Another bike theft foiled – but cable locks really suck

©Barry Sandland/TIMB - Cyclist with his folding Dahon bike that was not stolen. We stopped the thief in the act.

©Barry Sandland/TIMB – That quick visit to the supermarket and the bike was almost gone

“I have only had the bike for two weeks. It was a birthday present.” Well, he almost did not have it for much longer, a bike thief having been busy trying to steal it.

Notes: My life as a superhero was extended today as I foiled (another) bike thief. This time it was just too easy. I rolled up to my local supermarket to get the weeklies and there was a drunk, one bike space over, gnawing at a cable lock with a pair of cable cutters he just happened to have with him.

The obligatory, “Hey. That is not your bike..” And the inevitable denials of, “Yeah, it’s mine. I lost my…” But he was too drunk to finish the sentence. He gave up and walked off. I was somewhat frustrated as to what could be done without police.
And this is the face of so many bike thefts. The casual. The opportunist. The guys who travel about with cable cutters, quick to see the vulnerable target. And every single cable lock owner is a  potential target. Cable lock owners make it safer for me by making their bikes easier to steal. They leave mine alone. Too much work.
It was clear the potential victim was in the supermarket. But the theft would happen in a couple of minutes and he would be gone.
Theft foiled, I locked my bike to his with my better lock and went to do my shopping. .. He would have to wait for me 🙂

But he was there almost immediately and we had a chat about locks, theft, moving to Brussels, getting a better lock. And then another cyclist came by and said he had stopped someone from stealing the bike a little earlier (money is on it being the same guy). And another bit of advice to get a better lock.


If you own a cable lock, do yourself a favour and throw it away. It might serve as a second lock IN ADDITION TO a decent lock. But cables can be snapped in seconds. Literally seconds. I know from experience (and watching YouTube videos that make it clear). Get yourself a bolt lock. A folding, steel lock (my preferred). And spend a bit of money on a real brand, not some knock-off. It might hurt to pay the 100 bucks for the lock, but a successful theft hurts more.

2 thoughts on “Another bike theft foiled – but cable locks really suck

  1. Dear Barry, I would like to thank you for “saving” my mini-bike. I have great plans using it to discover corners of Brussels I don’t know (yet). It would have been a pickle in the ointment to do all those distances on foot. Lets keep in touch 😉
    Greetz, Carlo

    Liked by 1 person

    • More than glad to stop the shuck. And, given the other cyclist who had discouraged the thief earlier, there are a few ‘guardians’ about. Just too many thieves. Glad the bike stayed w the owner.


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