Wednesday, February 20, 2013

Gone in 30 Seconds

Sometimes bicycle theft happens so quickly, just a quick snip with a bolt cutter and no one even notices. Other times it can be incredibly obvious and no one is going to even bother to call the police. In the past a statement like this would have been hard to prove, but with the creation of YouTube, now it’s just a matter of waiting for someone to post a video.

Since a picture is worth a thousand words then video must be worth 10,000 words. Want to see how fast a bike can be stolen watch the video below; the thief walks in, checks for anyone watching him, and rides off with the bike.

While I feel for the person who had this bike. Even if your bicycle is within arms length of you all it takes is a few distracted moments and your bike is gone. Always lock your bicycle to something; taking it inside is no protection from theft.

In 2005 Casey Neistat and his brother Van locked their bicycle in a series of locations with lots of pedestrians and proceeded to steal it using a variety of tools; hacksaws, bolt, cutters, and a grinder. To see if anything would happen, not only did nothing happen, one person even offered advice when he was using a hammer and chisel.

In 2012 at the invitation of the New York Times Casey Neistat went back and tried this again to see if anything had changed. This time in addition to the same tools from last time, he stole his bike in front of a police station and had a black friend steal his bike. At one point the police actually show up, but only after he spent 9 minutes cutting a bike lock with a grinder. Although with a cutting wheel on the grinder it would have taken him two minutes.

Owning a bicycle means at some point it will get stolen and there are things you can do to make it as difficult as possible to steal. So a potential thief will move on to another target, any cable lock or chain you buy in hardware store can be cut with a bolt cutter. You need to invest in a high quality Kryptonite u-lock or chain, Kryptonite rates its locks based on the level of security you need.

Tuesday, February 12, 2013

What Happened to the Philly Bike Party?

In 2012 a new player arrived on the social bike ride scene in Philadelphia, the Philadelphia Bike Party. A social ride modeled after the San Diego Bike Party, a monthly low speed ride attracts hundreds of cyclists. At about the same time the Philly Bike Party formed so did the Baltimore Bike Party. The Baltimore rides have attracted around 500 to 700 participants per ride every month and on Halloween 1300. Even their most recent ride in January had a few hundred in spite of a snowstorm. 

The organizers for the Philly Bike Party seemed to have all of the needed background; experienced cyclists who were part of the planning team for the Philadelphia Naked Bike Ride. Which gave them the experience to plan the rides and the network needed to create a following. Rides like this do require commitment and volunteer help. Route planning, setting up a final destination where people can hang out, and sweep riders to make sure no one gets lost.

Regrettably the Philadelphia Bike Party rides were few and far apart and that they never built a following, because there was nothing to follow. Perhaps this was just one project to many for the planners who are full time students, working part time jobs, and volunteering within their community.

Compared to so many other cities Philadelphia seems to be always behind the curve when it comes to concepts like this. With several colleges and universities in Philadelphia, the 2000 participants in the Philadelphia Naked Bike Ride, along with professionals of all ages living in the area you would think that there is a built in audience for this type of ride. I can only hope that in time someone else will work on reviving this concept.

Thursday, February 7, 2013

Book Review: Just Ride

Remember when you were a kid and whenever you went some place on your bike you just got on it and went? You did not know or care about what you wore, what you rode, or where you were going. Recently published “Just Ride” by Grant Peterson is a reminder for many of us why we got into cycling as well as a remembrance as to what cycling is really about. Since the 1990's cycling and cyclists have been heavily influenced by high profile, professional racers. That influence has heavily affected several generations of recreational cyclist to emulate many of the things that professional cyclists do that far exceeds what is physically possible or necessary for almost all cyclists.

With 212 pages and 89 chapters the books sounds as if it is going to be an extensive read that would go into agonizing detail. However the book is not bigger than a standard business size envelope and the author keeps each chapter to a page and half and two pages. Each chapter stays on message, to the point, and is written in easily understood English. Without any of the jargon that many cyclists use that tend to confuse and turn off

The main headings break down into 8 parts, which are;
Suiting up
Health and fitness

If it involves cycling Just Ride addresses it, especially a lot of common sense items that many cyclists have never considered or have been misinformed. Mr. Peterson will have you rethinking your approach to cycling as exercise, charity rides, clothing, teach you how to make family rides fun, the basics of maintenance and safety.

This book is a must read and a great gift for every recreational cyclist and novice. It dispels many of the myths and misinformation around cycling over the years and replaces them with a common sense approach. That makes cycling as easy and fun as when we were kids.