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“Right now I’m averaging a stolen bike 1 per 2.8 years”

by Prince Of Petworth May 9, 2016 at 1:00 pm 54 Comments

New bike 2009

“Dear PoPville,

I was in the middle of moving from Columbia heights to Shaw and my bike got stolen out of my car at my house in the 900 block of Monroe St, NW. It’s a 47 cm black and yellow Felt road bike. It’s not expensive but I love love love that bike.”

Email [email protected] or call 951-288-2396 if you spot it!

bike obit

“Dear PoPville,

My beloved ride was stolen off my porch in between 5th and Randolph St, NW just yesterday. It’s not a sweet ride like the giant orange commuter bike stolen a month ago, nor is it a high end speedster. It was my little white ghost that i bought off ebay and lovingly added the best that I could afford over time.

I wrote an obit just to find closure incase it’s not recovered:

So long good friend. Right now I’m averaging a stolen bike 1 per 2.8 years. I remember when I first bought you off ebay and I’ve been slowly hooking you up with the new brakes, derailleurs, rims, tires and the like. You became my own. Now, you’re probably chopped up or being sold to support a drug habit. Nothing will replace the good times we had. The night rides, the all day trips with my wife. The getaways around town. Even the days out back fixing you up.. when really, I just needed to get out the house lol. So long good friend.”

Email [email protected] or call 202-293-0293 if you spot it!

  • Mike

    I’m curious how your biked were locked up when they were stolen (I know that one was in a car). U lock? Normal size? Short? Extra long? Did both ends lock in or did one end have a bend foot? What part of the bike did you lock? How did the thief defeat the lock? I’m not here to criticize your locking methods, I just want to know what works and what doesn’t. I use a small u lock that secures at both ends. I usually lock up the frame and rear wheel, and have the skewers bolted. Hasn’t been beaten yet.

  • JohnH

    I gave up having my own bike and just use Capital Bikeshare. Don’t have to worry about maintenance, being stolen, etc. and it’s rather cheap. I go on trips up to 3 miles easily using it.
    I know this doesn’t fix it for the more hardcore bikers and depending on where you live, but if you can’t store it in your apartment or a secure place within your building, it’s risky (and that includes cars). Not blaming anyone, just facts.
    Obviously keep an eye out on Craigslist and such for it to pop up. Given how many bikes are stolen in this city, unless there’s a secret place you can go to buy stolen bikes, I don’t know where they unload all of them once stolen…

    • Anon

      Not a good option if you use your bike for commuting though.

    • neighbor

      This only works if you have no interest in going from a residential area to downtown in the morning, or the reverse in the afternoon.

      • Anon

        And no interest (“need” might be the better word) in going anywhere outside the city.

        • hmm

          Kind of. Many of the municipalities bordering DC are part of Capital Bikeshare with robust networks of docks. I’m a daily bike commuter to Arlington from DC, I have my own bikes but on occasion have done the commute using bike share.

          • Anon

            I commute to Arlington and have used Bikeshare a few times, but I have to keep an eye on the time and re-dock twice to avoid the fee. You can do it, but it’s kind of a hassle. I think that’s why people are always saying the system isn’t designed for commuting.

      • ***

        Right. I can’t imagine riding Capital Bike Share up Connecticut Ave.

        • Rower32

          I have tried. It’s quite hard on a CaBi bike. Southbound commute is easier, still have to deal with the car traffic tho.

          • ***

            Was just discussing this morning that I would love for there to be a bike lane on Connecticut. I commute daily from Chevy Chase Circle to Farragut North along Connecticut and while drivers are usually okay, I have had my share of near misses. It’s the only N/S street West of the park wide enough to add a bike lane.

      • I’ve used it going pretty much across the length of the entire city. I wouldn’t ride it out to Mount Vernon (as in the trail / estate, not the DC squadrangle), but they’re perfectly fine if you’re in good enough shape to pedal the beastly frame.

        • neighbor

          I was referring more to the consistent empty dock or blocked dock problems.
          I actually think they’re fine for hills. I get up Connecticut with ease and have ridden up 15th, 13th, and even Porter.

        • Anon

          Right, so not good for commuting unless you work close by.

          • I suppose it depends on what your definition of close is.

          • Anon

            Someplace you can get to within the 30-minute limit.

          • If you’re going to exceed the 30 minutes all you have to do is dock it and take it back out. And if every dock around you is full you can call them and they will give you an extension. But my distance covered in 30 minutes is not necessarily your distance, or any other random individual’s.

          • JohnH

            I mean, I get that these people exist – but how many people are actually biking 30+ minutes for a commute a day? My commute via bike is nearly 3 miles and takes me just over 20 minutes.
            Again, I acknowledge there are people that do it, but I don’t think most people are biking 30+ minutes to get to work every day…

          • Exactly. This is such a small percentage of the market of people they target at “commuters”, that it’s silly to frame that as the argument for commuting in general. They’re not trying to capitalize on those coming from Reston.

          • Jill

            My commute take a little over an hour by bike. Maybe I’m just a slow biker? Part of my route is on the Mount Vernon trail where there aren’t opportunities to easily dock it.

          • Anon

            The average DC-area commute is 9.1 miles, which would take over an hour on a clunky Bikeshare bike. Even if you argue that DC residents have shorter-distance commutes (not even sure that’s true) they would have to be waaaay shorter to get under the 30-minute cutoff.

          • JohnH

            Using the average commute for people is a pretty silly argument in my opinion. The majority of people who bike to work do not have “the average” commutes. Thousands of people commute from the Dulles area into DC. 0.01% of those people are commuting via bike.
            It’s fairly common sense that most people are not biking 30+ minutes each way, particularly year round….or they use secret tunnels cause I sure don’t see them.

      • JohnH

        I do this every day with minor problems. Yes, there can be a time here or there I have to go to another location, but they do a pretty decent job restocking docks now (a couple years back it was very touch and go…).
        I mean if you leave to go to work at 9:30, then sure – can be an issue.

      • Caroline

        Also Bikeshare is not an option is you’re below-average in height (though from the pics it appears the OP is fairly tall).

        • My partner is 5’2″ and can ride it just fine. I know there are people shorter than that, but not a lot.

  • retropean
  • 7thStTechGuy

    My bike was stolen out of my gym. DC Bike thieves are brazen.

    • anon

      all bike thieves are brazen . . . and opportunists

      This was is a sad and touching elegy. I think I’d rather have my lifted from a publically locked spot than my own home. On top of losing the bike it’s a violation of owner’s space.

      I know a lot of pet owners use GPS chips implanted in pets to track a lost or stolen animal. Is there an equivalent effective way to do so for bicycles?

      • textdoc

        I don’t think pet microchips have GPS capability — just the ability to be scanned if someone brings the lost animal to a vet or animal shelter.

        • Correct.

          • Nathan

            But there are attachments for pet collars that have GPS capability. I suppose if you could manage a good way to hide one on a bike it could work. Though you have to recharge them occasionally.

        • LittleBluePenguin

          yeah, after my one cat went missing a few years ago on a freezing cold Thanksgiving Eve (dummy turned out to have been in the basement trapped between a wall and a mattress!) , I looked into gps collars, but they don’t make them for small animals, tho some are available for dogs, I think – they’re heavy because of needing to have a battery pack, and are pretty spotty as far as ability to pin-point a lost pet. Pet microchips are basically an internal luggage tag.

  • Ryan

    Also curious to know how it was stolen.

    I ride every day and have since 2009. Always use a u-lock and never leave my bike outside overnight.

  • Andy

    Let the victim blaming begin!

  • Philippe Lecheval

    I’m sorry to hear of your misfortune. It did inspire me to watch a bunch of videos of sabotaged bait bikes.

  • JL

    Bike thieves are the scum of the Earth. Hopefully you find your ride. Here is one solution a company has come up with that includes GPS tracking in your bike pedals. You would need to buy a data package for it, but it’s a pretty neat solution to finding out where your bike went if it was stolen. Not sure if they are selling them yet…

    • ***

      There are a couple of other options in a similar vein: SpyBike and Sherlock both offer solutions that can be embedded within the handlebars or stem, so the average bike thief would not see it.

  • Evan

    I lived on Capitol Hill for four years and had my Jeep Cherokee stolen three times. The latter two even with a club on the steering wheel. I never left anything in the car and nothing was stolen from the inside except for the stock radio.

    It was recovered all three times and the third time I just sold it to the impound lot. If someone wants to steal something, they are going to take it.

    • Anon

      That’s insane.

  • stacksp

    Do they have insurance that one can get for their bikes? Especially for riders that are spending thousands of dollars or more or bikes.

    • anon

      IIRC, I had a renter’s insurance policy that covered my bike, even when it was not in my residence, and would imagine homeowners insurance would cover this as well.

    • Caroline

      It’s covered under homeowner’s.

      • HaileUnlikely

        Yes it is. I would not want to file a claim, though, unless it was worth several thousand dollars and I actually used it in a way that was commensurate with its value. Having homeowners’ insurance claims on your file will not help you in the future. It might or might not cause any serious future trouble, but in no universe will it help. Use homeowners insurance for when your sustain multiple tens or hundreds of thousands of dollars of damage to your home, not to replace a stolen bike or computer or similar.

        • Anon

          I agree– I filed a claim when I was burglarized but only had a few hundred dollar’s worth of stuff stolen. That came back to bite me in the ass later on. It’s not a good idea to use it for most theft.

    • womp

      there is also bike insurance! as I understand it, homeowner’s and renter’s policies can be picky when it comes to cover bikes, depending on the circumstances.

  • navyard

    I have a neighbor that seems to have a different bike every time I see him. Usually the next week, I’ll see bicycle parts out for the trash pickup. I have started taking photos now when I see the items out for trash, but otherwise, it just seems that I’m profiling him and I don’t want to be THAT guy.

  • scatcat

    Hi friends, I’m the one with the stolen yellow Felt road bike. The post was pinned to a previous post from a different person with the “1 per 2.8 years” theft rate but that post was not about one of my bikes. My bike was primarily used for long rides and not commuting; I never left it (locked) outside because the saddle (Selle) and pedals (Speedplay; added after photo above) were too expensive. I normally would never leave it in my car at all, but the movers were there and I put it in my car temporarily while they were loading the truck; it was parked right around the corner from the moving truck. Completely in full view from my house and in the middle of the day. I am devastated at the loss–I am 5 feet tall and it took me a long time to adjust that bike to fit me (replacing stem, handlebars, etc.). If anyone knows anything or has any information please call me! Also, do you think it’s too late to put up “reward, no questions asked” signs? Theft happened at 1:30 pm on Saturday. Thanks!
    P.S. related to an earlier comment–CaBi bikes fit me fine–the thing is, if you’re short you have to get over feeling like you want to be able to reach the ground when you’re sitting on the bike. You have to hop off the saddle when you stop. That’s the key :)

    • scatcat

      Oh and this probably goes without saying but my car was locked and they busted out the back window and reached in to open the car to get the bike.


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