Thursday, February 4, 2010

Do You Love Your Bike?

This is a question that has been nagging me for the past three weeks. I would like to direct this question to anyone and everyone - but most especially university students. My mother works at CSUN, and living close by I try to have lunch with her a couple of times a week. In my heading up there, I've noticed that it's very much the bike-friendly environment as it's always been - so much that even I can overlook the multitude of riders who decide to go without a helmet. Small potatoes; their brains, not mine. What I am least enthused about, though, is the way a lot of students have been securing their bicycles - or rather, have thrown caution to the wind and forgone any real sense of security whatsoever.

CSUN is in the north Valley and has a lot of security, a fact that I believe has bred a common line of thinking: that there are so many bicycles on campus; who'd want to take the time to steal my bike? I can kind of understand that. I can understand also that when late for class, sometimes you might only have time to throw a u-lock on the front tire and slide into a seat. There also might be the reasoning that as long as the bike's got a lock on it, it's locked up - plain and simple.

Now, the latter reasoning makes absolutely no sense to me. Whether you've a cable, a u-lock, or a chain - if you're merely locking the front tire to a rack, your bike isn't properly locked up. And while I can understand throwing on a lock quickly to make it to class - I'd rather be two minutes late then know that I did a half-assed job at making sure my mode of transportation was locked as best as possible.

If one has gone long enough without the threat of their bicycle being stolen, I can understand the thought of not finding it absolutely necessary to buy a second lock for the rear wheel and frame. It wasn't long ago that I slacked in effort when locking up my bicycle, and even now I sometimes question whether I'm doing it "correctly". I do know that it would break my heart of my bike went missing, or any part of it. Wheels, seat; you name it, heart crushed. Besides, I'd have to figure out how to get home. Then I'd feel stupid.

Whatever one does and wherever one goes, one should be able to leave their bicycle parked without any real nagging doubt that someone will take their ride home. I don't think anyone wants to be the person whose bike went missing because it was just too easy. At least if you did everything right and for some freak reason it still went missing, the plaguing thought of blatant naivete will be a lessened issue. Sure, you'd have to figure a way home, but at least a guilty conscience wouldn't follow.

Perhaps it's only me, but nothing these days is more pleasing to the eye than a well-locked-up bicycle. It's a sign that someone's been paying attention, which I wish wasn't as few-and-far-between a sign of intelligence as it has become.

Surely there's a remedy somewhere for this?

Photo by gruber via Flickr

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