Douwe Osinga's Blog: Broken Window Theory

Sunday, November 16, 2008

When the movers came and brought our stuff to Sydney, they also brought my bicycle. Sydney isn’t the bike friendliest of places, but it isn’t that bad as long as you avoid the roads where cars will hunt you and stick to the pavements where you can hunt the pedestrians. Ah, but where to park?

We actually did get a parking space with our apartment, but then we wanted to rent that one out, so that didn’t seem like a long term solution. In Zurich we had a bike cellar, but then in Amsterdam we didn’t – I just parked outside and in the last 7 years there were no incidents, so why not try that. My wife said the bike would be stolen since there are no other bikes on the street in Sydney. I said that it wouldn’t since if there are no bikes, there won’t be bike thieves either. I was right. At first.

The first three weeks everything went fine. I didn’t use the a lot since I only live three minutes walk away from work, but in the morning it was there. Then one Sunday morning one break cable was torn. And there was a sticky note on it reading “I want to have sex with you, Google!” (there was a Google logo on the bike).

I removed the yellow note (no phone number) but a week later my saddle was stolen! I tried to unlock the bike now since it clearly wasn’t safe anymore, but the lock was stuck and I decided to that a little later with some oil. I didn’t of course. Two days later when I came home my saddle was gone. When I left the next morning for work, the wheels had been taken too!

Now what do I do? Go to a bike repair shop and ask them to fix my bike by supplying half the parts? Luckily I didn’t have to figure that one out, because when I came back home the whole bike was gone. And that’s what they call the broken window theory.


Peter said...

Nice observation.
The experience of a stolen bike has become pretty standard in Amsterdam (as you might know). It happened to me a /lot/ of times (although I've never experienced that my saddle was stolen twice :-).

Wak This Way said...

I remember when my bike saddle was stolen in college. It was annoying as I had to ride standing up all the way home for all the obvious reasons.