Have you ever had a bike stolen?

bike-lock-cutFor this weeks Comment Friday it’s time to revisit a deep and repressed memory! Bike Theft! Have you had it happen to you and if so what happened?

I remember well my bike being stolen outside college. I returned from my class, walked to the bike shed and it just wasn’t there. At first I was completely stumped and even started to wonder if I had actually cycled that day. Looking back it’s no surprise it was taken. It had a cheap £10 lock attached to just the front wheel. I wasn’t saddened by the monetary value of it (an old mountain bike) but more the fact suddenly I didn’t have my beloved bike to get me home. I talked to the security about any footage of the theft happening but they had nothing. Defeated, I took the bus to get home.

Share your bike theft experiences in the comments..

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Image via Barry Pousman

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83 Responses to Have you ever had a bike stolen?

  1. Kathyn 11/03/2011 at 12:09 pm #

    Thanks ever so much!

  2. Will 11/03/2011 at 9:21 pm #

    Bike stolen a month or so ago. Underground car park at home, unfortunately no note of the serial number. I feel partially to blame, as the lock was a cheap (£20) cable lock. I’ve now got a SS-G U Lock and a Thatcham rated chain and lock combo and have the bike insured.

    I still feel nervous and fear that it’ll be stolen 🙁

    (The unseen effect of bicycle theft)

  3. Issacc 28/03/2011 at 3:46 pm #

    I recently had my marin stolen although maybe it was the origonal owner as I bought it at a police auciton!

    Again, I wasn’t the money just that my journey went from “free” and 20mins to £2.50 and an hour each way… I was also peeved that the police did basically nothing. I left it locked just inside a side entrance to a pub locked to the bannistar but it was a bit of a cheap lock. All I’ve got now is a reference number and a letter saying they have expored all angles and there’s no evidence. They didn’t even ask the pub for the CCTV… I know because it was my pub!

    Ah well… cycle to work scheme opens in a couple of days 😉

  4. Kathyn 28/03/2011 at 3:56 pm #

    Hey Issacc,
    i’ve got a Marin too! When you say it was a bit of a cheap lock – what was it?

  5. skippy 29/03/2011 at 7:11 pm #

    Lots of interesting info here so set my blog (skippi-cyclist) item up to refer people back here for details and advice 1

  6. Barry 21/05/2011 at 5:25 pm #

    We did, but caught the thief red-handed!

    I went shopping with my girfriend round Neal Street near Covent Garden. We locked up our bikes on Neal Street at about midday on Saturday during a very busy time.

    One is a £2500 Specialized Stumpjumper, and the other a £300 Trek. We d-locked the bikes together, but foolishly locked the bikes to the stand with a Kryptonite cable lock.

    We returned from shopping a couple of hours later to find a man wheeling our two bikes away from the stand. He had only gone about two metres! They were still locked together. He handed them over and said some kids had cut the lock and run off, and that he was wheeling them to the police station. He said he was a cyclist and pointed to his blue Trek bike by the wall. He then disappeared into the crowd.

    He must have been the thief. White male. 6 foot 3. 30 to 40 years old. English accent. Skinny. Green checked shirt. Blue Trek hybrid bike.

    10 seconds later and our bikes would have been gone forever.

    Frustrated that I fell for his story, and didn’t pat him down for his bolt cutters.

    Use 2 d-locks out there!

    • Vladimir 21/10/2011 at 5:14 pm #

      quote:”Frustrated that I fell for his story, and didn’t pat him down for his bolt cutters.”

      yeah, but how practical would that have really been? What would you have done if he had bolt cutters on him?

      sad fact is, that most people will not bother somebody who might be stealing a stranger’s bike.

      call me a coward, call me whatever you like, but the only time that I have challenged someone who was lopping the lock off a bike, I was with friends and we were all drunk. The guy (middle age gent looking person) shouted back “it is my bike”. We didn’t know if he was telling the truth or not and just got on the bus and left.

      I’ve seen bikes nicked a couple of times. The guy had a crowbar/bolt cutters respectively. Those tools can do a lot of damage to a human being, and so I didn’t challenge him. I’m sorry, but I am not willing to risk my safety for someone else’s bike. I am not ashamed.

      I saw some lads on bikes woosh past; they were holding another bike by the handlebars and riding it along. I thought to myself “they just nicked that bike”. A second later, I thought my mind was playing tricks on me; because another cyclist approached me on his bike and said “they just nicked that bike”…as I blankly stared at him, he went on “they just nicked that bike, I saw them, it had a cheap cable lock on it”. He then said something to the effect of “I’ve gotta get home for dinner” and cycled off. Did he report it to the police, despite the fact that he witnessed a crime? No, he reported it to me, a civilian who has no extra-ordinary legal powers whatsoever. He isn’t the only one who will/has failed to report witnessed bike theft; or who will/has failed to challenge someone who appears to be stealing a bike.

      Another time, whilst I’m here, a friend of mine with 1K’s worth of bike had a cheap 50 quid rusty mountain bike locked to it with some cheap lock. Do we think that the person did that by mistake? No, that’s unlikely (maybe 0.1% chance). Do we instead think that the cheap bike (probably stolen) was locked to an expensive bike so that the owner leaves it overnight, whilst they come at night and steal the expensive one? Yes (around 99.9% chance). What do you think we did, based on our assumptions? That’s right, we went to the hardware store and purchased some bolt cutters and cut through the cheap lock. Did we have a legitimate reason to do that? Yes, we would like to think so. Did we look like we were stealing a bike? Yes. Did anybody challenge us? No siree bob. Not even the police, who knew we were doing it.

  7. tems 13/06/2011 at 1:49 pm #

    Got my bike stolen on Friday last week in the most public of places with about a zillion CCTV cameras and around consulates. I really thought it couldnt be stolen there…

    Got back after 3 hours and it was gone.. And it was just under a MONTH old. I still feel like crying but have to remind myself that even though i had taken lots of journeys and had it custom fitted and a lovely new saddle… it it just an object..

    Luckily insurance is covering it but still upsetting.
    I still cannot figure out how it was stolen as kryptonite untouched..

  8. Vladimir 21/10/2011 at 4:09 pm #

    Hey guys. This might be the wrong place to ask, but:

    can you register your bike with more than one website?

    i.e., can you use immobilise.com, AND bikeregister.com, as well as any other you might find?

    • Amoeba 21/10/2011 at 4:47 pm #


      ‘can you register your bike with more than one website?’


  9. Fritz 03/02/2012 at 5:36 pm #

    My Kona Dew Deluxe 2010 was stolen last week, not off the street however….but from the apparently secure underground car park! to boot my bike was in a special caged area for bicycles which is only accessible via a magnetic lock. The thief somehow gained access to the block then seemed familiar enough to know where the car park was, he managed to somehow gain access to the caged area and with his own set of tools cut the locks and made off ALL while being recorded on CCTV which is located throughout the block and car park.

    The thief made no attempt to cover his face and was not even wearing a cap/hat! I suspect the guy had some familiarity with the block, whehter he lived their in the past or knows someone there…either way it was a brazen theft. While I have reported it to the police with the CCTV evidence I remain skeptical the guy will ever get caught let alone get my bike back.

    In my 18-19 years riding in London this is the third bike I have had stolen, but at least the first two were on the street…I never imagined my ”Secure” parking area could be compromised so easily. Needless to say I cannot wait to get back ni the saddle and will be looking to purchase a new rig within the coming fortnight.

    • Andreas 03/02/2012 at 7:47 pm #

      Oh dear – seems like it took a very unlikely set of circumstances for this to happen. What was the bike secured with inside the cage?

  10. Froach 04/03/2012 at 2:59 pm #

    Yes, a couple of months ago my husbands was stolen on the Monday and mine on the Thursday. The problem is our insurance excess was going to be £150 (the cost of my bike) and then of course extra each month so there is no incentive to ever insure a bike that costs under £200 because the excess is just too high. Obviously a different story for an £1000 bike. Storage was apparently secure but somehow someone got it, what annoyed me was that the two bikes next to mine were left, one was not locked up at all, and the other was basically tied up with a thread of wire so I was naive enough to think theirs would get stolen over mine! However, my bike was white and the others purple and a vile pink, so I guess the white one had a higher resale value despite being a female bike. I have decided to buy a ‘vile pink’ as a replacement but we will soon see if that sees the same fate.

  11. Jay 20/06/2014 at 1:25 pm #

    So my bike was stolen yesterday, on Peckham high street, right outside the job centre. It was locked with a kryptonite cable lock, through both wheels and the frame. It was 4:00 pm and very busy. There were no less than 7 G4S security guards stood in the job centre lobby (which has floor to ceiling glass), just 4 or 5 meters away. busy hair dressers, even a bike shop!

    I popped in to a shop to grab a bottle of water to top up my water bladder, came out and it was gone. Couldn’t have been more than a couple of minutes, and the cutters they would have had to use must have been 4 foot long, yet nobody saw a thing!!!

    I found it so hard to believe that I walked up and down the road wondering if i had left it somewhere else. I felt silly, confused, and abused!!

    I am certain that the bike theft is organised, and was probably someone in one of those busy dodgy shops acting as a lookout, with tools at the ready.

    Had to finish my errands on foot, and bus it back to Bow in my bloody BIB shorts 🙁

    I shall be buying many more locks

  12. George 21/08/2014 at 1:48 pm #

    Reading your article “What to do for your bike to be stolen”, I am very ashamed of myself doing exactly what you describe.

    My Giant and my wife’s Specialized, the baby seat, all of them locked just with one MasterLock cable inside secure garage of the development (with CCTV and Access control with remote control only for residents).
    I thought the cameras and access control would be safe enough for me not to lock them with a better locks.

    Leeds city center.

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