Ciao, Milano

By Bob Mionske

What is it about a bike theft that brings out the incivility in us?

The same guy who is aghast at the thought of waterboarding willingly shares his bike thief torture fantasies on the internet.

Of course, it is probably just hyperbole in most cases, and even if you have a fantasy about beating someone, chances are you have never really been in a real fight. If you really managed to confront the thief, he is not likely going to be impressed with the fact that your fight record is an undefeated 1-0 because you stood up to that little bully Billy at day care 30 years ago, and it will give you cold comfort when facing someone who maybe be younger, bigger and stronger than you.

Or worse, crazier…

I sometimes wonder if these macho comments are simply braggadocio to get their bona fides in bikedom, a sort of street justice cred for a street rider.

I’ve been thinking about this, because it just happened to me.

Somebody grabbed my bike while I was distracted, and now the celeste-colored Bianchi café racer is gone. It's only worth a few hundred bucks, and it needed some serious servicing, but it also had emotional value to me.

I guess I should not have been so cavalier about not locking it. I went to buy Zookie some dog food, and would have been ok, if....

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Pop Quiz: Bike Theft



1. True or False: Bike theft is annoying to the victim, but overall is not a serious crime problem. That is why law enforcement agencies don’t devote many resources to fighting the problem.

2. Multiple Choice: Bike Theft is…
     a. A crime of opportunity.
     b. A way for “tweakers” to score some quick and easy drug money.
     c. The work of organized criminal gangs.
     d. All of the above.

3. True or False: All locks can be defeated, so it’s futile to try and lock your bike.

4. True or False: Bike theft is a relatively recent phenomenon, fueled by addiction to drugs and alcohol.

5. Multiple Choice: Bike thieves will take your bike…
     a. Only when nobody is around.
     b. After you have left it unattended.
     c. Even if it is locked.
     d. A and C.
     e. B and C.
     f. All of the above.

6. True or False: Protecting yourself from bike theft begins before your first ride.

7. True or False: All you can do to stop a bike thief is to buy a good lock and hope for the best.

8. True or False: If your bike is stolen and you find it later, you have the right to take it back.

9. True or False: If your bike is stolen, forget trying to contact the police. They are too busy with serious crimes to look for your bike.

10. True or False: In the “big picture,” bike theft is actually a good thing, for two reasons. First, economically-speaking, because it drives more bike sales when people replace their stolen bikes. And second, because it gets more people on bikes.

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Bike Thief Gets Busted: Guy Drives From Portland To Seattle To Get His Stolen Bike Back!