Tuesday, May 6, 2008

(Minus) One Headlight

The Militant spent his Monday evening attending a community meeting of an unspecified nature, which he traveled to, as he usually does, on his trusty bikecycle. After locking it securely to one of the wonderful black horseshoes provided by the City for bike parking, he went to his meeting and didn't give anything else a further thought.

After emerging from the building hours later, he found that his trusty Planet Bike Dual Spot headlight, typically attached to his handlebars, was, for some reason, gone.

As in, stolen.

Unless these things are known to detach on their own and, say, migrate south with other bicycle headlights in order to mate and produce little bike headlights (admit it, you just had a fleeting thought of bicycle headlights having sex with each other, you pervert you...).

Interesting because, after three or so years of riding with the light (then on his old bike, and later on transplanted to his current one), after locking it onto various horeshoes, wheelbenders, parking meters, streetsigns, trees and light standards, despite the fact that it's like right there for anyone to take, it was still on the bike.

Okay, good, it was (relatively) theft-proof, or so he thought. Yes, the Militant could easily un-clamp it from the handlebars and put it away...but if he's in a rush, it can be, and usually is, a time-consuming process, so he just leaves it on. Of course, the fact that it protruded somewhat from the handlebars and would be an easy, "Take me, I'm yours" invitation to any passer-by led the Militant to simply point it down when not in use, so as to be a little more inconspicuous.

Nice try, Militant. Didn't work this time.

Now, the Militant isn't gonna place an all points bulletin for the headlight. The thing was less than $20. Besides, if any of you found it (or worse, took it), or even took up a collection for the Militant to get a new one (though that would be a neato gesture that would create some eyeball precipitation on the Militant's behalf) that would have to mean the Militant would have to reveal his identity to someone. And we wouldn't want that, would we?

And no, the Militant isn't gonna put blame on those [insert scapegoated demographic group of choice here]. What good would it do?

Still, the Militant does feel a wee bit violated (you perverted folks again, stop that!), just like the last time this happened (Long story short, it was stolen while the Militant was at work over three years ago, and the bike wasn't even easily seen from the street, so that one was a more concerted effort on the part of the thief). And it could have been worse; at least no one took his bike.

Perhaps this is all a sign of the economy. As things get worse for people, folks just resort to stealing stuff. So maybe someone really needed a headlight for their bike (all you motorists, just you watch, someone's gonna siphon your gas soon. That would really suck...er, literally). Or it could have been some bored kid who either went on a dare from his pressurizing peers, or just wanted something to do.

Either way, no point in moping about it. Besides, the Militant really digs those uber-bright lights he sees on some of the bikes on the nocturnal Ride-Arc or Ridazz rides that perhaps this is a perfect opportunity to upgrade.

But then in that case, it might be wise to learn to store the headlight away from now on.


Fred Camino said...

Anytime I've left a bike light on while my bike was parked, even for the shortest amount of time, it got stolen... so consider yourself lucky that you were able to keep it for so long.

fatpinkchicken said...

I had my bike light stolen once literally the day after I got it. I also left a bike unlocked for an entire semester at USC without it being stolen until the last week of school (and I'm almost positive that it was actually DPS who picked it up.) It's all about luck and timing.

Nick said...

I put my light on my helmet. Really, you should have on your bike, too, but if you take your helmet with you after riding, it's theft-proof.

My main reason for doing it, though, is I think it's a pretty good safety feature--if I look at somebody (in a car), then I know they're going to see me.

And I can't help it if I think LED action is hot. Don't judge me!

ExMember said...

Wow. I've had that exact same light for six years; ever since I bought it for a cross-continental unsupported tour.

I've had three bikes stolen in that time but I still have the light. That doesn't seem possible.

I've always been careful to remove it when parking my bicycle outside overnight. If I had been more careful and not left the bikes outside I would probably still have them.

I've always presumed it was too worthless for a thief to trouble with.

Will Campbell said...

I've been lucky (so far) in that I have a couple 5-LED lights from Nashbar.com* mounted to the bars that have yet to be stolen. When they are I'll have no one to blame but myself as I've never taken off when the bike's been parked -- and they have quick releases.

I think that since they're mounted so that they hang below the handlebars -- making them a bit less prominent -- has helped a bit.

I'm not a total doof. I do take my rear light, which is just clipped on to my under-seat pack.

* I just checked and my headlight is currently onsale at Nashbar.com for 19.95 (link).