As we draw nearer to the cycling season (for many, we never left it), it is time to renew your pledge to secure your bicycle every time you ride it. Here are some tips … including a little hype about Dero products … from the staff at Dero, the bicycle and “fixit stand” manufacturers. Note that this is from the bicycle capital of the USA, Minneapolis, MN.
Read on …
The Minneapolis Bicycle Coalition posted this (slightly edited) Q&A. Founded in 2009, MBC advocates for a city where bicycling is encouraged and everyone feels comfortable riding and is a big proponent of Protected Bicycle Lanes.
Getting your bicycle stolen is devastating, especially if it’s your primary transportation. While you can minimize risk with a quality lock and increase your chance of getting a stolen bicycle back by registering your bike with the police, where you park your bicycle matters too.
Q: What are the most common reasons bicycles get stolen in Minneapolis?
A: Making the correct bicycle lock is key to deter thieves. Using the wrong type of lock is the most common mistake made by cyclists. We recommend that people only use U-locks or non-cable locks, such as Kryptonite chains or the Abus folding locks. Never use just a cable lock as they are cut quickly and easily. A cable lock should only be used in conjunction with a U-lock or chain. It’s also important to be aware of what you’re locking your bike to and how you’re securing your bicycle.
No matter what, always lock yourbicycle. It’s tempting to run into a store and leave the bicycle unlocked for a minute, but it’s just not a good idea. Always lock your bicycle, even if it’s for just 30 seconds. Many thefts occur because of this split-second bad decision.
Q: Recently The Oregonian ran an article about a new trend inbicycle thieves – cutting through bicycle racks to steal bikes. Has that been an issue with racks in Minneapolis? Are the racks Portland uses similar to the Dero racks the City of Minneapolis uses?
A: I think we’ve been lucky in the Twin Cities metro area. We haven’t been contacted much with these types of issues. Based on the photo in the article, a pipe cutter was used to steal the bicycle. (Contrary to the article’s assumption, the cut is too smooth to be a saw.) Portland uses a rack manufacturer in the Northwest that uses a lighter gauge material for their racks. Dero racks use a heavier duty schedule 40 steel pipe. Both racks are susceptible to a pipe cutter, but a heavier duty rack will take longer to cut and may deter bike thieves. Another issue is that the racks use round pipe, which can be cut by a pipe cutter. Any racks that are inverted-U racks or hoop racks made with round pipe are at risk to pipe cutting. The Dero Hitch Rack that the City of Minneapolis uses won’t work with pipe cutters, since the pipe-cutting tool can’t spin all the way around the locking arms
Q: One of the suggestions in that article is filling racks with concrete to make them more secure. Is that something Dero has considered, and what other technologies might work better to stop thieves?
A: We’ve experimented with filling our Hoop Racks internally with concrete and that was a nightmare. It’s not economical, takes a lot of labor and time, and has to be done onsite at the installation location. A better option is to weld a chain on the inside of an inverted-U bike rack from end to end. We have manufactured a large number of racks for the City of Los Angeles and have included a chain welded to the inside. Pipe cutters can cut the outer pipe but won’t be able to get through the interior chain. The chain acts as a separate safety feature.
Q: Beyond locking to a secure rack, what other advice would you give people looking to secure their bicycles in the best manner possible?
A: If a rack isn’t available, make sure the structure you choose is made of steel, is strong and durable, isn’t bolted together (bolts can be removed), and is firmly installed to the ground or a wall. Make sure your bicycle doesn’t impede pedestrian right of ways or access to buildings. For short-term parking, lock to a closed steel structure like a bicycle rack (not a tree or short signpost with no sign). Make sure that you can’t remove your lock from whatever you are locking to. Ensure that at least one wheel is secured (this might not work for mini U-locks). For long-term parking, we recommend using a U-lock to lock the frame and one wheel (this might not work for mini-U-locks) and a cable lock to secure both wheels in place. In addition, if the bicyclist has an expensive seat like a Brooks saddle, we recommend using a short chain to secure the saddle rails to the seat stays. [ED: We disagree with this approach. The first lock installed – even a mini-U – should secure the rear wheel passing between the seat and down tubes. Go here for more info on the many advantages of the “Sheldon Brown Method.”]
Q: Do you have any advice for installing new secure parking on how to place it to minimize theft?
A: The best place for exterior parking is right next to the front entrance of a business. These locations usually offer window sight lines, lighting, and customer foot traffic, all of which help to keep thieves away. For interior settings (parking garages, bicycle rooms, and bike shelters), secure bicycle parking areas are the way to go. These facilities should consist of a fully enclosed room or cage with user key access, good lighting, and cameras. For home garages, locking it at night isn’t enough. Be sure to anchor a bicycle rack to the wall or ground and then lock to it. Also, install motion sensor lighting if you can. Dero along with other local retailers sell these types of products for home users. I highly recommend investing in these measures.