Three sad bikes in Santa Cruz

I saw this trio of bikes locked up at the downtown Santa Cruz Metro Center transit station over the weekend. Let’s evaluate their security.

Number one is this Gary Fisher Big Sur, secured with a Master Lock cable lock.

Sad Bike

The lock itself is fairly resistant to cutting and prying attacks, and the cyclist wrapped the cable through both wheels and the frame. Although this has apparently protected this bike from abuse beyond the missing saddle, thieves can quickly cut these with bolt cutters, something they can accomplish in the few seconds the lone security patrol might be otherwise engaged.

I don’t know if the owner took the saddle with him or if it was stolen, but the quick release seatpost binder makes theft super easy. Saddles can be protected from theft by wrapping a cable through the saddle rails and under the seat cluster. Other clever solutions are available.


Victim number two is this uglified hybrid bike with Hellenic seat stays. The cable lock secures only the front wheel and the frame. The padlock securing the cable is thinner and weaker than the cable!

Sad Bike

As I demonstrate in this video, a thief can remove a rear wheel more quickly than the front wheel!

Our final bike, this Mongoose Crossway 250 secured with a cheap chain through the front wheel and front triangle, is missing only its saddle.

Sad Bike

The private security guard at Santa Cruz Metro usually keeps his eyes open, but he often has his hands full. For downtown Santa Cruz, I can’t recommend the Bike Link lockers strongly enough, there a number of lockers are available at the Metro Center. I’ve heard from the Bike Link people that they’ve had only four bikes stolen over their entire network in a decade of operation


  1. I completely missed that. I’ll drop by again tomorrow to see if this is an abandoned bike. I don’t know how long Metro waits before they clean these racks up, but it must be fairly frequent.

  2. And I thought that the bikes were sad because the rack had been installed too close to the wall!

    Can’t agree more with the awesomeness of BikeLink lockers!

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