Monday, April 28, 2008

Stolen and Recovered or How to Lock Your Bike.

The first email I read this morning was titled, "Stolen". It was from our very own Jennifer McChren who is Bike Jax's first Commuter Profile. The email read in part, "My red schwinn was stolen this weekend from the Springfield Garden. I left it up there for a minute, unlocked like a dummy."

Not a few minutes later as I was typing up an all points bulletin and digging up the pictures I had of her and the her bike to post here when I received yet another email from Jennifer titled, "Found!" It was spotted and recovered from a homeless guy in Hemming Plaza this morning. Huge thanks goes out to Philip for the recovery.

I am posting this not to show that Jennifer, as she states is a "dummy". She is anything but. It's merely to point out what everyone of us has been guilty of at one time or another. Leaving our bike unlocked "for only a second". Fess up, we all do it or have done it. We get comfortable with our surroundings and will enviably tell ourself, "it'll be ok, it's only for a second, I'll be right here".  Then you turn around the for briefest moment. And bang! Your sweet ride is gone. I've done it and I paid the price for it. (well, my insurance company did) The kicker was I wasn't ten feet from my bike the entire time. Now who do you think felt like the dummy. It only takes a second for you to get distracted and lose your bike.

So fellow Jax bikers let the lesson be learned. It may be ok this this time, and maybe even the next. But one of these times chances are good you're going to lose your bike. Lock it up. It only takes a second.

Coincidentally, I was emailed the link for the below video today. And I thought what perfect timing. It once again is from the fine folks at Street Films. The text from the video reads;
"Nearly five years ago, legendary bike mechanic Hal Ruzal and I walked the streets surrounding Bicycle Habitat and graded the bike locking ability of New Yorkers - producing many humorous and enlightening anecdotes. The resulting video aired frequently on bikeTV and at many festivals, and because of it - Hal is still frequently asked by complete strangers to judge their bike locking.

I always endeavored doing another, but as with most sequels you need a new wrinkle. This time we thought we’d give Hal some company and invited former Recycle a Bicycle mechanic Kerri Martin (and founder of The Bike Church in Asbury Park, NJ) to weigh in with her expertise. Once again, bikes on the streets of SoHo provide lots of fodder for laughs and lessons to learn.

We didn’t plan to but we walked the same loop and even used the same one-hour time frame. The results? The grades were a little better than five years ago. Sure, still some bad locking out there, but many more people are now sporting multiple locks and better strategies! Good news, maybe we made a difference after all…

Take a few minutes now and flip that frame over and write down the serial number. Now write it down again on a different piece of paper. Put one copy in your purse/wallet and the other where ever you keep your important papers. Get a camera and take a couple pictures of your steed.

If you are ever unfortunate enough to have your bike stolen. Don't hesitate to send the info here to Bike Jax. The email address is on the front page. The more eyes you have looking and the sooner you can get the word out the better your chances of a happy ending.


Second_Pancake said...

I'm glad she got her bike back.

I went back and read the interview you did with her in March and noticed a comment she made in regard to bike racks in our city. Many people are not aware of the laws pertaining to bike racks and businesses (section 656.08 of the COJ Zoning Code). Our city already has laws in place that indicate businesses must provide off-street bicycle parking. If they do not, they are in violation of city code. In addition, there are regulations surrounding the type of bike parking. For instance, the rack must be designed in a way that allows the bike to be supported by its frame as well as to avoid damage to the bike. It must also allow the cyclist to be able to secure the frame and the wheels securely to the rack and be located in a convenient, highly-visible, active, well-lighted area and as near to the principle entrance of the building as practical.

I encourage EVERYONE who rides a bike to read this code...memorize it, carry a copy with you and push on any business that does not comply with these regulations. We must be educated before we can begin to educate non-cyclists.

Indicentlly, I created a powerpoint presentation that I will email to you from when I fought my place of employment. It shows the old rack and how my bike did not fit into it. I finally was able to get the property owner to install a new rack. Still not perfect (only my cyclocross fits), but it's much better than was was previously there.

Bike Jax said...

Hey Second Pancake. Thanks for all the information sent. I must admit that I was unaware of the current zoning code requiring bike racks.

I'm looking forward to being able to sit down and go over all of it.

And you are correct that we must be educated before we can educate others.

Thanks again.