Is a bike lock enough?

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Is a bike lock enough?

Postby CannotWait » Wed Jan 13, 2010 6:48 pm

So I've read a bunch of bike threads, and everyone seems to suggest using a lock.

Is there a HIGH likelihood of having your bike stolen, or is it just an advisable precaution? Like, if I don't have a lock (which I will), will it be stolen almost for sure? That would be kind of a bummer. I thought BM attracted more of the non-thieving types.

Assuming I'll be using a lock, is that good enough? Are there bike thieves popping off locks on the Playa?

Also, what kind of structures can you secure your bike to, or do you just rely on locking the wheels so it can't roll?
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Postby mudpuppy000 » Wed Jan 13, 2010 7:13 pm

I don't think people would go through the effort to break a lock on a bike. It's more like they're under the influence, and borrow your bike to get to their next destination, then leave it who knows where. :)

I just locked one of my wheels to the frame, so it was unrideable, and nobody messed with it. Back in camp, I locked it to my truck while I was asleep.
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Postby Elorrum » Wed Jan 13, 2010 7:31 pm

avoid the grief. use a lock. Burning Man is not a special no theft event, even if some people feel it is. Stuff that's easy to take can get taken. Anybody deciding to take a bike that doesn't belong to them, I hope will find one of Elliot's bikes.
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Postby justfred » Wed Jan 13, 2010 8:14 pm

Often, a zip-tie is enough. Or a well-placed bungee cord.

Think really really smashed person wandering out of a dance camp at 0:dark:30, who thinks (despite the custom fur, blinky lights, faux leopardskin, and ape hanger handlebars) they're grabbing their own bike, but picks yours instead - you just need enough so they go "hey, wait, dude, this isn't my bike! Woweee, what a trip!!!"

Get a cheap lock that you can remember the combination to when you're smashed and wandering out of a dance camp (etc etc).

But do make the effort to make your bike unique and fabulous.
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Postby sputnik » Wed Jan 13, 2010 8:25 pm

I have used a cheap $2 lock for the past 6 years. I even leave the combination on it and just spin one of the digits one or two places to lock it. Then again, I don't bring a $500 bike and it's not highly decorated
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Postby teardropper » Wed Jan 13, 2010 9:04 pm

Lock your bike when you can't see it, and use an easy to use lock so you'll be sure to use it. I'm not sure someone would take it but it is an easy thing to lock it, I do it at home with my good bike, and it would really be a drag to lose the bike and have to walk. Or use the yellow bikes.
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Postby ibdave » Wed Jan 13, 2010 9:41 pm

justfred wrote:Often, a zip-tie is enough. Or a well-placed bungee cord.

But do make the effort to make your bike unique and fabulous.


This is what a few in our camp do.. ez-on---ez-off :shock: :shock: :shock:

My 3rd year I was mOOping and a young punk kid took off my decorations and rode off.. I yell and he came back.. Told me that he was thinking about buying a bike like mine and just wanted to try it out... Yea right you little fucker... :evil: :twisted: :evil:

Plus with the bungee you just might get to see the smuck get tossed over the handle bars.... :shock: 8) :shock:
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Postby Ugly Dougly » Wed Jan 13, 2010 10:35 pm

Just don't park your bike in the Bad Parts of B.R.C.

You know which places I am referring to.
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Postby klondike_bar » Wed Jan 13, 2010 11:33 pm

any saffety precaution that goes above and beyond dumping the bike at the side of the road or in a pile of other bikes is often enough.
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Postby Loricybin » Thu Jan 14, 2010 2:51 am

the following is not as much advice as it is primarily anecdotal..

last year (my first time), my camp brought four bikes with us. most of us didn't have locks. all of our bikes remained untouched until friday, when all four bikes disappeared individually. mine was stolen from root society around sunrise, two others were stolen from our camp (just off the outer center-camp ring road, evolution), and another was stolen somewhere in the 9:00 plaza area.

i get the impression that the community becomes less trustworthy around friday, at which time the last of the city's population arrives. my theory is that, having just arrived to catch the "main event" (burn night), these stragglers show up with less personal investment and/or interest in maintaining honest and supportive community vibes, and bring with them more of a "hey, cool, some giant desert party where everything is free.." vibe.

granted i'm speaking without a plethora of experience, and admittedly making broad assumptions and generalizing, but i feel as though the community becomes a bit diluted as the weekend unfolds.

my point, if there is one, is that i'd recommend locking your bike up throughout the event. personally, i believe it's most at risk toward the end of the week, but i'd lock it the whole time.. and yes, a lock will certainly be enough. no one in black rock is bothering with busting locks. (i don't think so, anyway)

bikes are also at higher risk of theft along the esplanade and at the major rave camps.
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Postby Ugly Dougly » Thu Jan 14, 2010 12:24 pm

The final 24 hours before everyone starts to leave - is the time to watch your damn stuff.
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Why steal bikes on the last day?

Postby Marscrumbs » Thu Jan 14, 2010 1:42 pm

Ironically on the last day folks leave their bike in piles at the mouth of the spokes to give away. There are more bikes than the donation people can handle. I know people who take home a few extra when they leave on Tuesday or Wednesdays for next year.
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Why steal bikes on the last day?

Postby Marscrumbs » Thu Jan 14, 2010 1:43 pm

Ironically on the last day folks leave their bike in piles at the mouth of the spokes to give away. There are more bikes than the donation people can handle. I know people who take home a few extra when they leave on Tuesday or Wednesdays for next year.
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Postby C.f.M. » Thu Jan 14, 2010 2:17 pm

Posting blind:

I never locked my bike, in camp or on the Esplanade.

I heard tell from a ranger or two that someone, just for fun, was going around with a bolt cutter (or whatever) randomly cutting locks.

Some camps have bike thingies just for you to lock onto. Others, just hit the kickstand and go in.

Oh, you know what? I take that back. A couple of times I did lock my bike. To the bikes of the people I was with.
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Postby justfred » Thu Jan 14, 2010 3:12 pm

Oh, and put your default world name, address, contact info - and your playa-name and playa-address somewhere prominent. Maybe you thought you parked it over there - ooh, blinky shiny stuff - where the hell did my bike go, someone must have stolen it.

I spent a couple hours last year returning a camera to someone based solely on photos of the camp that were on the camera.
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Postby Homiesinheaven » Thu Jan 14, 2010 4:19 pm

"No bike is considered stolen unless the lock was cut, and no bike is considered lost until the event is over on Monday. "

combination locks are a must, dont bother with a key.
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Postby dinks » Thu Jan 14, 2010 4:59 pm

A $5 cable lock from target is all you need. We had one person in our group carrying a lock (me most of the time) and everyone in the group knew the combo. Just running the lock through the rear tires of 3 or 4 bikes is enough to keep them from disappearing.
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Postby Teo del Fuego » Thu Jan 14, 2010 5:33 pm

heard anecdotally that some folks from nearby attend for the sole purpose of stealing bikes
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Postby gyre » Thu Jan 14, 2010 6:52 pm

And if you paint your bike green, don't leave it unlocked.
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Postby geospyder » Thu Jan 14, 2010 9:21 pm

Dear Abby,

I brought a lock last year where the combo was my age so I could remember it. Now that I'm year older can I use the same lock?
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Postby ygmir » Thu Jan 14, 2010 9:43 pm

we went out Wed. after the burn, to get the stage and bring it home.
There were still hundreds of bikes, scattered all over, single and in piles.......
many, at a glance, seemed nice.

I'm sure each has a story............
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Postby C.f.M. » Fri Jan 15, 2010 7:13 am

ygmir wrote:we went out Wed. after the burn, to get the stage and bring it home.
There were still hundreds of bikes, scattered all over, single and in piles.......
many, at a glance, seemed nice.

I'm sure each has a story............


That would be so cool, to hang around for afterwards. I've always enjoyed, at burns, being first to arrive and last to leave. Rarely is burn night ever the best night.
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Postby theCryptofishist » Fri Jan 15, 2010 11:50 am

geospyder wrote:Dear Abby,

I brought a lock last year where the combo was my age so I could remember it. Now that I'm year older can I use the same lock?

Dear Geospyder
Since your age is apparently in the 3 digets, you shouldn't be riding a bike, or even attending burning man.
So happy to help,
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Postby geospyder » Fri Jan 15, 2010 3:54 pm

Hey Abby,

I figured I'd have a couple too many and would be seeing double. The combo was four digits - 2121 - yeah - don't I wish. Well then maybe not. That was too young and naive. Many years have been added since then and I'm still naive.
Don't believe everything you think.
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Postby motskyroonmatick » Fri Jan 15, 2010 5:40 pm

C.f.M. wrote:
ygmir wrote:we went out Wed. after the burn, to get the stage and bring it home.
There were still hundreds of bikes, scattered all over, single and in piles.......
many, at a glance, seemed nice.

I'm sure each has a story............


That would be so cool, to hang around for afterwards. I've always enjoyed, at burns, being first to arrive and last to leave. Rarely is burn night ever the best night.


I have stayed late. The piles of bikes and other moop really saddened me but I got over it. Riding around in a hot tub and splashing water on burners was really fun. Watching the on fire piano get hurled out on to the playa was fantastic. Good times....but only stay late if you have a job to do.
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Postby Armand » Fri Jan 15, 2010 5:53 pm

IF you're bike is highly decorated, 90% chance it will not get stolen.

IF you're bike is some $20 craigslist mountain bike with absolutely nothing changed, 50% chance it will get stolen without a lock.

IF you're bike is locked, you are 100% safe.

IF you do not worry at ALL about your bike being stolen, you are 100% safe, locked or unlocked, decorated or not.

I've gone two years so far without locking my bike. It's a plain vintage 70's women's 3-speed dutch style bicycle I bought for $25. No decorations, no fancy lights, just a front basket, a blinky light, and a mount for an umbrella. I even leave my backpack in the basket with random stuff I need at night. It's never gotten stolen. I've left it overnight by an art piece in the middle of the playa overnight, and gotten it the next afternoon. I never worried about it, ever.

My brother on the other hand, has a bike pretty much identical to mine, and he worries like mad. His bike's been stolen once, and his backpack stolen once each of the two years.

So don't worry about it and enjoy yourself. 8)
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Postby gyre » Fri Jan 15, 2010 6:02 pm

I think decorated bikes get targeted.


And wishful thinking as a security technique?

I guess since it works for everything else...
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Postby Bob » Fri Jan 15, 2010 10:24 pm

The number of bikes found abandoned each year more than fills a couple of forty yard dumpsters.

What you're creating by not locking your bike is trash in a wilderness area.
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Postby Loricybin » Sat Jan 16, 2010 11:34 am

gyre wrote:And if you paint your bike green, don't leave it unlocked.


true that. i showed up with a neon green mountain bike (not realizing "yellow" bikes are actually green), and it disappeared near a pickled egg/census camp. i wandered around trying to find my bike, understanding what had happened. showed up at the same spot about two hours later and my bike had been returned.

i assume the person who took it noticed the headlight and the lock around the seat post and was nice enough to bring it back. after that, i painted purple stripes on the fucker. the stripes kept it safe till friday.
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Postby C.f.M. » Sat Jan 16, 2010 12:03 pm

I think my very distinctive decor is one of the reasons it wasn't stolen.

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