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Bicycle wheel theft - Why?

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Tuesday 3 May 2011 11.22pm
I have a very cheap, neglected, rusty mountain bike. It was the cheapest I could find when I bought it from Halford's. I lock it with the cheapest lock around (times are hard), which you probably could cut with a nail clipper. I bought it because I only need it for basic cycling, and in the knowledge that I wouldn't miss it if it got stolen. Calculated risk. Today, someone nicked my front wheel. If you feel compelled to steal, nick the whole thing. Now I need to buy a new front wheel, which will cost me more than the bike in its current state is worth. Why do people steal a front wheel? Will my wheel at least serve a purpose? Or is it just to annoy me? What do they do with it? I am not even annoyed by the theft, but by the inconvenience it causes. A reasonable explanation as to why people steal front wheels would bring the relative comfort of closure. Judging by the amount of front wheel deprived bikes, moribund and abandoned by their owners, slowly rusting away, clinging on to life by unravelling metal locks that keep them attached to cycle docks and preserving them from finally collapsing into an undignified heap of monowheeled rust and ending up on some scrapheap, I am not alone. So if anyone could explain why people steel front wheels, my fellow victims and I would be very grateful...
Wednesday 4 May 2011 12.04am
People seem to steal anything they can from bikes. I've had a front wheel nicked, then a saddle, my lights, my bell, then one rear brake caliper and then to top it all one day I came to find that someone had even nicked my chain...not the lock, but the chain that you need on the cogs!

Edward, if you need a replacement wheel try the bike workshop at 56a Infoshop in The Elephant. They have recycled wheels and all for free or donation if you do the work...or learn how to...

See here:
Wednesday 4 May 2011 12.23am
A bike locked up on Tooley Street went from a fully road-going bike to literally the bare frame (and the pedals were gone, brakes and cables, wheels) in less than two days, all in blatant view of passersby.
Wednesday 4 May 2011 8.06am
Maybe someone else had his bike securely locked to a railing by the front wheel, so this is the only part of another bike that the thief could not steal, so he just needed a front wheel for the other bike?

Or maybe he just got a front-wheel puncture and figured it was easier to acquire a new wheel than to fix the puncture?
Wednesday 4 May 2011 8.22am
People often simply lock a bike by its front wheel which means by simply releasing the front axle lever one can walk away with an entire bike leaving said wheel behind; hence a ready 'market' for replacements. Bikes left for any period of time run the risk of appearing abandoned and people regularly passing such machines will note the increase in rust, dust and cobwebs as a signature to this and once someone takes a first 'bite' it isn't long before over scavengers descend and pick the rest clean. I've always been rather impressed with the obvious analogy to nature in the wild of this.
Wednesday 4 May 2011 8.24am
Did your wheel have a quick release lever? If so, you must chain these up. You can get quick release levers where you can remove the lever itself, I think it unscrews or something.
Wednesday 4 May 2011 9.41am
In truth its better to replace quick release skewers with a standard nut and solid axle. Quick release was invented for situations requiring instant removal in sporting events like the Tour de France where seconds count for points, hardly an issue pedalling down The Cut. Their migration to consumer bikes was simply one of fashion and as we see not a particularly good idea in an urban environment.
Wednesday 4 May 2011 10.11am
I have a quick release seat post clamp and always remove the seat and take it with me. Not so long ago I came back and found the clamp had been stolen :(
Wednesday 4 May 2011 11.09am
James B- wrote:
Did your wheel have a quick release lever? If so, you must chain these up. You can get quick release levers where you can remove the lever itself, I think it unscrews or something.

That's another thing... My wheels had good old nuts, tightened and rusty for that extra hold. These guys came prepared.
Thursday 5 May 2011 9.42pm
I had the disc brakes stolen from one of my bikes. I didn't notice until I tried to use them. About three weeks after I replaced them, the entire bike got nicked.

Cheeky Scallies.
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