Cash, drugs, sex and bikes

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Wednesday, February 14, 2007
By Yokota Fritz

"Bikes are one of the four commodities of the street — cash, drugs, sex, and bikes. You can virtually exchange one for another." -- Victor Veysey, San Francisco bike mechanic, messenger, and chief of The Bike Hut.
The quote comes from "Chasing my stolen bicycle," in which Justin Jouvenal chronicles his adventures through the San Francisco stolen-bike underworld.

According to Kryptonite Locks, San Francisco is the second worst city for bike thefts, after New York City. Jouvenal tells you where to buy stolen bikes and even have a bike stolen to order.

In San Francisco, the recommended security is a heavy "New York Chain" and good padlock. San Francisco thieves carry bolt cutters, so cable locks are no good. They also carry jacks and are even capable of cracking open mini U locks.

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Was in SF a few years ago for a long weekend, right after vasectomy surgery. We're walking around the fancypants shopping district just before lunch time when we see a guy stroll up to a bike, pull some 32" bolt cutters from his messenger bag and steel the rig. My wife starts screaming bike thief at the top of her lungs and imploring me to intercede. I'm not one to shy away from conflict, but the dude is like 6'4", has a good 40 lbs on me, grizzly adams looking with bolt cutters in his hand, and I'm mr. grapefruit nuts. Needless to say, I shuffled her down the street, still yelling 'thief', but no one else around seemed to care or react and homeboy just pedaled away clean.
I feel lucky that I only lost a tail light today.
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