Bad News: Dutch Bike Thefts in Chicago! Good News: Julie’s Bike is Recovered

Vince's Dutch bike that was stolen

Vince's Dutch bike that was stolen (photo courtesy of Vince via the chainlink.org)

Gloomy gloomy news was to be found on Twitter yesterday afternoon, when I heard that Vince, the manger of The Dutch Bike Co., here in Chicago, had his beloved Dutch bike stolen off his deck.  Evil bike thieves.  May karma do its thing.

Sometime on Sunday night someone came to my apartment building sawed off a portion of my deck and some fence post and carried my bike away.  I should applaud them for muscling 68 pounds of bike, locks, bags, racks and crates down a narrow gangway.  I mean it takes a fair amount of physical strength to do that.   But seriously, They’ve got an immobilized bike on their hands.  My Bike.  And I want it back.

Vince has done all the right things, filed a report with the stolen bike registry,  etc., and now he’ll be checking out the Swap-a-Rama on the south side of Chicago where many many stolen bikes are fenced. You can read the entire account of his poor stolen bike here, on the chainlink.org. Turns out a couple of weeks ago another Dutch bike was stolen as well.. Jay had his Gazelle stolen on Morgan Street.  Here’s the story, also courtesy of the chainlink.org.

Jay and his Gazelle

Jay and his Gazelle (photo courtesy of Jay via thechainlink.org)

Now before you think it’s a waste of time to go wandering down through the Swamp-a-rama looking for your long lost bike, you need to read Julie’s story over on the chainlink – she’s also one of our regulars at the Women Who Bike brunches – she had her bike stolen last Friday, and she recovered it this past weekend at the Swap-a-Rama!

Immediately I filed a police report over the phone, added it to the stolen bike reg and sent emails to friends. Yesterday a few people checked out the swap on the s side with no luck. This morning I headed back there with a couple of friends. Within 5 minutes I saw the bike, we called the cops and they recovered the bike for me.  No arrests.

Julie and her beloved blue bike

Julie and her beloved blue bike (Photo courtesy of Martha Williams of www.bikefancy.blogspot.com)

 

It just makes me ill to think of these folks who have had their bike stolen – and the Dutch bike stories hit very close to home.  A few years ago I caught someone trying to steal my mountain bike and that was upsetting, but I still had my bike.   I still want to know if Julie has figured out how her bike was stolen – that one is truly a mystery.  I also want to know if there is someone stumbling around the city with a hernia after carting off Vince’s bike – that had to take some effort.  Let us know if you recover your bike Vince and Jay!   And for everyone else, this is the reminder to go and buy that expensive heavy-duty lock you’ve been talking about,  to not leave your bike anywhere unlocked, and to follow all the other bike theft precautions that you know you should be following.

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  • Cecily Walker

    This is starting to make me paranoid. A guy who was one of the first subjects on Vancouver Cycle Chic had his Jorg & Olif dutch bike stolen, and now I hear about the other thefts that are going on. I leave my bike unlocked in a downstairs hallway (there’s nowhere else to put her), but now I’m thinking I should stop doing that. If someone ever stole my bike, I’d be devastated.

    • http://dingdingletsride.com Ms. Ding

      YIkes! Does your bike have a ring lock on the rear tire? If so, I would at least lock that. And even if you can’t lock it to anything, I would still try to immobilize it with your regulare lock as much as you can. If someone has to walk out carrying it, it might make them think twice after they try to lift that heavy bike.

      • Cecily Walker

        I have a ring lock and a U-Lock, but so did this guy: http://vancouvercyclechic.blogspot.com/2011/03/stolen-not-chic.html – and his bike was stolen anyway.

      • http://dingdingletsride.com Ms. Ding

        Type your reply…Oh no!! That is horrible! Truly horrible. I hope that your U-lock cost more than $40 though. Not to be harsh, but a $40 Planet Bike brand U-lock – which I’m making the assumption is the type of U-lock that was on the bike that was stolen in Vancouver based on his “MEC” lock reference – is not considered a secure lock for high crime areas like big cities. They say one should spend at least 20% of the value of your bike on a lock/security. In major metropolitan areas, I would add that any U-lock under $80 is not going to do the job. The U-lock on my mountain bike is probably worth more than the bike, but not worth more than value the bike has to me. The ABUS chain lock I have on my Omafiets was not cheap either. After fighting off a guy trying to steal my mountain bike one afternoon (right in front of my office and other people walking by) I’m a little paranoid/hard-core about bike security.

      • http://dingdingletsride.com Ms. Ding

        Oh no!! That is horrible! Truly horrible. I hope that your U-lock cost more than $40 though. Not to be harsh, but a $40 Planet Bike brand U-lock – which I’m making the assumption is the type of U-lock that was on the bike that was stolen in Vancouver based on his “MEC” lock reference – is not considered a secure lock for high crime areas like big cities. They say one should spend at least 20% of the value of your bike on a lock/security. In major metropolitan areas, I would add that any U-lock under $80 is not going to do the job. The U-lock on my mountain bike is probably worth more than the bike, but not worth more than value the bike has to me. The ABUS chain lock I have on my Omafiets was not cheap either. After fighting off a guy trying to steal my mountain bike one afternoon (right in front of my office and other people walking by) I’m a little paranoid/hard-core about bike security.

  • http://www.chicargobike.blogspot.com doug

    Amsterdam is possibly the bike theft capital of the world, so in a way it’s appropriate that all these Dutch bikes are going missing. The minimal lock there is an 8mm chain with moped type padlock (see Bikeregistry.org ‘s shop for an inexpensive example).
    In the arms race between heavy duty locks and ways to break them, the forces of evil are hard to thwart these days. The fanciest u lock or chain is no match for the tools now available, and passers by just pass by as the thief tosses a whole rack of bikes into a truck and drives off. The best bike lock is replacement value insurance, unless you plan to keep your bike with you at all times. Failing that, attaching your bike to something that can’t be removed (like a big lamppost full of electrical cables) with two locks that each take awhile to cut might save your bike for last as the thieves take others nearby. Lock it even inside your house or garage if you can.
    And, if it’s gone when you get back, collect your insurance and buy another one that’s nicer. Oh, and any cable is worth about the same as a piece of string, but you knew that.

    • http://dingdingletsride.com Ms. Ding

      A sad but funny comment on the fate on so many Dutch bikes. Perhaps Vince’s Opa will be a little luckier?

  • http://www.passportdelicious.com Kristainlondon

    This is terrible but it’s exactly why I’m afraid to leave my (Dutch) Gazelle anywhere outside locked up. I love her my Gazelle so much that seriously, if she was stolen, I would be devastated! I only take her out on trips when I know I’ll be with her the entire time.

  • martha p

    tragic!

  • http://urbanadventureleague.blogspot.com/ adventure!

    The same thing happened to a co-worker. He always locked his bike to the front porch, and one morning around 5am, someone broke off the rail it was attached to in order to swipe the bike! He woke up because of the commotion (as did his dog) but it was too late to do anything.

    • http://dingdingletsride.com Ms. Ding

      I hate hearing stories like that!