Category Archives: Barely Locked

One more post about bike parking, then I really need to move on.

So… I’ll keep this short and sweet.

I was up at the Seven Stars on Broadway a couple weeks ago. They have two hitching post bike racks at this location, for which I am very grateful. This time of year, they tend to fill up, so I had to park at a street sign a few feet away. I’m not complaining about that though, I’m just happy that they have racks.

But what would this blog be without complaining, right? After all, just like Joe Namath said, “A successful blog is 1% inspiration and 49% perspiration, and 50% kvetching.” So I’ll complain about this poorly-locked bike:

A couple of posts ago, Amanda suggested that I pixilate any future barely locked pictures, for the sake of the children and those reading my blog while goofing around at work. So here goes.

That should at least protect the bicycle’s identity. I can’t really pixelate the “naughty bits” on a barely locked bike, or you couldn’t tell in what manner the bike’s owner improperly locked their bike. That would make it much harder to make fun of them.

As the red arrow points out, this bike is locked by the seatpost. Although it’s not a quick-release seat post, all someone would have to do is undo the hex bolt on the seatpost clamp, lift the seat past the lock, re-insert it, and ride away. This is probably not very likely to happen when the bike is parked right next to a window of a busy coffeeshop (that’s why I was furtively lurking around the corner so no one would catch me taking pictures). But really, the top-tube is right there, mere inches away from the seat post. Couldn’t the cyclist have just locked to that instead?

I guess I should be realistic, it’s not like he was going to leave his bike there for decades, allowing the bike rack to grow around and subsume it like this:

Those trees are dangerous.

*Update! After reading Jef Nickerson’s comment, I can’t believe I didn’t include the picture below, originally part of the post titled: Passive Aggressive Signs: Locking to Trees

Obviously, it’s more like “The young bikes won’t survive a growing tree’s hunger for steel (or aluminum or carbon).”


The whining I do on my blog results in positive change for cyclists across America

Well, isn’t that a mouthful of a blog post title? We’ll get to that in a second.

In my previous post, I complained about this Specialized parked in Jamestown and that it was one of the worst cases of “barely locked” that I’d seen:

That’s a flimsy cable lock threaded between the fork and the wheel, which would allow a thief to simply remove the wheel, lift up the frame, re-attach the wheel and then ride away. I thought this was one of the worst examples of barely locked until I returned to Providence to find this:

This qualifies for both the “Topless pole-dancing” and the “When I think of you, I lock to myself” types of barely locked bike (see this previous post for my complete “barely locked” taxonomy). I dunno, if one uses two types of ineffective locking techniques at once, does that turn it into an effective locking technique?

I’ve got to take a closer look – ENHANCE!

Yep, that’s pretty stupid.

Now, back to our headline. Before I got dropped from the peloton of the Let’s Go Ride A Bike Summer Games, I completed one of the four events by writing a letter to a local business to cajole them into installing a bike rack. As you probably know, there are few things I love more than getting all hoity-toity with a business owner and insisting that they install some bike racks. Since my cajoling has been successful with two local businesses so far, I decided to set my sights a little higher – like the world’s largest retailer, Wal-Mart. You can read my polite (but firm) letter here. And while Wal-Mart has not responded directly per se, they did respond in their own round-about corporate way… by installing bike racks at Wal-Marts in Texas. In fact, so powerful was the prose of my letter, that Wal-Mart went back in time to install these bike racks. Impressive, eh?

Steve A, head of the CarfreePVD branch office in Dallas (aka the completely unrelated and vastly superior to this blog, DFW Point-to-Point) sent me these pictures

Everything's bigger in Texas - including the dead space around the bike racks

I like this bike racks location, back by the auto lube department. It’s also nice that there is a cigarette butt station right next to the rack. I should pay another visit to the Providence Wal-Mart to see if there are cigarette butt disposal units parked out front. And if I see them, I can feel even more self-righteous because Wal-mart would pay to have a place for people to put out their cancer sticks, but not a place for people to park their bikes. Ah, I love that self-righteous feeling, it’s better than smugness.

Big thanks to Steve for sending me the pictures. Kidding aside, it’s interesting to see that a giant company like Wal-Mart will install bike racks for some stores, but not for others. I’m sure they have parking lots, disabled parking, and even wheel-chair specific spots at almost every store. I realize that mode share for cycling is very low in the US (what, 2% nationwide?), but I wonder what percentage of trips are taken by cars with disabled parking tags. And then I wonder what percentage of trips are taken by cars that have actual disabled people in them!

More hot barely locked pics tomorrow! (or whenever I write the next post.)

Bike Parking in Jamestown

Before I get to everyone’s favorite topic, bike parking, I have to own up to the fact that I failed in my attempt to complete the Let’s Go Ride A Bike Summer Games. It was the first bicycle competition I’ve ever competed in, and like most new competitors, it resulted in a big fat DNF! Oh well, maybe next year.

Now back to the bike parking.

I had the opportunity to visit Jamestown recently, one of my favorite parts of our little state. For those of you not up on your Rhode Island geography, Jamestown lies on the island of Conanicut in Narragansett Bay. It’s not far from Newport, which lies on the next island over which is technically called “Rhode Island”, but everyone calls it “Aquidneck Island” in order to avoid confusion with the rest of the state (the official name of which is actually “Rhode Island and the Providence Plantations”). Got it?

Spouse and I usually take our bikes when we visit Jamestown because riding one loop around the island makes for a pleasant 20 mile ride. The island is so small, that it’s easy to ride from any point on the island into the village where all of the shops are. Imagine my delight when I saw this in the village:

An honest-to-goodness hitching-post style bike rack! It seems that at least 6 of these racks were installed in the central part of the village near the restaurants and shops. Unfortunately, there weren’t any bikes actually locked to the racks, at least not while I was walking by. Meanwhile, there were several bikes casually leaning up against a wall outside a restaurant instead:

There’s also a bike rack down by the marina, this one designed to accommodate several bicycles.

I think they put it there to distract people from the giant stone monument commemorating the spot where Roger Clemens shook the hand of Cannonball Adderley. Let’s take a closer look:

Ack! This rack is so poorly designed that there’s no way to lock one’s frame when using a u-lock. That doesn’t stop the ride of the Specialized from locking his bike in such a way that anyone with half a brain could walk off with the whole thing.

That’s a flimsy cable lock, but that’s not really the issue. Most people practicing the art of “barely locked” would just lock the front wheel. This would allow a thief to take off with the frame and rear wheel. This isn’t ideal for a bike thief, but if they have a vehicle nearby, they could easily chuck your bike into the vehicle. However, this particular cyclist is one step dumber than that. In case you can’t tell, the lock is only threaded between the fork and the wheel. All a bike thief would have to do is remove the front wheel (easy to do with the quick-release skewers), lift up the frame, re-attach the wheel, and ride away. I’ve seen worse examples in my collection of pictures of “barely locked” bikes, but not many.

In tomorrow’s post we’ll a bike so barely locked it’s scandalous. Plus a look at bike racks at Texas Wal-Marts – just what everyone has been waiting for.

Barely Locked: Or, Not Locked At All

In the previous edition of Barely Locked, we saw a “vintage” 3-speed with the U-lock casually placed around the handlebars:

I went by this bike later in the day to find this scene:

It may be difficult to see there, but the bike is just casually leaning against the sign post and the lock…

…is on the ground! What happened here? Did someone come along and see the bike barely locked and just decide to “teach a lesson” to the cyclist? Or did the cyclist come back from a night of drunken debauchery, lean his bike against the post, put the lock around the pole and drop it?

We may never know.

However, I was very pleased on my way home from work when I found this:

The bike was properly locked! Sure, the lock could be threaded through the wheel as well as the frame, but still… this will actually function to keep the bike in place. I feel greatly relieved.

It’s another victory for Car-Free in PVD!

Barely Locked: Handlebar Style

As a public service to my readers, I’ve created a special series of blog posts  called: Barely Locked, documenting the poorly locked bikes of the world. And just like when I encounter the gentleman’s magazine from which I draw inspiration for the name of this series, I am both excited and repulsed when I see a potential Barely Locked subject. In the end, I just kind of feel sorry for the bike and its rider.

I found today’s subject on my way home from work the other day and it presents a new type of barely locked bike. The types I’ve cataloged previously include:

1. The bike locked to an open ended pole:

Let's call this type "The Pole Dancer"

2. The bike locked to an object that could be easily cut with steak knife or simply untied:

Let's call this "Barely Locked & Feeling Knotty"

3. And of course, locking the wheel to the frame and leaving the bike out in the open.

Some call this "Freelocking," but I prefer "When I think of you, I lock myself"

Today’s subject went for a completely different style:

I’m so flummoxed by this casual locking method that I can’t think of a cutesy pun related to dirty pictures in order to describe it. I mean, it’s like the lock was just casually thrown over the handlebars while the guy was riding around and then he “locked” it to the sign post without removing it from the handlebars. I actually looked around to see if this was part of a bicycle-theft sting operation or something.

The bumper sticker on the sign is a nice touch since this locking method is about as effective as the Nader/LaDuke 2000 Presidential Campaign. Then again, maybe that isn’t such a good analogy.

BTW: I’m happy to see that another bike blogger (this one in Hawaii) also likes to take pictures of poorly locked bikes. Instead of dirty puns, he just calls them FAILS.