Dude, Where’s my Bike?


Caroline Johnston

It seems that the cycle of bike stealing in Isla Vista will never end.

Too many of us have felt the frustration of realizing that our precious bike is no longer where we had locked it up. What kind of malicious person would do that? You’d be surprised. A bike is a staple here at UCSB and is undoubtedly the most popular form of transportation, it gets you to class faster, and is an efficient way to party hop – in this case, wear a helmet, please. A loss like this can be devastating to a Gaucho on the go.

“My bike was stolen last summer from my yard on Sabado. I was so upset, I got that mountain bike for my birthday in third grade! It even had my name on the license plate,” said Julie Vitzthum, a second year. I hear stories like this all too often. Will this vicious cycle ever stop? We’re college students, and money is hard to come by with all those trips to Freebirds, The Study Hall, and did I mention textbooks? Not many of us have an extra $125 lying around to purchase a new bike. Is this the message we want to send out to future generations? Isla Vistians are a bunch of bike stealers?

But, for some students, desperate times call for desperate measures. “After my fourth bike had been stolen, I had had enough. So, one Saturday night, my buddy and I, armed with bolt cutters, perused Isla Vista looking for the coolest bike. It was all too easy. I’ve never been caught,” said a UCSB bike thief who would prefer to remain anonymous. I wonder why.

To some extent, I feel for her. Yes, this bike thief was a she. Not who you expected, was it? She scraped together enough money to buy four bikes, and each one disappeared. I understand her irritation; I would’ve snapped too.

But this is not the answer. As we are well aware, CSO impounds bikes that are parked illegally all over campus. If they are not picked up within 90 days, they become CSO property. Last week, CSO held its first Bike Auction and sold impounded bikes on the cheap. This is an excellent alternative. Keep posted for the next bike auction. CSO has not determined that date yet.

I can’t stop theft from happening, but I can offer ways to prevent your bike from falling victim to the bike snatchers. It seems obvious, but you’d be surprised at how silly people are, lock your bike at all times! Otherwise, you’re asking for it. U-locks are a worthy investment of $12-15 and are sold in Isla Vista. Even better, for the low price of $5, you can register your bike with CSO. According to ucsb.edu, registered bikes have a recovery rate of 30%, so if your bike is reported stolen, the CSOs will try to find it. For additional information contact CSO at (805) 893-5293.

Comments are closed.