Bike Security

Bikes, trikes, personal mobility and mutant vehicles - this is the place to discuss general transportation issues. For ride and RV shares, please go to the year-specific Share Resources board.

Postby burner von braun » Tue Sep 14, 2010 10:02 am

Speaking of bike thievery, as I was packing for exodus Monday afternoon, I noticed a guy riding through the recently vacated space near my camp, carrying an additional bike in one arm. Of course it might have been innocent enough, but the thought certainly occurred. I was new this year, (wow!), and so watched him ride on through, but was wondering if you folks would have said anything to him..

On a happier note, late Sunday night I was paying one last long contemplative examination of Bliss, and a cute young lady with a gleeful smile climbed aboard a bike that had been leaning against one of the light stands, and as she began to ride off she told me she had left her bike there three days earlier. It was a bright eyed smile I won't soon forget.
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Postby bluesbob » Tue Sep 14, 2010 3:08 pm

Ryan from our camp had the lock CUT on his bike. $2000 bike, great lock. Also had another bike locked to it. Both locks cut with bolt cutters.

When he went to report it he found others reporting their bikes stolen with locks cut as well. Went on BMIR to talk about it, found two others being interviewed also.

Seems it was organized theft, like a ring. Someone had to have a trailer to carry these bikes away. Someone on the playa must have witnessed this activity and didn't think anything of it.

Don't go into the cost of Ryan's bike. It was expensive all right, top of the line decked out with panniers and all the trimmings. He bicycled all the way from New York to Burning Man. He couldn't have done that on a $20 Craig's List clunker.
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Postby gyre » Tue Sep 14, 2010 3:59 pm

It is very serious if the better solid locks are being cut with cutters.

The good ones should require hydraulic cutters.
So this is very serious, determined and organized theft.

Some of the better hoop locks are over 1/2" in thickness.
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Postby Artemis » Tue Sep 14, 2010 4:07 pm

Dang. It keeps eating at me. I should have said something.

Sunday night after the temple burn I went to Center Camp with one of my intoxicated buddies who had parked his completely nondescript bike there. It took him about 30-40 minutes of going through each bike before he found it.

While I was waiting for him, I saw a guy doing something similar, walking through the aisles, methodically checking out each bike.

But something about it seemed odd. I kept trying to make eye contact with him and when I did he would start acting "casual" looking around at other things. Then he would go back to what he was doing. I should have point blank asked him what he was doing or whether I could help him find his bike or something. My gut tells me that he wasn't looking for his bike but instead taking an inventory of anything that looked valuable and worth coming back with lock-cutters or something...

But you know, I wanted to TRUST that that's not the case...and it felt so presumptuous to call him out on it....

But I should have said something....
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Postby dragonpilot » Tue Sep 14, 2010 6:38 pm

I feel the pain of anyone that has something stolen...it definitely sucks! I learned early in my adult life to take extra precautions to keep people honest. For my part I bring nothing...and I mean NOTHING...to the playa (or anywhere else for that matter), the loss of which would ruin or otherwise put a stain on my trip.

This sounds like the work of a determined group of frickin' thieves. Not much one can do to stop the most dedicated and organized of scumbags short of chaining yourself to your property.

Think about it...fencing a few high end bikes will easily pay for one's Burning Man trip, plus a little pocket change left over for ice and coffee.

Secure your valuable to whatever extremes you think necessary to keep them from getting ripped off. If they still get stolen, you didn't do a good enough job securing them.

Better yet...don't bring your good stuff to the playa if you can't keep it in sight or on your person at all times.
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Postby gyre » Tue Sep 14, 2010 7:09 pm

dragonpilot wrote:
Better yet...don't bring your good stuff to the playa if you can't keep it in sight or on your person at all times.

That's just saying "Don't go.", for a lot of us.
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Postby unjonharley » Tue Sep 14, 2010 7:42 pm

There are first hand storys of bikes stolen while people were watching something on the playa.. Or the one where the bike was taken out of the hand of the owner.. That one got collared..

There is no need for lock cutting.
Bikes are lose everywhere in BRC..

I didn't bring the playa bike this year.. I bought an almost new name brand bike at goodwill for$15..
Should not have done that.. I spent playa time concerned over losing that bike.. I hate it when I give up free rent space in my head.But this year the theifs got a bunch of it.. And I lost some freedom behind it..
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Postby gyre » Tue Sep 14, 2010 7:58 pm

I would expect lock cutting (beyond cables and toy locks) to be for desirable bikes or for convenience.
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Postby unjonharley » Tue Sep 14, 2010 8:06 pm

gyre wrote:I would expect lock cutting (beyond cables and toy locks) to be for desirable bikes or for convenience.


Bolt cutter are at least two foot long to cut anything good..

I take a chill pill to keep me from going all nuts and hammering dumb asses. Maybe I will go off my meds and look for people with cutters.
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Postby theCryptofishist » Tue Sep 14, 2010 8:57 pm

burner von braun wrote:but was wondering if you folks would have said anything to him..

I might not have. Less because something didn't need to be said, than because I don't do confrontation well.
If I coulda reached that part of myself, I might have gone up to him and turned it into a joke.
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Postby gyre » Tue Sep 14, 2010 10:30 pm

unjonharley wrote:
gyre wrote:I would expect lock cutting (beyond cables and toy locks) to be for desirable bikes or for convenience.


Bolt cutter are at least two foot long to cut anything good..

I take a chill pill to keep me from going all nuts and hammering dumb asses. Maybe I will go off my meds and look for people with cutters.

I think even the three foot cutters would have trouble with the type available now.
I can send you a chain link if you want to take a whack at them.
We couldn't scratch the good stuff with a D2 chisel.
And there are even better grades out there than what we tested.

We don't think 24" cutters will cut the smallest abus chain.
Locks are often much tougher.

We finally cut the 4 mm with a torch and locked in a vise, the open link took eight heavy blows from a blacksmith to snap.

Note that is the 4 mm.
Available to 14 mm, and matching locks.
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Postby Eric » Tue Sep 14, 2010 10:53 pm

My fancy word-combo locked jammed on Weds. Took about 30mins to finally get it open, then I just locked it to the chain around my bike. For the rest of the week I would string the chain with lock through my front wheel, taking time to fumble with it so it looked like I was locking it.

Wasn't touched all week, and we were right on the Esplanade.

While there are definitely organized thieves out there, if you just have a beater-bike and lock it with anything (or give it the appearance of being locked) it will discourage most casual thieves, the "oops, I'm drunk and theres a bike" type.
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Postby jerroc » Wed Sep 15, 2010 12:12 am

Has anyone tried gps locators. There are for kids mostly, But might work and for bikes. Some can cost $100 and up. I will try out a few and post my results. Bike alarm locks are under $50
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Postby gyre » Wed Sep 15, 2010 12:28 am

They range much cheaper.
There are so many I haven't sorted out the market yet.
I need some for storage.

Some will record while out of reach and transmit later.
Some are tiny and designed for shipped packages.

One person advised me to rent, rather than buy, due to tech shifts, but this hasn't seemed better economically for me.

Single use units that charge for each use, are the cheapest, as used on light aircraft.
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Postby jerroc » Wed Sep 15, 2010 12:41 am

If they are cheap enough I wil buy some gift them to people with $$$ bikes Maybe it will bag an ass hole. Any goods one you know about?
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Postby gyre » Wed Sep 15, 2010 12:50 am

I am still confused by the market.
I am looking mostly at permanently mounted ones.

Transportation security is one area to look in.
I found so many, I have never been able to look at them all.

I found one for $75 for aircraft years ago.
Satellite contact only.

Some use multiple technologies and may not work on the playa.

You have to pay attention to that issue.
And the level of accuracy you need.
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Postby gyre » Wed Sep 15, 2010 12:55 am

Simple trackers may be the best option, even radio only, if used on the playa only.
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Postby burner von braun » Wed Sep 15, 2010 7:39 am

Yeah, the right words seldom come to mind, perhaps wielding a camera might serve to dissuade a thief.
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Postby unjonharley » Wed Sep 15, 2010 7:41 am

Planing a compressor on the MV next year.. So throw in the hi speed disc cutter for those with fucked up locks..Getting the word out would be a prob..More later.
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Postby mudpuppy000 » Wed Sep 15, 2010 8:35 am

Eric wrote:While there are definitely organized thieves out there, if you just have a beater-bike and lock it with anything (or give it the appearance of being locked) it will discourage most casual thieves, the "oops, I'm drunk and theres a bike" type.


Nobody messed with my 17 year old rusty mountain bike, lol. I still locked the tire to the frame though. (cable lock) It's nice to have it well lit too when you're stumbling around drunk and trying to find it in a huge crowd of people.
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Postby dragonpilot » Wed Sep 15, 2010 12:55 pm

gyre wrote:
dragonpilot wrote:
Better yet...don't bring your good stuff to the playa if you can't keep it in sight or on your person at all times.

That's just saying "Don't go.", for a lot of us.


I understand what you're saying, but really...cars and trucks aren't likely to be stolen...possible, but not likely. Most of the things that get lifted are bikes, small electronics (including cameras), and cash....maybe the odd Coleman camp stove. No one's gonna walk off with your Costco car shade...possible, but not likely.

There are lots of photographers with VERY expensive cameras. I'll bet most of them don't let their camera gear get outta sight. If they do, it's only a matter of time before it gets legs. Cash is easy to hide, but you better be smarter than the thieves...keep it on you!

So the only thing that really seems to be the most common target, and the one most often listed here are the bikes. They're visible, all over the place, mobile, easy to hide, easy to sell off-playa.

Nothing is theft proof, nothing. If someone wants it badly enough, it'll get lifted. Even the cash in your pocket.

So, once again...if the loss of something would ruin your trip, leave it at home or bring a cheap substitute...or stay home with your expensive crap. And puh...leze, stop bitching about your loss here...what do you want us to do?
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Postby Dr Helix » Wed Sep 15, 2010 1:42 pm

Strange bike story for me. Was out Sunday and got a chance to ride the Big Wheel Pirate Ship (Beautiful!) so we dropped our bikes on the playa. When we returned, my bike was gone! But.....another bike lay in its place! And not a crummy one either. It was at least equal to or slightly better than mine. Merry mixup? Hard to fathom cuz they were the only two left there. We spent some time looking around for the person riding my bike but finally gave up and brought this one home. So whoever did do the take and leave, I hope you're enjoying my bike beacause I am enjoying yours.
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My GF bike stolen

Postby griffen » Wed Sep 15, 2010 2:09 pm

The one time she went somewhere without a lock and lost it at the temple within an hour... Her Bike was so elaborate NO ONE could confuse with their bike... only cost $40 but she lost the bike before the weekend... and it sucked.

Next year I want to put a GPS tracker and a $1000 work of art ring in bikes at temple and bring zip ties and place people under citizens arrest for grand theft... need to read laws of citizens arrest for Nevada and Parks service I want to be in compliance... I would be interested in working with people on this. One night douche bag clean up.

I did it one night but didn't arrest the guy... but he will recall the clothesline I gave him forever I'm sure.
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Postby AntiM » Wed Sep 15, 2010 5:35 pm

I'm seriously considering a lock for our new stove/oven; especially after the stanchions got lifted. We will be locking our trailer's dropgate at our regional. Won't stop a determined thief, but will slow down casual "borrowers".
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Postby unjonharley » Thu Sep 16, 2010 11:30 am

AntiM wrote:I'm seriously considering a lock for our new stove/oven; especially after the stanchions got lifted. We will be locking our trailer's dropgate at our regional. Won't stop a determined thief, but will slow down casual "borrowers".


Ive been wanting to build a suitcase type camp kitchen.. Best make it lockable huh?


Ok, Thread drift thread drift.

I need the pulley that attaches to bike spokes.. It's for gas engine belt drive.
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Postby organizedchaos » Thu Sep 16, 2010 11:50 am

i saw something that really opened my eyes on sunday morning at about 8 (bike ride of shame) at about 4:30 and C. i was riding on a fairly quiet street and saw someone doing what looked like unlocking their bike and going somewhere. just behind me a guy was riding up and all of a sudden he starts yelling "hey! hey, thats my friends bike! someone stop him"
someone grabbed the guy, and at this point the guy riding his bike behind me had come up. i couldn't believe i saw this! it seemed less like a drunken mistake and more like a deliberate attempt at stealing someone's bike from their camp when everyone appeared to be asleep. It made me think twice about just pulling up to my camp, setting down my bike, and not locking it.
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Postby Miles » Fri Sep 17, 2010 12:13 pm

So how'd it go Elliot? Did you bring the bait bikes?

We'll be starting a Bicycle Club Camp next year and were planning on doing some bait bikes and Theif-Shamings. Now i see this is allready happening!

If anyone would like to collaborate, join our camp (we'll be doing bike repair and bringing some jumps [hopefully jumps with flames] as well), or just watch some thieves get shamed, PM me!
I like bikes and stuff
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Postby unjonharley » Fri Sep 17, 2010 12:34 pm

Miles wrote:So how'd it go Elliot? Did you bring the bait bikes?

We'll be starting a Bicycle Club Camp next year and were planning on doing some bait bikes and Theif-Shamings. Now i see this is allready happening!

If anyone would like to collaborate, join our camp (we'll be doing bike repair and bringing some jumps [hopefully jumps with flames] as well), or just watch some thieves get shamed, PM me!


I saw one camp with a tity bounce road in front.. Little trenches about a foot apart..
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Postby Elliot » Fri Sep 17, 2010 5:39 pm

:D
So how'd it go Elliot? Did you bring the bait bikes?


Well... yes and no. I brought five bait/gimmick bikes, but they did not get used. Seems like... by the time The Labor Day Event In the Desert came around, our little group of plotters and connivers had other things on our minds. We never got together.

Perhaps this was because of the prospect of standing around waiting for a mark to go in the trap -- which might never happen. Which would have been a horrible waste of precious time in BRC.

So... by the end of the week, I had converted three of the bikes back to normal duty in my fleet of loaner bikes -- for which there was a more ready demand.

So.... If we are going to do this next year, we need radio signal alarms on the bait bike(s), so we don't need to actually watch them like some high-strung cat waiting for the mouse to twitch. Then we'll need a pre-determined time and place to gather. And -- very important -- we will need something fun to do while the radio signal alarm watches the bike(s).

A medium-size Mutant Vehicle would make a good stake-out base. With one of my pianos, a stripper pole, etc. I started building such a thing this year, and even got it invited by the BRC DMV, but the reality is that it may take years to finish it. And at the moment I feel so overwhelmed by unfinished projects that I'm considering scrapping it. It may be more realistic for me to concentrate on bicycle repair and other easier projects than to "take on the world of crime".

But hot dog!, it was fun plotting and inventing! I still have the bike with the "rubber " frame, and the very-slow bike. And... the wheel that stops by itself must be around here somewhere. And the stuff to set off firecrackers under the saddle. Like I say, too many projects.

Having read about some of this year's more serious and "professional" bike thefts, I'm thinking that... to do this right, we should start with a fairly expensive bike -- for maximum Serious Thief Attraction Power. I have a mid-level Mongoose full suspension mountain bike I never ride, which we could use for this.

But right now this project is not really very high on my list. "Life" is intruding. I want to start dating again -- maybe meet somebody? I hate watching The Burn alone. That sort of thing.

But keep me posted on the Bicycle Club Camp, Miles. Be advised, there have been several bike repair camps, and they were all overwhelmed by the demand. I'll probably be repairing bikes in 2011, but very low key.
:D
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Postby gyre » Fri Sep 17, 2010 7:12 pm

At high distraction events, bike theft can be rapid and multiple.

Inside edition did a show about bike theft.
It took 16 minutes for their gps bike to be stolen.
The thief denied it, even though he is on film.

In the right location, it may not take long.
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