Bike Your Drive!

Tips to prevent your bike from being stolen

Great article courtesy of Fox News

1. Get a U-lock. The overwhelming majority of stolen bikes were locked with a cable or chain, or weren’t locked at all. The cheapest U-lock is better than the best chain. Locally, Home Depot carries entry-level U-locks for around $14. Online, you can get U-locks from Bike Nashbar for $9. Higher quality locks are available at bike shops and sell for $25-80. Remember, a bike being unlocked is a bigger factor in whether it gets stolen than how expensive the bike is.

2. USE your U-lock. Of course this sounds like a no-brainer, but I can’t count how many people (myself included) who have lost bikes that they left unlocked “just for a minute”. I once had a bike stolen from my front porch that was only out there for twenty minutes after I got home. Lock your bike religiously. If you’re at a store and there’s nothing to lock your bike to, at the very least lock your bike to itself. (That is, lock the frame to a wheel.) That way, someone can’t ride off ON your bike (although they could still throw it in the back of a truck and drive off with it).

3. Put the U-lock through the frame, not just through a wheel. If you lock just a wheel, a thief will simply remove the wheel and walk away with your bike frame. For best protection, put the lock through BOTH the frame and the front wheel when locking your bike to something.

4. Be careful about the ends of bike racks. Some bike parking racks are constructed with simple nuts and bolts on the ends. If you park your bike on the end of one of these racks, a thief could disassemble the end of the bike rack with a wrench, and slide your bike off it. By the same token, also check to make sure that the part of the rack you’re locking to is solid and not broken at the top or bottom.

5. Don’t park on traffic signs overnight. A determined thief can take the sign off the top of the pole, and then slide your bike over the pole.

6. Don’t park your bike overnight in public if you can avoid it.

7. If your bike is expensive and you have to leave your bike parked in public overnight or for a long time, consider getting a second, less expensive “beater bike” for those times. That way it’ll be less likely to be stolen, and if it is, you won’t be quite so heartbroken. Note, though, that a poorly-locked cheap bike is often a bigger target than a well-locked expensive bike. (The smallest target is a well-locked cheap bike, of course.)

8. Paint over expensive brand names or scratch them off. Simply adding stickers won’t fool a thief into thinking your bike is old or low quality (although it may make it easier to identify if it IS stolen).

Keep Reading

Weird sense of satisfaction

RL and I were chatting, he was telling me how cool his commute is with wide bike lanes, rolling hills and parks. As far as my commute goes, I use the river trail for about 1 mile of my 10 mile commute (one way).

San Gabriel River Trail

I also ride a congested Avenue (Florence Ave) with plenty of room for me to ride. Call me weird, but I get a LOT of satisfaction as I pass cars stuck in traffic, and sometimes I get motivated to pedal faster just to catch up to some cars on the next red light.

Here’s a slide show of my commute:

And you wonder why they are overweight

My family and I went camping this weekend. Every time I go camping, I always take my bikes and the trailer. We use the bikes to go check out some of the amenities of the campsite, this particular site had 3 lakes with a swimming ‘lagoon’.

Grace riding with Hershey

I would guesstimate that the distance from the lagoon to the campsite was about a quarter of a mile. I used the Breezer Villager to tow my kids to the lagoon and to a playground near by. I also noticed more than a few campers using golf carts to get around the campsite. The interesting part was that most of the drivers were overweight, mmm, I wonder why?

Resources for the New Bicycle Commuter

Know anyone who has expressed an interest in giving bicycle commuting a try? Many of us have talked to someone who wants to do it but doesn’t really know where to begin. Well, here are a couple Internet resources (besides OUR fine site!) you can point them to. The following sites are generally designed for and aimed at beginners, although a couple of them offer information that will be useful for even the most seasoned, long-time commuter.

Paul Dorn’s Bike Commute Tips

Paul Dorn's Bike Commute Tips website

I’ll start with my favorite — the excellent site put together by Paul Dorn. This site has something for everyone, novices and pros alike. It is clearly divided into major categories and is well-written.

Paul also writes an excellent blog that highlights bicycle commuting news from around the U.S. and beyond.

Bike Safety Institute

Bike Safety Institute website

This site, despite its lofty title, primarily serves as an online ride calendar (that isn’t updated very often). Still, there are quite a few tidbits hidden around the site for the beginning commuter. One tidbit I discovered during a recent visit is the table of bicycle fatalities by state, compiled in 2004 by the National Highway Transportation Safety Administration‘s Center for Statistics and Analysis. The top ten most fatal states (per one million population) are Florida at number one (boo!!!), Nevada, Hawaii, Washington D.C., South Carolina, Arizona, Puerto Rico, Delaware, North Dakota and California finishing out at number 10.

Bicycle Fatalities By State

Pedestrian and Bicycle Information Center

Bicycling Info's website

This website is chock-full of statistical information, image libraries, engineering considerations and many other resources. This site is also very popular with transportation planners who are hoping to include pedestrians and bicycles into their urban plans…our local bicycle/pedestrian planners are actually the ones who turned me onto this site!! Plenty of information is geared at beginners, and even more is available to the advanced commuter or active commuting advocate.

Check these sites out — you may learn something new, and you will certainly be able to point someone in the right direction if you’re ever asked “how do I get started commuting by bicycle?”

As always, if there are other sites you could recommend to beginners, please let us know about them and we may include them in future articles.

Armed and Dangerous

The other day I was listening to this High School kid tell a story about how he and his buddies drive with water balloons and hit their favorite targets: Cyclists.

Armed and Dangerous

So I told him, ‘you know that some of us have the capability to catch up to you on the next red light right? Not only that, some of us carry ‘personal defense devices’. He looked at me kind of dumbfounded, so I told him, ‘yeah, I usually carry pepper spray and I’ve known of people that ride with knives’. The expression on his face was priceless.

I think that drivers also have the misconception that since we ride a bike, we all must be defenseless geeks.