|Not the bike of this story but the closest I could find of a poop brown bicycle.|
Back in the mid-1990s I used to ride, well, occasionally, with the Bike World crowd on Sunday's. Always a good challenging ride with fast and experienced riders. One of the riders was Dave Hurd. I may have his first name wrong but he was of that family with a lot of money. His bicycle was a titanium bike either custom or a Merlin I do not recall. Titanium was a rather expensive and rare back then so it was unique. Hurd had a novel approach for theft deterrence. He had it painted an ugly brown color and kept it logo/advert free. Just a poop brown bicycle without a name or brand and especially no frame material decal. Nobody would want to steal this bicycle. We called it "Hurd's Turd."
What got me thinking about Hurd's Turd was recent bicycle theft in our fair city and all around our nation. Bike theft in Des Moines has skyrocketed. Thieves are more brazen than ever. Bike locks are easily cut. There are businesses that I refuse to park a a bicycle at, unless it is one of my lesser bikes, because of repeated theft. Thieves are stealing bikes out of people's garages and homes. It's quite alarming. Expensive bikes are being targeted. It is to the point that I ride my inexpensive bike to work and to the store. I take my lights and computer off after locking it up. If I have to keep the panniers on I lock them up as well.
Just recently two friends had their bikes stolen in Chicago. A nice pair of fatbikes with panniers locked in a bicycle parking valet at Wrigley Field. Those bikes must have stuck out like golden geese. Perhaps it was a movie plot in National Lampoon's Bicycle Vacation. "Clark, where are the fatbikes?"
I have had bicycles stolen. It's a terrible feeling. Violation of property. None of mine were locked up. Son rode one to corner store and it vanished. Thought I had one in a secluded safe spot, unlocked because I did not take the time to turn around to grab my lock, I hate being late. Gone. Gone forever. Watched the video of the thief stealing it. Police did not know who it was. Cameras don't mean that your thief will be apprehended. My fault. I blame myself.
I immediately thought of my last trip to Chicago. Did not see a single nice bike on the streets. I saw beat up 80's and 90's roadies and MTBs built for tough urban street commuting. Talked to a friend who mentioned while dining he witnessed a man using bolt cutters and going through a bicycle rack taking what he wanted and kicking to unworthy out of the way. He asked the restaurant manager to call the cops. "What are they going to do about?" was the reply. I wrote almost 2 years ago about what I saw.
"The common color of the bicycles was black. The common gearing was single. Single speeds and mountain bikes from the 90s with a few heavy iron Schwinns from the 70s. Nothing fancy. Nothing flashy. Nothing tempting to steal. No fatbikes, no touring bikes and no cyclocross bikes. Inexpensive lights and flashers if they had lights at all. No generator hubs. Few bikes had racks or baskets. No $200 Surly racks. No panniers or bags. A lot of riders wore backpacks. Fenders? No. Stereos on their bicycles? No, the streets ain't no disco. Helmets? A few. Jerseys and bicycle shorts? Nope. Safety vests? Negative. That's for construction workers and street crews. One thing 99% had in common was U-Locks."
Read it here Chicago/LA Blog 2017
I rarely take any bike to a large city. Spent a week in Seattle riding a $20 Bianchi from the Salvation Army. Returned it on my way back to the airport. It was in better shape after I returned it. Did not ask for my money back. In Chicago I paid $20 for 72 hours of all the trains and buses I needed. Even took them to Wrigleyville for a Polish sausage and a beer. Bike share kiosks were everywhere. Mary and I took two bikes up to Minneapolis and those bikes never left our sight unless we left them in the hotel room. In St Paul last year it was Lime Bikes. Damn, how I love dockless bicycle rentals.
Hurd's Turd. I found this article while searching for a brown bike image. I don't know if this is satire or not. U G L Y Your Bike
Suburbia holds more than you care for. Petty (thief) Lout. Be ever vigilante. Try to blend in. If it is a very expensive bicycle never let your eyes off of it. Upgrade you locks. Check your privilege.