and it was stolen just a few hours ago.
Three seemingly unrelated bike thefts in the past four days have Portland’s close-knit racing community feeling frustrated and fed up.
It started Thursday night and we just got word of another bike stolen a few hours ago. In that period five high-end racing bikes have been nabbed by thieves. The incidents don’t appear to be connected, but it’s rare that so many expensive bikes used for racing would be stolen in such a short period of time.
Please be on the lookout for these bikes:
— Shawn Small, founder of Ruckus Composites, got his custom mountain bike stolen last Thursday night. The bike is a one-off that he made and custom-painted himself. He has ridden it on the Oregon Outback and raced it at a 24-hour event. The bike was stolen from Southeast Portland. See details and photos below…
It is a primarily black MTB with a rigid carbon fork on it.
It says Ruckus on the downtube in very large colorful letters and colorful swirls all the frame and fork.
Internally routed everything
Custom painted matte black with swirly multi colored stripes
A carbon 15mm thru-axle fork with 2 extra water bottle mounts and 2 mounts for water proof boxes
Extra water bottle cage mount on the bottom of the downtube.
Whisky carbon Handlebars 740 mm wide
Stans Crest wheels
Schwalbe Super Swan tires (brand new)
SRAM XX1 evertying
Barfly garmin mount with a 3d printed light mount glue to it.
Shimano XT Cranks
— Then Sellwood Cycle Repair reported three bikes stolen on Saturday night. The bikes were taken out of their Kona van. Photos and details below:
STOLEN CROSS BIKES!!! Be on the lookout for three Kona cyclocross bikes! On Saturday night we had three cross bikes stolen out of our Kona van. A light blue carbon Kona Major Jake*, and orange and black carbon Kona Major Jake* (*=photos not of exact bikes) and a very distinctive black and orange Kona Private Jake Prototype. Exact bike details coming soon. The Private jake should be east to spot with it’s custom Orange Sellwood Cycle decal set, Iron Cross wheels, custom chain guide and wolftooth ring. Notify us at the shop or Portland Police if found!
Then today at around 1:00 Portlander Starr Walker reported that her singlespeed cyclocross race bike was stolen out of her home in Southeast Portland. She just raced the bike out at Alpenrose yesterday. Photos and details below:
ALL CITY NATURE BOY 853 DISC BIKE HAS BEEN STOLEN — SIZE 46, Stans Iron Cross wheels, Zipp Service Course Parts, SRAM Rival Crank.
Judging from chatter I’m hearing across my networks, the bike theft problem in Portland continues to spiral out of control. Our effort to do something has clearly not been enough to make a significant impact on the problem. We have plans on how to ramp up those efforts but they haven’t been executed yet. We do plan to organize the second annual Bike Theft Summit in December. With our experiences of the past year and the many lessons we’ve learned and allies we’ve gained, hopefully we can make some real progress.
In the meantime, watch your bikes like a hawk.
Do these thefts have Portlanders on edge, or just Portlanders who own high-end bikes?
Could micro-dots help on bicycles? They are used for cars. Not sure how much it costs or if there is an annual fee or just a one-time fee. Check it out: http://www.datadot.ca/Docs/DataDot%20Facts%20Sheet.pdf
Don’t we have a task force? Isn’t this their task?
That’s funny scott.
As if we can just create a task force and then a problem as multi-layered and complex as this one will go away.
I need to post an update on what the Task Force has been up to. Next step is finding some “force multipliers” to scale up our effort. Good things are happening but not enough of them and not at the scale that needs to happen to really take a bite out of this problem.
Cough syrup doesn’t cure a cold, it only addresses the symptoms.
I noticed yesterday morning that uniformed officers were photographing bicycles in the camp where Saturday market is.
Will it make a difference? Who knows, but it made me happy none the less; you’ve got to do something.
Also each of these thefts looks like the work of pros, and not very opportunistic.
Where was the Kona Van?
I wonder if some thieves are following cars home after Alpenrose races and waiting for the owners to leave their bikes on the car rack.
Argh. If the thieves are that organized, then those bikes are probably not in town anymore.
“Well, depending on the time, he may in one spot, or several.”
That actually happened to me and my roommate living on Taylor’s Ferry, year’s ago. We had 4 or 5 bikes stolen. We started asking teenagers around the neighborhood, and they told us about a guy who stole bikes. We eventually tracked him down; turned out he followed cars with bike racks on top to their homes, returned later when nobody was home, and cleaned them out. We did some vigilante justice, which involved confronting his Mom and throwing him off a 10′ wall. The scary part is, a few months later, he was actually arrested for bike theft, and was packing a large semi-automatic hand gun.
Aggravating for sure. Some kind of inconspicuous tracking device attachable to bikes and difficult to disable, could possibly help defeat theft, though maybe nothing is foolproof. Just recently, and acquaintance recovered his used ipad because he’d had the device’s locator function turned on. With the use of the signal, actually was able to go to where the person with it was, confront him and get it back. Had the police assist him too.
Aside from their expense, the featured bikes don’t look very extraordinary. Easy for a thief to camouflage with crummy paint slopped on. Or maybe their disappearance is actually something far more devious and organized than junkies grabbing bikes for a quick fix. Watching the over the air Justice Network is good and bad, but one of the shows running on it is Masterminds. One show told of a NYC car thief that was very successful in stealing high end cars to order for buyers around the world. Reprogrammed the cars’ electronic I.D. …everything. Show said people have unwittingly purchased stolen cars there’s little way to tell they’re actually stolen. Not dumb thieves, but very intelligent, planning effective business, though illegal strategies.
Maybe such a tracking device could be installed into the frame or handlebars, or the tires, or the seat, or a wheel hub? Maybe use the frame, handle bars, wheel, etc as an antenna? Who wants to use the nasty, evil, capitalist free-market system to invent this device, sell it, become stinking filthy rich, and then build a 1000 unit low income high-rise in PDX?
Actually, I would not be surprised if such a device already exists.
What I want is an lo jack of some sort. Maybe a low power cellular radio that can turn on full GPS tracking via a text or call. It would need to be embedded in the bike and have a long shelf life (i.e. low power consumption and large battery).
Like a “Tile” for bikes? Good idea!
I realized after my post above that the basis for tracking technology does exist. Look at your passport with the RFID chip. Bad people with the right equipment can supposedly get your personal information from your passport while sitting outside your house in their car. I can’t verify that, but I’ll bet it’s true.
A similar RFID chip could be installed on bicycles, say under the handlebar tape, or inside the seat, or some other place. The chip could send identifying info on each bike to the air waves. Police or someone could have receivers that alert them when they receive a signal from a stolen bike.
I’m sure this idea is worth many 10s of millions, maybe more. An electrical engineer could have this on the street in a few weeks – well, maybe a tad longer given the government paperwork he’d have to navigate – say within 5 years. 🙁
Once it’s selling for an obscene profit, don’t forget to send old Dead Salmon some of the proceeds for coming up with the idea. You can’t get out of that because this comment is proof of the date I gave you the idea. 🙂
I’ll sell the idea for 2% of the obscene profits or $500,000 one-time payment. Cheap at twice the price.
The chips in RFID do not emit a signal, they have no power supply. When scanned it is the microwaves emitted by the sensor which power the chip. Not the kind of thing that could be done via the GPS network.
Agreed, the chips cannot be read via GPS – that’s why I said the police (or someone who drives the streets constantly) would need equipment that alerted them when they were within “reading” distance of the chip. Once they were alerted, they could refine their search.
On the RFID chips in passports:
From the state department website, question 3rd from the bottom:
Will someone be able to read or access the information on the chip without my knowledge (also known as skimming or eavesdropping)?
We have taken a number of steps prevent criminals from “skimming” data from the chip, “eavesdropping” on communications between the chip and reader, “tracking” passport holders, and “cloning” the passport chip.
Skimming is the act of obtaining data from an unknowing end user who is not willingly submitting the information at that time. Eavesdropping is the interception of information as it moves electronically between the chip and the chip reader.
“Skimming.” We use an embedded metallic element in our passports. One of the simplest measures for preventing unauthorized reading of e-passports is to add RF blocking material to the cover of an e-passport. A passport has to be physically opened before it can be read. It is a simple and effective method for reducing the opportunity for unauthorized reading of the passport.
This article says RFID can be read from 30 feet to a calculated 80 miles depending on the power output of the reader:
“In the meantime, watch your bikes like a hawk.”
Someone’s gonna ask – were any of these bikes locked?
I think this is important, not to toss those who like to reflexively shout ‘you’re victim blaming’ another piece of red meat, but to acknowledge that not just here and now—but perhaps especially here and now—there are some very basic behaviors we all can and should engage in to decrease our chances of getting our bikes stolen. Like the rest of you, I keep hearing about bikes getting stolen. And guess what… every damn time, the bike was not locked or not locked with a real U-lock.
I don’t think we can with a straight face expect others to take care of this problem for us if we can’t be bothered to lock up our bikes properly. It isn’t as if we didn’t know that bikes sometimes vanish around here.
And, the usual disclaimer applies: if any of these bikes were locked with a U-lock to something stationary then let’s hear more about the circumstances. A U-lock isn’t a perfect solution, but if the statistics are true then you’re probably one or two orders of magnitude more likely to still have your bike at the end of the day if you use one.
I typically don’t lock up bikes inside my house / garage…maybe I should.
I know… at some point it starts getting ridiculous.
The only thing I’ve so far stumbled upon that appears to offer an end run around this frustrating menace is to ride an unassuming bike and *always* lock it well.
Yeah! My commuter is a epic dog. Even so, I won’t lock it outside for extended periods of time — I’m lucky that I can bring it into my office. I just think that parking the same bike in the same place every day is an invitation to thieves.
My better bikes are locked to the garage wall. Leaving the garage unattended may start as a bathroom break, that turns into a sandwich break, and a beer with that would be nice…..
I saw a red van, no rear license plate, coursing the neighborhood just the other day, drove up the dead end street, then back down…..
What is your address?…its about time to start my Xmas shopping. (Sorry could not help myself. Bad bad.)
Unless you live at the bottom of steep crater, a bike could be long gone from your garage before you know it. Keeping a lock on it keeps everyone honest and helps you remember to take your lock and keys with you. I’m not sure whether it’s necessary to guard against bolt cutters or heavier hardware inside your garage, but keeping it from rolling away seems like a good idea in any neighborhood.
I think this varies on whether your garage is attached or detached. Seems like thieves are less likely to go after attached garages (closer to house, might be someone home, etc.).
For matters of discretion, give thieves less credit than in matters of ingenuity. If a van could back up to your garage and spend time there unnoticed, that’s something else. In my particular situation, I’m concerned mainly about a bold idiot being able to grab a bike and ride it away in under a few minutes when the door was left open.
Yes. Do this. Please. So so many are getting yanked from garages these days it isn’t funny.
I love my folding bike because it’s one less thing to worry about. I just fold it up, carry it inside, and rest it on some coasters.
But I also think that people are overstating the strength of a U-lock. I’ve seen fragments of those locks left at bikeracks, and things like frames missing wheels or seats. You can brute force them open too if the lock being used is too loose on the bike.
We definitely need more information here so we can think about better ways to protect our bikes.
“I also think that people are overstating the strength of a U-lock”
Show me the numbers.
Looks like my comment was culled.
Anyway, a quick google search turns up the various ways a U-Lock can be broken. Either by forcing it with a jack, using an angle grinder, canned air to turn the lock brittle with cold.
Yes, I (we) know of those methods.
The point I was trying to make is that in the real world it seems (so far) that with such a vast fleet of unlocked or inadequately locked bikes everywhere, those of us who actually deploy U-locks tend to fare pretty well (notwithstanding the physical possibility of these U-locks being defeated).
My full comment is awaiting moderation, but hacked U-lock thefts happen every day in Portland.
I’d love to hear more about this. Do you know a way we can get numbers, more details? Do you think my ‘if you always use a U-lock you’re one or two orders of magnitude more likely to have your bike at the end of the day’ claim is nevertheless fair?
I just submitted this as a Bikeportlander post:
If you (or anyone else) have any insights perhaps you could add them there?
If a ulock is defeated, doesn’t Krypotonite offer something like a $1,000 guarantee? Wonder how many people have been successful in getting a claim approved and $1000 given to them?
I’ve long wondered about that.
To take advantage of the reward I’m pretty sure you have to at a minimum mail the defeated lock back to Kryptonite, and I wouldn’t know whether thieves tend to leave those behind as evidence. From watching youtube videos of stings, the thieves when tackled sometimes have this kind of evidence in their backpacks…
I’ve had 3 bikes stolen that were locked up with high-end kryptonite locks . I tried very hard to get Kryptonite to honor their warranty but they made it virtually impossible by requiring multiple pre-registration actions and mailing in the entire defeated lock (a missing lock or fragments were not covered). What did the trick for me was to buy multiple u-locks and link them together so that prying attacks (modified car jack) were difficult.
True because most thieves will pick the easiest target. When faced three bikes, one with a U-lock one with a chain and one with a cable, they are going to take the one with the easiest anti-theft device to thwart. That being the the cable or chain over the U-lock.
Always lock your bike next to one that has a lesser impediment to theft.
One of the bikes was stolen out of someone’s house.
This is kinda what I was getting at. If you need to U-lock a bike in your own home, there are massive problems going on. It’s one of those things that shoots past “How to lock up your bike”.
People steal all kinds of things out of people’s houses. Theft is real. I don’t see how the one makes the other (proper locking technique) any less important.
Not unbreakable, but the general sense is that U-locks are more difficult to defeat than most cable locks. Supposedly takes more work, more equipment, more time to break them. That’s the advantage. Doesn’t mean people can expect their bike to be secure, locked up just anywhere for any length of time.
FWIW, Here’s the last handful of bikes I approved at BikeIndex for the Portland area and how they were taken:
1) “stolen from the house, they came inside and took it” https://bikeindex.org/bikes/60442
2) “The bike was purchased days before, had never been ridden. Had racks, water bottle & lights installed, all black. Was taken from the garage on the weekend of 10/9-10/11” https://bikeindex.org/bikes/60432
3) (doesn’t report how) – https://bikeindex.org/bikes/60417
4) “Bike was taken off of a second story balcony” https://bikeindex.org/bikes/60444
5) “stolen from bike gallery” https://bikeindex.org/bikes/60446
6) “locked up with a U-Lock outside the pub Friday night and gone by Sunday.” https://bikeindex.org/bikes/60380
7) “Locking description – Heavy duty bicycle security chain – lock was cut, and left at the scene.” https://bikeindex.org/bikes/60387
From the looks of that list, the fault isn’t cable locks like everyone here instantly assumes. Bike theft is just out of control.
Well, not every time. U-locks are well advised but other kinds of locks have their places, too, and even U-locked bikes get clipped frequently. Yes, keep locking with U-locks but it’s going to take enforcement on the theft and resale aspects to manage the issue.
These are just examples, cherry-picked from among many others, not meant as sample data, but they give some idea of how bad the problem is, and yes, it includes three U-locked examples stolen in Portland in the past few days. There’s plenty more where these came from, unfortunately.
Date stolen 10-12-2015
“Stolen from the house! The came inside and took it.” (doesn’t say locked)
Date stolen 10-12-2015
“Was taken from the garage” (doesn’t say locked)
Happy Valley, 97086
Date stolen 10-12-2015
“Bike was taken off of a second story balcony” (doesn’t say locked)
Date stolen 10-12-2015
“Stolen from Bike Gallery” (doesn’t say locked)
Date stolen 10-11-2015
“It was locked up with a U-Lock outside the pub Friday night and gone by Sunday.”
Date stolen 10-11-2015
“Heavy duty bicycle security chain
Lock was cut, and left at the scene.”
Date stolen 10-10-2015
Bike was stolen from the locked bike room at the condo complex.”
Date stolen 10-08-2015
“my bike lock (ULock) cut and lying on the ground”
Well, as I said, I know it is possible, but in all cases that had come to *my* attention, they were not locked at all/not locked with a U-lock. I appreciate hearing that this is happening and remain interested to know the ratio. A multi-thousand dollar bike left parked outside from Friday through Sunday probably will be enough of a temptation for the miscreant to bring the big guns out. Let’s get to the bottom of this.
Just musing on your “get to the bottom of this,” while bike thieves are among various bottom-of-the-barrel types, I see this problem not so much as a bucket of badness but more as a stream of evil that continues to flow, at least sporadically, as do streams in nature. Bike thefts are presently exhibiting a flood event of that stream. There might be analogous actions to deal with theft as we might impond, divert, permeate or control run-off into a stream. Maybe “Vision Zero” for theft corresponds to an intermittent stream when it’s dried up. Whatever analogs there might be, I think crime will be part of human communities for a long, long time, and that it comes in cyclic or episodic waves, that we can (as communities) react to those events to minimize them, and that if we don’t react we will suffer greater loss due to the crimes than if we react appropriately. So yeah, I’m all for digging in to fix it.
Aside, 9watts, regarding your Bikeportlander post asking about statistical advantages of U-locks, I don’t have empirical data to offer. My own take is that while yes, empirical data is worthy of consideration, the bike theft problem in Portland (and other cities) is obvious enough as it is, and I’m more interested in pursuing policies and actions to remedy it than in further studying the matter. It’s a given that good security (U-lock &/or/+) is part of any theft solution.
As long as I’m rambling, I’ll also thumbs-up Bald One’s post where he distinguishes “junkie bike fencers” from homeless/houseless people. It’s a worthwhile distinction so that the right parties for correction are targeted by the entire community, and the wrong parties are not. (You don’t reach for a hammer when your wheel needs truing, do you?) I can’t find the reference but I think it was a comment here on BikePortland not too long ago (the Slabtown bust?) that someone mentioned a CEID property which is overrun with campers and likely bike chop operations. The reason they said the cops wouldn’t do anything was because the property owner would not file a complaint. I want to say the property owner was PDC but I’m not sure on that. Anyway, any such owner with concerns over their public relations might not want to involve police in rousting simply homeless people doing no harm…so, make the distinction and the case that they are helping community crashing criminals, doing harm instead of doing good.
Lots of excellent points, Alan 1.0.
One reason why I keep harping on the U-locks, and, specifically, on the statistics related to their use, is in reaction to several conversations here in the comments over the past few months where folks ardently defended the view that we should be able to *not* lock our bikes at all; that someone else should take care of this problem for us.
Given what you say above, which I agree with, I think that sort of attitude is ill-informed and ill-considered. One way I thought we might try to make inroads into the attitude was to demonstrate that, in fact, U-locks are a good defense (statistically speaking), a much better defense (statistically speaking) than all the other solutions that keep getting trotted out (more enforcement, vigilante violence for thieves, etc.).
I am the first to concede that we are playing an actuarial game here, that, as you say, theft is not likely to vanish completely no matter what we do, but that there are certain things we (who own and would like to hold onto our bikes) can do today to up our chances of winning this round, this game.
Let me turn this whole thing around and ask: If everyone who bikes were to start taking responsibility for locking their own bike, using best practices, what would likely happen to bike theft? _________________
To me this is a pragmatic, nearly instant, and likely very ‘successful’ first step we could take. To *not* take this first step, to dissemble and moan and take pot shots at the homeless, and whine about all the other institutions that are not stepping up instead, to me is untenable.
Of course to actually ‘solve’ this problem, to the extent it can be solved, we need lots of others (police, social services, city council, eyes on the street) to join forces, but to me this logically comes after we have made a serious attempt to do our part.
…folks ardently defended the view that we should be able to *not* lock our bikes at all
Guilty as charged and unrepentant. We *should* be able to do that, just like we *should* be able to walk and bike or even drive without being killed or maimed, i.e. Vision Zero. Do I think either vision will actually happen? Do I act in day-to-day life as if those things were actually so? No and no. But they’re still worthy goals with outcomes which are much more satisfying than if we don’t pursue them.
My grandfather grew up on the shore of Cape Cod, son of a fisherman, around the turn of the 19th century. The rule of the beach was that it was your property if it was dragged above the drift line onto your land, or if it was anchored securely below that, beached or afloat. No anchor & line and below the drift line meant free pickings…someone didn’t secure their boat and it was a menace to navigation. Otherwise, the rule was widely obeyed and simply using a good rope and knots meant your boat would stay where you left it. I don’t know what happened to thieves; I never heard of such a thing in those stories.
So, maybe I’ll consider the U-lock as the modern equivalent of a mooring line. 🙂
PS – The problem of cut mooring lines continues:
“10-14-2015, 844 SE Morrison St, bike wheel and frame were locked with a u-lock to a rack. The theft happen between 6-7am.”
“We *should* be able to do that, just like we *should* be able to walk and bike or even drive without being killed or maimed, i.e. Vision Zero.”
I am enjoying this exchange and learning lots, but I (still) disagree. Someone made the Vision Zero comparison the last time we discussed this, and I think the comparison is instructive:
Vision Zero: recognized as a systemic problem where we leave no stone unturned: everyone contributes to the solution: police, drivers, traffic engineers, legal system,… stop sign blowing cyclists, etc.
Bike Theft: … we (who with a sensible U-lock could eliminate XY% of thefts instantly) should somehow be exempt from contributing to the solution but everyone else should move mountains?! Please explain.
I think the chief difference between our 21st Century Portland and the time and place that supported your grandfather’s maxim is that the homogeneity of that slice of society generated and upheld unwritten rules like that. The vast disparities in wealth and opportunity of our social Darwinist experiments in our cities today could hardly be further from that vision.
Bike theft I believe is borne of having nothing to lose, of profound inequality, of the despair that these days often seems to descend into drugs, and, given how easy it is, probably in some cases also a dose of opportunism. I doubt we’ll eliminate bike thieves before we eliminate inequality, but no one around here’s proposing any sort of comprehensive solution.
Traffic carnage is borne of lots of things, including speeding entitlement, widespread cultural acceptance of careless piloting of autos in our midst, bad road design, air bags, etc. Vision Zero identifies these and does seek to root them out (well except the air bags), and as such I think stands a chance of doing an end run around the problem, eventually.
One point of confusion is simple semantics. “Should” has (more than) two definitions:
1. express obligation, propriety, or expediency
2. indicate what is probable
So, while I think it is proper that a bike stays where its owner puts it (def 1), I don’t think that’s probable without some physical restraint on the bike (def 2), at least not in Portland these days. I used it in the first sense. I think we agree that both secure bikes and safe roads are proper and socially expedient conditions (and maybe also that neither one is excessively probable at present, but that’s not the definition of “should” that’s in play).
I agree with your analysis of the greater social milieu surrounding bike theft, addiction, economic disparity, etc. I’m not convinced we’re talking about any less social change to make roads safe for everyone than we are about ultimately controlling theft (of many kinds), in fact I strongly suspect we would actually need many of the very same deep social changes to bring about both goals, but I’ll go along with (a) lives are more important than possessions, (b) the path to improving road safety is clearer than the path to suppressing bike theft, (c) improvements to road safety will be more permanent than changes to crime rates, and (d) road safety has a broader geographic component (how bad is bike theft in Lincoln county?). There are undoubtedly other comparative disparities.
Note that in none of that, nor in either the theft nor the road case, am I expressing that anyone should (def 1) be “exempt from contributing to the solution” nor am I saying how anyone will be *required* to contribute to the solution outside of legal compliance, that is, it’s more about education, cajoling and cultural norms. And even then, how to force legal compliance is, indeed, a huge factor in either solution. You named “police, drivers, traffic engineers, legal system, stop sign blowing cyclists, etc.” in the road case. In the case of just bike theft (and really we ought be talking about many other kinds of petty theft, along with broader social issues) I’ll name riders, police, everyone in the city keeping their eyes open, prosecutors, judges, jailers, sociologists, de-tox and re-hab, mental health, education (includes U-locks ;-), schools, religious groups, organized children’s groups, on and on. Both cases are social ills. Both touch nearly everyone in this society, directly or indirectly. Everyone, directly or indirectly, will be part of the solution. Or the problem. Or both.
Maybe we have different expectations for what VZ will achieve, or when it will be considered a success? I know that deaths on our roads will not stop. Ever. After cars stop, some lonely biker will get whacked while riding up to Seattle on I-5 by highway robbers. A pedestrian on Hwy 99 will fall off a ‘quake-torn bridge. A branch will blow off a tree and take out a horse rider. Or something. That’s non-zero. But even ignoring silly outliers like those, as long as there are cars, there will be people killed on public roads by cars. It’s the nature of the beast. If it wasn’t cars it would be horses. That doesn’t stop me from pursuing (and asking TPTB to pursue) safer roads as outlined in VZ and other plans and policies, but it does mean (to me!) that taking the lower-case words “vision zero” literally means about as much as “vision pink unicorns.” Neither will ever exist, happy to think of as they might be. I’ll take any improvement as success, at least incremental success, and I hope that current VZ proposals lead to learning and experience which will continue to inform decisions that make public roads safe for everyone, and even more safe as time goes on, and that at those future times there will be choices made which continue that tradition.
(I’m not even going into a discussion comparing safety to other values such as beauty, sustainability, wealth or ceremony which might have trade-offs worth considering, but I will say that I think safety, as valuable as it is, is not an exclusive goal only unto itself.)
Similarly, I see “Vision Zero(Tm)(c)(blah-blah)” largely as a slick marketing package (everyone likes pink unicorns, yeah?). Many aspects of it have been under way for decades, as cars and roads, even some pedestrian facilities, were improved radically with safety as a goal and as a realized outcome. Sure, there’s lots more to VZ than that – laws, social norms, education – but many of those were also coming of age without the fancy marketing. Now it’s been shrink-wrapped and shinified, predigested to feed down throats accustomed to “Its For Your Own Good” publicity campaigns (seat belts, MADD, smoking, recycling, condoms, foam hats, various diets…). That packaging is OK, I suppose, as a tool to get critical mass and power brokers on board, and as long as the goals are desirable I suppose the ends justify the means, but it leaves me quite cold…just a personal reaction to too much marketing.
Summary: I like what I’m reading about Vision Zero’s goals, and I like that it is dragging pol’s and ‘crats to the table to actually fix stuff, hopefully faster than they were already. I’d like it at least as well if it didn’t have the excessive packaging, but that’s how things are sold these days. The safer it makes roads, the better I like it, but I know that road risk will always be non-z(Z)ero. If there’s stuff we can learn from VZ in order to envision zero bike theft (or reducing any theft), including that schmaltzy advo campaigns get results, or not, that’s interesting to me, too.
Despite my agreement about social parity issues, and fully agreeing that those were very different times in many regards, I will toss out that there was plenty of wealth disparity in Eastern Massachusetts in 1900. While fishing families did have housing and food (unlike the lowest on today’s hierarchy), there were scant luxuries beyond that. It was a very stark life, and it was just down the beach (a day’s sail) from Boston’s mansions, where “the Lowells speak only to Cabots, and the Cabots speak only to God.”
I’m pleased that my hastily dashed off reply provoked this opus from you, Alan 1.0. I vote it comment of the week.
I agree with everything you said, and said so well. On the question of Massachusetts in 1900 I’ll only qualify my earlier comment in light of your elaborations by saying that the fisherfolk—unlike the hoodlums we’re talking about in our present—enjoyed, I strongly suspect, a social coherence and stability, and a means of procuring a livelihood. Though not wealthy they were also not destitute. Doing what they were good at (fishing) would have provided them a more secure livelihood than pinching silver tea services from the Cabots and hawking those on Boston Common.
U-lock + cable:
Front wheel, bars, brakes & shifters stripped. Needed tamper-resistant skewer and stem bolt. I suggest the cable thru the front wheel instead of the seat but whatever, it’s still a sign of rampant bike theft. 🙁
enforcement of illegal campsites would help… start uprooting those mobile bike chop shops… any bike that matches a stolen description can get researched…
The police need to deal with this before the wrong person gets their bike stolen and starts targeting these camps. They are encouraging vigilante justice by allowing obvious illegal activities to occur in the public.
I think that is exactly what might have to happen before anything gets done.
Anybody remember the story of the guy who pulled up to a couple of homeless men in sleeping bags under the morrison bridge in a subaru and started firing at them, almost killing both of them? Technically already happening, I’d guess.
Hey is anyone victimized by the high end bike thief available to talk with KOIN news reporter kohr Harlan. I’m doing a story about the thefts and maybe broadening discussion to include bread and butter bike security for the rest of us. maybe one of you owners of the higher end bike might want to show us a picture and description of your bike we could put on the TV tonight at 11?
stupid me: cell: 971 563-3765
i use my bike for work and it is locked inside a building w a masterlock eight sided chain out of sight of the windows. cars get broken into of course and houses and i would t leave something like a bike or computer in sight of the window.
did the van say bike on it? did the house have th bike in sight. we really are targets if we have something worth stealing.
If a chip can be injected into the skin of my dog’s neck with a needle, it sure as hell could be laid up into the carbon structure of a frame, fork, or component. It would help track stolen bikes for sure as well as help manufacturers police against counterfeiting.
I worked in the bike industry and RFID technology was tested and didn’t work well when laid into the carbon, the heat of curing impacted the chip. They also tried putting the chip inside the frame after the fact and the signal was very weak, requiring the reader to almost be on top of the bike. Useful if the bike is recovered, not great if trying to find the bike. Don’t even talk about metal bikes.
That left putting a chip on the outside of the frame, making them just too easy to remove or damage in day to day use.
There are powered RFID units, but you’re then talking abut how to make them accessible for a battery change while secreted away, and how does the basic bike owner test to see if the device is still transmitting or the battery needs replacement.
Still a lot of hurdles in that area.
I hope they keep working on it–the counterfeit issue alone should keep mfgs motivated to stay with the idea.
Thanks for your insight from professional experience. Maybe some workable idea will eventually be arrived upon.
I reported a neighborhood chop shop to the “Task Force” months ago and never heard anything back. Pretty disappointed so far about that effort
Damn this sucks! Several of those are very unique and I hope they are recovered. Who wants to go snooping under tarps at the N. Greeley Ave compound? volunteers? anyone?
however, this does look to be more sophisticated than your average street thug cuttin’ cable locks.
Sounds like a good way to get stabbed. No thanks.
The homeless camp that is on the sidewalk on the north side of 12th between Morrison and Stark seems to really be picking up with its chop shop vibe, too. Rode by it yesterday, and there were multiple tents with 10+ loose wheels stacked, and nice bikes peaking out behind tarps loosely thrown over them. I might be keeping an eye on that place today if i was looking for these bikes.
Yes, also down by the east side of the river near Morrison it is easy to see in this area, on a daily basis, junkie bike fencers engaged in any or all of the following activities in broad daylight, with no discretion: injecting drugs, selling/buying drugs, selling/buying bikes and bike parts, moving stolen bikes and bike parts around. The Eastbank Esplanade is a constant crime scene. Oh, but I forgot, we have a homeless emergency and so nothing can be done about this…..It seems unfortunate that the criminals can hide in plain site among the homeless camps and that our police are not able or are unwilling to separate out these rampant criminals from the rest.
Please tell me the serial numbers were known and have been reported. We can make bike theft much less profitable if buyers can easily find out if a bike is stolen.
2 U-locks, one through each wheel onto a staple. chain with tube cover keeps the seat secure. Way more work to steal than any bike nearby.
I’ve been wondering how well something like Tile would work for tracking bikes. It looks reasonably affordable. Anyone ever use this? https://www.thetileapp.com/
Looks like that “community find” feature might work. It causes other phones to look for your item and notifies you if someone else gets near the lost item.
There may also be tracking devices that might work:
(Don’t tell anyone, I still want someone to pay me for my RFID chip idea.)
Low power bluetooth devices like this are not a good solution for tracking bikes, despite the fact that most manufacturers of these devices are advertising them as such. The reasons could be the subject of a whole other blogpost but it boils down to a) low range/proximity and b) poor hideability and c) the ‘tracking network’ of each one is vastly overstated.
They’d be great for, say, tracking your keys, but not your bike.
Regarding garages–even though I have a fence I never open the overhead door, the window is covered up at all times, motion lights aimed at the door, and I have a doorknob lock and a deadbolt. Too many people assume that a closed garage is safe. It doesn’t cost that much money and effort to make your garage a LOT safer.
“Judging from chatter I’m hearing across my networks, the bike theft problem in Portland continues to spiral out of control. ”
Do we have actual numbers to back up this statement?
You’re on the bike theft task force what are the real numbers?
These are three incidents getting press due to the value of the bikes, but are the numbers truly spiraling?
The real criminals here are the people being willing ignorant or just not caring that they are buying stolen property. People need to do their due diligence when purchasing used bikes. That ‘steal’ on craigslist is probably exactly that.
That’s a pretty broad brush you are painting with. How are unwitting or clueless buyers ‘the real criminals’? We can’t even get through to bicycle owners that they should lock their bikes and you are heaping invective on people who don’t even own a bike yet. I see how they in their ignorance are abetting this crime but to turn it around like you did seems like a real stretch.
If people stop buying stolen goods then there is far less incentive to steal.
If husbands didn’t beat their wives and all children were loved….
Keep living in your ivory tower Sir Gentrificient. I’m sure not you nor any of your friends bear any responsibility and it is all the fault of the ***insensitive words deleted by moderator***.
Jonathan, I just broke the rules of commenting. Ban me if must, it was totally worth it.
Thanks for commenting Sam.
I think you and 9watts are just misunderstanding each other… which is something that happens often in electronic communication.
I would just ask that both of you please use caution and use care when choosing your words — especially when they are directed toward other people. Thank you.
the deleted words were an attempt at sarcasm with, as you noted, doesn’t register in electronic communication. I have respect and empathy for those struggling financially and/or with addiction.
…which, as you noted…
So does that mean you have respect and empathy for criminals and thieves?
Or is this a blame the action and not the person kind of situation?
I totally agree–a combination of cheapness and bike-ignorance (willful?) keeps Craigslist in see-no-evil customers.
Correlation with our growing “camper” problem?
IDK, but I do notice they they all seem to have plenty of bikes that they leave unlocked.
Once I saw a camper walking along the waterfront carrying bolt cutters – which I presume he used because he kept forgetting the key to his cable lock….
Just this morning I saw a kid wearing dark clothes, black hat, black backpack, and dirty red bandana over his face riding his bmx style bike while holding/rolling a high end silver road bike (I didn’t see the brand) next to him on the Morrison bridge. I said “nice bike @$$&*^%”. He said “thanks I just stole it”. I wasn’t going to fight him but called 911. The operator acted like I was bothering her and said “is it your bike?” “Do you know it is stolen?” I said yes because the creep said he just stole it. I also mentioned I could see to PO’s on the west end bridge that could just go question the guy and she said in an irritated fashion, no, I’ll let someone know (meaning nothing was going to be done about it).
That is what frustrates me. I know it is stolen because never in my life have I ridden a bike while rolling one next to me, I have a good job and don’t have 2 bikes, the camper kid doesn’t have anything but the belonging in the backpack, and we have a huge bike theft problem that has been documented by the chop shops in public spaces. If anyone is missing a really nice silver/chrome bike today, It was headed east over the bridge, and south down the Eastbank Esplanade. I’m fed up with the lack of action to hold the criminals accountable. Also seeing a lot of people shooting up on the waterfront in front of tourists to our fair city but that’s another story (but related)…
Good luck with the insurance claim (if you have any) for the silver bike. I’m sure it was fun to ride while you had it.
LOL. Welcome to Portland. Remember, we are all about deemphasizing prosecuting people for nonviolent offenses.
Official Multnomah County press release, May 27, 2015:
“According to recent research from the Vera Institute of Justice, nearly 75 percent of the population of both sentenced offenders and pretrial detainees are in jail for nonviolent offenses such as traffic, property, drug, or public order violations. Further, low income individuals and communities of color disproportionately experience the negative consequences of incarceration.
In Multnomah County, efforts are underway to use jail beds only when necessary to protect public safety.”
The kid knows nothing will happen to him – which is a major reason why he stays in Portland. It is explicit county policy not to jail “nonviolent offenders” like him.
Reap what you sow, Portland.
I was with you Erik, right up to this point:
“I know it is stolen because never in my life have I ridden a bike while rolling one next to me…”
Well I have. Quite frequently actually, until I built myself a bike-hauling trailer. I get that you, personally, have never done this, but are you also saying you can’t conceive of situations where someone-who-is-not-a-thief might do this?
As someone who, because I guess how I look doesn’t fit people’s preconceptions, has been profiled repeatedly over the past twenty-five years I am pretty sensitive to this sort of thing. I think your observations about this guy are otherwise probably dead on; I just had to flag that particular statement.
Ditto, I’ve picked up my spare bike from the shop and rode home with both multiple times… and I’ve gotten many dirty looks and comments while doing so. Toss the shop invoice when you get home I guess.
some people need to get out more, mix it up with folks who don’t own cars, learn how they do stuff.
When I am going to look at a bike that is for sale, I bike there. Shouldn’t really surprise anyone. If I buy it, well, I have to get it home somehow. If it isn’t too far I’ll do as the black-clad kid did (minus the bandana); but if it is a bit further I’ll take my trailer that is set up for this kind of task.
Or I’m working on a bike for a friend. Easier to wheel it to my place than the alternative…. Lots of situations Erik might want to consider.
On what percentage of your bike riding does “doubling” another bike occur?
How often do you see others riders doing it?
I’ve been riding for over 20 years, and have probably done it once or twice (coming home from a cyclocross race).
I don’t think it’s quite as common in the general population as you may think, and yes, it’s a known way that bike thieves transport.
Fair enough. I didn’t mean to suggest it was common, just that Erik’s statement: I know this is a stolen bike because I’ve never done this was an unhelpful and unwarranted generalization, especially when I’ve done it with some frequency. I couldn’t say off hand exactly how many times in my life, but between half a dozen and a dozen times.
Actually more often – I just remember the most common occurrence: My wife or my daughter’s bike gets a flat tire. It gets locked up wherever they happen to be (usually not terribly far from our house). They walk home. I am then dispatched to fetch the stricken bike. To use soren’s term I ghost the stricken bike home in the fashion Erik described.
Erik…by your description of what you saw and heard, it may well have been stolen. Not simply by the fact the bike was being taxied, but considering all you mentioned.
In this situation, what could the the police have done? Long shot, try get a police car in the area towards where the guy was traveling, to drop by, spot him and question him (by the way, for a non-life threatening thing like this, call the regular police number, not 911).
Too bad you couldn’t have just tailed the guy to the west end of the bridge where you mentioned there were a couple officers hanging out. Maybe could have waved them over for a little chat with the guy.
I always ghost* my bougie carbon fiber bikes to and from bike shops. And when I’m doing this sometimes I look very scruffy and am riding my 21 year old beater mountain bike.
*riding a bike while rolling one next to me
Even Ch. 12 news hopped on the bandwagon this am to get the word out. http://www.kptv.com/story/30245143/six-racing-bikes-stolen-in-portland-since-thursday
Wish they would’ve recommended just using a U-lock and not a cable lock to help deter theft.
Better questions…where do all these bikes go and who’s buying them and their parts?
one of the reasons i tend to buy new oem parts is due to my reluctance to buy possibly stolen used parts.
Guys like this, for one: https://offerupnow.com/p/5561304/
Nobody seems to be talking about the fact that these bikes have all been seen at the races. Races and racers themselves, are a tight knit community of bike nerds, and its sort of our safe haven. We can let our guard down while in each other’s company. This makes for a soft target. If I were in the business for stealing bikes and turning a profit, I’d go to the races, and take inventory.
Last Sunday at Alpenrose, my teammates and I witnessed two guys slowly walking the team tent area. They didn’t seem interested in watching the upcoming racers battle for the hole-shot. We joked to each other that they may be casing the joint. I jokingly replied “nah they have on Chrome backpacks, they’re legit”. Thinking back though, it was suspicious, they didn’t have on bike shoes, or bib straps hanging from their waists, nor helmets.
Knowing what I know now, I wished i’d confronted them. Maybe warned other teams/racers to be on their guard. I believe that luck favors the prepared, and I always prepare for the worst. I hope these bikes are recovered, but we need to be more vigilant.
It’s happened, worse cases were at the PIR Heron Lakes course. Some bikes “walked away” within the venue along with cars broken into on the main roads. You can never be too careful or let your guard down anywhere unfortunately.
Some of us wear tennies, jeans and a fleece sweater when we watch cx and ogle the bike pron.