messing with my bike on the bus

Posted by Julie Hochstadter on May 29, 2013 at 10:43pm

Source: ChainLink Forum

Anyone else have someone mess with their bike on the bus rack?

I hopped on the bus with my bike tonight because I left my lights at home. Big mistake. Its beautiful.

I always try to sit towards the front of the bus to watch my bike. I ended up sitting toward the middle this time since dome hanicap people needed the front seats.

A few stops in someone says someone is messing with a bike.

I jump up and some drunk guy has moved my bike to the back rack pulled the lock up half way on my back wheel ( I have a rack on my rd hike). I take my bike off ( he had broken the licking mechanism too) not wanting to deal with his drunk drama and figure ill find another. bus.

the bus driver says stay we will get hin off and starts calling the police. After some time threatening words to us ( and another nice lady who was yelling at him) the guy takes off.

not sure yet if my bike is damaged…. bus driver will have me fil out a report.


Reply by Tank-Ridin’ Ryan on May 29, 2013 at 10:58pm
Sounds like you just encountered a drunk ass.  What bus route was this and around what intersection?

Reply by Julie Hochstadter on May 29, 2013 at 11:21pm
146 on michigan ave

Reply by ChiBikeGeek on May 29, 2013 at 11:40pm
Ugh! And that was your roadie, if my memory serves me correctly. So sorry Julie!

Reply by h’ 1.0 on May 30, 2013 at 2:06am
Julie– I’m sorry this happened.

FWIW I’ve been using the bus racks for 10 years now on a very regular basis and have never had any incident of anyone putting their paws on my bike.

What I can offer is that I’ve seen an uptick in drinking and inebriation on the bus in recent months, and generally a lot more casual public drug use as well…. not quite sure why (economy improving?)

Reply by Julie Hochstadter on May 30, 2013 at 7:44am
Im just gonna stick to staying in the front. Ill still get up elders or hanidap but ill just stand.

Reply by jolondon30 on May 30, 2013 at 8:10am
I never could have imagined this. So no.

  1. Did the drunk guy put a bike in the rack too?
  2. The drunk guy did this (I guess I know the answer) while the bus was briefly at a stop or was the bus stopped for a longer period? I just can’t imagine someone would get in front of a moving bus or a bus that has stopped momentarily. Sounds like a freak crime.

Reply by Mike Zumwalt on May 30, 2013 at 8:24am
Wierd. Maybe he was attempting to steal it but was too drunk to. The busses have a front facing camera, not sure of the quality but if anything more serious were to happen a video record is availiable.

Not sure if the increase in drunkness is the economy improving or not either way Beer is the 3rd most consumed beverage.

Public drinking/intoxication is common place, I mean I see it in the parks, people hanging out next to cars playing music drinking even on the train going to games, street fests one guy holding a 12 pack with his friends just drinking away. A trio of gang bangers who were mulling over robbing me last week were smoking on the red line so… Be careful out there.

And keep that u-lock handy.

Reply by Mark on May 30, 2013 at 9:55am
I always stand near the front of the bus, but have never had a problem.

Reply by blair on May 30, 2013 at 10:05am
Good idea. I don’t put my bike on a bus often, but I’ve always worried that someone would mess with it. Thanks for giving us a head’s up!

Reply by Blatherskate on May 30, 2013 at 12:41pm
I remember reading in the CSBR last year about someone getting their bike stolen off a CTA bus rack.

Those bastards are tenacious, arn’t they?

Be careful out there…

Reply by Jeff Markus on May 30, 2013 at 12:53pm
It seems that staying within sight of the bike is imperative. I usually also try to keep exit paths handy so I can come out at pace and screaming if someone messes with my bike. I have, when pasing thru ‘hoods or on routes where long stops are common, put a lock on the bike before the bus arrives so I can load the already locked bike into the rack. This may not stop tampering before I can get there but they won’t ride away on the bike.

Also I will not load my bike into the outside position if at all possible and if I am the second bike in the rack I assure I can be handy to clear my bike for the first loaded biker and reset my bike…let the bus wait.

Reply by Jerry Lee on May 30, 2013 at 3:30pm
Can we lock the bike up with a u lock to the wheels, so they can’t ride off with it? I think CTA don’t want you to lock the bike, maybe just can’t lock to the rack.

Reply by Julia 3.5/7.5 mi on May 30, 2013 at 3:38pm
I think that’s exactly it – they don’t want it locked to the rack itself. I put my former Trek on a few buses after a dooring accident a few years ago – it was completely mangled and unrideable, but it would stay put with the yellow levers on the bus. I don’t see why CTA would have a problem if you immobilize your bike before putting it on the rack.

I also keep a close eye when my bike’s on the front of a bus. I had someone put their bmx bike on backwards on the Irving Park bus – I wasn’t sure that the little red hook would hold my bike steady hooked on my rear wheel. The bus driver wouldn’t let me reset the other persons’ bike, but she did let me watch it like a hawk and took care going over bumps!

Reply by S. Cathi on June 1, 2013 at 4:59pm
How does someone walk up and steel a bike off the rack with the bus driver there? I mean did the bus driver just sit there and watch someone else take the bike?

Reply by yai danche on June 1, 2013 at 5:32pm
CTA suggests locking the front wheel to the frame before the bus approaches ( It does sound like that guy was trying to take off with it. Maybe a locked bike would’ve deterred him. That dude is lucky the bus driver didn’t hit him because it sounded like it took the driver a while to notice a pedestrian in front of the bus trying to mess with a bike.

Reply by Blatherskate on June 1, 2013 at 6:46pm
Yes, that’s exactly what I’m saying. I really doubt that bus drivers keep track of every bike that’s loaded on their bus, and to think otherwise is naive. Keep in mind, that to the general public, bikes are nothing more than a toy.

If it makes a difference, it was the Ashland bus. Look it up.

Reply by h’ 1.0 on June 1, 2013 at 7:47pm
I ride the bus frequently and I would say, based on my personal observation, that the majority of people who put their bikes on the bus make no effort whatsoever to stay towards the front of the bus in order to keep an eye on their bikes. Although some drivers do keep track of which passengers are connected to bikes on the rack, mostly because few rack users let the driver know when they’re going to be taking their bike, I don’t think it’s reasonable to expect a driver to stay aware if which bike belongs to who.

And if someone does walk up and grab one– what does one think the driver should do?
I never knew it was allowed to put a locked bike on a rack– wondering if that’s recent.

Reply by Thunder Snow on June 1, 2013 at 9:04pm
I think THIS is what you’re remembering, the bike taken from the #9 Ashland bus between Grand & Armitage. This seems rare in Chicago, but it did happen. And when you think about it, an unlocked bike sitting on the front of a bus that’s stopped at a stoplight or is loading passengers, is pretty easy pickings for a thief. Some folks put their bikes in highest gear to make it difficult to pedal away quickly, but other folks’ suggestion here of immobilizing one or both wheels with a lock sounds better.
San Francisco:…

Reply by Kevin C 21 hours ago
Rare, but a bike theft from a CTA bus rack occurred again on October 30, 2014.
Sorry, links aren’t working for me.

Reply by Julia 3.5/7.5 mi 13 hours ago
Wow. I’ve always felt nervous wih my bike on the front of a bus, but usually because of potholes and those shoddy red holders. I considered it was more likely to be run over than swiped.


Brompton Soft Travel Bag (with wheels)

Brompton Soft Travel Bag (with wheels)

You simply gotta love cities like New York and Chicago. There is never a dull moment.

This story hits all the right elements that make Urban Cycling what it is. Mass Transit is fine, but you take it at your own risk. And while I have seen many a bus carry bikes off the front, the mode that most appeals to me is the carry-on soft travel bag with wheels.

The bike I would always choose to use in any urban environment is the only one that I deem worthy of use in a city on a daily basis. The Brompton Folding Bike is simply the best of its class.

It folds smaller than others and is light enough in weight that carrying it in a case or under the supplied sheath that tucks under the saddle is easy to do. You can in fact take this bike on board any train or bus at any time because you can sit it either on your lap, beside you or even under your seat.

Believe it or not it also nestles easily into an airplane overhead storage bin!

As for the guy who is at the center of this story being drunk, well there really is nothing to say. Whether in Europe, Asia or America you are gonna have to deal with a nearly universal culture that tolerates folks gaining access to a very lethal drug that comes in pretty bottles, has added sugars and coloring (in the case of wine coolers) and has been more oversold than even the automobile.

A Beer Bike

A Beer Bike

And given the fact that the majority of lives lost in traffic accidents are due to the operation of a vehicle by someone in either a nearly impaired state or simply ‘buzzed’ you have to be alert whether riding a bus or a bike. You unfortunately have to assume that nearly everyone around you is possibly DUI or BUI.

I no longer take the Cycling Movement seriously on the issue of ‘safety‘ knowing that it goes out of its way to use this drug to raise money for its ‘safety campaigns‘.

Even Bicycle Advocacy groups think its cool to offer bikes with special rigging to carry home the PBR. Would this sort of thing even be possible were we looking at an advertisement on television for an automobile?

Would anyone from a Bicycle Advocacy group even have the temerity to write the manufacturer to complain about the inappropriateness of trying to sell automobiles through the use of alcohol? And if they were to attempt this would it not strike them as both ironic and hypocritical in one instance?