A disgruntled librarian packs it up and leaves fabulous New York City behind,
going on random adventures through South America,
while simultaneously promoting literacy
and spreading the love of the written word.

Monday, September 27, 2010

this is why your bike is stolen

entonces ... being the joiner that i am, i have joined several e-mail lists, yahoo groups, etc filled with expats living here in buenos aires.  now, i have met some lovely people through these groups, and i have found some valuable information.  for instance, one of these groups had a long string of emails recommending gynecologists in the area, and i was able to find a very nice doctor for my *ahem* problems down there.  moving on!

sadly, despite the helpful nature of these groups, i can't help but notice that they are filled with a lot of whiny cry babies.  (please miss dewey decimal, don't hold back!  speak your mind!)  yes, it seems that every day i read messages complaining about this or that: oh buenos aires is so dangerous ...  oh buenos aires is so dirty ...  oh buenos aires isn't exactly like the town, city, country i came from and i expected this foreign country to be just like home but with palm trees ...  oh buenos aires is chaos, i want to be in an orderly country like germany ...  oh, i'm upset because i moved to buenos aires hoping to exploit an economy that is in poorer shape than my home country, but lo and behold i am making pesos now and the exchange rate is no longer working in my favor.  (please note that these are not the opinions held by your beloved miss dewey decimal, but rather ridiculous rantings that i have encountered from various expats)

let's face it people ... although when walking down the supermarket aisles it may seem as though we're living in soviet russia (really, would it kill them to stock a few more varieties of cereal?), it is in fact not soviet russia.  YOU ARE FREE TO LEAVE AT ANY TIME.  so if you don't like it, pack it up and go home.  no need to clog up what could be a useful forum with your random complaints about DHL service.

you may be wondering to yourself, "self, what the hell is miss dewey decimal going on about?"  well ... i do have a point buried in here somewhere ...

obnoxious note from old italian ladies in brooklyn.
note reads: move your bike.  this is not a bike rack.
if anyone falls getting out of a car or crossing the
street, i could get sued.  it's on my sidewalk.
(this of course is wholly untrue.  if you're
retarded enough to trip and fall over a bike
you cannot sue some random brooklyn
resident who IS NOT the owner of the bike. residents
do not own the sidewalk)
you see, the bolshevik and i are in the process of getting bikes.  yay, bikes!  so i checked out a forum on biking, thinking i could find useful information on the following topics:
1.  bike lines, and where to find maps of bike lanes (i have since figured this out on my own)
2.  biking laws - can you ride on the sidewalk, are you supposed to ride with traffic, are you allowed to ride the wrong way on a one-way street, etc)
3.  bike lock etiquette - there are no bike racks here, and in brooklyn there are a fair amount of crazy old italian ladies who will get mad if you lock up a bike near their property.  they will actually come out of their homes and yell at you, OR they'll leave obnoxious notes taped to your bike.

anyway, although i did find a few pro-bike voices of reason on the internets, mostly instead of finding answers to my questions i found a bunch of complaints.  go figure.  these complaints fell into three categories:
1.  danger - not only is buenos aires a lawless city of criminals waiting to pounce on you at any moment, but it is also a dangerous place to ride a bike.  BE AFRAID!
2.  dirtiness - buenos aires is so dirty and if you ride a bike you will be choking on bus fumes the entire time.  (i ask you, except for Melbourne, Australia aren't all cities dirty?  is that not the nature of cities?)
3.  theft - your bicycle will be stolen immediately.  because, as it is stated in #1, this is a city of criminals just waiting to rob you blind.

now, i have been the victim of a fair amount of bike thievery.  my bike has been stolen.  my back wheel has been stolen (with all the gears!  super expensive to replace!).  my lights have been stolen (this is just mean as it leaves me riding in the dark at night).  and finally, the release lever for my seat was stolen.  i had the seat with me, but some asshole stole the lever so then i had to have my seat permanently bolted on.

anyway!  i have noticed that when i see bikes locked up here they are not using the height of bike locking security.  usually they have a rather skimpy lock, which i'm sure could easily be cut with a wire cutters or other hardware store tool.  when i had my bike in brooklyn i locked it up with a thick metal chain and padlock.  it looked rather badass, and the thick metal chain also doubled as a weapon.  (one time i had to wield it menacingly at a creepy guy who followed me home one night)  ahhh, brooklyn.

so the other day i saw this bit of silliness locked up in front of my house.  now, please note that although the lock is locked around the fence, the lock is not actually locked onto the bike.  if you were to turn the bike on its side slightly, you could easily slide the handlebars right out of the lock!  in addition to locking a bikelock to a fence or other secure area, you also need to lock a bikelock TO YOUR BIKE!  as in, through the wheels or through the frame of your bike.

dare i say, that if this is how people are locking up their bikes, then it's no wonder their bikes are being stolen.

i am not a thief, but even i was kinda thinking that maybe i should try and take this bike, just to see how easy it would be.  AND to teach the owner a valuable lesson.

this is my old bike when i hung it up for the winter
and then decorated it for christmas.  what?  is that not
normally what you do on christmas?
i'm jewish, i don't know these things.
ANYWAY, if you look at the handlebars
you can see my badass chain and padlock,
for proper bike security.
for instance, i used to "double lock" my bike, locking the frame and front wheel with my badass chain, then locking the frame and back wheel with a kryptonite lock.  one day i came to get my bike and the kryptonite lock was sliced in two.  now, my bike was still there because they couldn't break the badass chain.  i like to think they were sending me a message.  as in, "hey ... we've got our eyes on your bike and don't think that crappy little lock does jack shit."

yeah, that's how the thieves roll in brooklyn.  this little lilac number would've been gone in seconds had it been locked up in south williamsburg.

1 comment:

  1. It is great you rent bikes, I believe everybody loves to ride one when they are on vacation, firstly, becuase they get to excercise and lost weight they will win because they have a lot of free time, and sceondly, because if you are riding the bike, you are hand in hand with nature and can experience everything more clearly. And try not to have it stolen, always put it at a garage at noght! When I travelled to Argentina, when I decided rent an apartment in buenos aires I made sure it had a bike service near it so that we could rent at any time we wanted.
    It was awesomE!
    Kim

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