Wednesday, May 9

Lock Ultra FAIL

JRA, in his One Speed: Go blog, has a recurring theme, in which he hands out yellow cards to bikes at racks that were locked poorly. You can see a representative sampling of these, by clicking on THIS link. In the past, I have always shaken my head and clucked my tongue at the horrible locking jobs he captured.

Fortunately, I learned two lessons today. Both were learned cheaply, in contrast to what MIGHT have happened. Actually, I learned three lessons. The third lesson was that John Romeo Alpha does not lurk around the bike rack where I work. There are real advantages to living in North Texas rather than in Arizona.

Had JRA lived closer, I might have found a little yellow card affixed to my bike that said something like the picture below:

I came out from work to go home today, only to find my bike completely UNLOCKED. Buddy. A fairly pricey cyclocross bike I've ridden nearly 10,000 commute miles on. I was shocked. Then I was thankful. Then I remembered how it happened.

When I pulled up to the rack today, I dropped my bag off the back, and THEN I noticed a crowd of pedestrians walking towards the gate. Proving that not only motorists have a powerful urge to "get there first" or "must pass" that cyclists complain about. I bundled up my stuff and got there first. Well, that would have been a bitter victory had Buddy been missing with both U locks still securely fastened to the rack in their usual "wait for Steve to come back to work" position. Better to get to the gate at the end of the line than to walk home seven miles.

I work in a fairly low threat location. That is further reinforced by my typically superior locking approach. One U lock captures the frame and rear wheel. The second U lock captures the front wheel. I was told that bikes had been stolen from this location with the security guards looking on. Well, today I got lucky. It was a powerful reminder. People are mostly pretty good. Either that or they're so used to see Buddy locked well that they've stopped looking.

I do not WANT to have to rush to build Madeleine into the bike I'd like to ride to work. And, thanks JRA, for NOT being around my work location today. And thanks to all my coworkers for not taking my bike home. And no, I did NOT forget my "just a minute" locking when I stopped at the major coffee store on the way home from work. Though that lock would certainly deserve the usual John Romeo yellow card note. But for THAT lock, the bike is within sight at all times. It just has to be good enough to slow the thief down long enough for me to run outside. Unlike the U locks, it doesn't have to protect without observation through an entire work day. And THEY only do that if you use them. Or maybe Ham's last comment "Mercy, Mercy Me," was prophecy...


Chandra said...

I think I have forgotten to lock my bike once too. I used to park inside a parking garage and there are a lot of smokers near the bike rack.

Now a days, I simply take my bike to my cube.

Glad your bike and its owner is safe!

Paz :)

John Romeo Alpha said...

Must be something in the air: I left my commuter outside my house, leaned against it, unlocked, with my laptop computer in the pannier. There's really not a yellow card adamant enough to describe what a bad idea that is. Glad Buddy made it OK.

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