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  1. #1
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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
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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
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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
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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.

  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
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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
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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
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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
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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?

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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
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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
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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
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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
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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
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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.

  26. #26
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    Quote Originally Posted by lifelesspoet
    Kind of a neat idea that fits what your trying to do.
    http://www.dominicwilcox.com/stickers.html
    Those stickers look very realistic, I wonder what the shipping would be to the States.

    I am leaning toward either spray painting or electrical/duct taping the bike. I finally got the bike I am going to convert moved here this weekend, and my skinny tires should be arriving today. Soon I'll post some pics on before and after my modifications.

  27. #27
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    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!!!
    use a good u-lock for the rear wheel through the rear triangle (ala sheldon brown) and that takes care of your frame and rear wheel. use a cable for your front wheel. or take off the front wheel and put it through the u-lock with the rest--supposedly more secure, but i think it starts to attract attention to your bike.

    it doesnt take an hour to cut through cable thread.

  28. #28
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    Quote Originally Posted by Zitreksun
    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.
    You guys have a warehouse in the back right? Just bring it in and chain it to some big metal rack in the back, out of the way. If it DID get stolen, at least you would narrow down who did it...
    'Get a bicycle. You will not regret it if you live.'
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  29. #29
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    There is no free room in the back warehouse, it is always crammed and everything but the shelves need to be mobile. However I talked to the head of security and he told me that I could put it underneath the stairs going up to the offices. It is an out of the way, out of sight place that I walk past every couple of hours. It should work great.

  30. #30
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    well, as I posted above, the security issue at work has resolved itself thanks to the head of security at the target I work at. However I am still camouflaging the bike for the times that I ride it to the grocery store, festivals, and anywhere else in the city. Currently I have wrapped the entire frame in bright yellow electrical tape for daytime visibility, I am going to get some reflective striping for night-time safety and then add some stickers around that. Also on the to-do list are to add some mountain bike drop bars such as the midge's and convert to SS. I am documenting this transformation with photos and will post a new thread when I am completed to show the steps that I have taken. Thank you for all of the great ideas and suggestions regarding security within the city, I sincerely hope that others will benefit from this thread as I have.

  31. #31
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    Quote Originally Posted by Zitreksun
    well, as I posted above, the security issue at work has resolved itself thanks to the head of security at the target I work at. However I am still camouflaging the bike for the times that I ride it to the grocery store, festivals, and anywhere else in the city. Currently I have wrapped the entire frame in bright yellow electrical tape for daytime visibility, I am going to get some reflective striping for night-time safety and then add some stickers around that. Also on the to-do list are to add some mountain bike drop bars such as the midge's and convert to SS. I am documenting this transformation with photos and will post a new thread when I am completed to show the steps that I have taken. Thank you for all of the great ideas and suggestions regarding security within the city, I sincerely hope that others will benefit from this thread as I have.
    Here's the solution that I use for my MTB... Kryptonite's "Fuhgeddaboudit" New York Chain:



    Yes, it's a big, heavy booger... but after you replace a bike, you get serious about locks ;-) I like the chain a little better than the U-lock since I have a lot more options as to what I can lock up to. and it's easier to get the frame, both wheels, and whatever you're hooking up to all inside the chain loop. U-locks sort of limit you to locking up to something skinny like a parking meter or sign post.

  32. #32
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    you dont worry about someone snatching your saddle bag? or your front wheel?

    how do you carry the chain?


    Quote Originally Posted by PscyclePath
    Here's the solution that I use for my MTB... Kryptonite's "Fuhgeddaboudit" New York Chain:



    Yes, it's a big, heavy booger... but after you replace a bike, you get serious about locks ;-) I like the chain a little better than the U-lock since I have a lot more options as to what I can lock up to. and it's easier to get the frame, both wheels, and whatever you're hooking up to all inside the chain loop. U-locks sort of limit you to locking up to something skinny like a parking meter or sign post.

  33. #33
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    Here, I'm parked in a pretty safe place right outside the front window of one of the local watering holes, so I didn't bother to hobble the bike for this picture. One nice thing aout this bike is that with the disk brakes, the front wheel drops right out so's you can lock it next to the rear wheel.

    Carrying the chain is a pain just about any way you try it. I first tried putting it in a handlebar bag, but the weight undid the velcro straps as soon as I hit a few bumps. What I do now is get a couple of carabiners fit between the U-lock and one end of the chain, and wear it like a belt. (that also helps keep me from getting locked up in my own chain should I misplace the derned key) When I carry it with my commuter, it rides in one of my panniers (with all my other stuff in the other pannier to balance the load), or in the rack trunk. all in all, that's about 9 pounds of chain on a 25-pound bike.

  34. #34
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    I know I'm late to the game, but here are a few thoughts.

    1) A spray paint job is better then the electrical tape. The tape tears off and becomes a gooey mess eventually. The paint will start to flake off, making the bike look even crummier. Pick an obnoxious, visible color. strip it down to the frame before painting, paint on the rims, hubs, grips, etc can damage these components or their functions.

    2) Cover or obscure every name or logo on your bike. Paint over or file off things like "Shimano LX" on components in addition to the frame, thieves will sometime steal just the parts off of bikes.

    3) Replace every quick release seat binder or skewer on your bike with a bolt on variety. The local hardware store will have what you need to replace the seat binder, get allen headed skewers, or security skewers.

    4) the 2 lock thing works best when the method to break each lock is different, so 2 u-locks are not as good as a u-lock and a chain (assuming the thieves won't go after the key-ed locking mechanism). There is a lot of technique involved in locking but basically make your bike a harder target then the next bike and the thieves will move on.

    5) The reflective tape you get that is intended for truck trailers and such is much more effective then the stuff at your LBS. Use red in back and white in front.

    6) In addition to being useful, fenders and a rack make a bike a lot less sexy to thieves.
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    The electrical tape technique doesn't work. It will just tell a thief that after he steals your ride, he'll remove the tape to have a nice shiny new bike.

    Friends don't let friends ride a Huffy! Get a real bike and have it really scratched up so that it's not attractive and you can ID it if it ever gets stolen. I ride a $1500 hardtail and lock it everywhere in NYC without second thoughts. I use a Kryptonite NY lock through the rear triangle and rear wheel with a cable around both wheels. I don't need to remove the wheels which gets me going once I get to my bike. With the real scratches, it's not very attractive to thieves.

  36. #36
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    well, the SS conversion is complete(I found one of those magic gear ratios for my bike 42*16), installed some Maxxis Xenith slicks, put on yellow electrical tape, and one sticker so far. My Origin 8 Gary bar should be coming sometime this week and then once that's installed with some brake levers I will post a new thread with pictures showing the conversion.

  37. #37
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    Crooks looking to take a bike to a scrap yard for crack money don't care if the bike is a Cervelo or a Huffy. If there's an opportunity, it will be gone faster than a Nascar pit crew can change out 4 tires. Your best bet is to take it inside. If you work at a big box store, there's plenty of area in the stock room for something like that. Talk to the manager, take you ride inside.
    The wood is being bent! Let me know what you need!

  38. #38
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    Quote Originally Posted by TrekJeff
    Crooks looking to take a bike to a scrap yard for crack money don't care if the bike is a Cervelo or a Huffy. If there's an opportunity, it will be gone faster than a Nascar pit crew can change out 4 tires. Your best bet is to take it inside. If you work at a big box store, there's plenty of area in the stock room for something like that. Talk to the manager, take you ride inside.
    I did that and the security manager allowed the bikes in the building, the store manager vetoed it.

  39. #39
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    Looks like you gotta double-lock it then. What a jerk your manager is...

  40. #40
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    Quote Originally Posted by TrekJeff
    Crooks looking to take a bike to a scrap yard for crack money
    I work for a division of a recycling company, and over at our scrap yard there is a pile of bikes. I haven't had access to see if there is anything worth pulling out, but lets just say there is a massive pile of them. Although bike theft isn't too bad in our city, most of the homeless actually have bikes to get around on.
    'Get a bicycle. You will not regret it if you live.'
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  41. #41
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    Does anybody make Huffy or Murray stickers? If I had a nice bike, I'd almost be down to put a splatter paint job on it and add some phony cheapo-brand stickers. Nothing like having a Klein FS disguised as a K-Mart Murray. LOL! Oh, don't forget you MUST have the requisite stickers on the seat stays proclaiming 21-speeds.

  42. #42
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    Quote Originally Posted by Tweezak
    Does anybody make Huffy or Murray stickers? If I had a nice bike, I'd almost be down to put a splatter paint job on it and add some phony cheapo-brand stickers. Nothing like having a Klein FS disguised as a K-Mart Murray. LOL! Oh, don't forget you MUST have the requisite stickers on the seat stays proclaiming 21-speeds.

    if your going through the trouble to paint it, why not print some stencils and paint it onto the frame?

  43. #43
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    Quote Originally Posted by wiretapstudios
    I work for a division of a recycling company, and over at our scrap yard there is a pile of bikes. I haven't had access to see if there is anything worth pulling out, but lets just say there is a massive pile of them. Although bike theft isn't too bad in our city, most of the homeless actually have bikes to get around on.

    I'd love the opportunity to pull some parts...who knows how many brooks saddles, old school campy derailers from old school schwins...would be a treasure hunt.
    The wood is being bent! Let me know what you need!

  44. #44
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    I purchased a u-lock and was given a Flexweave cable. Is the cable enough protection for my front wheel or should I get a thicker one to use with my u-lock? Seems like an obvious question/answer to me, but I'm wondering why they even make cables this thin.

    OnGuard Bulldog Mini
    http://www.rei.com/product/751293

    Flex cable
    http://www.rei.com/product/543085

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    That cable is pretty wimpy looking. But I think most cables are pretty easy to crack. Mostly, you're looking to keep your wheels from being stolen by casual thieves. I use hub locks as well. Those are not too expensive and they add one extra layer of security.

  46. #46
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    I agree with fivedays. cables take different tools to crack then u-locks do, its less likely that a crook is going to be carrying both. Allen keyed or locking skewers is really the way to go.
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  47. #47
    mtbr member
    Reputation:
    Join Date
    May 2008
    Posts
    269
    Since u are commuting for work. Get a front basket, it will really make yr bic tasteless and have great practical use too. Bike Theft will not take a single look at yr bic with front basket. He will think is just some old grandpa bicycle but in fact, speed demon in disguise. haha...

    Plus,basket can really ferry big bags and groceries!

    Say Horray to yr back..

  48. #48
    knock-knock...
    Reputation: skottt160's Avatar
    Join Date
    Apr 2008
    Posts
    577
    i painted mine with rainbows for a while and painted my front wheel light blue adn the back one light pink. no one touched that!!

    it was a good time and i had a blast riding it.

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