Will Bicycle Theft Increase?

Discussion in 'Road Cycling' started by Steve McDonald, Feb 17, 2003.

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  1. Suppose the petroleum supply is reduced enough, so that not only the price of gas keeps rising, but
    it becomes hard to buy or completely unavailable at times. Will this result in bikes becoming so
    much in demand, that they will be stolen in greatly increased numbers? Will the term,
    "bike-jacking", become part of our vocabulary?

    Close to 1,000 bikes are stolen (reported) in my community every year. Only a small percentage
    are recovered and the police provide no solution to this.

    I'd advise those who ride regularly to find an old beater or two now, while they're still
    available, in the $25-$50. category and keep them in reserve. During World War II, when no new
    cars were sold, used cars went for a premium price, if one could even be found. I imagine that
    bicycles were very popular then, and also hard to buy. Do any old-timers remember what the
    bicycle availability and usage was back then?

    Steve McDonald
     
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  2. Harris

    Harris Guest

    "Steve McDonald" wrote:

    > During World War II, when no new cars were sold, used cars went for a premium price, if one could
    > even be found. I imagine that bicycles were very popular then, and also hard to buy. Do any
    > old-timers remember what the bicycle availability and usage was back then?

    Go rent the movie "The Bicycle Thief" (in Italian with english sub-titles) which is set in
    post-war Italy.

    Art Harris
     
  3. Derral

    Derral Guest

    Probably will cause an increase in gasoline theft, buy a locking gas cap instead of a beater bike!

    "Steve McDonald" <[email protected]> wrote in message
    news:[email protected]...
    >
    > Suppose the petroleum supply is reduced enough, so that not only the price of gas keeps
    > rising, but it becomes hard to buy or completely unavailable at times. Will this result in
    > bikes becoming so much in demand, that they will be stolen in greatly increased numbers?
    > Will the term, "bike-jacking", become part of our vocabulary?
    >
    > Close to 1,000 bikes are stolen (reported) in my community every year. Only a small
    > percentage are recovered and the police provide no solution to this.
    >
    > I'd advise those who ride regularly to find an old beater or two now, while they're still
    > available, in the $25-$50. category and keep them in reserve. During World War II, when no
    > new cars were sold, used cars went for a premium price, if one could even be found. I imagine
    > that bicycles were very popular then, and also hard to buy. Do any old-timers remember what
    > the bicycle availability and usage was back then?
    >
    > Steve McDonald
     
  4. In article <[email protected]>,
    [email protected] says...
    >
    > Suppose the petroleum supply is reduced enough, so that not only the price of gas keeps
    > rising, but it becomes hard to buy or completely unavailable at times. Will this result in
    > bikes becoming so much in demand, that they will be stolen in greatly increased numbers?
    > Will the term, "bike-jacking", become part of our vocabulary?

    I think they are already being stolen as fast as they are being purchased, there probably wouldn't
    even be a worth while market for new bikes in college towns if it weren't for the thieves :)

    --
    _________________________
    Chris Phillipo - Cape Breton, Nova Scotia http://www.ramsays-online.com
     
  5. In article <[email protected]>, Chris Phillipo
    <[email protected]> wrote:
    >In article <[email protected]>,
    >[email protected] says...
    >>
    >> Suppose the petroleum supply is reduced enough, so that not only the price of gas keeps
    >> rising, but it becomes hard to buy or completely unavailable at times. Will this result in
    >> bikes becoming so much in demand, that they will be stolen in greatly increased numbers?
    >> Will the term, "bike-jacking", become part of our vocabulary?
    >
    >I think they are already being stolen as fast as they are being purchased, there probably wouldn't
    >even be a worth while market for new bikes in college towns if it weren't for the thieves :)

    Doesn't that sort of assume that stolen bikes are removed from the "market"? I thought they were
    part of the market. You don't mean to tell me those thieves are all collectors...?

    --Paul
     
  6. Bob

    Bob Guest

    Ha! The average american is to fat and out of shape to ride a bike for more then just a mile of
    recreatinal riding. If they had to ride to work a good lot of them would die of a heart attack. Gas
    theif would be more likely.

    "Steve McDonald" <[email protected]> wrote in message
    news:[email protected]...
    >
    > Suppose the petroleum supply is reduced enough, so that not only the price of gas keeps
    > rising, but it becomes hard to buy or completely unavailable at times. Will this result in
    > bikes becoming so much in demand, that they will be stolen in greatly increased numbers?
    > Will the term, "bike-jacking", become part of our vocabulary?
    >
    > Close to 1,000 bikes are stolen (reported) in my community every year. Only a small
    > percentage are recovered and the police provide no solution to this.
    >
    > I'd advise those who ride regularly to find an old beater or two now, while they're still
    > available, in the $25-$50. category and keep them in reserve. During World War II, when no
    > new cars were sold, used cars went for a premium price, if one could even be found. I imagine
    > that bicycles were very popular then, and also hard to buy. Do any old-timers remember what
    > the bicycle availability and usage was back then?
    >
    > Steve McDonald
     
  7. Derral <[email protected]> wrote:
    : Probably will cause an increase in gasoline theft, buy a locking gas cap instead of a beater bike!

    Better yet, sell your car now while it's still worth something and stockpile a few thousand $20
    bikes - you'll make a fortune!

    Cheerz, Lynzz
     
  8. Steve McDonald <[email protected]> wrote:

    : Suppose the petroleum supply is reduced enough, so that not only the price of gas keeps
    : rising, but it becomes hard to buy or completely unavailable at times. Will this result in
    : bikes becoming so much in demand, that they will be stolen in greatly increased numbers?
    : Will the term, "bike-jacking", become part of our vocabulary?

    I read that the oil crisis was one reason for the 70's cycling boom in Finland. In the Netherlands
    bike theft figures in really big numbers. I know some .nl folks who have had 5 bikes stolen from
    them. But I suspect it's about supply (lots of bikes available) not just demand (not enough bikes
    available), when you try to explain the Dutch scene. In other words, the resulting volume of bikes a
    professional can acquire and sell is lucrative...

    : Close to 1,000 bikes are stolen (reported) in my community every year. Only a small
    : percentage are recovered and the police provide no solution to this.

    I hear quite a few are recovered here... but the owners don't claim them, so they are sold by the
    police in an auction. (Hmm, now that's one good place to get cheap parts for your dream recumbent
    homebuilt project ;)

    --
    Risto Varanka | http://www.helsinki.fi/~rvaranka/ varis at no spam please iki fi
     
  9. Hunrobe

    Hunrobe Guest

    >[email protected] (Steve McDonald)

    wrote:

    > Suppose the petroleum supply is reduced enough, so that not only the price of gas keeps rising,
    > but it becomes hard to buy or completely unavailable at times. Will this result in bikes becoming
    > so much in demand, that they will be stolen in greatly increased numbers? Will the term,
    > "bike-jacking", become part of our vocabulary?

    ---snip----

    This sounds as if you are visualizing bands of thugs roaming the street robbing people of their
    bikes. Did you just watch "Road Warrior" or a similiar post-apocalypse movie or something?

    > Close to 1,000 bikes are stolen (reported) in my community every year. Only a small percentage
    > are recovered and the police provide no solution to this.

    The solution to bike theft is the same as the solution to any property crime. It's up to property
    owners to protect their property by taking reasonable precautions to prevent theft.

    > I'd advise those who ride regularly to find an old beater or two now, while they're still
    > available, in the $25-$50. category and keep them in reserve. During World War II, when no new
    > cars were sold, used cars went for a premium price, if one could even be found. I imagine that
    > bicycles were very popular then, and also hard to buy. Do any old-timers remember what the
    > bicycle availability and usage was back then?

    Your analogy doesn't hold true. Automobiles, bicycles and many other forms of machinery were
    dfifficult or impossible to obtain during WW2 because of the war effort's consumption of both
    resources and manufacturing capacity. I don't know if bikes were extremely difficult to obtain then
    but I know it was next to impossible to buy a new sewing machine between mid-1942 and late 1945
    primarily because the factories that produced them were converted to the production of small arms.

    Regards, Bob Hunt
     
  10. You insist on being insulting and contrary even when you cite no legitimate basis or purpose for it.
    Perhaps the anonymity of the Web offers you your only means to vent your personal frustrations.

    In fact, no bicycle owner can prevent its theft, when it has to be left in an unprotected
    place. Skilled thieves can break any lock with cutters or a hammer and ultra-freezing aerosol
    spray to make it brittle. Unless you can carry your bicycle into every place to which you ride,
    no amount of owner responsibility will eliminate that. And, there are gangs of bike thieves
    roaming about now. I only asked the question, if theft would get worse and possibly violent, in
    a gas shortage.

    The effects of the car, bike and gas shortage of World War II may make it a very good analogy
    to how a scarcity of gas could affect the demand for bicycles in the future. Unless you have a
    horse to tow it, a car without gas has little function. It doesn't matter if the unavailability
    of cars is due to a shutdown of manufacturing or a fuel shortage, as the demand for other means
    of transportation will increase in either case.

    Steve McDonald
     
  11. In article <[email protected]>, Steve McDonald
    <[email protected]> wrote:
    > I only asked the question, if theft would get worse and possibly violent, in a gas shortage.
    >
    > The effects of the car, bike and gas shortage of World War II may make it a very good analogy
    > to how a scarcity of gas could affect the demand for bicycles in the future. Unless you have a
    > horse to tow it, a car without gas has little function. It doesn't matter if the
    > unavailability of cars is due to a shutdown of manufacturing or a fuel shortage, as the demand
    > for other means of transportation will increase in either case.

    I don't see why this is going to create a problematic scarcity of bikes. If manufacturers can't sell
    cars but they can sell bikes, they will make more bikes. One month of car expense pays for a bike
    good enough to commute on for years. I'm sure there would be catastrophic effects on the economy if
    people could not afford to drive to work, since millions of people have built mansions in the
    countryside and commute hours each way every day to get to their jobs. But I don't think
    bike-jacking would be the thing to worry about in that situation. The high price of food in the
    inner-city and inability to get to work (with or without a bike) would be much bigger problems.

    --Paul
     
  12. Hunrobe

    Hunrobe Guest

    >[email protected] (Steve McDonald)

    wrote:

    >You insist on being insulting and contrary even when you cite no legitimate basis or purpose for
    >it. Perhaps the anonymity of the Web offers you your only means to vent your personal frustrations.
    >
    > In fact, no bicycle owner can prevent its theft, when it has to be left in an unprotected
    > place. Skilled thieves can break any lock with cutters or a hammer and ultra-freezing aerosol
    > spray to make it brittle. Unless you can carry your bicycle into every place to which you
    > ride, no amount of owner responsibility will eliminate that. And, there are gangs of bike
    > thieves roaming about now. I only asked the question, if theft would get worse and possibly
    > violent, in a gas shortage.
    >
    > The effects of the car, bike and gas shortage of World War II may make it a very good analogy
    > to how a scarcity of gas could affect the demand for bicycles in the future. Unless you have a
    > horse to tow it, a car without gas has little function. It doesn't matter if the
    > unavailability of cars is due to a shutdown of manufacturing or a fuel shortage, as the demand
    > for other means of transportation will increase in either case.
    >
    >Steve McDonald

    Steve- I was not trying to insult you and I apologize if you took offense at what was intended as a
    joke about roaming bands of bicycle thieves in a post-apocalyptic world. Further, I wasn't singling
    out those of us (including me) that have lost bikes to thieves as being irresponsible. What I was
    saying is that unless one is willing to put a police officer on every corner 24-7 "the solution to
    bike theft is the same as the solution to any property crime. It's up to property owners to protect
    their property by taking reasonable precautions to prevent theft". Theft of property will *always*
    occur. There is no way to prevent *every* theft.

    Having said all that, your original post asked if a gas shortage would make bicycles scarce or hard
    to obtain. You said it would and likened such a situation to the unavailability of newly-
    manufactured autos in WW2 due to wartime conditions. I gave you my opinion by replying,
    "Automobiles, bicycles, and many other forms of machinery were difficult or impossible to obtain
    during WW2 because of the war effort's consumption of both resources and manufacturing capacity. I
    don't know if bikes were extremely difficult to obtain then but I know it was next to impossible to
    buy a new sewing machine between mid-1942 and late 1945 primarily because the factories that
    produced them were converted to the production of small arms.". Unless you're positing such a severe
    scarcity of petroleum that all the bike manufacturers will be unable to obtain sufficient petroleum
    products to build bikes, your analogy simply does not hold water. If OTOH you *are* positing such a
    dire shortage of petroleum then building bicycles will become a high priority just as manufacturing
    small arms did in between '42 and '45 and then of course the bike shortage you envision won't occur,
    will it? At least not until the total breakdown of modern society occurs and then we're in big
    trouble anyway you slice it.

    In summary- You asked for opinions. I offered mine and gave you my reasoning. You didn't like my
    opinion or the way it was phrased. Instead of disagreeing with it and setting out your reasons
    for that disagreement (or just ignoring it) you simply attacked me. Or did I miss something in
    your post?

    Bob Hunt
     
  13. "Steve McDonald" wrote in
    >
    > Suppose the petroleum supply is reduced enough....

    Crime is a great economic indicator in the USA. The stronger the economy, the lower the crime rate,
    and visa versa. Bicycle theft probably varies with the general crime rate. The scenario you ponder
    is part of an overall decline in the economy.

    Suppose alternative transportation and renewable sources of energy thrive ..........

    Regards, Larry "Cabin Fever" Fieman
     
  14. Jon Isaacs

    Jon Isaacs Guest

    > Suppose the petroleum supply is reduced enough, so that not only the price of gas keeps rising,
    > but it becomes hard to buy or completely unavailable at times. Will this result in bikes becoming
    > so much in demand, that they will be stolen in greatly increased numbers?

    I doubt it. Anyone driving a car can easily buy a bicycle. My guess is that bicycle thieves are not
    normally people who drive a great deal.

    > Will the term, "bike-jacking", become part of our vocabulary?

    I doubt that too. Too hard to make a fast getaway and trying would make the bike jacker vulnerable,
    assuming he/she could even get on the bike.

    >During World War II, when no new cars were sold, used cars went for a premium price, if one could
    >even be found. I imagine that bicycles were very popular then, and also hard to buy.

    My guess is that there is plenty of reserve production capacity and sufficient stockpiles that this
    would not really be a problem.

    MY guess is also that only a few people will really start riding because of the gas prices. More
    likely, the prices of used SUVs will drop and the demand for more reasonable, economical cars will
    increase dramatically.

    jon isaacs
     
  15. Yes, you missed everything after my first paragraph, where I made some effort to present my reasons
    for disagreement. But, I'm glad that you've turned our exchange in a friendlier direction and I'll
    work at doing that, myself.

    To individuals who have limited resources, the availability of greater numbers of new bicycles
    wouldn't help them much. If their bikes were stolen, especially if it happened repeatedly,
    cheap, old ones might be all they could afford. If the demand for bikes doubled, all the used
    ones would get snapped up, regardless of how many of the more expensive new ones were for
    sale. If the demand kept growing, before long, all bikes would sell for more and less affluent
    riders who had their wheels stolen would become pedestrians. Then there's the matter of rising
    shoe prices.

    As I recommended to others, I have two extra $15. to $25. beater bikes from Goodwill stashed in
    my garage. With a little work, I could turn either of them into a passably good ride. Anyone
    think that I'm foolish or overly pessimistic about the future for doing this?

    Steve McDonald
     
  16. Doug Kennedy

    Doug Kennedy Guest

    On Mon, 17 Feb 2003 05:03:29 -0600, Steve McDonald wrote:

    > Suppose the petroleum supply is reduced enough, so that not only the price of gas keeps
    > rising, but it becomes hard to buy or completely unavailable at times. Will this result in
    > bikes becoming so much in demand, that they will be stolen in greatly increased numbers?
    > Will the term, "bike-jacking", become part of our vocabulary?

    I don't think so. People will either steal gas (hey, they do this already) and also steal any other
    kind of personal property they can lay their felonious little hands on, to sell for money, which
    they use to buy all sorts of things: gas, dope, Cameros, Rottweilers, trailer houses and all the
    other status tokens of the dead-beat.

    Things would really have to go to hell before gas became completely unavailable at any price, which
    is what it would take to force most people onto bikes. People are EXTREMELY motivated to not let
    this happen. Wars will be fought before willingly giving up the cheap-n-easy transportation that we
    Americans have come to expect. Once the gas price rises to a point where most people have to
    curtail their driving habits, fingers will begin pointing at 'these people' or 'those people' who
    are 'unfairly' refusing to sell us oil at a price we like. Maybe we'll call it 'Economic
    Terrorism'. But oh yeah, whatever it takes to keep the oil flowing will be done. I'll also surmise
    that most Americans and other net importers of oil will support it, once they understand what the
    alternatives are.

    > Close to 1,000 bikes are stolen (reported) in my community every year. Only a small
    > percentage are recovered and the police provide no solution to this.

    I'll take this as a statement of fact and not a critisicm of the police. After all, they can't be
    everywhere keeping an eye on your bike. Lock that sucker up! The only other strategy is not to have
    anything worth stealing. Relying on police to protect your property from theft is about as naive as
    relying on the inherent goodness of your fellow man.

    I keep my bikes hanging from hooks in the living room. I'd put my TV out on the porch before I'd put
    a bike out there. I have a couple of semi-disposable beater bikes for this purpose, I ride them when
    I know I'll have to leave them somewhere exposed to thievery.

    > I'd advise those who ride regularly to find an old beater or two now, while they're still
    > available, in the $25-$50. category and keep them in reserve. During World War II, when no
    > new cars were sold, used cars went for a premium price, if one could even be found. I imagine
    > that bicycles were very popular then, and also hard to buy. Do any old-timers remember what
    > the bicycle availability and usage was back then?

    Absolutely, buy some beaters now while they're cheap- theft discouraging bikes, rain bikes,
    loan-to-others bikes, ride while you're other bike is in the shop bikes. If our relationship to
    China turns sour there might be some trade restrictions on bikes that bump up prices, especially on
    the low end.

    As far as stockpiling bikes for the Apocalypse, I suppose there's worse things to do. If we run out
    of gas there probably won't be as much reason to ride- no food in the stores, no job to go to. Just
    stay at home and work on self-sufficiency things like gardening, and pull a trailer of produce to
    market to trade for other things you need that you can't produce yourself. Food will be in short
    supply so there's probably not enough calories or spare time for recreational riding. Or perhaps
    you'll be drafted to fight in World War III. Picture yourself driving around in a tracked SUV,
    fighting to preserve the American way of life ;)

    Doug Kennedy
     
  17. Doug Kennedy

    Doug Kennedy Guest

    On Tue, 18 Feb 2003 06:35:17 -0600, Steve McDonald wrote:

    > As I recommended to others, I have two extra $15. to $25. beater bikes from Goodwill stashed
    > in my garage. With a little work, I could turn either of them into a passably good ride.
    > Anyone think that I'm foolish or overly pessimistic about the future for doing this?

    Foolish, no. Having an extra bike or two is entirely reasonable, for practical day-to-day reasons.

    Maybe:

    1) you like to collect bikes
    2) extra bike when one breaks down
    3) loan bikes to friends
    4) fix up and sell, make money
    5) cheap bike to deter theft

    Bikes for "The End of the World as We Know It" is just icing on the cake.

    Relying on bikes for transportation will also do two more things for you: improve your fitness,
    which should make you healthier, and lower your health costs. Also benefits your financial situation
    by saving on transportation costs.

    I do think you're pessimistic, I doubt the scenario you're describing (no gas) will happen in our
    lifetimes. The less likely a scenario is, the less I'm willing to spend on it.

    The real cost of owning beaters is paying for the storage space to keep them. You need a little bit
    bigger house or apartment, or rent a storage shed. So they really do cost quite a bit more than the
    purchase price reflects. I wouldn't buy bikes JUST for the Apocalypse, but since there's so many
    other reasons (see above) might as well go for it.

    I'm more concered with other possibilities in the future, for example personal financial ruin due to
    big medical bills and/or loss of wages. Bikes are just the ticket to prepare for such a contingency,
    with their health-improving and money-saving characteristics (I'm not counting my 'recreational'
    bikes, of course ;)

    Doug Kennedy
     
  18. Hunrobe

    Hunrobe Guest

    >[email protected] (Steve McDonald)

    wrote in part:

    ---personal remarks snipped---

    >To individuals who have limited resources, the availability of greater numbers of new bicycles
    >wouldn't help them much. If their bikes were stolen, especially if it happened repeatedly, cheap,
    >old ones might be all they could afford.

    ---snip----

    Of course they might purchase one of the many stolen bikes you envision and secure it better than
    they did the last time. Failing that they could join the ranks of the thieves and just steal a
    replacement. That *would* be the logical thing to expect in the scenario you've drawn.

    If the demand for bikes doubled,
    >all the used ones would get snapped up, regardless of how many of the more expensive new ones were
    >for sale. If the demand kept growing, before long, all bikes would sell for more and less affluent
    >riders who had their wheels stolen would become pedestrians. Then there's the matter of rising
    >shoe prices.

    ---snip---

    It's not a zero sum game. That means two things. First, the demand cannot grow endlessly. We're
    talking about basic transportation here, not lusting after a 'dream bike'. That *is* an endless
    process. Second, those stolen bikes don't just disappear from the market- they go elsewhere. In
    terms of sheer numbers sold that market is dominated not by the more expensive bikes but by the
    cheapest bikes out there.

    > As I recommended to others, I have two extra $15. to $25. beater bikes from Goodwill stashed in my
    > garage. With a little work, I could turn either of them into a passably good ride. Anyone think
    > that I'm foolish or overly pessimistic about the future for doing this?

    I think your worries are baseless but if you want to buy a couple of beaters to fool with, more
    power to you. (No pun intended)

    Regards, Bob Hunt
     
  19. Tim Cain

    Tim Cain Guest

    "Harris" <[email protected]> wrote in message
    news:[email protected]...
    >
    > "Steve McDonald" wrote:
    >
    > > During World War II, when no new cars were sold, used cars went for a premium price, if one
    > > could even be found. I imagine that bicycles were very popular then, and also hard to buy. Do
    > > any old-timers remember what the bicycle availability and usage was back then?
    >
    > Go rent the movie "The Bicycle Thief" (in Italian with english sub-titles) which is set in
    > post-war Italy.
    >

    And after that, rent "The Icicle Thief". Compare and contrast.
     
  20. Tim Cain

    Tim Cain Guest

    "Steve McDonald" <[email protected]> wrote in message
    news:[email protected]...
    >
    > Yes, you missed everything after my first paragraph, where I made some effort to present my
    > reasons for disagreement. But, I'm glad that you've turned our exchange in a friendlier
    > direction and I'll work at doing that, myself.
    >
    > To individuals who have limited resources, the availability of greater numbers of new
    > bicycles wouldn't help them much. If their bikes were stolen, especially if it happened
    > repeatedly, cheap, old ones might be all they could afford. If the demand for bikes doubled,
    > all the used ones would get snapped up, regardless of how many of the more expensive new ones
    > were for sale. If the demand kept growing, before long, all bikes would sell for more and
    > less affluent riders who had their wheels stolen would become pedestrians.

    So you're envisioning a scenario where you (informally, sorta-kinda) *rent* your bike rather than
    owning it outright?

    Tim.
     
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