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  1. #1
    bubbletea Latte'
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    Security/Camo for City commute.

    I have just recently moved to a large city (Milwaukee) for the first time in my life. Up until now I have only lived in towns of about 20K. With the rising gas prices and the hassle of city driving I am looking to begin commuting. I do not want to use my Jamis Dakar XC Comp as a commuter for fear of it being stolen or defaced. The store that I work in is on the border of a not so great neighborhood and has been broken into a few times at night. The latest that I work at night is about 10pm. Currently I am using an old Firenze GL5000 road bike (interesting story behind that bike if you have the time to Google it) but it is very uncomfortable and harsh to ride. My third bike is a 10yr old Schwinn Moab 3 hardtail made before schwinn became a walmart special. I am considering converting that to a commuter but was wondering if I should camo it or is the schwinn name camo enough now that the Schwinn name is crap? Secondly what else can I do for security for my bike, the bike rack at work is in the parking lot but out of sight, there are some security patrols that do go through the parking lot at times however.

    Thanks.

  2. #2
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    Electrical tape is the easiest and cheapest solution. It's what I did to my Commuter on the down tube, top tube and seat tube.

    In terms of security, a good U-lock (eg: Kryptonite New York) with a cable for your wheels (if they're QR) or a heavy duty chain and moto-disc lock. Just make sure that you lock to something secure and lock properly: MB1's method and Sheldon Brown's (RIP).

  3. #3
    Which way? Uphill.
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    Yep, I'd still camo it. Stickers and electrical tape, and never be lazy in the way you lock it.
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  4. #4
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    I'd camo it, I used to do it to all my bikes when I was a messenger. I think it helps if the bike looks like a POS, less attractive. Electrical tape in a double layer works well, and makes a good pad to keep the lock/racks from scraping up the bike.

  5. #5
    bubbletea Latte'
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    I guess my next question would be whether or not the electrical tape would be a giveaway or not. Wouldn't it just be better to repaint it in a crummy spray paint job? Also I am planning on installing some multi-position bars such as road-drops, bull-horns or the like. Then for simplicities sake possibly converting to SS and switching to a rigid fork.

  6. #6
    LCI #1853
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    Quote Originally Posted by Zitreksun
    I guess my next question would be whether or not the electrical tape would be a giveaway or not. Wouldn't it just be better to repaint it in a crummy spray paint job? Also I am planning on installing some multi-position bars such as road-drops, bull-horns or the like. Then for simplicities sake possibly converting to SS and switching to a rigid fork.
    I'm not a real big subscriber to the ugly bike philosophy. Just like folks are pround of their cars and pickups, I'm more than a little bit vain about my bikes... Basically I'm derned careful where I park them (never out-of-sight/out-of-mind) and I invest in effective, bad-assed locks (& use them, too!)...

  7. #7
    jrm
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    Stealth is the way..

    You might consider a low-key color powercoat paint job. If the bike and you go unnoticed its an advantage.
    Wreck the malls with cows on Harleys

  8. #8
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    You could always get a garage sale huffy, since these have never been a name brand. Then you buy the cheapest tamperable lock you can find. Some of the old twist combo locks were very easy to figure out. Then Just tie it up next to the other bike, which could be secured by a logging chain. Thieves tend to be lazy, and if they aren't lazy its not gonna matter. A good thief knows the difference.
    Though if you decide to cover it in stickers, I wanna see pictures. Just don't use this sticker. http://www.breitbart.com/article.php...show_article=1

  9. #9
    bubbletea Latte'
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    My only response to using the decoy huffy, is how the heck do you get it and the bike your riding to where you want to go? Seems impractical

  10. #10
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    The only way would be to get it there and leave it, thus leaving it open to 24 hour theft. My shop has a chain call the fugitboutit, its about as heavy as my bike. Not something to lug around, but something that could be left locked to the rack.

  11. #11
    bubbletea Latte'
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    Hmm, that may be a possibility then, but I am also looking for a solution that will work when I go downtown to one of the numerous festivals. I understand that there is no such thing as the perfect protection, other than walking (and then in some parts of town that may be more dangerous), but I am looking for as many ideas that I can get. Right now I am leaning towards the electrical tape/painting and maybe adding some reflective tape as well.

    Thank you for all the great ideas, keep them coming if you've got them, and I will get some before and after pics as soon as I locate a working camera.

  12. #12
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    Somebody needs to invent a removable wrap that goes around your down and top tubes that say 'Huffy" or "Murray" to decoy your bike. I guess there might be trademark issues with that.

  13. #13
    I Tried Them ALL... Moderator
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    There's no way you can keep the bike indoors? Heck, put it in the restroom- if your boss thinks it is an eyesore. You can camo the bike all you want- but if somebody wants it, they will still take it. I have seen some pretty crappy bikes being stolen. Why? Because if it still rolls and pedals.......it sure beats walking!!! To homeless people and drug addicts- ANY BIKE is a luxury item.....no matter the condition or brand......

  14. #14
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    ^ Yup...

    Once I lived in a small college town in So Georgia and was given a used, can't recall the name road bike with a vintage pedigree. It was skanky and barely stopped, but it got me around on the dry days.

    I road it to the mall one late afternoon to do some shopping and such. Not possessing a proper lock I ditched the thing behind some bushes thinking and hoping that it'd go unseen and if not that no one would bother with it. Well needless to say I hope the bastidge wrecked trying to stop it before the train down the hill on Baytree Rd.

    Moral of the story: About the only thing a thief won't steal is a red hot stove.

  15. #15
    bubbletea Latte'
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    I will have to check about bringing the bike inside the building, I work at Target and I guess that I always assumed that there would be no place to put the bike indoors. However, it never hurts to ask.

    I know the point of electrical tape and painting is to make the bike unassuming and grungy looking. What about adding reflective tape to the tubes, would that make the bike seem more valuable or just safety conscious?

  16. #16
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    U just have to install those cheap component on yr bic. No disc brake but V-brake. No high end shifter just some Shimano easy shift intergrated shifter. No LX deraileur but some shimano tourney will do. No carbon seat but just some market comfort suspension seat. These practical components are cheap to replace but will not compromise perfomance too much.

    I do it this way and my bic so far has no taken even I lock my bic somewhere and have a drink with my friends for hours. Get yrself at least 2 locks to make yr bic troublesome to steal.
    Last edited by shimano4; 07-05-2008 at 09:04 AM.

  17. #17
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    Make the bike look as ugly as possible, black paint is better than tape but more work and not reversible. The other option, which is probably best is to just buy a dirt cheap bike from craigslist <$50, use a u-lock and forget about it. There are plenty of cheap serviceable, though not pretty bikes available. If it is not ugly enough... you know what to do

  18. #18
    I Tried Them ALL... Moderator
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    Quote Originally Posted by Zitreksun
    What about adding reflective tape to the tubes, would that make the bike seem more valuable or just safety conscious?
    --------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

    At this point- do not worry too much about making the bike look, "un-stealable". If you cannot store the bike inside(your #1 option)- invest in TWO good, coiled cable locks(very hard to cut). I say two locks, because both wheels(if they are quick-release) will need to be locked to a stationary object, along with the frame itself. A potential thief will not bother with a bike that is a big hassle to steal. Bolt cutters, hacksaws, and tinsnips will not quickly sever a Kryptonite(LBS brand) coiled cable lock. It will take a good hour of gnawing the cable before it finally threads-apart. If a thief is really stupid enough- by then, the cops will be waiting to haul him in!!!

    As for reflective tape, I say go as loud as possible. If I had my way- my bike would have
    aerial spotlights, big, lighted signs pointing to me, and loud sirens blaring and flashing of my road presence....lol. Road safety simply cannot be overdone, on a bike. At best, go to Home Depot and buy a reflective construction vest, with a triangle on the back. Keep on riding....

  19. #19
    bubbletea Latte'
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    Quote Originally Posted by shimano4
    U just have to install those cheap component on yr bic. No disc brake but V-brake. No high end shifter just some Shimano easy shift intergrated shifter. No LX deraileur but some shimano tourney will do. No carbon seat but just some market comfort suspension seat. These practical components are cheap to replace but will not compromise perfomance too much.

    I do it this way and my bic so far has no taken even I lock my bic somewhere and have a drink with my friends for hours. Get yrself at least 2 locks to make yr bic troublesome to steal.
    Instead of replacing my nicer shimano equipment with cheaper stuff, I am just going to convert to SS eventually. I do like the Idea of 2 locks, maybe a U-lock and a cable as someone else has suggested.

  20. #20
    bubbletea Latte'
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    Quote Originally Posted by gunit
    Make the bike look as ugly as possible, black paint is better than tape but more work and not reversible. The other option, which is probably best is to just buy a dirt cheap bike from craigslist <$50, use a u-lock and forget about it. There are plenty of cheap serviceable, though not pretty bikes available. If it is not ugly enough... you know what to do
    I am currently using a dirt cheap bike that I got for free, the Firenze that I mentioned in the first post. However I hate the way it rides and rattles. I am looking at converting my older nice bike into a commuter for a smooth, nice, fun ride so the cheap option (although a good one) has been tried and doesn't work for me.

  21. #21
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    If it were mine, I'd definitely just rattle can it black, and use the ugliest, torn up POS saddle you can find (a good saddle is like a neon light for thieves). Converting it to SS is good, if you can do it cheaply. Double lock it, and call it good. If it's stolen, you're not out too much. I'm in the process of doing the same with an old Trek 970. It's 20 y/o, but in amazingly good shape. It's black, but the neon magenta Trek logos have to be rattle canned over. The stock saddle is a POS; it stays. For longer rides, I've got a Brooks B17 I can drop in; the quick release seat lever means I take that saddle with me, which brings to another point. NObody will steal a bike that doesn't have a saddle (unless it's not locked properly). They want something they can ride away....consider this point carefully.
    If they can't use it, they won't take it.

  22. #22
    bubbletea Latte'
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    Quote Originally Posted by Doggity
    NObody will steal a bike that doesn't have a saddle (unless it's not locked properly). They want something they can ride away....consider this point carefully.
    If they can't use it, they won't take it.

    Good point, never thought of that.

  23. #23
    Training for vacation
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    It is a good idea, although alittle time consuming.
    Remove pedals and seat. At least you’ll be able to ride a bike you enojy instead of a taped up, slahed up junker that barely works.

  24. #24
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    Kind of a neat idea that fits what your trying to do.
    http://www.dominicwilcox.com/stickers.html

  25. #25
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    I use flat black paint myself. I spray all the logos off, wheels, too, and the spokes. I use bolts instead of quick release on the wheels and the seatpost. They have locks for wheels as well but I don't think they work much better. Silver duct tape makes a nice ugly seat patch.

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