Friday, April 8, 2011
Badass latte lock
Of course, this said more about the incidence of theft in Flanders than it did about the power of the wheel lock. Nevertheless, the simplicity of the wheel lock -- and the desire to live in a world where it would be sufficient to prevent anyone from borrowing your bicycle -- make it a favorite accessory for me.
Not long ago, Lovely Bicycle wrote about the wheel lock and I was reminded of how much the lock resembles a single handcuff. I resolved to get a pair of handcuffs and add them to my security arsenal. Sadly, my access to police equipment is gone, lo these last 15 years, so it wasn't a question of begging a pair from Property. Likewise, the pawn shops that used to sell them downtown no longer carry them. This last item is less surprising than the fact that they ever carried them in the first place. The pawn shop employees I asked seemed to think I was nuts for thinking they'd have such a thing. I was, though, relieved and vindicated when one old-timer emerged from the back room to verify that my memory was correct... handcuffs had, inexplicably, been a prominent feature of his window displays in the early 1990s.
So, it was off to Amazon and then some fun waiting for the FedEx man.
I'm not suggesting the cuffs offer the same level of security as a u-lock. I imagine they wouldn't hold up well against decent bolt cutters. I wouldn't use them, then, to lock the bike and leave it unseen in a theft-prone area for a long time. But, for the quick coffee stop or an extra layer of security in a valet lot, they seem more than adequate.
I use them only occasionally as a wheel lock. More often, I lock one cuff on the frame of the bike and the other around a stationary object.
I wonder if their association with law enforcement doesn't offer some slight intangible benefit as well. I wonder if they might create a bit of extra hesitation on the part of the thief who would prefer not to tangle with something that could be the property of a cop? On the other hand, maybe that'd make the theft all the more fun. Dunno.
In terms of drawbacks, there is one big one I've found. It turns out that parking meter posts and most bike rack tubes are far wider than I realized. Finding a secure, but sufficiently thin, structure to which the "other" cuff can be fastened isn't always easy.
But this still leaves their intended use, as a wheel lock, a viable option. I'm going to call this $13 investment a success.