January 9, 2015

"A lot of people deserve to be really worried"

There are lots of bikes in Portland, Oregon, and, at any given time, a fair number of them are locked to one of the city's 6,000 blue staple racks (see here). Unfortunately, as came to light earlier this week, the blue staples don't safeguard the bikes entrusted to them as effectively as everyone had assumed.

Gina Carlson left her Trek Lexa S—named (!) Flora—U-locked overnight to a staple at the corner of Southeast 7th and Morrison. All that remained in the morning, though, was a staple, its cross bar severed clear through.

"This freaks me out," says the Bike Index's (register...) Bryan Hance in the video below, from KPTV-FOX 12. (To hear the bereaved Carlson's wake-up call to bike owners, check out KOIN 6's segment on the brazen theft.)

The moral, dear cyclists? Don't just verify that a rack (1) has all its bolts and (2) can't be yanked from the ground with a pair of passable biceps. Also give the rack a hard thwack. Put your ear down next to it. Try to gauge from the resonance how thick the tubing is—and how long it might take a would-be thief to saw through it.

And never, however reassuring the reverberations, leave your bike out overnight.

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