Facebook PixelA safety mechanism that makes your bike appear broken so that thieves won't take it
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A safety mechanism that makes your bike appear broken so that thieves won't take it

Image credit: George Redgrave / Flickr

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Darko Savic
Darko Savic May 01, 2022
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A security mechanism that makes your bike appear broken as soon as you leave it behind. Anyone trying to steal it would find it unusable.
Why?
  • Theft prevention that takes the least amount of effort from the owner.
  • A fun way to mess with thieves while you watch from afar.
  • Leave the bike anywhere for brief periods.
How it works
Some of the bike's critical moving parts are held in place with pins (miniature linear actuators) that are not visible from the outside. The parts can rotate uncontrollably if the pins are pulled out of their holes. This renders the bike inoperable until the pins are re-secured.
If someone tried to ride the bike with pins detached, it would feel like this:

When you let the bike idle for a while, it goes into security mode (turns limp). In order to get it to work again, you find a barely noticeable button underneath the seat and press it repeatedly with the pattern you've memorized.
Extra features
I thought about a few extra features that complicate the design. Although they are probably overkill, the seat and the peddals could be made to fall out of sockets and held in place with a steel cable.
The frame is embedded with a GPS device that's recharged by pedaling. A GPS saves power by transmitting a bike's location only when stationary and at a new location.
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Only one, or a maximum of two pins are needed!

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J. Nikola
J. Nikola May 01, 2022
Very cool video and the idea of making a bicycle theft harder.
I have two questions.
In which places would you put the pins? I guess the only moving parts that are critical for driving the bicycle are the steering wheel and the pedal systems that get the bike moving. However, these systems are tricky to modify. One pin could be there to make the pedal system rotate without transferring the movement to the chain. The other could be controlling the steering wheel like in the video you linked. What do you think?
How would this pin work? The idea is great but I still can't imagine these pins actually working. Did you have in mind an exact system of where would the pin be placed and how would it serve as a switch?
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Darko Savic
Darko Savic5 months ago
The miniature electric motor powered pins would be mounted on the inside of the headset tube. The pin is pulled out by the motor which makes the headset lose contact with the stem. The pin is also spring-loaded. When it's moved back into the position you rotate the handlebars until a click sound is heard when the spring pushes the pin(s) back into place.
A reverse concept for the crank arm. There the pins block the crank from rotating until they are pulled out.

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J. Nikola
J. Nikola5 months ago
Darko Savic Okay, thank You for clarification. To control these pins you would have a switch, as you mentioned, under the seat, which would electrically block or unblock the pins? Would this be battery-powered? If yes, how would you handle the low-battery situations?
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Darko Savic
Darko Savic5 months ago
J. Nikola Yes, it's battery-powered. The batteries are embedded into the frame (take the seat off to pull them out of the tube). The batteries are charged by pedaling. They hold enough power to operate the pins (and optionally the embedded GPS) for weeks.
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Goran Radanovic
Goran Radanovic5 months ago
As this idea becomes commercialised, you'd need to change the location of the restoration button, the same as a car tracker is fitted in different spots. With this mechanism, you probably wouldn't even need to chain the bike as thieves are unlikely to carry it away.
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Darko Savic
Darko Savic5 months ago
Goran Radanovic you don't need to hide the button under the seat. It's programmed by tapping a rhythm only you know. Some weird song, etc. If you need to reprogram the unlocking mechanism, you have to have a matching RFID card or something unique like that.
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