June 5, 2015

A Land Where a Cable Lock Suffices—For Now

In the Icelandic capital of Reykjavík, cyclists—of which there are many—do tend to lock their bikes, just not with anything terribly imposing. 

Take the white single-speed below. Assuming it belongs to whoever filled the adjacent windowsill with bicycle-related knickknacks, this bike is, if not treasured, at least appreciated. And yet...it is "secured" by a small-gauge cable lock looped around the rear wheel and through some wires snaking out of the building. 

Bike owners sometimes affix their rides to slightly sturdier installations, but still usually with just a cable lock:

Reykjavik bike shop Markið does sell U-locks, but appears to stock cables in much greater numbers:

And bike theft is not unheard of even in low-crime Iceland. Around 700 or 800 bikes are reported stolen in Reykjavík (population ~120,000) per year, and reports from the Reykjavík Metropolitan Police cite bike theft as the exception to a reduction in crime generally.

Which begs the question: How long before Icelanders, too, must resort to increasingly stiffer measures to prevent the theft of their two-wheeled transportation?

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