We’re making a lot of progress against bike thievery these days and that’s a problem.



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Bike theft is bike access, so when individuals and institutions speak out against organized bike theft and resale, they are necessarily saying “the poor do not deserve access to even the most basic forms of transportation” and are most likely bad, or at least misguided and must be shamed at bars and online.

Let's look at the basic economics of riding bicycles, a mode of transit that we can agree, everybody deserves access to.  $80 is no more than an honest person should have to pay for an honest bike.  With prices for a ridable new (or even used) bike around $300, the only way to bridge that gap for the economically disadvantaged is a well-maintained network of bike thieves and chop shops.  These networks will wither and die when we do not turn a blind eye to their activities.

If ever there were a more insulting form of conspicuous consumption, it is the $3000 bike.  What message can such a ride send but “I have the disposable income to make sure ten people have a decent bike - but screw them!” If one should be inclined to pay $3000 for a bike, then one should have that bike stolen and resold for it's true value - $80 haggled down from $100.

 

A World of Radical Trust 

 

When you leave your bike visibly unlocked outside of the bar, you are creating a world of trust and comfort, a world where one may leave their possessions unattended in the company of as yet unmet friends, unconcerned at the danger of theft. Every time you successfully leave your wheels unattended, you reduce the number of stolen bikes in the city by one, and that makes you a good person.
The 1 in 25-ish odds that this public display of radical trust results in the theft of your bike cannot be supported by anything but an expected going price of about $80 for a quality bike - and that price cannot be supported without an effective system of thieves and resale in place.

 

A socialized pickup and repair scheme

 

Nobody but the most dedicated bike aficionado has time to properly maintain a bicycle - when you know your bike is going to belong to somebody else by the end of the season, you can ride that beast into the ground, confident that it will soon be picked up by your friendly local thief, merged with perhaps five other bikes at the chop shop, and given new life as a completely different machine, perfectly tuned and ready to be ground into the streets again.  Whose time is worth less than the $80 it will take to own that superior new ride?  Not yours!

 

A "sharing Economy" doesn't need a billion dollar corporation behind it.

 

People cry that Uber keeps 30% off if the top for itself, yet fight tooth and nail against these organically developing systems that have been in place all along. A "sharing economy" isn't a silicon valley buzzword, it's about community and the ways we help each other out. Sometimes the world doesn't need a new sharing app - sometimes sharing is built into the fabric of our neighborhoods, and our communities. Like shopping for home furnishings by taking stuff from off of the street corner, or the guy selling bootleg CDs out of the back of his van, bike theft and resale is yet another of the “sharing economies” that have existed long before the so-called “internet” existed.

 

So here we are today, in a sad world of our own creation, 

 

the available chop shops shady, unfriendly, and hard to find, while the quality places have gone legit or changed business models under the intense pressure of police scrutiny and internet lynch mobs. 
But as we have created this hell, we can end it! Go buy a stolen bike today - maybe the green place by Captain Sal’s still has some stock, or just buy the next $30 ride a guy in the street offers you, and say “hey buddy - the community still supports the work you’re doing!”

Take big business out of riding a bike and Buy Stolen.  Support an economy that benefits everybody and Buy Stolen.  Buy ethical, buy smart, Buy Stolen.