bike thieves are scum

April 4th, 2009

of all the types of thieves and possibly criminals in general, bike thieves have to rank up there with among the scummiest.  At best they are ruining someone’s day and costing them a lot of money, at worst they are taking something that someone really depends on away and causing a lot of pain.  I remember seeing a stat that said that a lot (most?)  people who have their bike stolen either buy  a cheaper bike the next time, or quit biking altogether, discourages by the lost sunk costs.

well at the shop the other day, we had another customer coming in, dragging his rear-wheelless bike into the shop.    this really broke my heart.  it was an older gentleman, most definitely qualified as a senior citizen, and he clearly depending on his bike on a daily basis.  the combination of seeing him physically struggling with dragging the bike into the shop, exclaiming that he has carried it “from Dudley!”(which is far on foot to the South End for anyone), seeing that he likely did not have a lot of disposable income (what an awful first-world phrase that is, by the way), and seeing his bike which evidenced a  lot of heavy winter riding (grime would not come off the chainstays or drivetrain!) was just crushing for me.  I wanted to go out to the “shitwheel pile” we keep and fit a wheel on that would work for him, but the shop ended up selling with a used wheel with freewheel, and a new tire and tube, which along with labor cost this gentlemen over 80 dollars.  I know the shop can’t be a charity but I do wish we had just given him a wheel that was headed to the dumpster, trued it up, filled it with air, and got him riding for, say 20 bucks.   (and i wish i hadnt given my own spare junk wheel away eariler this week to that other guy who had his wheel swiped — at least that guy could afford new digs, and was upfront about being willing to pay for it.  of course i couldnt foresee into the future and know that, No i shouldnt give away this wheel for free to this guy, because a needier person will walk in a couple days later).

Well, its not any consolation for me, but I know that its not my or the shop’s fault for the trouble these two victims have had, it was the asshole thieves taking rear wheels from beater bikes.  Oh man I just get the urge to go to law school and work in the district attorney’s office for 25 years and then get appointed Judge by the governor just so i can sentence bike thieves to real hard time and kick their ass around a bit.  bike theft is a real quality of life issue; it can really sour someone on a city or particular neighborhood, not to mention bike ownership/riding. I wish MassBike took this up as an advocacy issue.

I also wish bikes didnt have quick-releases as standard issue, actually.   as a biker how often do you use the QR?? how much more likely is the quick release going to be used by a thief rather than the owner???

ok well rant over. deep breaths… in….out…. haha.   the lesson to learn is, secure both your wheels when locking!  and your seat too.

 late nite edit: as i think it over more, i am kicking myself for not going over to the cafe 3 doors down and buying the guy a coffee and some baklava.   fuuuuuuuuccccck. ok goodnite.

7 Responses to “bike thieves are scum”

  1. huffypuffy Says:

    In the past, our society has recognized that the deprivation of transportation by theft was a very serious offense – horse thieves were hung. Car thieves face a pretty serious sentence. But bike thieves? Not so much.

    The most significant obstacle that needs to be changed to improve bike protection is the idea that bikes are no more than expensive toys. I’m not sure that the assumption is unwarranted – I’d bet that the majority of Super Six owners don’t depend on the bike to keep their jobs. And those bike out of necessity probably can’t afford the opportunity cost of advocacy. And so perpetuates the conception of cycling as the whimsy of bleeding-heart twenty-somethings with too-tight pants.

  2. Huffy Puffy » The white man’s burden Says:

    […] was reading Exploded Hub’s post on bike theft when I considered how difficult it is to elevate the status of cycling in a society […]

  3. pedalstrike Says:

    agreed. despite being fully aware of the legal repercussions, i am not above sending anybody that tries to steal anything off my bike to the hospital.

    that said…law school is killer. maybe you can badger the city/mayor/nicole freeman to do something about it. the only downside to building up a new bike for me has been the very real fear that parts are going to get swiped off it if i leave it anywhere for less than 1 minute.

    i suppose that’s the risk we all take with our bikes though.

  4. danpugatch Says:

    quick release was invented for racers who needed to change their flats in a race. only high end road bikes should have them. i try to get my customers to buy bolt on wheels when they replace broken or stolen wheels and to get the locking skewers when they buy new bikes. i only use bolt on myself and then a cable in addition to my ulock.

  5. danpugatch Says:

    if i saw someone cutting my lock/taking components off my bike I’d kick all their teeth out and prolly hurt them bad enough to be in an ambulance, but hey at least id be nice and call an ambulance while I rode away.

  6. huffypuffy Says:

    go ahead and kick! that’s why law schools and medical schools exist.

  7. Rambo online Says:

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