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Smash your bicycle to save it

Liaoshen Evening News
August 26, 2009

In Liaoning, a high rate of bicycle theft has led to unconventional anti-theft measures.

According to today's Liaoshen Evening News, bicycle repairmen in Shenyang have rolled out a new service that may sound like the opposite of what a repairman normally does: vandalism.

At a bicycle stand north of Liaoning University in Huanggu District, this reporter witnessed a scene bicycle smashing.

When Li Yugang came to the stand with his new bicycle, Guo Bin, the repairman, asked him: "Do you want me to smash it?"

Li Yu was surprised by the question and asked why.

"Your bike looks so new. If you don't make some dents in it, you may miss it very soon," Guo said.

"So you think it won't be stolen if it's been smashed? But it's such a new bike," Li said.

"The thieves are not interested in old bikes. Even if they steal them, they can't get a good price reselling it. It's fine if you don't want to, but I'm doing you a favor by asking."

Within an hour, three customers came to the bicycle stand to ask the repairman to help them beat up their bicycles.

The article goes on to mention another strategy for evading bike thieves: parking in mid-air.

The owner of an electric bike has managed to hold on to it for two years by suspending it against the side of the building rather than parking it on the ground.

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There are currently 4 Comments for Smash your bicycle to save it.

Comments on Smash your bicycle to save it

true story:

back in the 90s, i had a bike in beijing with loose handlebars. whenever i parked the bike, i pushed the handlebars through the crossbar so that they hung lopsided and appeared broken.

the bike, of course, was also layered in several centimeters of beijing-class particulate matter and had collected miscellaneous garbage in its dented front basket.

i kept this bike in this condition unmolested for 2 years with only the standard red block back wheel lock to secure it from thieves.

then one day, i let an FOP frenchman borrow it for a ride to the summer palace with a gamely female student of his.

he "discovered" that the handlebars were loose early in his ride and so stopped to have them "fixed" both for his own safety and to do me a favor.

needless to say, the bike was stolen from the summer palace parking lot -- most likely before he'd even finished buying his admission ticket.

also, he did not get laid.

making old: what's new on this idea for china?

Making new bikes look old is common practice in my home city Amsterdam.
Amsterdam has 1 million bikes, and every year nearly 1 million bikes get stolen. You can do the maths. People buy spraying paint and try to make their new bikes look ugly. Other common options are buying locks for prices higher than the bike itself.

another way to do it is to simply drop the chain on the bike. That's how I usually do it on my cal state campus. Also park it next to a nicer looking bike helps too.

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