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Home > Bike Theft

The "Flat Tire Scam"

by Levi Bloom

This sucks. It's a new form of bike theft, but it's a con-man kind of scam.

Please read this story that I found a couple years ago in the Road Bike Rider ezine.

Sometimes it doesn't pay to be a helpful cycling citizen.

Roadie Nelson Stanford lives in the Los Angeles area. He was riding last Sunday when a cyclist in apparent distress waved at him to stop. The guy seemed to be having a trouble with his front wheel, which was out of the bike.

Nelson braked. "In my area we usually give help," he tells RBR.

The stricken rider was in his 20s, about 5-foot-10 and 130 pounds. As Nelson checked the wheel, the guy stood and walked around Nelson's back.

Nelson picks up the story from there...

"I thought he was going to help me, but instead he jumped on my Litespeed Tuscany and rode off in a blink of an eye. By the time I stood up he was 100 feet down the road.

"With my bike shoes on and the wheel out of his bike, I couldn't catch him. Off went my $4,000 bicycle.

"Please let RBR readers know about this trick so maybe it won't happen to them. There are expensive road bikes out there for easy picking."


The lesson is, if you do happen to stop to help anyone, be extremely prepared! These days, you never know if you are going to get mugged or have your bike stolen, even if you swear the guy is a fellow cyclist!

Just like when locking your bike, make sure it is within sight! To be safe, always keep your eyes on the other person, too, much like a cop would do when detaining a suspect.


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