March 23, 2017

I Stand Corrected

I alluded in a post last week to having recently obtained an Altor 560G.

I've coveted one of these titanium beauts since Altor's May Kickstarter, but first I doubted that the Bethelem, PA-based start-up could actually bring the product to market. (Wrong.) Then I worried that a single 560G—the $349.99 price tag for the Double 560G didn't fit my budget—wouldn't have the reach to enclose both the frame/rear wheel of my beefy Surly Ogre and a bike rack. Using cardboard, brass fasteners, and rod
widths and lengths I solicited from Altor's Jon Akers, I made a cardboard model of the 560G and experimented with it.

My conclusion? That only under the rarest, most stars-aligned circumstances could I secure my 29er with a 560G.

But I was wrong.

Last month Jon sent me one of the 560Gs he'd been using for demos and photo shoots. He could no longer sell the lock, he told me, but the time in the limelight had not compromised its security.

For weeks the lock sat in its box as I rode my Surly on errands and to events. Maybe the 560G will work with my svelter road bike, I thought, but not with this tank.

But, like I said, I was wrong.

Over the weekend I brought my 29er and my 560G to the park down the street from my apartment. It took some doing, but I was able to get the single 560G around frame, rear wheel, and rack! (And it's a burly rack.) What made the seemingly impossible in fact possible was the freedom of the lock body to rotate. I initially thought that the 560G was going to almost but not quite get the job done, but then a tiny rotation of the lock allowed the rod to slip in. Success!

I have since similarly succeeded in locking my Surly with the 560G to a signpost next to a cafe and a rack outside my neighborhood Trader Joe's. I am confident enough now in its lock-up potential that it's the only lock I pack when I head out the door. So far, so good.

March 15, 2017

Mind the Asterisk

More than five years since Outside published Patrick Symmes's "Who Pinched My Ride?," the magazine has circled back to the subject of bike theft.

In "The Ultimate Guide to Ensuring Your Bike Never Gets Stolen Again*," Andrew Tilin talks locks, "locking hygiene," and the danger of letting extended runs of lock luck lull you into a false sense of bike security.

"Bike theft is a huge problem," Tilin writes.
The more often you get away with your poorly secured but beloved bicycle remaining in your possession, the more apathy you have about locking it using the best locks and methods. Then, one day, when it’s gone, you can put some of the blame on the fool who didn’t need much skill or many tools to turn your world upside-down.
And then you can put a heap of the blame on yourself.

Much of Tilin's material was familiar to the bike security enthusiast behind BTB, but "The Ultimate Guide" did get me to (1) mull the usefulness of a Knog Frankie as "a minimalist second lock for running errands" and (2) recommit myself to such theft-prevention measures as keeping locks well off the ground to discourage sledgehammering and orienting keyholes downward to make picking trickier.

Tilin's review also made me more excited than I already was to test out the Altor 560G that recently came into my possession. More on that folding titanium beauty in a future post. Stay tuned.

In the meantime, give the Outside piece a read and/or watch the summary below.