London cycle parking security

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Jon Lucas
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London cycle parking security

Postby Jon Lucas » 10 Feb 2019, 7:14pm

A query for those who cycle in London regularly. I understand there have been many instances recently of gangs going round breaking open U-locks that used to be thought of as unbreakable. I would be interested in knowing more about this - how they do this, and how prevalent it is at present.

I visit London quite often and have never worried unduly about locking up my bike (a Brompton) to cycle stands during the day using my U-lock, which is small and sits very tightly around the bike and stand. However, when I visited in January, I had an experience which leads to me posting this.

I locked my bike unfolded to a cycle stand in the middle of the day, in a very visible spot on a pedestrian space (where many people were sat on seats within sight), outside a public building and in full view of a busy pavement full of pedestrians. I returned 2 hours later in clear daylight to find my bike lying crumpled on the ground, all parts that could be undone had been and the front wheel missing and the forks and stays around it badly damaged. But what was far worse, from closer inspection, was that the top tubing, well away from the front wheel, had been severely indented and twisted to the point of almost breaking.

So it appears most likely to me that what happened wasn't an attempt to steal a wheel, but more likely an attempt to steal the bike, and that in attempting to break open the lock (which has two marks on it now), they failed but instead caused such damage to the bike to make it very expensive to repair. As it was in such a public space in daylight, I assume it was done by a gang surrounding it, as otherwise it must have been witnessed by many people.

Thus I would be interested to know more about how the locks are being broken, and whether it sounds like this was attempted here. Would such an attempt put such force onto the rest of the bike to cause such massive damage to the tubing?

Incidentally, although there must be CCTV coverage of the area, the police will not look at it due, they say, to not having sufficient officers to look through 2 hours footage, and when I said I would be happy to spend 2 hours doing this for them, they won't allow that. So no chance of finding whoever did do this.

thirdcrank
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Re: London cycle parking security

Postby thirdcrank » 10 Feb 2019, 7:53pm

I can't answer your London-specific questions but I recently found this series of vids on youtube on breaking cycle locks. There must be others.

https://www.youtube.com/results?search_ ... +bike+lock

As to being seen by passers-by etc., a lot of people either don't want to get involved or look for an honest explanation to anything suspicious.

alexnharvey
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Re: London cycle parking security

Postby alexnharvey » 11 Feb 2019, 11:07am

Hi Jon, where are the marks on your lock and what can you infer from that? Are the marks on the inside of each leg from an expansion attack using a hydraulic jack?

John Holiday
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Re: London cycle parking security

Postby John Holiday » 11 Feb 2019, 12:59pm

Sorry to hear of your disturbing experience.
As a Brompton owner,I would be extremely loath to park it in a public rack for any length of time. I thought that one of its many advantages was that it could be folded up & taken with you into premises/work etc.
When entering shops with folded Brompton, have usually found that people are receptive to it being tucked away in a corner briefly.

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mjr
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Re: London cycle parking security

Postby mjr » 11 Feb 2019, 1:12pm

alexnharvey wrote:Hi Jon, where are the marks on your lock and what can you infer from that? Are the marks on the inside of each leg from an expansion attack using a hydraulic jack?

I agree with this suspicion. It sounds like collatoral damage from an incompetent attack with a jack or possibly a screw-spreader that was too big to fit in the lock with enough clearance to work the lever - which is why you should fill the hole of the D as much as possible because most thieves are smart enough not to wreck bikes because it makes them worth less to sell. I mean, I suspect my frame would be far easier to cut than my lock, but what sane thief is going to do that?
MJR, mostly pedalling 3-speed roadsters. KL+West Norfolk BUG incl social easy rides http://www.klwnbug.co.uk
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Pastychomper
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Re: London cycle parking security

Postby Pastychomper » 11 Feb 2019, 1:35pm

mjr wrote:... most thieves are smart enough not to wreck bikes because it makes them worth less to sell. I mean, I suspect my frame would be far easier to cut than my lock, but what sane thief is going to do that?


I agree that approach normally works, but I did once find what seemed to have been an entire bike, dumped in a hedge a little way from a large town. The frame had been cut in half down the middle - across two tubes. :?
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MikeF
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Re: London cycle parking security

Postby MikeF » 11 Feb 2019, 1:50pm

That's a worrying experience.
"London" can describe an enormous area. Was this in central London?
"It takes a genius to spot the obvious" - my old physics master

Jon Lucas
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Re: London cycle parking security

Postby Jon Lucas » 11 Feb 2019, 4:34pm

alexnharvey wrote:Hi Jon, where are the marks on your lock and what can you infer from that? Are the marks on the inside of each leg from an expansion attack using a hydraulic jack?


Yes, which is why I was thinking the same. However, I have been told that the current crop of breaking of U-locks has been by cutting through them. But yes I suspect what mjr says it correct.

Jon Lucas
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Re: London cycle parking security

Postby Jon Lucas » 11 Feb 2019, 4:37pm

MikeF wrote:That's a worrying experience.
"London" can describe an enormous area. Was this in central London?


It was in Kensington.

I know that most people ignore even the most obvious theft taking place, but this was in such a visible situation that I'm sure somebody must have seen it and hopefully taken a photo. As well as a large number of passers by, there were at least 20 other bikes parked on the stands, so the chance of someone else coming for their bike must have been quite high.

Jon Lucas
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Re: London cycle parking security

Postby Jon Lucas » 11 Feb 2019, 4:40pm

John Holiday wrote:Sorry to hear of your disturbing experience.
As a Brompton owner,I would be extremely loath to park it in a public rack for any length of time. I thought that one of its many advantages was that it could be folded up & taken with you into premises/work etc.
When entering shops with folded Brompton, have usually found that people are receptive to it being tucked away in a corner briefly.


Yes obviously, but:

a) there are plenty of places which don't appreciate people bringing in a bike, especially if it is wet (although the weather was dry at the time, the roads weren't so the bike was damp).

b) if you want to go round several shops or other places, carrying a Brompton with you, especially if you have quite a bit of luggage, which I did, is not really feasible.

Valbrona
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Re: London cycle parking security

Postby Valbrona » 12 Feb 2019, 4:09am

Jon Lucas wrote:Incidentally, although there must be CCTV coverage of the area, the police will not look at it due, they say, to not having sufficient officers to look through 2 hours footage, and when I said I would be happy to spend 2 hours doing this for them, they won't allow that. So no chance of finding whoever did do this.


Their honesty surprises me.

The usual police lie goes like … trees obscuring view … camera out of order … bird dropping on camera lens … spider's web on camera.
I should coco.

Postboxer
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Re: London cycle parking security

Postby Postboxer » 12 Feb 2019, 8:18am

It doesn't take 2 hours to look through 2 hours of footage though does it, it should be able to be done in under 10 minutes. I also would have thought that the people who actually get the job of looking for the footage aren't officers but are the CCTV operators. Write to Cressida Dick, Commissioner of the Met police with a copy of the repair bill to ask her if it's acceptable that it isn't being investigated.

Boring_Username
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Re: London cycle parking security

Postby Boring_Username » 12 Feb 2019, 8:30am

Jon Lucas wrote:I visit London quite often and have never worried unduly about locking up my bike (a Brompton) to cycle stands during the day using my U-lock, which is small and sits very tightly around the bike and stand...

the top tubing, well away from the front wheel, had been severely indented and twisted to the point of almost breaking...

Thus I would be interested to know more about how the locks are being broken, and whether it sounds like this was attempted here. Would such an attempt put such force onto the rest of the bike to cause such massive damage to the tubing?


The top tube of a Brompton is very strong and this would have required a great deal of force. My guess would be that a long lever was used with the top tube as the fulcrum to try and break the U-lock. Perhaps a long set of bolt croppers or something like a digging bar. Not exactly subtle.

mercalia
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Re: London cycle parking security

Postby mercalia » 13 Feb 2019, 1:22pm

sorry to hear of what has happened but I thought the whole point of a Brompton is to take it with you. There was an London ITV programme some time ago that demonstrated how little passers by cared about bikes being stolen - the programme placed some bikes in various conspicuous places in central London and then went around stealing them in full sight of passers by using angle grinders and 4 foot bolt cutters - no one paid the slightest attention. I never leave my bike any where for long and in eye sigth eg when I have a meal in China Town

http://thebestbikelock.com/best-bike-lock/who-is-trying-to-steal-your-bike/

mercalia
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Re: London cycle parking security

Postby mercalia » 13 Feb 2019, 1:46pm

Jon Lucas wrote:
John Holiday wrote:Sorry to hear of your disturbing experience.
As a Brompton owner,I would be extremely loath to park it in a public rack for any length of time. I thought that one of its many advantages was that it could be folded up & taken with you into premises/work etc.
When entering shops with folded Brompton, have usually found that people are receptive to it being tucked away in a corner briefly.


Yes obviously, but:

a) there are plenty of places which don't appreciate people bringing in a bike, especially if it is wet (although the weather was dry at the time, the roads weren't so the bike was damp).

b) if you want to go round several shops or other places, carrying a Brompton with you, especially if you have quite a bit of luggage, which I did, is not really feasible.



well in that case I dont use my bike.

here is the London Programme
pt1

pt2


Any one locking a decent bike any where after seeing that needs their head seeing to or are philosophical about it being stolen?