- If there's an open-air bike market at 7th and Market, it seems like you could use some of the same strategies that have been used to shut down open-air drug markets.
- Police in the greater Vancouver area have had a lot of success with bait cars, but I'm not aware of bait bikes being used more than experimentally (cf. tocatchabiketheif.com)
- If one could devise a concentrated enforcement strategy, one might not need to "take six guys off a murder" for very long. Basically the idea would be to tip a high-crime-low-probability-of-punishment equilibrium and into a low-crime-high-probability-of-punishment equilibrium that should presumably remain equally stable. One approach would be to target a geographic area and communicate (and follow through on) a threat to throw the book at anyone caught stealing a bike.
(pretty much all of these are stolen from the book When Brute Force Fails).
Part of their trouble was, being an underfunded public agency, their bike wasn't of the expensive sort, so I got the impression they were seeing diminishing returns over time as the bike became less desirable. They did this with laptops too, although their "bait" laptop no longer worked, and was really old. I could never get anyone to steal it.
I don't know what happened when the case(s) were turned over to the D.A.
When I was in Japan, the bikes-stealing dynamic was a bit different: the most common place to find your bike was at the nearest train station. The typical thief seemed to be running late for the train, and would borrow whatever was available.
I feel terrible for finding this side-splittingly hilarious.
I guess the trick would be making it get on the thief and all over the bicycle.
The best would be if it also stank to high heaven.
Then, instead of selling these bikes, one leases them. It would be impossible to sell such a bike without the buyer knowing it was stolen. (It may also be impossible to manufacture such a bike in the first place, but I'm not sure one could know without trying.)
In a system with electronic lock you could have unique factory key stored at the manufacturer, and recovered for a $30 fee upon inspection of id/receipt/etc.
I imagine such a brake-less bike would fall in that category.
This is the only case I could find on wikipedia. Placing a bicycle outside with no brakes hooked up is a far cry from rigging a spring loaded shotgun to the door of an unoccupied building.
It isn't even unheard of for people to legitimately (well, not legally I think...) ride bicycles without brakes, so where would you draw the line? If the police used a Ford Pinto as a bate car, could they be similarly at fault?
I'm cracking up over here! I guess it would have to at least be a Pinto, nobody would ever steal a Chevette or Yugo...
Until the lack of brakes causes you to get hit by a car, or crash into a pedestrian and cause severe injury.
A concealed spring-loaded shotgun hidden behind a door is, without any doubt whatsoever, intended to maim an unsuspecting person. A bicycle placed outside without breaks though? There are far too many plausible less than evil explanations for that to say with any certainty that a jury would side with the plaintiff. (Unless the shop did something particularly stupid like admit they put it there in that condition with intent to harm...)
Now, could the guy still sue? Yeah, of course. He could also sue if a perfectly normal bike that he stole gave him blisters. That would be pretty dumb, and he wouldn't win, but he could still do it. The only thing that really matters at the end of the day is "can you get away with it".
If there are better cases than the shotgun out there (and I imagine there should be if it is really so easy to sue for things like that), then I will of course re-evaluate my position.
It wore out one shoe faster then the other, but you could do cool skids.
Or just plain old boring regular enforcement, like Germany and Japan have, which is how they end up with a far lower crime rate than the US or the UK for example.
(They also have a better social safety net, that's part of their low crime rates too.)
Two bicycles over ten years compared to how many you would get stolen in the US is "nothing".
That's the problem when comparing crime rates in the US and Japan, people in Japan still feel like there's tons of crime. I suggest you spend a couple of years living in a large US city. I hear San Francisco is very nice.
There's a lot of cultural difference to factor into the analysis. I think the article holds true for the U.S., and especially the Bay Area. I've had my own bicycle stolen there (despite a hefty U-lock).
If you are charged, you can choose a no-jury trial, or a jury trial with no right to appeal; and Japan has an extremely high conviction rate (though few people are actually charged, the prosecutors are very selective).
If you see a laptop on a park bench, you either leave it or call the police. If you pick it (to check the browser for the owner's email address) and a policeman catches you with it (and they don't need a warrant or even good cause to search you), you can undergo a lot of hassle.
Then using RFID or similar technology, you could embed a RFID tag somewhere in the frame. Then allow someone to report a stolen bike with a police report, very similar to a stolen vehicle report and then using remote scanners you could scan for stolen bikes very easily. All it takes is fear of a stolen bike to scare away potential buyers.
In legal terms, you'd have a problem with proportionality—that is, the idea that the punishment needs to fit the crime. This is partially a problem with fairness and partially a problem with incentives: if you give someone the same punishment for, say, stealing a bike and for beating someone up, then if you want to steal someone's bike you might as well beat them up to steal the bike.
If you follow this logic, you eventually get to something like 18th C England, where a LOT of stuff was punishable by death, which led to large problems with murder: if you're going to be killed for stealing, you might as well kill someone, then steal, since you've just eliminated the witness.
However, if the criminal gets 5 years for stealing a bike, and 10 years for beating someone up, the criminal might be swayed by 5 years vs 15 years.
I can see the situation where the criminal thinks "I'm already probably going to jail, might as well decrease my chances as much as possible" by beating someone up. I think most bike crimes occur when the owner isn't around though.
There is a reason horse theft used to be dealt with so severely: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Horse_thief_hanging.png
Now, obviously we should not start hanging bike thieves (as tempting as that may seem) but I definitely think this is not a crime to take lightly at all.
Whether or not the decline in violent crime justifies the rise in imprisonment and the decline in prison standards, or whether there might be other ways to achieve the same declines are different questions. But the United States has become significantly safer over the last ten, twenty and fifty years.
Criminologists aren't anywhere close to a consensus on the causes of the crime rate reduction of the last few decades. Many theories have been offered, from decreased crack use, to fewer unwanted children resulting from legalized abortions, to your suggestion of harsher sentencing.
Yes, Harsher sentencing may have something to do with it, but it could just as well have increased our crime rate and been counteracted by one of the other factors.
There is no scientific consensus to support your claim.
The real answer to your first sentence is clearly "people need to commit less crime". I would suggest there's a lot of evidence showing that the threat of prison isn't deterring crime at least amongst some demographics. Do you really think greater risk of prison is going to stop bike theft by crackheads? Or homeless? Or the poor?
It's quite possible that fixing some of the social problems would be a way more powerful motivator to stop bike theft then increasing enforcement/punishment alone. Possibly way more cost effective too.
I want to live in a society free of crime. Where children and other vulnerable people move free from violence and theft.
Is that unreasonable?
What I'm questioning is your proposed method of achieving that - putting more people in prison - is it likely to help?
Does anybody seriously think that the threat of prison is deterring people from committing drug-related crime? Do you suppose a typical homeless person considers risking being put in jail for stealing to eat to be a significantly worse option than sleeping hungry and cold under a freeway overpass?
Wikipedia has some quite alarming numbers: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Incarceration_in_the_United_St... - one in every 31 adults, one in every 11 African-Americans " behind bars, or being monitored (probation and parole)". Surely that's pretty clear evidence that the problems leading people into committing crimes are significantly more powerful than the deterrent of prison time?
No it's not unreasonable to want that, but it's probably a bit ridiculous to believe it will ever happen. And it's definitely ridiculous to believe we're going to get there by just locking more people up.
America has 5% of the world's population, but nearly 25% of the world's prisoners--do you really think we need to increase that. Over 3% of adults are under some kind of correctional supervision--where do we stop?
tl;dr: In the U.S. in only 20% of murder cases the perpetrator is found and convicted of murder, compared with (allegedly) 90% in Japan. At the same time, even if all non-violent offenders (that includes all drug offenses) were released from prisons in the U.S. tomorrow, the U.S. would still have double the incarceration rate of Western Europe.
I don't know enough to have an opinion either way, but intuitively this message has a true ring to it: http://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=3696583
On your second link, the first half is reasonable, but the second half utterly misses the point. The reason why the police wait in 'The Wire' and in real life is because they're gathering evidence. If they don't have enough evidence, the case won't stick. Similarly, they're trying to catch the kingpins. If you catch the front-line dudes you can fill your prisons with them, but there will always be more (in places where it's bad, like where the Wire is set).
It's weird that given the US already has such an immense problem with overincarceration that you think the solution is to lock people up over even more trivial issues. Where are those people going to be stored? Given the already clogged courts, aren't you going to have to abandon due process in order to get so many through?
It's pointless, really, because if you honestly don't think that overincarceration is 'actually a problem', then you're so one-eyed that nothing I say will sway you.
I mean, you're saying here that somehow the state would get more money back from the private prisons than they paid them, so they could spend this surplus on courts?
Would you allow your 6yo to walk alone at night through any city in the US?
I think you should be able to. I think a person should be able to live anywhere in the US without encountering violence on a daily basis, without hearing gunshots every night.
Because that isn't true, I think there is too much crime.
Increased incarceration and police powers reach an eventual point of diminishing returns.
Do you know what the likelihood of a 6 year old being abducted or killed by a stranger are? Do a google search and you'll probably be surprised by how uncommon it is. Fewer children are abducted in the classic "stranger danger" manner (unknown attacker as opposed to a friend or family member) than are struck by lightning each year.
If we can save 10 6 year olds per year, is it worth incarcerating 100 extra people, 1000, 10,000...1,000,000? At what point does the increased risk of snaring innocent people, and the financial cost outweigh the small gains in "safety"?
This is a surprising stance to encounter on HN. The article I linked to asserted that although crime in NYC has gone drastically down, incarceration rates have not gone up. I found that interesting, do you?
Elsewhere in this thread you suggest executing bike thieves as they commit theft, and although I'm not sure you were entirely serious, I'm afraid we're going to agree on much about this issue.
That would be a statistic, too.
Goes down the seat tube and is a one-way insert only. Cannot be pulled back out, and is too large to push down and get out of the bottom bracket shell.
I actually have those installed in all my bikes.
Far simpler though: Every one of my bikes is littered with very small notes saying "If this bike was not brought into the shop by David Kitchen it is stolen, please call 07740949xxx".
Those notes are in the stem, under the bar tape, under the rim tape, in the bottom bracket shell, in the seat tube, in the seat post. Everywhere you can hide a small note whilst building the bike that will be found when servicing the bike.
I printed them on plastic using a Dymo machine, they weigh nothing... and if my bikes were stolen then one day they will arrive in a bike store for a service, and be returned to me.
Taggle Systems are focussing first on remote reading of water meters and other water utility use cases, but once networks are in place then tracking bikes will be doable.
Seriously, the only things that have somewhat alleviated the problem is better locks and guarded bike parking facilities.
I know Santa Clara PD has (is?) using bait bikes to some extent. AFAIK the units themselves are made by pegtech.com .
We used to be able to register our bikes with the police department. They'd stamp a registration number onto the frame of the bike using lettered taps and a hammer. The only way to take off the registration is to either file it down or cover it over, in either case a clear indication the bike is stolen.
I got a bike stolen 3 times. Twice I got one back when the police found it (once the bike had upgrades too. Better front fork, better grips and 2nd rider peddels had been added)
Anyway, I'm sure someone will cite "budget cuts" but I certainly wish they still registered bikes. It seems like in a city like SF there are enough cyclists, revenues from registering the bikes could pay for a few bike police.
Now, some "gaijin" saw a business opportunity there and basically this level of safety is over in most big cities. I think it's totally understandable that they target foreigners. Japan is one of the safest places in the world and they want it to remain that way.
Even if you do get stopped for genuine wrong-doing, the worst that happens is you get a talking to or a citation at the nearest kōban. Better yet, if you learn even the tiniest bit of Japanese that will generally set the policeman at ease.
This has stopped recently though... I am wearing a cycling kit, switched to a road bicycle, and riding in traffic. So likely I've dropped out casual thief profile.
The website looks like something out of the late 90's, and the form is a Word document, but it's nice that it exists. It evidently gets some use too, as they occasionally recover a stash of stolen bicycles and post pictures of the ones that weren't registered.
Provide a national registry, sell ads, viola! YC 2013, baby! (Okay, maybe not, but a useful public service niche.)
The unique number etched into the frame can be transferred though. The one you get free from the UK Police is the same as the Silver Kit here: https://www.bikeregister.com/
I had a friend who bought a bike lock that was insured against any thefts (whether they were quick with the insurance, I don't know). When he went to register it, he saw that there were two exceptions, one of which was the city in which he lived: Eugene Oregon, a town with tens of thousands of students. After asking around, he was told bike thieves there loaded entire bike racks onto trucks in a couple minutes, then removed each lock at their leisure in a storage facility.
I find it hard to imagine that they sold them off individually: it's too suspicious to have a few people selling hundreds of bikes. Likewise, delegating to underlings to sell the bikes also seems too risky, as several people now know about the enterprise. I suppose they sell wholesale to used bike shops in other towns who are in the know.
The solution in this case would seem to be turning criminals into witnesses, a la drug enforcement. Enforcement on an individual-basis wouldn't work: mere possession of a single stolen bicycle is unlikely to prove criminality. I doubt penalizing individuals for owning a bike (as with counterfeit money) would work either: if I go to a used bike shop to buy a bike, they're not going to give me the "stolen discount" - the shop is going to mark it up to the same price as legitimate used bikes.
i've been looking into the thief... his usual m.o. is to take them down to eugene. he also picks up different ones while he's down there, and sells them here in portland and seattle. i think his theft ring has a couple of other people involved, but i haven't been able to confirm it. i am hoping to do a follow-up video about this.
It seems to work for drug dealers.
Once a buyer contacts him via craigslist, he finds out the persons general vicinity, brings the bike to the area and locks it up with a combo lock based chain. He will give you the address of the bike, and if you like it, can make the purchase online and you receive the combination. If you don't want it, he can pick it up who knows when - or leave it for someone else to check out. If the bike gets stolen, he hasn't lost anything on his bottom line and at no point is he in physical communication with the actual purchaser.
then again, if the risk of being caught (and punished) is as low in NY as it appears to be in SF, that seems like a bit of an overkill; wonder what the scale of his organization is..?
I don't know about SF, but it is not uncommon to see just a bike chain hanging on a post - it just fits in to the environment and no one will notice someone just walking up and taking their chain with the right combination.
In which case it is known as a "cold drop".
there’s no conceivable way i can think of to present a drug for someone to ‘check-out’ without enabling that person to steal it..
If a dealer was busted he would never have any product on him, and the risk is relatively low if you consider that these people usually deal in units worth probably less than 20$ each. So if a package gets stolen or lost it's no big deal really.
While in this case perhaps it wouldn't be to 'check it out' but certainly post purchase or whatever requirements needed to exist prior to getting the combination. It is subtle enough to blend in to an urban landscape where abandoned(?) locks on chains aren't all that out of the norm.
Tangentially, and pardon my ignorance, I'm not a biker: I can't understand people who shell out thousands of dollars for a bike, are these so much better than a $500 one?
Which is why criminals do not charge half of its used value -- they charge 100% of the used value just like everyone else.
You cannot tell a stolen bike on craigslist apart from a non-stolen bike based on the price alone.
The problem of stolen cars is addressed through licensing and registration. Not to mention, bicycles do not have a reliable and standardized VIN system like cars do. The fact is, the hassle of creating and enforcing such a system probably outweighs the positive aspects of preventing bike crime.
San Diego just repealed theirs:
The cyclists stormed city hall and complained loudly, and the police were forced to stop doing this.
They are better. They aren't 5x better (as if this was even quantifiable)... but if you are passionate about biking and you spend a lot of time on your bike, it can seem worth it.
I spend much more time on my bike than in my car... and I appreciate the improved ride of associated with an extra $1000 on a bike more than I'd appreciate the improvements from spending an extra $5000 on a car. So, it certainly seems reasonable to me.
They are significantly and astonishingly better if you do something that style of bike is designed to do - eg. ride 40km as efficiently as possible, go up mountains all day, sprint finishes, etc.
They aren't 10 times better, but that's not how subjective value works.
Typically legal systems don't go after end consumers of stolen or counterfeit products, they go after suppliers, because they can prove that suppliers are actively breaking the law.
You would have to have a ubiquitous BikeID system in a central registry of stolen bikes. It would have to be incredibly easy to check the status of a BikeID (web/email/phone/sms). It would have to have incredible traction.
At that point if someone bought a bike which was tagged in the system as stolen, and didn't check/report it within 48 hours, they could be considered complicit in the theft.
We're getting pretty close to this with cars. I'm pretty libertarian in my ideology, but at some point the barrier is so low to running a CarFax-esque check that even I wouldn't mind penalizing buyers who don't do due diligence. It is, of course, easier to justify with higher ticket items than with bikes or phones...
The BikeID idea is about as old as bike theft, but it's pretty difficult to enforce. If you care enough about not buying a stolen bike, the solution is simple: Ask for the original invoice. If not, you're not going to bother looking up the bike.
You could sweep parking areas, but you'd only return the bikes to their owners, at considerable cost to operate - and buying a stolen bike is still free of risk of punishment.
In my state, the statute says "such person knowing or having reasonable grounds to believe the same to have been feloniously stolen or taken".
I doubt any state makes receiving stolen goods in complete ignorance a crime. However, the stolen goods are generally recoverable by the original owner, whether or not the person receiving them purchased them in good faith.
This is good. Usually there is just a demand for bikes. With this system there will be a demand for non-stolen bikes. The prices for stolen bikes go down and so does stealing them.
If the buyer did not know the bike was stolen, this will only punish the buyer and have no effect on the price of bicycles, since one cannot distinguish between a stolen vs. non-stolen bike (short of, say, suspiciously low prices, which has been called out elsewhere in this thread as a non-issue).
I wonder how much the "market price" for 2nd hand bikes is driven by the large(?) volume of stolen bikes in the market? Are legitimate bike sellers being forced into selling at lower-then-desired price points by a glut of stolen bikes being offered for 15 or 20% below "current prices", perhaps over time settling on unrealistically low market expectations? I wonder how big a percentage of the total demand for 2nd hand bikes is being met by the supply of stolen bikes? And what the effect of removing the stolen portion of the supply would be on the market price?
It's possible that if you raised barriers against selling stolen bikes, the prices of legitimate 2nd hand bike would rise, creating a "gap" where the time and money customizing/disguising stolen bikes became worthwhile.
Pre-transaction diligence is workable, post-transaction checks are a non-starter.
>>Tangentially, and pardon my ignorance, I'm not a biker: I can't understand people who shell out thousands of dollars for a bike, are these so much better than a $500 one?
It makes a huge difference. More expensive bikes are built from lighter and stronger materials (such as carbon fiber), are more aerodynamic and have better balance. Just to name a few of the benefits.
But yeah, a lot of people buy expensive rides for the looks and have no idea what do do with them...
Just had my bike stolen last week in NYC
It's true that it is usually much cheaper to lose weight on the rider than on the bike, but for some people it is probably easier (and more fun!) to spend the money.
 1.5 kg makes ~8.5 second difference over 2000m on a 3% slope hill http://www.analyticcycling.com/ForcesLessWeight_Page.html
A more realistic 400w + 120lb rider +3% grade for 2000km then a negative 3% grade for 2000km and a weight diffidence of .3lb for 300$. End result after 4,000km is less than 5 minutes wow that's worth 300$.
 1 trip using human riders hardly qualify's as measurement. But even still measurement is next to meaningless you can detect cocaine on most people in an international airport that does not mean they have had anything but the most indirect contact with the stuff.
PS: Sure if your racing professionally then things change around, but that's a tiny portion of the bike community.
You are right - 200w is low - I just used the default values. If you look on Strava, most middle-of-the-pack people post power in the low 300watts.
1.5 kg is easily the difference between a < $1000 bike and a $2000 bike. Cycling (as a sport) has a lot of financially wealthy (but time poor) people (the same people who used to play golf). These people aren't interested in the cost effectiveness of an upgrade, just weather it will help them beat their friends up a hill on the Saturday ride.
Personally, I think using ~$200 carbon fiber water bottle cages to save 30 grams is a waste of money. But the truth is that the grams they save do add up, and the weight does make a difference on hills. If you don't care about money (!) then why not spend the money....
Alas, my bike was targeted and stolen. :(
As much as everyone obsesses over weight, it's not the only difference between a $500 bike an a $5000. The more expensive components are also going to have more-difficult-to-quantify benefits like fit and finish (i.e., look prettier). The higher-end components also work better: shifting will be much more consistent, bearings will roll more freely, brakes won't require as much force, etc.
This is analogous to a car magazine complaining about how a particular model has a "mushy gearbox." You can still drive it, but the experience isn't as nice.
In the range of most cyclists: having carried my $400 iron-frame bike up stairs and a friend's $1500 bike up same, the difference is certainly not "1/10 of 2lb".
I would recommend anyone thinking carbon fiber makes stronger bikes to visit a topical image blog at http://www.bustedcarbon.com/ :)
The weight issue is addressed elsewhere in comments...
Carbon fiber's failure mode is different to metal - it breaks rather than bends. In most cases crashes that destroyed carbon frames would have also destroyed metal frames - but a frame bent out of alignment doesn't look as spectacular.
It is possible to build a bike from carbon fiber that fails in surprising ways (eg, clamping it in a bike carrier). That's because CF allows more flexibility in building with it, not because it is inherently weak.
If you want a strong carbon frame buy a cheap one. They typically use the same number of layer of fiber all over the frame (instead of trying to minimize weight in low strain parts) and they use plain woven fiber aligned randomly. That makes the bike heavier than a high-end frame, and not as strong for expected stresses (pedalling) as it could be for the same weight but it makes it more robust in the even on unexpected strains.
WAT? Are you a materials engineer? Its CRP - carbon reinforce PLASTIC. The resin is prone to degradation from fatigue cycles. Raw carbon fiber without resin is brittle, think pencil leads. Bike racers (not sponsered) commonly race aluminum frame because a single "drop" if it doesn't render the fram unusable from catastrophic damage, can render it structurally unsound. That's the nature of carbon fiber. If my CF (CRP) motorcycle helmet so much as drops on the ground, it has to be X-rayed by by SHOEI to test for unseen damage that would render it unfit to work in an accident.
Strength is misleading for a material that is not tough. Steel frames and Titanium frames are far tougher than CF/CRP frames, they can survive crashes without catastrophic failure. Even the Pro-peleton used ALU drop bars for many years for two reasons (1) they bend, dont break in a crash; (2) CF bars don't reveal potentially catastrophic failure to the naked eye (like the moto Helmet example), so even A minor drop (if it looks ok and you keep going) is now a huge risk factor (when racing in close quarters - you bars break, you can take out alot of people).
If you need more "scientific" evidence, for any reason, use Google compare shear/failure points of epoxy resin (vs steel vs titanium vs Alu etc). Yes you can overbuild anything, but you need to understand the materials you are working with. And also, as those pictures show, in the REAL WORLD the stuff that is for sale BREAKS.
"She spent a few days in the hospital over this. On a normal ride with friends and frame let go"
"This shot is of a friend’s seat post sometime after he adjusted the saddle height"
"Just 'popped' when I stood up to do a fast sprint"
"I managed to mostly avoid it but got pushed into a barricade and when I looked down my bike was in two pieces"
"I was sprinting through busy downtown San Jose traffic with a guy a fixed gear when my seatpost went "ka-RACK." Fixie kid laughed."
(well that's just the first half of the page, will stop
Yes, people get injured when they have bike crashes.
Yes (as I noted), carbon can fail. Metal can too!  is a much better survey of random broken bikes than bustedcarbon.  is a good summary of the hysteria around breaking carbon frames and some of the facts.
Here's a pic of a broken titanium (!) bottom bracket: http://www.pardo.net/bike/pic/fail-001/FAIL-143.html
Assorted mostly steel and aluminium broken frame pics: http://www.pardo.net/bike/pic/fail-001/FAIL-167.html
The injury quote was about her getting injured because the
carbon frame just fell apart with no warning (no crash,
except after the frame failure of course).
- There are "scientific" reasons why these things break for no apparent reason. b/c carbon is prone to developing "flaws", not all of which are visible (to naked eye). These happen either through previous impact damage or fatigue cycles.
- Carbon failure can cascade (snap...snap...snap...). Once the structure is compromised, the lack of sheer strength combined with different-from-design force vectors...are not good (a two-sided trianle = wishbone...) Look at how many carbon parts had multiple, complete failures.
- A metal frame will dent or bend if damaged; it doesn't hide flaws nearly to the same extent. You might get a hairline crack, but unlikely 3-4 snapped cross-sections.
-Obviously, getting hit by a truck or whatever doen't matter what you are riding.
Carbon Fiber Reinforced Polymer (CFRP)
Composition: 70% carbon fibers in epoxy matrix
Property Value in metric unit Value in US unit
Density 1.6 10³ kg/m³ 101 lb/ft³
Tensile modulus (LW) 181 GPa 26300 ksi
Tensile modulus (CW) 10.3 GPa 1500 ksi
Tensile strength (LW) 1500 MPa 215000 psi
Tensile strength (CW) 40 MPa 5800 psi
Thermal expansion (20 ºC, LW) 0.0210-6 ºCˉ¹ 0.0110-6 in/(in ºF)
Thermal expansion (20 ºC, CW) 22.510-6 ºCˉ¹ 12.510-6 in/(in* ºF)
LW- Lengthwise direction, CW- Crosswise direction
These are directinally correct for raw materials; the actual alloys and engineered structures will take into account obvious characteristics of the material.
The expensive bike won't rust.
The expensive bike can be repaired when things break.
The expensive bike is half the weight.
If you are using your bike frequently, it's better in the long run to have decent hardware.
Bikes mass is marginal compared to your body weight especially if you're average weight. A basic bike is 34 lbs and you are 175 lbs. And the weight only makes a big difference when climbing hills.
You're much better off losing a few pounds of fat than spending a few grand to get 10 lbs off the bike and shaving 2% off the required muscle power per mile :)
Beyond mass, the behavior of shifters and brakes on nice bikes is much, much crisper and more predictable than on cheaper models. They also have better capacity for tuning (e.g., to eliminate chain rub, or accommodate a high-range sprocket set), and are more likely to stay in proper adjustment for longer. This makes riding a lot more fun -- the machine is very responsive to your wishes, and you forget it's there.
You probably are aware of this, but I felt a need to mention some of the advantages of a nice bike.
However, this doesn't apply to racers. If it's going to speed someone up by 2%, and he's got the money, and he wants that last tiny advantage, he may just drop the cash on a $1500 wheel set.
For most people the weight makes the biggest difference when climbing stairs (with the bike on your shoulder).
Think about one thing you're passionate about. There's going to be products that are good enough for the casual, every-day user and there's going to be premium goods, even if there's a decreasing price/performance ratio. Since we're on HN, I feel safe talking about computers.
Compare the $1000 3.9GHz i7 from Intel and the $500 3.8GHz version. Do some people need the minor performance increase enough to pay for it? Sure. Enough to create a market? Nope. It's people wanting to buy things just to show they can pay for it.
Your 2 year timeframe for a computer - lets call that 500 days (assuming its for work, and rounding to 2significant digits).
That's $1 per day "extra" for the slightly faster processor.
Which is what, well under two minutes of most people reading here's hourly rate.
If you use that computer for anything more processor bound than word processing, that apparently tiny speed bump of under 3% will probably _easily_ pay for it's $500 premium.
Hell, I'd probably save $1 per day in time spent not waiting for chrome to open/render all the links I click from HN in a day on a slightly faster machine…
The question is, if you see a couple year old Trek on ebay for ~800, with some mix of 105 and Bontrager parts, is it stolen or is it a good deal?
The prices for second hand bicycles are all over the place anyway. There's a significant number of people who will buy a reasonably expensive bike and keep it in the shed for years and then by the time they decide to get rid of it they have no idea what it's worth so will just sell it for below it's value.
Yes, they're considerably better - the price is directly reflected on aspects such as durability and weight of the components (frame, gearing, wheels, etc). Keep in mind, though, that buying the most expensive bike around just to commute 10-20 miles to work won't be a good investment - you should go for a good quality one when you're serious about long distance training or hard core mountain biking, for instance (usually after you're already practicing whichever style you prefer - a lot of people invest in an expensive bike upfront and never really use it to its full capacity).
(or assemble your own. It's fun, specially for hackers/geeks!)
Sure, if you want a MTB for blazing offroad trails or a road bike for touring. For your regular 20 minute commute, a sub-$1000 city bike is pretty much the sweet spot (depending on your available disposable income of course).
Yet, not too long ago, I purchased a vehicle for a wholly reasonable price. I got the original pink slip. I got the keys. There were absolutely no signs of breaking & entering. Yet, I take it to the DMV to get registered, and what do you know- it's stolen property.
I lost my shirt on that deal, and it would have made it a million times worse if I was suddenly facing criminal charges.
Seriously, I hadn't even the slightest clue it was stolen- that is, until the police entered the DMV, looking straight at me. At that point there was only one thing that could be happening.
These days I phone in to the police records department and ask them if the plate is stolen, but you just wouldn't think that would ever be necessary when you've got the keys, title, etc... Even the officers I spoke with were surprised & confused.
As many other answers say, yes, there is a difference.
Here are some details (for 'racing' road bikes, which I know best):
For around $400, if you buy well online you can get something with an aluminium frame, carbon fibre fork and moderately decent components (eg ). It'll probably weigh a bit under 30 pounds (13 kg).
For around $700 you'll get a bike with similar specs from a major manufacturer and you can get it from a bike shop, where they will assemble it for you, make sure you get the right size etc. See 
For around $1000 you can get a carbon fibre frame on your bike (online, with terrible components) or bikes from major manufactures where the components start getting better (eg Shimano Sora 9 speed). These bikes should be between 20 and 25 pounds. See 
At $1500 you get bikes from major manufactures that are suitable for racing (ie, Shimano 105 10 speed, eg ), or can get pretty good carbon fiber bikes online. You also start getting decent bikes from high end manufactures (Bianchi, Pinarello, BMC). Most of these bikes will weigh a bit more than 20 pounds (9 kg), but if you choose carefully you might get under that.
Over $2000 you get carbon frames and Shimano's second to top component set, better wheels, and began getting under 20 pounds more often. High end only manufactures (Cervello, Ridley etc) are making their base level bikes.
Around $5000 you start getting electronic shifting, or better aero frames, deep rims on your wheels. You can start considering custom made frames. Your bike should weigh well under 20 pounds, and you can probably get down to the UCI limit of 6kg.
At $10,000 you are getting bike similar to what they ride in the Tour de France. You can get a power meter built into your crankset or wheels. The carbon frameset has been wind tunnel tested and is engineered so carefully that some parts of your frame only have a single layer of carbon, yet you still can't flex the frame at the bottom bracket. You probably have to add things like the power meter as ballast to make sure you are over the UCU weight limit. You can consider custom titanium or trying to buy onto the speedvagen waiting list.
Over $10,000: McLaren + Specalized: http://www.bikerumor.com/2011/03/17/specialized-mclaren-veng... (actually, to be fair there are plenty of ways to spend $10K+ on a road bike. This is just one).
About 10 years ago in the city of Utrecht the bike stealing was a really big problem. Here also the stealing of bikes is really hard to get caught with. The police used decoy bikes to catch thieves trying to steal those, but also this only catches small parts of them.
Ultimately this has been solved by also changing the way people handle this. If your bike got stolen, you just went out into the city, found a junkie, and often he had a bike for sale. If not he would have one 10 minutes later.
The police changed their approach to this, and started cracking down hard on the selling of bikes on the street. Not only the people selling them, but also the people buying the bike. Even going so far as police officers going undercover and trying to get people to buy bikes.
Within months the stealing of bikes dropped to near zero.
Also, when I see somebody on a re-sprayed bike, that hasn't obviously been re-sprayed with purely artistic intent, I want to beat them in the face until they die (lost too many bikes myself).
Funny how no explanation is needed for this line. Goldman Sachs (and hence, Wall Street) is now the poster child for risk-free crime.
Wall Street has poorer-than-usual ethics, and does commit crimes for profit, but in general it is wary of the legal system. Wall Street tends not to exploit opportunities that run afoul of the legal system, even when they are risk-adjusted comparable to other opportunities. They would rather make money legally than illegally, if they can help it.
To use the wording of the article, Goldman Sachs (Wall Street) typically does not commit crimes when "the potential revenue from the crime [is] greater than the probability adjusted weight of getting caught", even if you set the adjusted revenue to average profitability.
In particular, Goldman Sachs (Wall Street) is gunshy with respect to the US legal system. From a charitable standpoint, perhaps this is out of an ethical respect for the law. From a cynical standpoint, perhaps there is another more involved risk calculation which takes into account long-term reputation and the unpredictability of political administrations and legal settlements. Given a long enough outlook cynical self-interest approaches ethics.
"So Turing can leave his bicycle anywhere and be confident that, if stolen, it won’t go more than a fifth of a kilometer before the chain falls off."
Of course, the whole book is a good read, so skip the link and head to a bookstore.
Sorry for being that European guy yet another time. But it is different in different countries. The Union's laws have higher priority than the countries laws. In this case though, the countries have their individual laws that go about giving everyone health care. So iirc correctly, here in communist Sweden no insurance companiy would be involved in the medical bills at all.
As an aside: I am surprised that the risk to kidnappers is considered higher than the risk to bank robbers. Can anyone explain this?
Kidnapping, if you're holding out for ransom, is like playing a game of hot potato but you have to wait for your opponent's go-ahead before you can toss it.
Kidnapping (if you're looking for a random) is about aquiring something you don't want and nobody wants you to have so that you can make a risky deal that exposes you. You run the risk of being set up, and even if the deal is done successfully I'd imagine you'd run the risk of revenge, especially with any target worth a large value.
This isn't an American thing apparently, it seems stealing a bike anywhere in the world has absolutely no real risk, even if you still 3,000...
I wonder what his dollars-per-hour-in-jail ratio was.
Partly, iirc, because people are emboldened once they've successfully done something a few times and not gotten caught; they start convincing themselves that they've figured out how to beat the system, as opposed to just having gotten lucky so far. Hence I believe one of the most effective ways to deter shoplifting, for example, is just to catch a larger percentage of attempts, even if the punishment is nominal: if someone's caught on one of their first few attempts, many will be deterred from trying further, because getting caught becomes an observed reality rather than just a theoretical possibility that can be rationalized away. Basically, some percentage of people test the boundaries but will stop trying if they get some evidence that the boundaries are really there.
I personally want to avoid ever having to step foot in that place for any length of time.
But if I was paid $2k to do it? Sure.
Aside from the toilet situation, it's not significantly worse than being on a intercontinental flight. (In fact, I'd rather spend 24 hours in that cell than three hours on a turbulent flight.)
My friends that have done both describe the later to be a completely different experience.
If we assume that death and sexual assault are not going to happen in this 5 days I would guess most people would do it and from what I've read it's pretty rare for either of those things to happen in the short term jails, it's prison that's the bigger risk -- and even then apparently sexual assault is way exaggerated in the media.
Can you describe what your friends have described happening in jail that makes you so against it? From the AMAs people have done on reddit about jail and prison it seems jail is something anyone with the ability to enjoy their own company can get through with ease, although I guess it could be that your country uses jail and prison as an interchangeable term?
If we assume that death and sexual assault are not going to happen in this 5 days
You can't. You will be in a facility with people awaiting trial for murder, violent acts, prostitution, hardcore drugs etc. They may segregate them, they may not, you won’t know until you get in there.
A holding cell has mainly people arrested for crimes that are not remotely serious.
Can you describe what your friends have described happening in jail that makes you so against it?
My 2 friends that have been to jail primarily mentioned that the people were way different and being stuck there felt much more real. Normally when people go to a holding cell our age they are not sober. After 24 hours you become pretty sober.
although I guess it could be that your country uses jail and prison as an interchangeable term?
I live in the US. Jails are for misdemeanors and people awaiting trail, prisons are for people convicted of felonies.
This is, I think, one of the weird things about the legal system. As someone without a record, getting any criminal record at all would have a staggeringly high cost to me. I wouldn't take even a misdemeanour for $10K. If I already had a record? eh, what's a few days spent reading?
Does anyone know if this is fact or fiction?
Sounds like your idea addresses a real need. I wonder why I haven't heard about this kind of thing already implemented?
Price maybe? http://www.gizmag.com/spybike-gps-tracker/22999/ says $153.58 plus a pay-as-you-go SIM card.
I wonder what it would take to make it more economical.
I got hit by what seems to be some kind of paradox: old casual bikes are targeted more often than expensive flashy ones.
My last question was about communicating openly or not about it.
- Openly would make robber aware and probably come up with attacks
or blocking means, but that would surely render their activities
a lot more complicated. Could be mass-produced.
- Secretly a few people would have it and use it as bait, and
authorities being aware of the scheme would casually catch robbers
later. No mass-production
Given the ratio of hours ridden to power draw of a small tattletale device, you could probably put a couple of magnets on the crank assembly (inside the tube the connects the crank to the frame), along with a couple hundred coils of wire and create a very nice charging circuit. It might take even 100 hours of riding to build up an initial charge, but I'm guessing that would be no problem in a typical scenario, even if it took 2 weeks to get there.
First, how you are going to pass a "big spark" through the frame? Carry around a big ass battery while you're on the hunt for bikes?
Secondly, the current would follow the path of least resistance, through the frame itself. Unlikely to really affect a module inside the frame, especially if that module is wrapped in an insulator.
Is it a potent law-tool for Londoners? What was the reasoning for getting so very many? How do people generally feel about them?
 http://www.bicicletasroubadas.com.br (Portuguese)
I personally use a cheap ( 50€ ) used bike as a daily driver, in combination with a 30€ lock, there will mostly be an easier/better target for the thief and if it ever gets stolen, its just 50 (80) bucks and not 1000€.
We need to start examining the motivations for cracking in the same way. Locks in the real world are far from foolproof, and work as much or more because of societal expectations and economics than they do because of their embodied technology.
What most companies do with DRM ignores reality in two important ways:
1) Your own technological capability and manpower can be overwhelmed
by the tech and manpower available to the Internet as a whole.
2) If you have something of significant monetary or prestige value,
you are not going to secure it with a single supremely clever lock.
Crackers will always win if the payoff is worth the effort.
Presently, any software downloaded to a user's machine can be cracked. Therefore, do not try to prevent that -- it's a losing battle. Refuse the things that you can economically refuse. (Server-side functionality, service and support, participation online.)
Detection is 1000X as powerful, if the consequences are separated in time from the actual detection. If you give the game away immediately, you are providing your opponent data. If the consequences are delayed by 3 days or even several months, the economics of cracking become like the economics of fixing intermittent bugs and Heisenbugs.
Security needs to focus on economic leverage. Since your opponents have more time and capability than you, you need to ensure that they are spending 1000X more resources to combat your actions. Instead of needing to catch them every time, or your game is lost, make them need to catch you every time, or their game is lost. (The robber needs to get away with the heist every time, while the police only need to catch him once. However, the guerrilla fighters only need to get away with a raid occasionally, while the occupiers need to catch them every time. Yet in both situations, the 1st party has far fewer resources. Something to think about.)
Even if I could attach a weatherproofed Macbook to a pole with a U-lock, it would still be really unwise to do so. This is a pitiful commentary on our society and law enforcement
I have 3 bikes and haven't got the frame numbers written down anywhere. Although I will rectify this now!
The serial is pretty hard to remove, without it's removal being obvious to anyone that looks, though the brand can be removed or changed - if that happens the serial wouldn't show as stolen.
If there was a lookup for serials then you could check if the bike was stolen, or if the bike was incorrectly branded (serial doesn't match brand), but there isn't a central place for this, unless the (ex)owner registers it on a service such as immobilise.com
The thief had actually given him the serial number of the bike, which he checked in the online police database and it returned no hits. The catch was that the thief slightly altered the serial number so that it wouldn't yield any hits. When he went to actually look at the bike he didn't notice the subtle difference in the serial number and assumed it to be legit.
The OCR-A character set used in the MICR numbers on checks makes it easy to spot a modification like the one in your story.
(I don't believe in "punitive" taxes on cars, but I do think gas should be taxed enough to cover the cost of cleaning up its CO2/other pollution, and the resulting money spent on doing that).
Hmm. Maybe this would be a good application of unmanned drones?
In China, they do "Strike Hard" campaigns, where crimes which might normally be gross misdemeanor level (shoplifting, assault) are punished far more severely (sometimes by execution).
This might be a way to raise the expected cost of committing the crime, while not raising the cost of anti-crime enforcement that much.
Another thing that I've noticed (I'm an avid freeride-biker) is that there are actually gangs that target high-end bikes. They have spies at known bike-trails and follow people home. If they see an expensive bike they break into cellars, garages and sometimes even people's apartments just to steal a bike. The bikes are then taken apart and most components are sold right away (a second hand fork in good shape can still go for $1000+ in some cases) and the frame itself is shipped abroad and sold separately. I'm actually very paranoid because it's happened to two friends already... :/
Someone trying to get into a car could have just accidentally locked his keys in. Someone trying to get into my car has nefarious intent.
It was a very lucrative side business for a 12 year old kid.
In anything approaching an urban center I see a lot of abandoned bikes (locked and slowly vultured.) They are generally attributed to lazy owners, but a portion may be decaying inventories of hoarders, joy riders and/or thrill seekers.
I'm reminded of inventories of locks on urban fences. Obviously the collections of not so rational (but social or antisocial) actors.
I think a good urban experiment would be a collection system that pays ~$5 a bike (and gives immunity once you arrive) and charges ~$7.50 to a verifiable owner before selling back into the free market of "used" bikes. A little cross between a repo-man and the can man, to keep the things a little tighter and make it more likely lessons are learnt on the cheap.
I really would love to build a pepperspray-bomb-in-a-U-lock, if only I could do so without being instantly sued by a litigious thief.
We live in a complex world full of complex people with countless motivations. It's always tempting to dismiss someone as "just plain mean", but it's rarely accurate.
I realize this is somewhat off-topic. Just stood out to me.
I thought maybe I could add some game theory into the mix, just for the sake of it. For example...
Following an economic perspective it could be viewed, given the suggestions made in the article, that for your average bike on the street it is almost impossible to protect against theft using a lock or by any other "practical" means. Therefore (bare with me) when you park your bike on the street you are in a sense "competing" with other cyclist in presenting the worst return for the criminal. Locks, paint jobs, parking locations etc. are just ways of saying to the thief "Hey, this is going to be difficult. Why not have a go at stealing that shiny looking bike next to mine." You are not solely competing against the criminals but your fellow cyclists!
I wonder what would happen if the criminal world started experiencing hyperdeflation?
Don't mess with bikers. Something that's your mode of transit everywhere starts to mean more than just the $ value.
Over here your basic home insurance covers the bike theft minus a deductible (often something like 200e). Then
you can get a separate bike insurance for 25e/year which
will cover the deductible and also register the bikes serial number in a database and they (claim to) do some cooperation with the police and border officials to flag stolen bike serial numbers and return stolen bikes to owners. Your
bike also gets a special sticker which probably repels
bike thieves. Many retailers automatically preregister bikes with this service and include 3 months of free insurance, and include ads for the full service...
Second, I wrapped the frame of one bike in masking tape and smeared grease and paint on it. I kept that one for years; not even the local junkies wanted it. I guess they didn't notice my servicable Campy brakes and shifters, or didn't see the value in them.
I'm not sure the rational-actor theory applies to bike theft.
UNLESS it's the bike dealers behind the theft rings doing it to create demand, and they're just crushing the old stuff. Bwahahahahahaha. There's a batman movie in that villain theory.
"There is no need to loop it around the seat tube as well, because the wheel cannot be pulled through the rear triangle."
The two simple methods I've seen for defeating it (based on seeing just mangled rear wheels locked up to railings/bike racks) is to:-
a) Stamp on the rear wheel and fold it so that it fits through the rear triangle. (No tools required).
b) Cut a bunch of spokes (easy to do with a pair of wire cutters) and press the rear wheel flat so that it fits through the rear triangle.
The rear wheel on one of my main bikes is £100; the rest of the bike is £1500. No chance I'm going to risk that.
Thieves won't care about not having a rear wheel if they're sticking bikes in the back of a van to sort out or sell off at a later date.
Sadly Sheldon isn't alive today to discuss and review that strategy.
There were many bikes that were locked - but they looked more like "commuter bikes" near the metro and office buildings. Folk using them to get around during the day often seemed to leave them unlocked.
I doubt it's worth stealing.
A colleague of mine has his bike stolen from Ham House in Richmond, but fortunately the police quickly identifed the thief from CCTV footage.
It was a particularly hot day, and they could clearly see where the thief had his name tattooed on his back.
Now, that's classic.
Jhansen - www.ciclismo.esp.br