Horror Stories of Real Life Bike Theft Occurrences
If you have a bike theft story that you would like to share, please submit it on the Contact Us page. Your story may be used on this website. If it is used, it may be edited for grammar and brevity.
Please include how and why your bike was stolen, what you did to get it back, and the final outcome.
Feel free to submit any tips of your own, too, about preventing bike theft.
"You'll Never Catch Me!"
Several years ago, in the middle of summer, I locked my trusty single speed mountain bike with a Krypto cable. I ran in to grab a coffee and while I was paying, one of the coffee regulars yelled at me that my bike had just been ripped off. I ran out and saw the junkie furiously pedaling away. I gave chase and watched with amusement as the chain fell off the sprocket and the junkie went splat in the middle of the intersection. Several other couriers with me jumped on the guy and held him down until the police showed up (they had been called by our buddy at the coffee hut).
A few war wounds on the bike, but I recovered it. Since then I have gone all out with my security system. I now use a 4 foot length of Grade 70 Transport chain with 3/8" thick links. It takes a hydraulic cutter to snap these links and no bolt cutter will touch it. I pair this up with either an ABUS Discus lock or another lock I've got that is a little bigger (1/2" thick shackle).
The beauty of using a chain like this is you can wrap it around a lamp standard and secure your bike. To date, there have been many attempts to cut the chain, but it is futile to try. I once interrupted a thief in the garage and his 5 foot long bolt cutters had snapped at the pivot. A little scar on the chain, that was it.
You can go to Home Depot or Acklands Grainger to buy the chain. Ask for Grade 70 Transport chain, 3/8" thick links. Go to the lock section and ask for an ABUS or MASTER disc lock. Get the slightly larger one so both ends of the chain fit into it.
I have seen many attempts to break these locks by hammers, punches, bolt cutters, etc., but no success in actually breaking them. You can buy a Kryptonite chain and lock, but who wants to spend $100+ on a lock. I spent about 35 bucks for mine........ happy trails.
Vancouver, BC, Canada
"I'll Just Take The Kona, Thanks."
Last Saturday, I pulled my Kona Kikapu Deluxe out of the basement after a long winters nap. I rode it for about 10 minutes that morning and put it on my back porch for an hour. I then placed it in my garage and locked the doors with a "Master" padlock.
The next morning my son (3) and I went out to get our bikes to go for a Sunday morning ride. The lock was gone on the garage...I knew what was to come. I opened the door and my son said "Daddy... where is your Mtn Bike?" It was stolen within 24 hours of it coming out of my basement.
They did not steal my three other bikes in there or any of my snowboards or skis - just my Kona. Its kind of a creepy feeling to know we were watched that closely.
Owen Sound, Ontario (Northwest of Toronto)
"Thanks For Keeping The Air Clean. Too Bad About Your Bike."
I was recently visiting my mother in St. Pauls hospital in Vancouver and took her out for a one hour outing. While I was there, someone stole my Giant Mtn Bike that I used to take my son out on his trailer bike. Thankfully I took the seat off and took it in with me as it has the hitch from my son's trailer bike on it.
It was in a highly visible area and had 2 locks on it. Once cable, one Kryptonite U-lock. It is discouraging when the city encourages you to keep the air clean and get some exercise by riding your bike, yet we seem to have little protection from the criminals stealing our bikes. It is a little unfortunate. I think I will take the advice of the person that emailed in about the chain and lock etc that cannot be cut through. It is a shame we have to do this.
Another Day, Another Bike Stolen
I've had 5 bikes stolen, 4 of which were locked up. All at different times. I live in Tulsa, Oklahoma and obviously bike thieves are everywhere here. I've tried every kind of bike lock out there and nothing stops them. I prefer walking or bicycling, but I can't seem to keep a bicycle long enough to enjoy it. Once, a bike I had just bought (I rode it ONE TIME!) was stolen the next day. It had a name-brand bike lock on it...
U-locks aren't safe either, another bike I had locked up with a U-Lock, both U-lock and bike were gone without a trace. I've never recovered any of these bikes, even after filing police reports with serial numbers. You don't see too many people riding bikes here, because of the high theft rates, and if they do ride bikes they are cheapo bikes, because riding pricey ones is too risky. When I have enough saved up for yet another bike, I'll try the idea I read here from Otto...
Is One Lock Enough?
I am an unemployed copy operator from New York City. Money is tight, as I am currently on unemployment. I started to save money by riding a nine year old, but still in excellent condition, Royce Union mountain bike to the unemployment office that is a good eight miles from my home. I did this as often as I could, in order to save money on subway fare.
To make a long story short, I used to double lock that bike in front of the office every day. The one day that I do not... I leave that office to find out that I no longer own a bike. I got so comfortable, with that false sense of security, that on the day my bike was stolen, I had stupidly chosen to secure it with one lock, a kryptonite cable lock (which was cut clean through,) over the heavy abus chain lock, that I had decided to leave home that day.
New York, NY
Thief Strikes in Open, High-Traffic Area.
When I was in college I always locked my bike up in the front of the dorm at Cal State University Hayward's Carol Bee Hall. I thought it was a safe place since there was a lot of traffic going by there at all times of the day and night. My bike was a french Grand Touring Motebecane. One morning as I excited the dorm, I observed my bike was gone and the lock was snapped in two and laying there where my bike once was. I decided from that day forward, I would never leave my bike some place unless it was a bike I could afford to lose.
Today, I have a new carbon fibre bike that is worth over $3K and I will never trust it to any lock.