After my experience, yesterday, I have wonder why $10,000 bikes left unlocked outside of coffee shops never seem to go missing, yet locked up commuter bikes do.
Yesterday, I took a different route home. I rode my bike from the office to downtown Toronto, as I have done in the past, to MEC to pickup some bike related items. Whether it was a wise thing to be riding my spare track bike with the carbon wheelset as a commuter is another matter, but I brought my spare lock with me. This is a heavy duty cable with a combination lock. You can buy them almost anywhere. I locked the bike outside of MEC. This is usually odd for me, because I usual stop at Urbane Cycle where I can bring the bike inside. I intend to be inside for some 10-15mins, so I thought it would be safe. Normally, locking a bike up anywhere is something I don't do: I usually bring the bike inside (i.e. Tim Hortins) where it is less likely to get pinched.
On the way out of MEC, I got a bit of a surprise. Some idiot was using normal electrician's cutters to work his way through the cable on the lock. He was about 3/4 of the way through when I stumbled upon him. Another commuter was standing by waiting to get at her bike. Of course, this is King St. in downtown Toronto: there are people everywhere, and no one bothers to stop to ask if this bike is his. The other commuter did, but she would be powerless to stop him.
After a few exchanges of words, he leaves my bike alone. Confesses he doesn't appreciate being called a a$$hole and leaves.... leaving me wondering what I should have done. One minute more, and I would have been taking the TTC home and figuring out how to prove this bike exists to my insurance company. Needless to say, I spend the next hour riding home think about what I should have done. I think taking the guy's photo would have been good - probably could have posted it on the web and submitted a police report online. I doubt this was the first bike this guy would have taken. I thought of calling 911, but if it took more than a minute for police to show up, the guy would have been gone. I think stopping him from leaving would have caused me more grief than I wanted. Let's face it, get into an altercation with a thief, and I risk being charged with assault.
Needless to say, opened the combo on my lock, tossed it in the trash, and rode my bike home thinking how lucky I was. I'd love to know your comments on what you think I should have done.