Bike Theft (or, the short history of Janis the Jamis)

The Late Great Janis the Jamis

The Late Great Janis the Jamis

Three weeks ago a great tragedy befell my household – two bikes were stolen from my garage, my sister’s Specialized Globe and my Jamis Commuter. One might think that keeping bikes in a locked garage would be safe and that locking the bike with a cable in the garage would be super safe. If in Chicago, one would be wrong. The theives broke in through the back door of my neighbor’s attached garage, through which they could access my garage. Those two bikes, my car bike carrier, and my floor pump were stolen. As my luck would have it, my neighbor’s unlocked bike (that she never, ever rode) standing next to mine was untouched.

My bike was locked with a Kryptonite cable lock to a pipe on the wall. Everywhere other than my garage, I locked the bike with a Kryptonite U-lock and used the cable only for the tires, but in the garage I needed the cable to reach the pipe and could not use the U-lock. The cable was easily cut by the theives, as can be seen in the picture below.

Cut Cable Lock

Cut Cable Lock

We filed a police report and gave the officer descriptions of the bikes and serial numbers. I also listed the stolen bikes on Chicago’s Stolen Bike Registry – it felt good to do something. I’m still checking Craigslist everyday and have a feeling that I’ll see Janis the Jamis one day, even if years from now. She was my first adult bike and I rode nearly 2,000 miles with her during our months together, so it would mean a lot.

Thank goodness, my Oma was still there. The Abus chain lock is pretty impossible to cut, but if they really wanted to, they could have cut the pipe and taken the bike. No longer comfortable with the safety of my Oma, I searched the internet for some sort of bike rack that I could install in the garage. There was not much out there, but I found this Abus WBA 100 anchor. This is perfect for a small area like the corner of a garage or a carport. The anchor cannot be removed once it’s installed, due to the round bolts and some other stuff I don’t quite understand.

Abus Anchor and Chain

Abus Anchor and Chain

My husband installed it last night, renting a drill from Home Depot. We’re both very happy that he won’t have to carry the Oma up and down the stairs to the basement storage facility – it is a very heavy bike.

My next security-related project will be to make sure Trisha uses a good lock for her future Batavus (seriously, no more leaving bikes unlocked under the stairs ;) I know Nashville isn’t Chicago, but still…)

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10 thoughts on “Bike Theft (or, the short history of Janis the Jamis)

  1. the village scribe says:

    This absolutely sucks! I am so sorry to read your bad news. What a drag. Bike theft always make me feel like I ate bad food. Bike theft is right up there kicking dogs and other such acts of stupidity and depravity. I don’t even know what to say. I really and truly hope your bikes find their way home to you. Short of that, I hope the front wheel falls off one of the bikes while the thief is riding it, sending him head first over the handlebars, and promptly busting his jaw on the asphalt.

    Sorry to sound so vengeful first thing in the morning, especially on a Friday. True, bike theft really gets under my skin. But I’m not the sort of person one would describe as mean. It’s going to be nearly 45-degrees today. I’m heading out this afternoon for a very long bike ride. I expect my disposition to be much improved when I return home.

  2. tsalyards says:

    Where did you find the ABUS anchor? I’ve been thinking of doing something similar on my garage. Right now I just use my wheel lock chain and run it around my snowblower :)

  3. Lynn says:

    What a nightmare! Thank goodness they didn’t get the Oma, but the Globe and Commuter are great bikes and a terrible loss. For some reason, I hardly ever worry about someone breaking into our house, but I always worry about someone breaking into our detached garage and stealing our bikes (3 Jamis!). It’s the first thing that crosses my mind when I hear a noise outside at night. I’ve finally convinced my husband to lock the garage door every time, now I just have to convince him to replace the bulb on the motion-sensor light out there (“the bulb is too expensive, uses too much electricity”). But I won’t bug him about straightening up the mess in there since the thief would probably trip over all the lawn tools and extension cords and wake the whole neighborhood.

  4. editrish says:

    I detect the influence of last week’s MACBETH performance on your opening lines — nice touch. At least they didn’t get all your pretty chickens at one fell swoop? ;) And here I scoffed at you for locking your bike when it was in the garage. In my defense Pinkie never gets locked and no one will touch her. But I will definitely be locking my Batavus! He’ll probably still have to stay outside, though.

  5. eheslip says:

    I’m so sorry to hear about the bike! I remember not too long ago we were visiting and you were making fun of Greg for putting his in the basement,…I suppose he was right about this one. I hope you get a very cool replacement for Janis. Hey – at least it’s a good excuse to bike-shop some more!

    Trish, I think this story makes it necessary for you to put up a picture of your bike security system for pinkie. ;)

  6. msdottie says:

    Thanks, all, for the kind words! I’m dealing with the loss day by day. :p I bought the Abus anchor from the linked store. It’s in NC and only took two days to arrive.

  7. msdottie says:

    Erin, it does mean bike shopping, which is fun. Now I know exactly what worked and didn’t work about Janis, and what I want in a new bike. Unfortunately, that means trying to save up money while also saving up for the UK/Russia trip.

  8. I’d recommend this service for all your precious bikes. It’s a great bargain!

  9. […] is made, finally! Long-time listeners may remember my first steps to finding a bike to replace my stolen Jamis. I oggled bikes the I could not afford, such as ANTs and MAPs. I encountered annoying bike […]

  10. […] ourselves (and our bikes) to the blogosphere and were off and running. In our first month, Dottie had her bike stolen and I test-rode a Dahon folding bike. We took turns talking about why biking is better,  the […]

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