Street Savvy - Ten Best Ways To Get Your Bike Stolen

By Tim Carrithers, Photography by Courtesy Of Operation Kneedown

Because you wanted a new one anyway, right?Sick of your bike? Sick enough to gift-wrap it for the local felons? Imagine the money they'll make. According to our friends at the Chula Vista, California, Police Department, an ambitious thief can pull down six figures per year nicking bikes just like yours. On second thought, save the gift wrap: Here's how to earn a spot on your local grand larcenist's Christmas-card list.

A crook can have your bike in 20 seconds, and they're not shy either. This GSX-R was part of a San Diego County sting operation called Operation Kneedown. The cops are watching.

1. Never hide your bike under a cover or park it in a locked garage. Always leave it outside in your carport. Street parking is even better. Somewhere near a college campus or military base would be perfect.

2. Find a secluded parking spot at work where nobody can see your bike. Bonus points for dark corners. Don't waste your co-workers' time by telling them you're the only one authorized to touch it.

3. Forget the disc lock-you'll be back in five minutes. Leave the front wheel aimed straight so passing thieves will know the steering is unlocked.

4. Use a cheap lock and bulk hardware-store chain or cable. All that pricey, hard-core, bike-security hardware is overkill, and crooks can't tell the difference anyway. No need to lock both wheels and the frame to an immovable object. And leave the lock out in the open, with enough slack in the chain for a sledgehammer and chisel.

5. Listen to the paste-eaters who say alarms, Lojack and GPS tracking systems are a waste of money. So what if it could help the cops find your bike if it's stolen?

6. Keep listening when they say blinged-out bikes are no more theft-prone than stockers. Why engrave your driver's license number on big-ticket items? That just makes it easier to prove they're yours. It'll be fun to buy your titanium exhaust system back on eBay!

7. Ignore that big, black Ford F-250 that keeps following you home from work. Why bother picking up the pace to shake that suspicious shadow-they're just admiring your bike, right? Sure, and by this time tomorrow they'll have sold it.

8. Blow off the stats that put late-model sportbikes such as your '08 Honda CBR600RR atop bike thieves' 3:00 a.m. shopping list. Hoodlums love Harleys.

9. Be sure to list your home address on the work order every time you get your bike serviced. That scary-looking kid at the shop might like to stop by to see it when you're on vacation-with a pair of 42-inch bolt cutters.

10. Always offer potential buyers a test ride on any bike you're selling. Throw in a full tank of gas and directions to the freeway. You're buying? No need to double-check that pink slip or copy the seller's driver's license. People are trustworthy.

Good advice? Not for those of us who'd rather hang onto the bike out there in that nice, safe, dead-bolted garage. Wherever you live, talk to the cops. Think. Ask questions. Keep your eyes open. And if something looks suspicious, assume it is until proven otherwise. Bike thieves are out to get yours-and they're on duty 24/7. Are you?

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