Only I Can Ride my Bike with No Handlebars: Bike theft at Mac

Think back to your five-year-old self: tennies tied tight, helmet fastened to your head and mind set to master the craft of riding a bike. Most everyone can remember the sense of independence and accomplishment they felt the first time they glided down the street on their bicycle like the coolest kid on the block. We all love the idea of just taking off on our bike, so we should try to prevent someone else from taking off with our bike.

Recently, bike theft on Macalester’s campus has been a popular topic of conversation. Although it seems as if the crimes have increased, security guard Jacques Ralston said that bike thefts are nothing new in the area.

“There’s always a lot of thefts on campus, at St. Thomas, Hamline and in the general area,” Ralston said. He stressed that the most effective thing students can do to protect their possessions is to buy a U-Lock and avoid security devices like cable locks that are easy to break or cut through. Ralston said that when a student buys or brings a bike to campus they should “write down the serial number, model number and price of the bike, and also take a picture so they can prove it’s theirs if something should happen to it.” The most recent bike theft was reported to security about one and a half weeks ago, although many students do not report their stolen items.

Ted Chisholm ’20, however, did alert security that his bike was stolen in August at the start of the school year. Chisholm had owned his specialized bike for two years and had brought it from home to campus with him. “It had been a birthday gift from my uncle,” Chisholm explained, but it was stolen when someone cut through his cable lock. Chisholm said that the bike was secured to the racks west of Doty Hall and had been there since noon. “I walked back down to get it around six,” he said, “and then I found the lock.” Chisholm proceeded to call security who then put him in contact with the Saint Paul Police. However, because his bike fell under a specific price range, there were lengthy procedures. Chisholm explained, “It was a long process, so I just decided to let it go.” Although unfortunately Chisholm was left bikeless, other Mac students can proactively prevent a theft, and can follow security’s recommended procedures if their possession is stolen. There is also a “Twin Cities Stolen Bikes” Facebook page in which members of the surrounding communities can post notices about their recently stolen bike or bike related items. All in all, students should be cautious in securing all valuable items.

If something should happen it is important to have a positive attitude. Chisholm recalled that on the night of the theft he, “rented [a] bike from the library and [his] roommate and I went on a bike ride anyway.” Stay safe out there, bike riders. Wear your helmets and steer your bike to safety.