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Monday, November 15, 2010

Parked and Locked

One of my bike locks malfunctioned for some strange reason so the key wouldn’t turn the lock. I paid 15€ for the lock so it wasn’t like it was all that cheap. Luckily it decided to stop working when I had it locked in the first floor store room of my building where it was chained to a heavy metal ladder. If it had malfunctioned on the street it would have left me stranded and then it would have been a target for thieves while I figured out how to cut the chain.  I borrowed a hack saw from a friend and was able to cut through the chain in less than a minute.* That’s not exactly a ringing endorsement for this lock. This whole episode makes me even more paranoid about bike theft.

Today I am going to shell out 50€ for a U-lock to compliment the heavy chain I use now which cost something like 30€. That means I have 80€ worth of locks to protect a bike I paid 60€ for to begin with. I have no doubt that thieves could make off with my bike in less than three minutes in spite of these two locks but I don’t know what else I can do to protect my property.

To add insult to the injury of the epidemic level of bike theft here in Valencia the city council has decided in its wisdom to begin fining cyclists for chaining their bikes to street lamps and trees. I read this in an article in the local paper Las Provincias last week and it made me so angry I couldn’t see straight the rest of the day.  Everything about this issue is completely absurd. First of all, how is it a problem if someone chains their bike to a street lamp? Will the lamp cease to function properly? Will trees stop growing? The last thing the city needs to do is to discourage people from riding a bike. Every aspect of bike riding is a positive thing for everyone: people are healthier, there is less traffic, less need for roads, less traffic accidents, less need for automobile parking, less pollution, etc. So why in the name of fuck would the city threaten cyclists with cutting their locks, confiscating their bikes, and then handing them a 50€ fine?  I’m guessing that not a single politician responsible for this foolish law has ever ridden a bike…ever.  I can only hope that cyclists here won’t take this sitting down. 

*When I told the guy from the bike shop about how quickly I cut through the chain he said that if I didn't have the lock thieves would be able to steal my bike with even less effort. 

Update: I was told by a cop in Burjassot that I couldn't lock my bike to the railing of the municipal building. I was pretty pissed and I told him that I've been doing it for a year and a half without a complaint so why now? He said it was a security matter. I asked him about the security of my bike. There are no bike racks in Burjassot and locking bikes to trees or lamp posts is now illegal. What the fuck? Thank God I cam across this article in the Valencia edition of El País. I'm not alone in thinking that this new law is completely and utterly absurd (and totally anti-cyclist).

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