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In a weird way, this is one of the most despicable crimes there is. Now, obviously it's not on a par with rape, murder or torture, but as theft goes, it's pretty low down and dirty.

The reason: the benefit accruing to the thief from the crime is grossly out of proportion with the suffering caused to the victim. The thief will possibly be able to sell the bike for a few notes, while the victim is quite likely to have his/her whole way of life disrupted. A car thief should at least do quite well out of his/her crime, while the car-owner is likely to have an insurance company that can provide him/her with a short-term replacement and eventually the funds with which to purchase a new car.

If my bike were stolen (and it has been in the past), the fact that it is insured for more than its worth would be of no comfort to me. Having to do without the vehicle for any length of time, while looking for a replacement, would cause me intolerable stress. I'm sure other bike owners can empathise.

So, if you are considering going into bicycle theft, I urge you to reconsider. If you must break the law for money, please at least choose a crime where you can amass your desired amount of money without pissing too many people off. Better yet, get a job.

The most nefarious form of bicycle theft

The phrase bicycle thief conjures up a lot of stereotypes. Filthy junkies bartering for a fix, punk kids after some quick cash, or just the anarchical inspiration of a bored thug playing itself out on your private property. At the worst you might imagine a shady character running around at night with a giant pair of bolt cutters. Low-risk crime tends to foster petty criminals, right? Not so fast Watson.

The abundance of bikes in the $400-$1000 range means that bike theft can sustain quite a healthy lifestyle for an enterprising criminal. Now a properly employed U-lock is pretty tough to break. And if you're really worried, some brands will insure your bike in the case of a broken lock. To make a career out of stealing bikes, however, breaking U-locks is not at all necessary. The easiest way to steal a bike is by picking the right bike. Specifically, a bike that is attached to loose sign post.

One might assume erroneously that these signs are hard to come by, but unfortunately many street signs are designed to be interchangeable and there is an easily accessible bolt to free the post from its concrete-embedded sleeve. So for heaven's sake, lock your bike up to bike racks or at least make sure your anchor is indeed immobile before walking away.

The coolest form of bicycle theft

I wouldn't want to leave this writeup simply by giving people an easy way to steal bikes, especially by such a despicable circumvention. If you're going to become the lowest of all life forms, please instead try the following method (also film it and send me a copy):

  1. Steal a tank of liquid nitrogen
  2. Drip it on a U-lock until it is well frozen throughout
  3. Hit it with a sledgehammer really hard

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