Ali Toxtli almost had his bicycle stolen. Almost. But didn’t. His bike was secured using a Litelok when a bike thief tried to steal it, but they simply could not break the Litelok. It was just too damn strong.
For all those cyclists who’ve had their bicycles stolen, and for all those who live in fear of it, join me, for a moment, in imagining this bike thief’s frustration and puzzlement. Imagine them squeezing their bolt cutters on the Litelok as hard as they could, gritting their teeth, arms trembling, maybe even grunting somewhat. Finally, imagine them giving up because they got exactly nowhere. Take. That. Bike. Thief.
We first became aware of Ali’s story when he posted it on Twitter. So we got in touch to find out what happened.
Hello Ali, could you tell us a little bit about yourself, where you live in the world and perhaps even your earliest memory of cycling?
I'm a 29 year old Mex-American anthropology graduate student focused on race, class, gender - I live in New Jersey and my earliest memory of cycling is a 7-8 year old version of me overcoming the fear of riding an adult bike at a family summer BBQ. I felt superhuman. The next real time I fully came to ride though was when I was living in Hawaii and then in Rio de Janeiro.
You posted on Twitter that a bike thief tried to steal your bicycle, but couldn’t break the Litelok bike lock. Could you describe the situation, where and when did this happen, and what were you up to?
It all took place at the local stop sign pole on my partner's block in Ridgewood, NY. I honestly have been reluctant to buy a lock since I found out about Litelok (after serious hours of internet searching) and always brought my bike in. Since I got the Litelok I started to comfortably and worry-free leave my bike out. The night of the incident my partner locked our bikes up with their respective locks.
You mentioned that your partner’s bicycle was unfortunately stolen by this thief. We hope they’re caught, and your partner gets her bike back. What type of lock was she using?
I have to give some lite NYC context on this. So she was using a U-lock. She knew, we all knew, it was a not great lock but it was her spare. Her original tougher U-lock was electric sawed in front of her eyes after she confronted some messed up people that had her bike that was stolen about a year ago. Crazy.
The bike thief failed to break your Litelok, so glad your bike is safe (albeit a little damaged). What tools do you think they used to try and break your Litelok?
From the looks of it they tried to use a bolt cutter and then tried picking the lock with some sort of object. It seems that after realizing it wasn't moving they tried to beast mode yank it off the pole or something.
Will your bicycle be ok? What was the extent of the damage?
It will be ok for sure! In the yanking process one of the spider arms broke and thus my chain ring is all bent up (so they went hardcore). As of now I have it home while I save up for new crankset and other things it needed.
What is the level of bike crime like in your area? Do you think it’s getting worse, are the authorities doing enough to tackle it?
NYC is known for bike theft and in the Bushwick, Ridgewood border area of Brooklyn and Queens there has been an increase in bike thefts unfortunately. A lot due to the increased gentrification (word on the street is that it's a hipster dude carrying bolt cutters in a guitar case doing this). Authorities are tied up on other things. The main tip they gave was registering any bike so as to track it in the future in case of theft.
On a happier note, if the Litelok team were ever in your area, can you recommend any breathtakingly scenic cycling routes near you (or further away)?
Given that I spend a lot of my time between New Jersey/ New York and that I'm much more of an off route urban cat my tips will follow suit. In New Jersey I personally like riding from Passaic (my hometown) to Paterson, NJ. Both are historic industrial cities with thriving migrations from Latin America and the Middle East. And in New York I would say the ride from Bushwick to the Lower East Side via the Williamsburg bridge AND the Hudson River Greenway.
About Ali Toxtli
Ali is a passionate cyclist and a charitable chap. He helped start a bike collective called Passaic Pedal, which focuses on community building. The collective promotes bicycling to local residents from various cultures and ethnic groups, helping people integrate and see more of the city and their friends. If you’re in the New Jersey area, go check them out. You can find more info on their Facebook page here.
He’s also involved in other community projects: Mayday Space and People's Climate Arts. You can follow Ali on Twitter and Instagram.
He purchased his Litelok from tokyobike NYC.