock need only be a little better than the one on the bike next to yours to prevent a casual thief from getting it.  A pro will get it no matter what you do, so add your bike to your renter’s/homeowner’s insurance, keep a record of the serial number and photos of the bike and documentation as to its value.  It’s a good idea to photograph the lock that you use for that inevitable argument you’ll have with the insurance company when they don’t want to pay off…

    I ride a self-built recumbent that most people think is difficult to ride (until they try it).  The idea that it’s difficult to ride probably deters most casual thieves and I always lock it to deter the rest of them.  I have no fantasies that my lock is tough enough to withstand bolt cutters or even just a dremel tool with a cutoff wheel so I may have to build a replacement some day.  C’est la vie.

  57. Steve Parkes says:

    Strips of magnesium wrapped around the metal of the u-lock, or embedded in the steel of the lock. Try and cut it and the magnesium goes up, frying the thief (also the bike.. oops. wrap the bike in asbestos?).

    The idea is that bike thieves would know this particular brand of lock would blow up on you so they wouldn’t try and cut through it. Might have to be a DIY affair though, as any company manufacturing them would be up to their neck in lawsuits.

  58. LDM says:

    What about a simple mechanism that locks the front wheel at an angle?  Integrate the locking mechanism into the front fork- could be as simple as a security screw that requires a special screw driver.  Hard to ride a bike when the front wheel won’t turn and is skewed 5 degrees to the left!

    Would work well as a DIY, but not great as a commercial product.  You could commercialize it, but you’d need a larger number of screw types, similar to how Theft-deterrent lug-nuts work on cars.

  59. LDM says:

    What about a simple mechanism that locks the front wheel at an angle?  Integrate the locking mechanism into the front fork- could be as simple as a security screw that requires a special screw driver.  Hard to ride a bike when the front wheel won’t turn and is skewed 5 degrees to the left!

    Would work well as a DIY, but not great as a commercial product.  You could commercialize it, but you’d need a larger number of screw types, similar to how Theft-deterrent lug-nuts work on cars.

  60. Frank Wick says:

    Avoid bikes and run everywhere.

  61. Frank Wick says:

    Avoid bikes and run everywhere.

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