Will This New Bike Solve All Your Bike-Thief Problems? Maybe.

Brow Beat
Slate's Culture Blog
Aug. 25 2014 11:35 AM

Will This New Bike Solve All Your Bike-Thief Problems? Maybe.

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Bike locks are the worst. They’re clunky and heavy and you often need more than one if you want to properly secure your wheels and seat. Also, they don’t always work—bike thieves can be ruthless. But what if your bike was the lock?

With the Yerka bike, instead of having to lug a separate apparatus around to secure your bike to a pole, you just wrap the bike around the pole. If someone tried to steal it, they’d essentially have to break the bike in the process, rendering it unusable, or at least making it impossible to ride the bike away after stealing it.

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Created by three Chilean engineering students, the bike is designed so that the seat can be removed and the down tube split in two. The seat is then inserted through the two halves of the down tube and locked. If the pole is broken, there’s no seat to ride away on.

There have been many innovations over the years that strive to make locking bikes up easier—from building lock holders on bikes to hiding them in the frame—but making the bike the actual lock seems to have more potential than most clever ideas. Or does it?

Setting aside the issue of crowded bike racks that may not have enough room for a lock that takes up so much horizontal space or a pole tall enough for the apparatus to wrap around, Treehugger points out a few major flaws with the Yerka bike: In addition to the added weight this would place on the bike, one good kick to the seat and it will be too dented to reattach, making it unridable not only for a potential thief, but for the owner as well. There’s also the little problem that any lock can be picked, and, in the end, this is just another lock cleverly disguised as a bike. Not to mention that the wheels aren’t secured.

The bike in the video is just a prototype, and perhaps they’ll work out some of these kinks. Either way, I can get behind any effort to make locking up my bike a smoother, and more secure, experience.

Miriam Krule is a Slate assistant editor.

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