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April 1, 2009

Ugly Your Bike #2. Rust Stickers (Anti-theft for bicycles)

Second in a series on How Not to Get Your Nice New Bike Stole.

On my way to lunch at The Kitchen with a representative of Chefs Up Front/Operation Frontline today, I popped by one of Boulder’s proud institutions, University Bicycles, to get a quick checkup for my Masi commuter bike. Getting my tires pumped up, two gentlemen approached, said they were from Denver area, were more or less familiar with elephant (ye old magazine, before we went web only), and we got to talking about my once-lovely, now-ugly Masi commuter bike.

Now why in heck would you want to make a gorgeous bike…ugly?

If you don’t want to see it stolen, is why. Having seen my Bianchi Milano fall into hands of a nefarious, green-minded and health-conscious thief, I resolved not to let my Masi fall to the same fate. So I took off the lovely cork handgrips and put on some used, ugly black rubber ones. I bought some neon green fluorescent stickers and pasted ’em all over. With bungie cords, I strung my office’s wire mail inbox on the back of my bike, in lieu of a nice bike rack. I stuck an elephant sticker on my 35 buck LED front light.

While I couldn’t bear to ugly up the cool fenders, I now have a bike that, while still highly-functional, wouldn’t catch too much bling bling bike thief attention. Still, it’s a fine bike and I get a lot of compliments on it—a sign I haven’t done my work thoroughly.

One of the gentlemen, Michael Lloyd, asked about my Masi admiringly. When I told him I’d been trying to ugly-it-up, he mentioned these (and later emailed me the link to the below). Brilliant.

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