E-bike sale at Western Bikeworks

“I no longer feel alone”: Theft victim on bike tour showered with support

Posted by on July 10th, 2017 at 4:13 pm

Supporters toast Kim Minhyeong (smiling in center) at Apex on Thursday.
(Photos courtesy Bryan Hance)

What Portland bike thieves took away, our community is giving back.

As we shared last week, South Korean bike tourer Kim Minhyeong was pedaling through Portland on his dream trip when his bike was stolen from outside the Southeast Hawthorne Fred Meyer. It was fully loaded with all his gear, including his laptop, camera, and more. As word spread, Bryan Hance from Bike Index decided to help. Hance swung into action and held a fundraiser for Kim last Thursday.

According to Hance, about 40 people showed up to Apex Bar — many of them with gear and donations in-hand. They showed Minhyeong what Portland is really all about as they shared free food donated to the event by Grind Musubi. “Definitely made me proud to be a Portlander! It was overwhelming, I won’t lie.” Hance wrote on in an email to supporters.

Advertise with BikePortland.

Bryan Hance (left) and Kim Minhyeong.

Portland-based apparel company Showers Pass donated store credit that Minhyeong has used to get a new jacket (the cool Atlas model no less). Right now Hance is helping Minhyeong organize a list of gear he still needs to replace with hopes of getting back on the road in 2-3 weeks. He also said friends of Minhyeong’s took him shopping for a new bike today. The outpouring of support has certainly made an impression.

“When I started this journey, I was alone,” Minhyeong wrote on his Facebook page yesterday. “But now, because of everyone’s support, I no longer feel alone.”

A GoFundMe campaign site has also been set up in case you would like to support this cause and help Minhyeong turn his bad experience into a good memory.

And in case you’re wondering, Minhyeong finally got a u-lock.

Kim Minhyeong’s new bike security accessory.
(Kim Minhyeong’s Facebook page)

— Jonathan Maus: (503) 706-8804, @jonathan_maus on Twitter and jonathan@bikeportland.org

BikePortland is supported by the community (that means you!). Please become a subscriber or make a donation today.

NOTE: We love your comments and work hard to ensure they are productive, considerate, and welcoming of all perspectives. Disagreements are encouraged, but only if done with tact and respect. If you see a mean or inappropriate comment, please contact us and we'll take a look at it right away. Thank you — Jonathan

39 Comments
  • Kittens July 10, 2017 at 4:57 pm

    Hurray for band aid fixes!

    Still doesn’t fix the theft issues we have in Portland!

    Recommended Thumb up 2

    • Mossby Pomegranate July 10, 2017 at 6:29 pm

      Nothing will change as long as we tolerate bike chop shops and vagrancy.

      Recommended Thumb up 12

    • 9watts July 10, 2017 at 10:23 pm

      That is not quite true.
      If you read between the lines, a U-lock is in fact still pretty good protection. The fact that he didn’t use a U-lock speaks volumes. I’ve tried to understand the statistics of bike theft and the type of lock or presence/absence of a lock, and it does seem like the overwhelming majority of stolen bikes were not locked or not locked properly with a U-lock. Would we still have a theft problem if *everyone* used a U-lock? Probably, but I am willing to bet real money that the size of the problem would shrink dramatically.

      Recommended Thumb up 9

      • Kyle Banerjee July 11, 2017 at 6:05 am

        If the equipment is decent, locks provide limited protection. At best, you can lock a wheel and frame to the rack. With a fully loaded touring rig, you’re wheel is just locked to your frame and you’re cabled to a rack or post. You can’t ride off on a U-locked bike, but you can toss one in a vehicle and cut the lock later.

        I have cut U-locks myself. It’s a pain but not really that hard, though I doubt anyone would bother unless the bike is decent. The main protection they provide is that it makes bikes that don’t have them look more attractive as targets.

        It’s kind of like getting away from bears. You don’t need to be able to run faster than the bear — only faster than your buddy…

        Recommended Thumb up 2

        • 9watts July 11, 2017 at 6:08 am

          “I have cut U-locks myself. It’s a pain but not really that hard, though I doubt anyone would bother unless the bike is decent.”

          Well it is pretty clear that we have (at least) two schools of thought on this subject.
          I can tell you’re in the Glass Half Empty camp.

          Recommended Thumb up 4

          • CaptainKarma July 11, 2017 at 1:45 pm

            I vote for TWO u-locks.

            Recommended Thumb up 1

          • Kyle Banerjee July 11, 2017 at 4:56 pm

            When it comes to bike security, yes.

            In my view, the only safe places for a bike in Portland are under the rider or inside. When I expect to need to leave a bike outside — even for a short amount of time, I ride a different bike (i.e. older and heavier bike that has parts that have practically no value).

            If you can’t ride a bike you like because it won’t be safe when you stop, it’s harder to get motivated to ride.

            Recommended Thumb up 2

        • 9watts July 11, 2017 at 7:53 pm

          “If the equipment is decent, locks provide limited protection.”

          I think what you are saying is ‘if the equipment is *expensive*’ but given your vast bicycling experience I would think you could distinguish between decent and expensive. I’ve ridden excellent, serviceable, sturdy, reliable bikes all my life (= decent), but only the one I bought when I was 17 was new/expensive (and I still have it 30 years later). I really think we do ourselves a disservice when we glibly equate expensive with decent.

          Recommended Thumb up 1

          • Kyle Banerjee July 12, 2017 at 5:52 am

            Sure, but stuff doesn’t have to be that expensive before it becomes a target. For example, 105 level components are considered entry level, but they’re actually quite good and certainly have enough resale value to be interesting. And you can steal the bars, stem, fork, and shifters in seconds in less than a minute with some hex wrenches and cable cutters. Likewise, the RD comes off in a few more seconds with the same tools. Seats, seat posts, and pedals come off in seconds, and $100 each for the seat and pedals plus $50 for the post isn’t particularly extravagant.

            Stripping all the things above from a bike takes less than 2 minutes with tools that fit in your pocket leaving you only with the frame, wheels, and crank. The crank can also be taken in less than a minute, though it requires a special tool — still a worthwhile grab.

            Bottom line is if you have something that can be sold, it’s not safe.

            Recommended Thumb up 2

  • Tom Hardy July 10, 2017 at 5:03 pm

    Did he get a laptop yet? I think Freegeek has one with a Korean keyboard. With Linux Mint.

    Recommended Thumb up 8

  • Racer X July 10, 2017 at 5:34 pm

    Good to see he has at least a u-lock now…though out on the tour he may find it tough to find a staple rack or sign post to hitch up to….then again there are those pesky heavy pannier bags to worry about…I hope some of the 40 participants showed him how to better lock down his bags during food stops at public places…

    Recommended Thumb up 2

    • David Hampsten July 10, 2017 at 6:39 pm

      I lived and biked in Portland from 1997-2015, always locking my bike with a NY lock citywide, plus a 7′ cable when downtown, and never lost a bike, but did have accessories go missing. I’m visiting Portland in August for a few days, from a community that has almost zero bike theft. How much worse has bike theft and theft from bikes gotten in the last 18 months in Portland? Are there any areas best avoided? Any advice you or others might have would be most appreciated. Thanks!

      Recommended Thumb up 0

      • Tom Hardy July 10, 2017 at 10:25 pm

        David avoid inner SE from 205 between Burnside to Mlwaukie and NE from Parkrose to Williams and all of NW if you do not have at least one “U” lock. just don’t park it anywhere else either unless you have it indoors or in sight 100% of the time.

        Recommended Thumb up 1

        • David Hampsten July 11, 2017 at 6:27 am

          Tom, Kyle, & 9watts, thank you for your advice. That Oregonian map is super helpful. Yeah, I’ve always used a U-lock, and I run a cable through my bags as well when I’m feeling vulnerable.

          Recommended Thumb up 0

      • Kyle Banerjee July 11, 2017 at 6:11 am

        I don’t think things have really changed that much. Here is an article
        http://www.oregonlive.com/portland/index.ssf/2015/02/bike_theft_in_portland_top_10.html

        and an interactive map of bike thefts
        http://projects.oregonlive.com/maps/bikes/thefts

        Basically, the thefts are where the bikes are and you’ll notice the hottest spots are where you find a lot of bikes and crappy locks.

        I think your bike is safe enough when you’re in busy enough areas during the day. I would not leave it out at night anywhere.

        Recommended Thumb up 2

        • 9watts July 11, 2017 at 6:13 am

          “I think your bike is safe enough locked with a U-lock when you’re in busy enough areas during the day. I would not leave it out at night anywhere.”

          Recommended Thumb up 6

          • Kyle Banerjee July 11, 2017 at 5:05 pm

            Statistics can be misleading. What is true is that cables can be cut very quickly with cheap cutters and that cutting a U-lock takes several minutes and a power tool equipped with a diamond blade that sends a shower of sparks.

            But that doesn’t make U-locking a bike safe unless your components are cheap. Every piece of a bike is worth money, so even if you U-lock your wheels and frame, the rest of it will be stripped.

            There is absolutely no way I would leave any of my bikes out anywhere in Portland.

            Recommended Thumb up 3

            • 9watts July 11, 2017 at 6:38 pm

              “Statistics can be misleading. ”

              Yeah, but anecdotes….

              Recommended Thumb up 2

              • Kyle Banerjee July 11, 2017 at 7:28 pm

                Aggregate statistics are not nearly as reliable a predictor of outcomes than individual circumstances.

                Are you seriously trying to suggest a $5K bike is safe if left outside so long as it is locked with a U-bolt?

                Higher end components cost a fortune — we’re talking thousands. They can be removed very quickly with simple tools. Things like pedals, bars, stems, seats, forks, etc. cost can cost hundreds each and can be removed in seconds. A U-lock provides zero protection for any of them. Going out on a limb here, but maybe that’s why you don’t see people leaving high end bikes on racks very often.

                What a U-lock does for you depends on what you ride and where you park, not on aggregate statistics.

                In the case of an expensive and well equipped touring bike, a U-lock will prevent someone from riding it away. But it provides very little beyond that. But if you have a cheap bike where the used parts aren’t worth anything fenced, it will provide reasonable security.

                Recommended Thumb up 0

              • 9watts July 11, 2017 at 7:43 pm

                “Are you seriously trying to suggest a $5K bike”

                I have no experience with or interest in $5000 bikes. Although I am well aware that others see this differently to me a bike is a utilitarian object, and as much as I may like a beautiful paint job or snazzy components I have come to terms with the fact that a utilitarian bike that doesn’t look like much is a perfect companion, gets me where I need to go and is still there when I return. Looks notwithstanding it may be well tuned and have top-of-the-line components from thirty years ago, but no one seems that interested in messing with it when it is locked (front wheel and downtube) with a reputable U-lock to an immobile object. If I had a $5000 bike then I’d probably throw three U-locks on it, but fortunately I don’t have to worry about such things.

                “A U-lock provides zero protection for any of them. Going out on a limb here, but maybe that’s why you don’t see people leaving high end bikes on racks very often.”

                Whatever. I’m the wrong person to be having an argument about ultra expensive bikes with. I also don’t wear a Rolex on my arm in sketchy neighborhoods, or drive around in a red Italian sports car into the slums. There is a class of ostentatious behavior that is risky under certain circumstances, but I didn’t think we were talking about that sort of thing.

                “In the case of an expensive and well equipped touring bike”

                Funny I have toured on well equipped non-expensive bikes just fine, and fortunately there were two of us so one could stay with the bikes when we stopped at grocery stores.

                Recommended Thumb up 1

              • Kyle Banerjee July 11, 2017 at 8:50 pm

                If you don’t care about that kind of equipment, that’s fine. But some people do, and it’s not just because they’re trying to be ostentatious.

                For some, it has to do with being the fastest they can be because they race — that being the whole point of racing. Everyone knows that the engine is by far the most important part, but all that small stuff does add up, and things like power meters are useful training tools.

                Even for people who care nothing about speed, it has nothing to do with showing off. Some people just like nice gear. You don’t need a fancy bike, but you also don’t need nice food, clothes, or anything else when you get right down to it.

                In the end, it has to do with investing your money where you invest your time and your passion. If cycling is what you love, why not spend your money on that instead of stuff you don’t care about? Even a high end bike costs way less than a cheap car. But for some reason, even bike advocates give you grief if you spring for the bike instead of the car…

                BTW, your described manner of touring totally makes sense to me. Strangely, it does not seem to reinforce the notion that your bike would be totally safe if you went in the store for a bit if you secured it with a U-lock.

                Recommended Thumb up 1

              • 9watts July 11, 2017 at 9:15 pm

                “it does not seem to reinforce the notion that your bike would be totally safe if you went in the store for a bit if you secured it with a U-lock.”

                If I had been traveling along I’d have used a U-lock. I’ve never approached this with an absolute mindset. This is an actuarial problem, and there are many things we can do to increase the odds.

                Recommended Thumb up 3

              • 9watts July 11, 2017 at 9:30 pm

                “If you don’t care about that kind of equipment, that’s fine. But some people do, and it’s not just because they’re trying to be ostentatious.”

                And I have no problem with their choice. What I was saying is that those who do should not lose sight of the fact that in a profoundly unequal society with plenty of desperation and mischief to go around, displaying high end [anything] represents a certain kind of risk that is both well understood and a different kind of problem than I thought we were discussing.

                “Even a high end bike costs way less than a cheap car. But for some reason, even bike advocates give you grief if you spring for the bike instead of the car…”

                The absolute price is not the obvious basis for comparing the two. Do you think thieves only steal cars? No, the point is that a super duper, high end bike is, semiotically, much more like a super duper, high end auto or pair of insanely expensive shoes or handbag, than it is like a run of the mill bike.

                Recommended Thumb up 1

              • David Hampsten July 11, 2017 at 10:12 pm

                You are right about cable locks – when I lived in Portland, I would occasionally see people walking around with 3-foot cutters on their backs, obviously looking for bikes to steal. Basic inexpensive U-locks can be cut once, then twisted off the bike or pole it’s locked to, usually using a rod for leverage, and yes, I had sometimes seen people with angle saws and lever bars. The more expensive U-locks take a better cutting blade and two cuts to get off. If the space is tight, it can be frustrating enough for the thief to move on and try easier pickings, or else try to cut the bike rack itself and work on the lock later. I’ve also seen YouTube videos demonstrating all these methods.

                When in Portland, I’ll be using a NY Forgetaboutit smaller U-lock and a 7-foot cable, and park near lots of other bikes that are easier to steal during the daytime, when that’s an option, especially at Powells and other places downtown. My bike is a $1,000 Chinese touring Surly-knockoff made by Odyssey, packed with Origin8 parts and other J&B specials that chop-shop thieves will be all too familiar with.

                Recommended Thumb up 0

      • Steve B. July 11, 2017 at 1:43 pm

        If you use the same tactics you employed in NYC, you’ll be just fine here.

        Recommended Thumb up 0

  • Adam July 10, 2017 at 6:17 pm

    I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again…. when will a company step up and make lockable panniers?

    Regardless, so awesome!!!!

    Recommended Thumb up 1

    • J_R July 10, 2017 at 6:26 pm

      The owner of a convertible explained that he stopped locking his car after the top was sliced for the second time. I’ve never seen panniers that would stand up to a sharp knife.

      Recommended Thumb up 2

      • Adam July 11, 2017 at 8:40 am

        If they can make lockable panniers for motorcycles, they can make them for bicycles too.

        Recommended Thumb up 0

        • Chris I July 11, 2017 at 8:55 am

          How much do motorcycle panniers weigh?

          Recommended Thumb up 0

    • Racer X July 10, 2017 at 8:09 pm

      BMW motorcycles often have locking aluminum panniers…I have seen DIY cyclists using ammo boxes too…

      Recommended Thumb up 1

    • David Hampsten July 10, 2017 at 9:03 pm

      There’s a guy here who commutes by rail to Durham with a bike with rigid wooden panniers, like artist boxes. I can’t tell if they are manufactured or custom made.

      Recommended Thumb up 0

    • Kyle Banerjee July 11, 2017 at 6:13 am

      There’s no point to lockable panniers. First off, they would be way too heavy, big, and the aero profile would be miserable if they had any capacity. Secondly, you’d be able to pry them open very easily. Lockable panniers are like cable locks — helps keep honest people stay that way, but no deterrent at all if you actually want in.

      Recommended Thumb up 0

  • Caitlin D July 10, 2017 at 7:16 pm

    This is so great. Thank you, Bryan, for taking the initiative to organize this!

    Recommended Thumb up 8

    • 9watts July 10, 2017 at 10:25 pm

      Agreed!

      Recommended Thumb up 2

    • Brian July 11, 2017 at 8:07 am

      Agreed, thanks for taking your own time to organize this. Very cool of you, Bryan.

      Recommended Thumb up 2

  • Buzz July 10, 2017 at 11:21 pm

    Meanwhile, some low-life in Laurelhurst Park is enjoying Kim’s original gear…

    Recommended Thumb up 6

  • Joe July 11, 2017 at 9:10 am

    Racer X
    BMW motorcycles often have locking aluminum panniers…I have seen DIY cyclists using ammo boxes too…
    Recommended 1

    place in Wilsonville off boonesferry rd that sells ammo cans for 12 dollars each..

    Recommended Thumb up 0

    • Buzz July 11, 2017 at 9:50 am

      Ammo cans have waterproof seals but they don’t normally have locking mechanisms.

      Recommended Thumb up 0