20 Oct 2016

20th October 2016 Keeping a grip on your iron horse!


Thursday 20th 47F, 8C, heavy overcast, breezy with rain and showers. Chance of a brighter period later but still with showers. A short walk to enjoy the tyre spray of passing, 7 axle juggernauts.

The Danish news is covering the lack of interest in cycle theft by Danish police. Hardly a single cycle thief has been prosecuted with annual reported losses of over £28 million [in GBP] in cycle value. Presumably this figure only records insured machines. There is an online register of reported stolen cycle frame numbers but it is not always used in good time. Which leaves people wide open to buying stolen goods. The popular online ads pages have listed 77 stolen cycles according to the media. There is even talk of cycles being stolen to order after illustrated sales adverts are responded to.

The Danes are not strong on using decent cycle locks. Or using any locks at all. With a cheap, and very popular, frame fitting, wheel lock being approved by insurance companies but offering remarkably little real security. It is a common sight to see unlocked valuable cycles too. The owners seem think that a quick visit to a shop won't leave time for any casual thief to ride or walk away with their multi-thousand machine. This may explain the popularity of group and club rides. There is always somebody to keep an eye on the bikes without having to carry over a kilo of rip-off merchandise from Abus or whoever. A rider who will pay several thousand just to save 50 grams is not going to want to carry any lock. Back in the good old days horse thieves were hanged. A few token, public hangings from lamp posts for cycle theft might concentrate their minds to their criminal activity. Cycle theft is very rarely a victimless crime. It can be life changing for the loser! 

Campaigns offer the obvious suggestion to lock cycles to something immovable but it needs far more thought than that. If a cycle is locked by its front wheel, as are the vast majority, it doesn't take an Einstein to just lift the front wheel and walk away. Proper tools can be brought to bear in the privacy of a shed or merely out of sight. Or they could even leave the front wheel behind if there is a Q/R mechanism. Though this will not appeal to many thieves if the front wheel is valuable and matches the rest of the bike. It also makes the machine far more difficult to manage on foot. Nor can it be dropped back down on its front wheel when the thief's arms grow tired or a policeman approaches. However unlikely this might be according to the media.

It is a common complaint that professional East European bicycle thieves are emptying a bike rack into a lorry or van but the police were far too busy to attend! Though this may be another modern legend. Surely the ability to use one's mobile phone and even its inbuilt camera to "fight crime" should be encouraged? Provided, of course, the digital 'vigilante' is not spotted and assaulted or murdered. 

The major problem in Denmark is [allegedly] for cyclists who commute by train and leave their bikes unattended at the station all day. Many large cycle parks are completely without any other oversight than pedestrians or solitary cyclists coming or going. What are you supposed to do if you suspect thievery? It is suggested that many drug addicts easily fund their filthy habit with cycle theft. You wouldn't want to interfere in their desperate need for a fix at any price! The nearest supermarket is usually festooned with unlocked cycles for those who just need a ride home. Or to the dishonest cycle dealer with a shed full of stolen bikes out the back.

Most cable locks can usually be snipped even with a worn out pair of pliers or wire cutters. Such tools are dirt cheap these days and easily carried in the pocket with intent. Any machine can be stolen in seconds without drawing any attention. Cheap bolt cutters are also available in smaller sizes for more sturdy chain locks. Bolt cutters are easily carried in a sports bag without drawing attention.

Cyclists with lost keys have regularly reported using a battery powered angle grinder in the high street without attracting any notice despite the racket they were making. The public were more likely to scowl at the unwanted noise rather than ask why they were using such a tool on a bicycle lock.

You'd need more than a firm grip on your bicycle to cross a [hopefully] temporary footbridge in Viborg. The locals are complaining that it is far too steep and the narrow cycle ramps useless for wheelchairs, carrier cycles and trikes. Welcome to cycling and mobility friendly Denmark!

 Handicappede vrede over byggeri: Hvorfor tænker man ikke på alle? | Midtvest | DR

There are a couple of sets of far steeper, concrete stairs, with ridiculously narrow  cycle ramps, in Odense. I had to bump my trike all the way down using the brakes to maintain control. Climbing them would have been completely impossible! The drooling "genius" who designed these obviously never goes anywhere without his Audi.

Too busy for a ride today.

Click on any image for an enlargement.

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