Saturday, February 6, 2010

bicycle theft

According to The Straits Times, bicycle theft, along with other petty thefts, is on the rise:

Bicycle theft in Singapore made the headlines last month when English cyclist Greg Browning's bicycle was stolen at Orchard Road. The Briton is cycling nearly 30,000km from London to Sydney on just 4,000 euros (S$7,800).

Police statistics show that bicycle theft, along with other petty thefts, is on the rise.

There were 536 cases of bicycle theft in the first six months of last year compared with 308 in the same period in 2008.

Between 2007 and 2009, I have lost 4 bikes to theft in Singapore! After my first lovely bike, the last 3 were cheap super market bikes but it still hurts. The situation is very hopeless, my 2nd and 3rd bikes were parked in front of CCTV cameras and although I reported 3 of 4 cases nothing happened. I did not bother to report the last one which was just stolen from the door of my HDB. I simply stopped using a bike. It is sad, because I like to ride bike in Singapore and I think it is a very good place to use a bike. It is also sad to see that the situation is getting worse.

A well locked bicycle - Flickr
How to prevent bike theft in Singapore?

You do not need to give up as I did. There is a very effective way to prevent bike theft in Singapore. First of all a strong chain is not a solution. It just delays the inevitable. Parking in front of CCTV cameras also do not work.

By experience I can say that the most effective way to prevent bike theft in Singapore is to camouflage. Buy a second hand bicycle and paint it as if it is very old. Well, it is not a pleasant way but I have seen it working with my friend's bikes and hear this advice several times from bicycle sellers. This is also adviced by several bloggers (Avoid Bike Theft In Singapore):

Don't ride a new bike with no battle scars! It's only a magnet for theft. I have a few bikes, of which I only lock one, a beaten up Trek. Yes - Trek - but it looks so terrible and has a totally unflashy colour (grey), and rust all over its drivetrain. It hasn't been stolen, even though I have locked it outside for quite a while now. Of course, it could get stolen at any point where I am unlucky, but learning from my mistake last time, I'll never ride a new, unscarred bike out ever again.

The good thing is that you can get these beaters at Togoparts for cheap, and they won't have a terrible ride quality for $100 - $200. Unlike if you bought $200 bike new... which would often be heavier and use a lower-quality Shimano derailleur ripoff.

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