Many emotions and feelings go through your brain when a bike is stolen. Loss is one, anger is another.
American writer Patrick Symmes felt this anger even more after viewing CCTV footage of his bike being stolen from a secure stand in broad daylight in New York City.
He couldn’t understand why anyone would want to steal his old blue Novara Metro hybrid or why only one person out of 142 people who walked pass the bike theft in progress actually tried to intervene to stop the bike theft. The bike thieves spent 17 minutes hacking his bike from its locked mooring.
After his anger subsided, Patrick was keen to find out what motivated bike thieves do what they do and in some cases taking the risks of being caught.
He set off to other American cities to research bike theft – Portland and San Francisco. As part of the research, he bought a number of bikes, locked them up, put GPS trackers on then and waited for them to be stolen. Some bikes were stolen, others weren’t but through all this, Patrick was able to see what fuelled America’s bike crime underbelly.
Writing for American magazine Outside, Patrick tells a story of how stolen bicycles have become a “solvent” in America’s underground economy.
“America’s rough streets there are four forms of currency: Cash, sex, drugs and bicycles. And of those, only one is routinely left outside unattended,” he writes.
You can find the full article on Outside, it is a superbly written piece (in the old style of American journalism) that is well worth the read.
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