Get a bike. Lock it to a post in Manhattan. Take a pic every day for a year and watch how long it lasts.
Last year, Red Peak Branding conducted a unique urban experiment for Hudson Urban Bicycles. On January 1, 2011 they chained a fully loaded bike – bells, basket, lights and more – to a post along a busy Soho street. They took a picture of the bike everyday for 365 days, watching it slowly vanish. This video is the time lapse video of this disappearing bike.
Given New York’s reputation for bike theft, I’m surprised the water bottle lasted for over five months. The Kryptonite New York Fahgettaboudit U lock on the front wheel disappeared after 7 months on day 211 at the same time the front basket is taken. They also seem to move the Krytonite chain from around the back wheel to just around the bottom of the front triangle. The saddle disappears on day 231. The rack is stripped on day 240; the front wheel at 250, and the handlebar grips at 252. The entire bike is gone by day 270.
H/T to Michael Franken.