I am fairly certain that I owned a bike lock at one point in my life, when I lived somewhere in suburbia. However; after the years of my life spent more or less in the country, when I travel into town I am not at all prepared to chain my bike to something.
So, I usually leave it and think “what are the odds?”. Well, what are the odds?
There are broadly two different types of bike thief. The first and most common, is the opportunist thief, who is certainly carrying cable cutters, maybe some medium sized bolt cutters, maybe a crowbar.
The opportunists are looking for any bikes secured with cables, weak U-locks and puny chains and padlocks. No bike is too cheap or tatty to escape their attention. But the good news is: a decent U-lock or chain lock will usually be too much for their limited tool set and they will pass over your bike for easier pickings.
The second type is the “professional” bike thief who will certainly use very powerful bolt cutters and may have access to a variety of power tools such as portable angle grinders and bottle jacks.
The professionals target the more expensive bikes and may even steal to order. They can defeat any lock given enough time. So if you have a bike that a “professional” may covet, you’ll need the best quality lock and you’ll need to be very careful about where you leave your bike and how long you leave it for.
Bike thieves use some pretty heavy duty equipment to get away with your wheels. Hacksaws, hammers, crowbars, bolt cutters and even hydraulic bottle jacks.
Apparently, it is no secret to criminals that most people’s bikes cost them a pretty penny. Its like they are ingrained with this knowledge from the time they were a little bully in school stealing the scrawny kid’s bicycle.
And, as referenced above; the opportunist thief might even just be trying to get around town that day. With the rapid spread of the heroin epidemic and the coinciding thieving lifestyle that heroin addiction inspires; we all need to be more aware of leaving our bikes around, even in small towns like mine.