Monday, November 18, 2013

Bike Theft On The Path To Cycling Enlightenment

Like the old proverb says, “If you love something, let it go…blah, blah, blah.” This applies to many things in life, although probably not to your baby and especially not if you are dangling it Michael Jackson-style from a balcony.

Many proverbs should not be taken literally.

But when it comes to bikes, this is most definitely the case. In fact, getting your bike stolen is a right of passage, which, if handled correctly, can help you grow as both a person and a bike rider. Although less so as a bike rider, particularly if you only have one bike. But that is a philosophical question for another time.

The secret lies in how you manage the experience. In many ways, the more it inconveniences you the better as there will be greater potential for personal growth. It’s a similar principle to athletic training. The more uncomfortable, difficult and intense sessions often provide you with the most benefit in the long run.

For example, in order to maximise your personal betterment, it is preferable that your daily commuter bike gets stolen rather than your boutique Italian road bike that only gets ridden on weekends when there is no chance of rain. Losing your daily commuter bike has the added benefit of being of lesser replacement value – although probably not if you are commuting to work on this:
$70,000 for a wooden, steam-bent commuter bike? Go on, take the leap.

It is preferable that you discover the bike theft once you are already kitted up in your cycling apparel and bike shoes. If you can also manage to lock yourself outside making it difficult to get changed, then this will definitely enhance the experience. There’s nothing more character building than having to walk or catch the train home in your cycling gear, particularly if you are one of those Assos models always getting around in their bib knicks and not much else.
For maximum disruption to your daily life, try getting your commuter bike stolen when you need to be somewhere important – like your 6pm Bikram Yoga class.
When your commuter bike gets stolen, you’ll need to learn about other forms of transport. Perhaps you’ll become familiar with your local public transportation route map. 
Using public transport is also great way to meet people that you would otherwise not come in to contact with whilst indulging in the rather solitary endeavour of bicycle commuting. Who knows, you might even strike up a conversation that leads to a life-long friendship.
But you might just end up next to a wizard timekeeper.
Whatever happens, the important thing to take from it all is that you have grown as a person, simply by building up the confidence to join other members of society in their daily commute. This will do wonders for your mental toughness in the face of adversity.

Alternatively, losing your prime mode of transportation might provide you with the impetus needed to fix up that old car currently rusting away on your front lawn. Not only will this fill you with a wonderful sense of achievement, but it will also allow you to participate in an important modern pastime – traffic congestion.
With so many great benefits to having your bike stolen, all you need now is to go make it happen. Here are some great ways to maximise the chance of bike theft:
  1. Lock your bike up somewhere regularly for an extended period of time so a thief can easily work out your travel patterns and be reasonably sure that you will be gone long enough for them to steal your bike. Good locations include outside a swimming pool or gym, at a university, cinema or outside your local brothel. 
  2. Lock your bike inappropriately to improve the chances of theft. Some good techniques include:  the insecure object, short pole, front wheel only, wire fence, small tree or just locking the frame to itself. And why not save some money in the process by using a homemade U-lock? 
If you’ve tried all of these techniques and are still having trouble getting any bike thieves to bite, then you might just need to leave your bike out unlocked until it happens.

Here’s wishing you well in getting your bike stolen and your first step towards cycling enlightenment. As a wise, old, zen bicycle master once told me, “Good luck but not good lock”.

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