• The BikeSpike

Arriving at the spot where you know you locked your bike and discovering it’s not there anymore is one of the worst feelings in the world. It’s happened to me twice in the past two years, and as evidenced by all the entries in the Chicago Stolen Bike Registry, to thousands of other Chicagoans as well. Most thefts aren’t really preventable; angle grinders can get through even the best U-locks in just a few minutes (apparently even if you catch someone in the process of stealing your bike there may not be much you can do). And good luck getting your bike back: while browsing the stories of recovered bikes on the registry is heartwarming, that’s only a small percentage of the total bikes stolen. I haunted the Ashland Swap-o-Rama for weeks after my first bike was stolen, with no luck at all.

Local entrepreneur and cyclist Clay Neigher has had five bikes stolen. One was when he was in college in Boston in 2002; he’d bought the bike recently and says it wasn’t valuable but had a flashy paint job and a rubber-ducky horn that he’d added. It was locked to the porch of his apartment and one morning he woke up to find that the bike had disappeared, along with most of the porch. “My landlord and I shared a moment, both equally pissed for different reasons,” he says.