Bike Thieves …


I walked downtown yesterday.

Normally, I would cycle but I needed a haircut, and wanted to explore the new, flagship Nordstrom store without having to worry about my bike. You do have to worry about your bike downtown.


Look at what is left of this bike.

Look carefully. Look what was stolen. Handlebars. Stem. Forks. Brakes. Seat post. Saddle. And, wheels. The thief came prepared with a toolbox. You might think this bike was locked in a lane way out of sight. No. This bike was locked in the heart of the retail district on the busiest corner in the city. You would think that would deter anyone. Apparently not.

There are over 2,000 bikes stolen in the city every year. During the summer months, 8-10 are stolen every day. More bikes are stolen than cars. And, the numbers increase every year.

I have had 1 bike stolen in 30 years. And, that was a long time ago. I suppose you could say that’s not bad. Or, that I’m a fast learner. How do I do it? How have I outsmarted the thieves for so long? It’s simple. I don’t lock my bikes outside. I take them into the office and park them next to my desk. I take them into stores when I’m shopping. Or, if that isn’t possible, I leave them at home like I did yesterday.

Chas: “I would have liked Nordstrom.”

I’m fortunate. I work in an environment that encourages and supports cycling. If I couldn’t take my bikes into the office, I likely wouldn’t cycle. That is what has always stopped me before. It’s not the infrastructure. It’s not having a shower or a place to change. I haven’t wanted to worry about my bike locked outside, unattended. They are too easy to steal.

I do ride and lock Thatch at the gym where I workout. I’m ok with that. The bike lock up area is right next to the main entrance to the club, out of site from the street traffic. I never take Lou or Chas.

Thatch: “What’s that mean? You don’t care if I get stollen.”

I would be upset if Thatch was stollen. We have spent many enjoyable years together. It’s just she would be easier, and less expensive to replace. And, that’s the thing. The strategy.  Older, less expensive bikes are less likely to be stollen. I keep Thatch in good working order but she doesn’t get the attention that Chas and Lou get. She’s purposely nondescript.

Thatch: “Hey! Watch what you say. I look pretty good for my age.”


35 thoughts on “Bike Thieves …

      • Where we live, we can stop at any restaurant we want, usually a Subway, leave our bikes outside and never have to worry about someone messing with them… The road bikes – we’re talking about $50,000 worth of bikes if we’ve got eight guys… That’s the way it should be everywhere. Best thing about living out in the country. Next to the lack of traffic.

  1. Whew! I was scared for a second that Chas, Lou or Thatch were stolen.
    I can’t believe those stats…8-10 stolen each day! That is insane, bike theft is such a horrid crime.

    • It’s terrible anyone would think of stealing a bike. I understand many of the thieves are drug addicts in search of their next fix. They sell them quickly for much less than the bikes are really worth. Where you live, I don’t imagine this is much of a problem 🙂

      • Nope, I never lock up my bike when I am running errands around town. That was one of the strangest things about my recent bike trip to Rochester-locking my bike up even if I was running into a store for a minute.

  2. Sad to see that. Due to our homeless and gang problems we have bike theft here. A friend’s son lost his barely used Trek from a big chain lock up at one of the high schools.

  3. Some years ago they stole mine. It was worth two of my current salaries and I had saved for years for it. It was in the cellar, locked inside, with four locked doors all along the way to it. I never bought such an expensive one again.

    • It must have been a beautiful bike, or you make very, very little 🙂

      This awful. Just goes to show there is no safe place for a bike. They are easy and quick to steal no matter where we may lock them. I do hope you buy an expensive bike again. Maybe when you novels become best sellers 🙂

      • I will never write best sellers 🙂 it was a mountain bike. I lived in the Alps and every day I was biking up a mountain because there I had time to read and nobody would disturb me. I could have bought a car for that money. And the worst thing is, I only took it out once. The next day it was gone.

      • That’s terrible. I feel for you. I hope you get another nice bike one day.

        I’m not sure about the best sellers. You have a gift for writing 😄

      • But that’s not what best sellers are about. You need marketing and some topic that will move thousands of readers at once. But thank you anyways 🙂
        I hope to sell my car after the PhD and get a decent bike and a train ticket for the winter 😀

      • I’m pleased to hear that 😄

        You have a story that has already moved many. And you have a way of telling a story that moves people. I have no doubt you will see success as a writer.

  4. If you can believe this, about 15 years ago I bike-commuted daily to work from Scarborough right into downtown Toronto, financial district. I had no choice but lock up my hybrid bike outdoors on a rack. I was taking a huge risk…but the bike was always there. This went on for 2 summers.

    • I did that commute. Well to Ryseron. I used to teach in the Business School there and that was where my Dawes touring bike was stolen. I’m pleased to hear you had good luck 🙂

  5. Ahh so even in your bit of the world they steal bikes… I guess the difference is in my patch they hijack bikes sometimes with unnecessary violence too. Really sad isn’t it!

  6. I just can’t understand how someone can saw through a lock and dismantle a bike with tools, all in full view of the public? Why does nobody notice, or if they do, why don’t they say something? You’d think that leaving your bike in a public place would be safe, but it’s not.

    I can’t afford to replace my bike if it’s stolen so I don’t leave it unattended for the most part. I’d never take it downtown and leave it, that’s for sure! I think there should be a special circle in hell reserved for bike thieves.

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