October 5, 2013

This Bike Is a Pipebomb

At a recent birthday get-together, talk turned to protecting bicycles from theft. (Such topics arise naturally when four people who have had three bikes stolen find themselves inspecting a friend's stable of eight.)

I mentioned the pricey but somewhat anxiety-reducing lock I had purchased to secure the Surly I'd bought to replace my stolen Cannondale, but said that what I really wanted was to rig my bike such that if anyone other than me touched it, he or she would be in for a nasty—by which I mean literal—shock.

We riffed on this idea, suggesting a string of similarly unconventional and vaguely violent means of foiling would-be bike thieves: What if the lock, if tampered with, squirted acid? Or had a leghold trap attached to it? (Apparently Boston-based blogger Bikeyface—www.bikeyface.com—also has a pent-up desire to see bike thieves gnawing their trapped appendages off: see below.)

Creative Deterrents

Though one friend expressed concern about collateral damage—what if an unwitting child got the Taser-strength electroshock I'd intended for a criminal?—or our property-protection measures landing us in jail, the prevalence of bike theft has led many to at least fantasize about taking bike security to extremes. A BMXforum.com thread titled "how to booby-trap your bike" included these suggestions.

put some c4 on the handle bars with a remote control detanater.

hire a sniper/sharpshooter to watch your bike at all times. thats what i do and it seems to work. and you don't get caught with murder when the person dies

There was also this dubious strategy which I'm actually sort of implementing already:

get clear plastic pedals so the thief thinks the bike is useless without the pedals

(Somehow I doubt this deterrent would be effective even without that red circle...)

Something I learned while trolling the BMXforum thread: There's a Pensacola-based folk-punk band called This Bike Is a Pipebomb, and, as cataloged on the relevant Wikipedia page, a bike bearing a sticker with the band's name is enough to evacuate an airport or get the bike's owner charged with the misdemeanor of "inducing panic." Apparently you don't even have to actually booby-trap your bike to risk a run-in with law enforcement! 

(I looked to see if "This Bike Is a Pipebomb" stickers are still available for sale, but all I found was this.) 

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