BLOG rss
10/02/2012 // INFO Leave a comment

One man’s search to understand bike theft


Bicycle Crime Scene

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.

Cross-state trip

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.

For more great cycling news and stories follow us on Twitter or Facebook

See also

The Times calls for cities to be made fit for cyclists

London Mayoral candidates told to Go Dutch

from Going Going Bike – Auctions, Bike News, Cycle Stuff

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *


You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <strike> <strong>

Grab the GGB Weekly Newsletter

and we will send you our second hand bike buying guide.

Search Blogs


Need some jargon translated? Consult the Bikepedia.




A bicycle that plays vinyl records

Bicycle Sizing Guide

Do people turn a blind eye to bicycle theft?

Edinburgh shows the way on investment into cycling


The Wheelie Good Round-Up

Agreement aims to take the cycling revolution to the track

No labour charge repair service benefits cycling

Edinburgh shows the way on investment into cycling

Riders ready for a cycle race around the globe

Love your bike this Valentine’s Day

A fresh delivery by bike

The Wheelie Good Round-Up

Cycle safety debate builds momentum

One man’s search to understand bike theft