Preventing Bike Theft / Finding 'Lost' Bike Ideas

Bikes, trikes, personal mobility and getting to/from the event - this is the place to discuss general transportation issues.
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silvergirl70
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Preventing Bike Theft / Finding 'Lost' Bike Ideas

Post by silvergirl70 » Wed Aug 02, 2017 2:49 pm

I was just thinking about my Camp last year where two of my campmates had their bikes stolen. We were camped near Burner Express Depot, and I suspect these were opportunistic crimes, but crimes nonetheless. (No negativity towards the riders of BE, just that there were a higher percentage of 'those without bikes' arriving there.) The theft very much crimped my campmates' burn. It made me feel so shitty for them, that I'm gifting bike locks to camp mates this year, amongst other things.
I was thinking about a few ideas to help prevent bike 'loss', because I know that hoofing it from 9:30 to 2:30 sucks without a bike, sucks to do it a few times a day, sucks with blisters or playafoot, and sucks 10X if one had a bike and it disappeared. Most of this I read already on eplaya but just putting it out there.

1) Don't take anyone's bike without their express permission. I suspect that those to whom this applies are not reading this.

2) somewhere, label your bike with at least your Camp name and location after you get there. Either on the bike itself or with duct tape and a Sharpie. Doubt it would be delivered back, but thief may have harder time explaining to buddies why he has a bike labeled 'snagglepussy'. (Pronoun of 'he' used for demonstration purposes only here.)

3) buy a lock that does not require a key, but rather uses a combo. Easy to lose key, even though combo is easier to crack. I hear word combo locks are easier to crack code than #'s. Worst case scenario if the combo jams you can cut the lock. Lock front tire to bike frame itself, don't lock bike to art. Bike is unrideable without removal or herculean feats of wheelie-dom.

3.5) Lock your bike whenever you are away from it, portapotty, next to tent overnight, whatever. My camp mates had bikes taken from within our reasonably large camp, closer to Dawn.

4) Alternatively, I've read that some people are tying bungee cords or nicely tied rope around the tires/frame if you're going to be parked for a while. Makes it harder just to Grab & Go. Thief may move on to easier target, shitheads that they are.

4.5) I've read people suggesting to not bring bike to large gathering, as many bikes present, hard to find bike, easier for anonymous crime.

5) don't leave enticing things in your bike basket like full bottles of booze. Besides, you should be carrying this and drinking it.

6) :idea: has anybody considered hiding one of those Bluetooth finder fobs underneath the seat? They're a bunch of different brands out there but they're enough people using Bluetooth at the event creating a 'network' that this might help you find your bike if you happen to be going near it. I'm not sure the range of those devices but it might be something worth considering. I can't think of anything more satisfying than reclaiming a stolen bike...especially if it has my name tattooed on it. I think this would be worth it on a less expensive bike, but then again, it's like not having a car where there is no public transportation.

Just my 2¢. I hate when bad shit happens to good people.
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maladroit
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Re: Preventing Bike Theft / Finding 'Lost' Bike Ideas

Post by maladroit » Wed Aug 02, 2017 4:56 pm

If a bike is abandoned in my camp and it has the camp address on it, I will return it. Many others will too. Put your address on your bike.

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Re: Preventing Bike Theft / Finding 'Lost' Bike Ideas

Post by asr9754 » Wed Aug 02, 2017 5:03 pm

Park in a cluster w/ your friends and gangle the bikes together too. A loner bike is an ez target. Our camp had a bike theft last year from a Mayan Warrior dance session, so bummed. But yeah label em and lock em. The better we are at locking the more we discourage thievery.

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Re: Preventing Bike Theft / Finding 'Lost' Bike Ideas

Post by Zubeneschamali » Wed Aug 02, 2017 5:33 pm

Funny as hell youtube videos about these jokesters who leave a booby trapped bike out in public. A douchebag thief tries to steal it not knowing that the bike is tethered on a 25 foot cable. Just as they get some speed everything hits at once and they usually endo face first into the concrete.

To me, that's some funny Three Stooges shit. Bike thieves slither in the muck with attorneys and telemarketers.

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silvergirl70
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Re: Preventing Bike Theft / Finding 'Lost' Bike Ideas

Post by silvergirl70 » Wed Aug 02, 2017 9:42 pm

maladroit wrote:If a bike is abandoned in my camp and it has the camp address on it, I will return it. Many others will too. Put your address on your bike.
Very nice of you. I haven't had the opportunity arise as of yet.
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Re: Preventing Bike Theft / Finding 'Lost' Bike Ideas

Post by BBadger » Wed Aug 02, 2017 10:00 pm

Yeah, keep your stuff locked up if you're near the Burner Express Homeless Shelter Depot. Never know what kind of hobos come out of there.

My friend thought I was paranoid locking up my at every instance, even in camp. He claimed that he had "never had a bike stolen before while in camp" as if that somehow granted magical protection from future thefts.

Well his bike did get stolen from right in front of his RV. He was shocked and bewildered that none of the other bikes around camp that weren't locked up were not stolen, only his (and then later his GFs because I guess he didn't pass on his newly learned experience?). Yeah, well a generic looking bike is easy to steal without anyone being able to contest, or even recognize, it even if the guy happens to be standing with it outside of camp.

Then he needed to use a bike for going to the bathroom and stuff like that, and I allowed him to use mine only after drilling into his head that he locks the thing up anytime it is not in his hand (like when taking a shit). When he returned I had to yell at him again to lock it up while we were in camp. Yeah, you know, the same camp he got his bike stolen from?!?

So don't be that guy who loses your bike due to theft because of your own dumb misconceptions about what can or will happen at the event. Lock your bike up at all times you're not actively on it!
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Re: Preventing Bike Theft / Finding 'Lost' Bike Ideas

Post by gaminwench » Thu Aug 03, 2017 1:04 am

Decorate your bike; the more outrageous, the better.
Don't park it in a sea of bikes, get out of the crowd.
Lock/bungee your bike, make it harder for the casual 'ride' thief.
Tag your bike with your home coordinates.

18 years, same bike; no theft.
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badscr
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Re: Preventing Bike Theft / Finding 'Lost' Bike Ideas

Post by badscr » Thu Aug 03, 2017 7:21 am

Zubeneschamali wrote:Funny as hell youtube videos about these jokesters who leave a booby trapped bike out in public
Lmfao yah those videos are great, instant karma.

Love the one with a tazer to the tant area.
I'm thinking of adding one to mine as part of a silent alarm.
I'll have a electric assist bike $1700 of pain if it gets gone.
Will definitely add a gps tracker, so I can track it down (your mission if u choice to accept it). Plus my friend will have the same bike and setup so we could track each other.

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Re: Preventing Bike Theft / Finding 'Lost' Bike Ideas

Post by TORD » Sun Sep 10, 2017 1:30 pm

BEST thing is lock and label. Whatever lock is prob fine. BRC is not NYC. 20017 burn I used a short SS chain covered by a tube with a master key less lock. Down/up/right/left NOT a dial combo. Minimum security that wouldn't keep your bike a half hour in SF. If you label with your name camp name and playa address chances are good your bike will find its way home if jacked. Most burners are good people and most bike theft is accidental / borrowing / mistaken identity / hop ons.
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Re: Preventing Bike Theft / Finding 'Lost' Bike Ideas

Post by BBadger » Sun Sep 10, 2017 1:43 pm

I'd definitely lock and label the bike, but I'm not so convinced about the "innocent" motives of these bike thieves. If the motivations of these thieves were actually innocent, they'd return the bikes to where they found them once their "mistake" was discovered.

While I doubt most theft is for commercial gain, I do think most of the theft is from people who didn't bring a bike and want one to use for their own needs throughout the event or just temporarily (which isn't "borrowing" since there is no returning). Whatever the motivation, if the bike is not returned, the result is the same: it is now out of possession of its owner and lost in the city unless subsequently abandoned and a person (not necessarily the thief) returns it because there is a tag on it.
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Re: Preventing Bike Theft / Finding 'Lost' Bike Ideas

Post by Traveller in Time » Sun Sep 10, 2017 1:56 pm

So we need stories of people whose bike returned to the tagged camp :D

To confirm the "not borrowing" are burners not thieves.
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Re: Preventing Bike Theft / Finding 'Lost' Bike Ideas

Post by silvergirl70 » Sun Sep 10, 2017 2:10 pm

I'm kinda with Badger on this one. The bike thefts I've seen were not returned despite the labeling of the bike, but would be happy to see that happen.
It think I saw more locks on bikes this burn then I have in the past (good) also saw more abandoned bikes at the end of the event. I worked ESD station 12 during Temple Burn and riding back after midnight to camp...almost hit at least two dozen abandoned unlit bikes on the playa on the way back home.
My friend had a flat during the event (good thing we brought tubes) but as she was walking next to me, someone rode up to her with a yellow bike to use. Ha. Playa provides. Would be good to see more yellow bikes in use, or more promotion of these, if only to keep 'borrowing' down.
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Admiral Fukkit
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Re: Preventing Bike Theft / Finding 'Lost' Bike Ideas

Post by Admiral Fukkit » Sun Sep 10, 2017 4:27 pm

TORD wrote:most bike theft is accidental / borrowing / mistaken identity / hop ons.
Like hell it is! Are you for real?

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Re: Preventing Bike Theft / Finding 'Lost' Bike Ideas

Post by GreyCoyote » Sun Sep 10, 2017 4:34 pm

Admiral Fukkit wrote:
TORD wrote:most bike theft is accidental / borrowing / mistaken identity / hop ons.
Like hell it is! Are you for real?
Obvious turd is obvious. :)
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Re: Preventing Bike Theft / Finding 'Lost' Bike Ideas

Post by maladroit » Mon Sep 11, 2017 4:33 pm

Decorating your bike a lot (in one anecdotal experience) seems to work. There was a be-fuzzled and glitzed out cruiser bike dumped on our street frontage this year, no camp address so we let it lie where it was. Two days later a matching burner came to pick it up. We had also found a bike lock nearby and put it with the bike, so she asked if that was ours...it wasn't hers apparently.

So if your bike doesn't look generic and isn't near a sound camp, there is a somewhat higher chance that it will be left alone.

But seriously, lock your bike.

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Re: Preventing Bike Theft / Finding 'Lost' Bike Ideas

Post by silvergirl70 » Mon Sep 11, 2017 6:20 pm

maladroit wrote: There was a be-fuzzled and glitzed out cruiser bike dumped on our street frontage this year, no camp address so we let it lie where it was. Two days later a matching burner came to pick it up.
Love it...'matching burner'. Hee hee.
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Re: Preventing Bike Theft / Finding 'Lost' Bike Ideas

Post by Ratty » Mon Sep 11, 2017 7:24 pm

Silvergirl, I would like to thank your camp for 'hosting' a couple of virgin friends of mine. Mikey and Brianna. They had the times of their lives and are both planning for next year.
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Re: Preventing Bike Theft / Finding 'Lost' Bike Ideas

Post by silvergirl70 » Mon Sep 11, 2017 7:34 pm

Ratty,
It was my first year with the camp (3rd Burn). I thought they were a great group of people as well. Everyone pitched in in their own way, and the camp was well organized. If weren't for next door's Sextant's 2 story Tesla Coil blarfing out 'Mary Had a Little Lamb' at 100 dB in 'chainsaw' mode all night it would've been perfect. ;)
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spacetime
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Re: Preventing Bike Theft / Finding 'Lost' Bike Ideas

Post by spacetime » Wed Sep 13, 2017 10:14 pm

I also saw more bikes locked than I have noticed in previous years. That said the vast majority of bikes are left unlocked.

I think the org / jackrabbit needs to push bike lockups harder. Describe perhaps the pain of what happens to you and how you moop when you get your bike stolen.

I remember reading this here my first burn but I don't know if it is getting broadcast enough.

Maybe we need a camp that just offers cheap bike locks. In most cities they offer crappy lock exchange programs. Those crappy spaghetti noodle cable locks are quite good for normal bikes at BRC.

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Re: Preventing Bike Theft / Finding 'Lost' Bike Ideas

Post by silvergirl70 » Wed Sep 13, 2017 11:14 pm

Spacetime,

I gave out a few locks this year on the playa for gifts. Just cheap ones. Makes a good gift for your camp mates. :)
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Re: Preventing Bike Theft / Finding 'Lost' Bike Ideas

Post by unjonharley » Sat Sep 16, 2017 9:35 am

If your hands are not on "your bike" and it's not locked .. Your bike will be taken from you .. If this happens,: YOU are a dumb-ass .. If you are unable to follow a few directions, You should not go to Burning Man ..
I'm the contraptioneer your mother warned you about.

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Re: Preventing Bike Theft / Finding 'Lost' Bike Ideas

Post by BBadger » Sun Sep 17, 2017 12:12 am

Yup, when someone gets their bike stolen because they weren't diligent in locking their bike, the first thing I ask is: why didn't you lock it up (like I already told you to!)?

There can only be a few reasons, or a combination:

- Stupidity - You didn't follow instruction or do your research.
- Naivete - You thought that these things don't happen in certain areas or with certain bikes.
- Arrogance - You thought it couldn't happen to you.

My bike was stolen my first year because of the first reason. I had a lock, and I just didn't use it. In fact, that lock was on the bike when it was stolen. I think I still have the key for it.

NEVER AGAIN.

I remember one friend having his bike stolen and then mentioning to me:

"Man, I thought you were just being paranoid."

It took a bit of willpower to not retort with:

"And I thought you were being fucking naive."

And for some reason he was flabbergasted. "Why did they decide to steal my bike from inside the camp, when none of these other unlocked bikes got stolen instead?"

The answer of course is: It makes no fucking difference. LOCK YOUR OWN BIKE UP.

And then the next day his girlfriend's bike gets stolen too. He was the vet. She was a burgin. Didn't he think to remind her to lock up her bike after losing his own?
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Re: Preventing Bike Theft / Finding 'Lost' Bike Ideas

Post by unjonharley » Sun Sep 17, 2017 7:29 am

If your bike is stolen ? Do Not tell me .. I may not say it, but my response is,: Dumb-ass ! ..

Even a small padlock on the sprocket will stop the bike from being ridden ..

I'm sorry, if a key on a lanyard around your neck, will spoil your LOOK ..

You should have a I. C. E. on you at all times .. In. Case. of Emergency..

I carry one in a passport travel purse .. It is bright orange .. It is on purse strings and also attaches to the belt by loop .
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Re: Preventing Bike Theft / Finding 'Lost' Bike Ideas

Post by silvergirl70 » Sun Sep 17, 2017 7:48 am

I also find that hoofing it 5 blocks to the nearest portapotty under duress is a strong negative reinforcer to any of the aformentioned no-lock reasons.
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Re: Preventing Bike Theft / Finding 'Lost' Bike Ideas

Post by some seeing eye » Sun Sep 17, 2017 8:08 am

The good: the organizers gently shape the event in response to problems
The bad: the organizers gently shape the event in response to problems after they are difficult to reverse

The abandoned bike numbers have been increasing each year.

I would propose phasing in every bike through the gate has to have a lock. But the side effects include having a giant bike corral at the gate to drop off and pick up. More locks also results in more necessity for battery angle grinders & lock defeat tools for lost keys & combos, which make lock removal tools common place, thus ignored, which could lead to more thievery. Then you need a bike lock liberation tool/person permit system and a way to enforce it. And once you remove a lock there is no lock for that rider.

Predict some namby pamby "don't ride other people's bikes" in the survival guide, and on the YouTube channel https://www.youtube.com/burningman. Unfortunately as some have noted, playa brain or not, enough burners to make it a problem believe if it's not locked, it's a yellow bike. The yellow bikes are being depleted by being locked. Combination ironic.

Out of 70K burners, 28K virgins, 10K+ BxB, it only takes a few hundred serial "borrowers" to a thousand or so "one time borrowers/abandoners" to create today's problem.
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Re: Preventing Bike Theft / Finding 'Lost' Bike Ideas

Post by unjonharley » Sun Sep 17, 2017 8:35 am

AGAIN !! Arrive at Burning Man with a lock for YOUR bike .. Stop your F' en whining and buy a lock today, for 2018 Burning Man ..
I'm the contraptioneer your mother warned you about.

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Re: Preventing Bike Theft / Finding 'Lost' Bike Ideas

Post by Joeln » Sun Sep 17, 2017 9:17 am

I'm sure GP&E are going to love adding this to the list of what they have to check for :roll:
Not to mention how much time it adds to the lines.
Not a bad suggestion but it has a lot of knock-on effects.

[quote="some seeing eye"]I would propose phasing in every bike through the gate has to have a lock. But the side effects include having a giant bike corral at the gate to drop off and pick up./quote]
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Re: Preventing Bike Theft / Finding 'Lost' Bike Ideas

Post by Ratty » Sun Sep 17, 2017 10:19 am

There used to be so few 'lost' bikes that the lost and found kept them out front in 2 racks. And, it wasn't that long ago. Next year Tiger Man camp will go back to providing foam and fur bike seat covers. It's a great gift. Well received. We also adjust the seat height.

Next year we will be adding a few services. Tire pressure check and offering playa address identification on all bikes. There are several options for non-residue tape including Duct tape. (Has anyone tried it?) That, and a sharpie is a good start towards retrieving your bike. I may make tags too. (Some people don't believe in non-residue.)
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Re: Preventing Bike Theft / Finding 'Lost' Bike Ideas

Post by silvergirl70 » Sun Sep 17, 2017 2:41 pm

Ratty,

You had me at 'sharpie'. One of the best inventions of the 20th century :)
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Re: Preventing Bike Theft / Finding 'Lost' Bike Ideas

Post by spacetime » Mon Sep 18, 2017 1:07 pm

My first year, I really did think people on ePlaya were being weird about locking up bikes. But I went through with it all the time anyway.

I think the Org needs to be pushing bike lock ups, much harder. Like a Jackrabbit speaks in the weeks leading up to the event with the first headline: LOCK UP YOUR BIKE.

This year, 8/9, they had a small headline about not locking bikes to art, but nothing on the basics of how to lock up properly, why to lock bikes, etc. There wasn't even a blog entry. I think this is a big miss, and contributed to the bike moop problem.

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