Eccentrically named motivational teacher Zig Ziglar once said “Expect the best, prepare for the worst.” Portland has been and will continue to be one of the most bicycle friendly cities in the country (I mean, where else could you find a Bicycle-based company like Portland Pedal Power?) but we have our own set of problems with bike theft. Just yesterday, Portland Police announced they are auctioning off 59 items of unclaimed property, 11 of which are bicycles. Great if you’re looking for a used bicycle, not so great if it was yours at one point.
So how do we keep our set of wheels protected from the ne’er do wells of our city? Well, nothing is fool proof, but we’ve got a few ideas which might make it a little more difficult to carry off your pride and joy.
Bike Locks: Fairly obvious, but it must be said. Bike locks are the first defense against bike theft, and it’s important to remember that not all bike locks are created equal. When I was visiting the UW campus, security strongly recommended against using a cable lock when cycling. According to the Bicycle Transportation Alliance, nearly all locked bikes stolen in 2008 in the Portland area were locked with a typical cable lock. I recommend a high-quality U-lock, such as this Kryptonite model which can be found on Amazon.
Lock the Important Things: Should you not lock up the important parts of your bike, you might find yourself with the beginnings of a unicycle. Make sure when you’re using your bike lock, you include a wheel and the frame in its loving embrace.
Quick Release Wheels: If you’re consistently taking off your front wheel or your seat post, then you may have one of those quick release levers allowing quick removal. Of course, having these quick release levers means quick removal for just about anyone. You can of course just switch to your typical nut and bolt, but if we do that, aren’t we letting the terrorists win? In all seriousness, consider the Pitlock, which allows for quick and easy removal, but doesn’t sacrifice security.
Serial Number: Do yourself a favor, Right Now. Get yourself a pen and some paper, go find your bicycle, and write down the serial number along with the make and model. Put this on your fridge, email it to yourself, have it tattooed on your arm… but make sure you don’t lose the info. If unfortunately the worst occurs and you find yourself lacking a set of wheels, it will be nigh impossible to retrieve your bike without this information.