Globally, bike theft is a massive problem, with studies showing that roughly half of all active cyclists will have a bicycle stolen in their lifetime.
In order to raise awareness of the issue, the blog We Love Cycling came up with an idiosyncratic solution: hold a contest to celebrate the European city with the most brazen bike thieves.
In the end, the Dutch cycling capital of Amsterdam claimed the unfortunate title, and was named champions of the first ever European Bike Stealing Championship:
For the contest, We Love Cycling narrowed the field of contestant cities down to Rome, Prague, and Amsterdam. They then placed an unlocked bait bike on busy streets in each city armed with an anti-theft powder bomb, and hid a live band nearby to play celebratory music whenever a thief attempted to nab the bike.
With the bikes under video surveillance, We Love Cycling started a stopwatch to see which bike would be stolen first. After only 23 minutes, a man in Amsterdam attempted to leave with the bait bike, before hilariously being scared off by the powder bomb and live band.
The creators of the contest say the whole purpose of the experiment wasn’t to simply expose the reality of bike theft, but to make cyclists aware of the proactive approaches they can take to deter bike thieves.
“Although the numbers from various sources differ, some countries, like England, report that every minute one bike is stolen,” We Love Cycling wrote in the description of the video. “That is just too much to let it be. So we decided to raise attention and arrange the first European Bike Stealing Championship…. Our ambition is not to stop the thefts, but there are lot of things you can do to make [a] thief’s life as hard as possible – buying a good lock, registering your bike, paying attention when buying from the second hand shops and much more.”
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