Take a bike. Chain to a bike stand in Manhattan. Film what happens (+ video)

But questions arise over whether there's more to video than meets the eye...

by Simon_MacMichael   January 23, 2012  

LIFECYCLE YouTube still

A New York City-based design and marketing consultancy has produced a time-lapse video showing the fate of a bicycle left locked to a cycle stand in a busy urban street for a year.

The project, called LIFECYCLE: 365 days in the life of a bike in NYC and carried out by Red Peak on behalf of its client Hudson Urban Bicycles, saw the bike put in situ in SoHo on 1 January 2011.

To begin with, not much happens. The first thing to go appears to be the spoke card, which took just short of 100 days to be taken.

That was followed a couple of weeks later by the rear-view mirror, but then nothing appears to have happened for the next three and a half months, with the bicycle looking pretty much unchanged by day 210 of the experiment.

By day 270, the bike had disappeared altogether, however, and that has given rise to accusations on YouTube comments that all may not be as it appears.

After 211 days, the Kryptonite D-lock attaching securing the frame and the front wheel to the cycle stand disappears, with some viewers commenting that it appears that it was removed on purpose to help encourage the thieves to take the bait.

One of those putting forward that theory added, “Still no one "steals" it for another 60 days even without a lock,” although the person making that comment presumably failed to notice the large Kryptonite chain lock around the bottom bracket area.

Another potential explanation is that the bike is secured outside what appears to be a popular café, rather than in an isolated area, and with two locks in place initially, would be avoided by thieves.

Even once the lock securing the front wheel goes, it takes a while for the saddle to disappear, followed by the front wheel, but after that the bike’s demise is swift, until with three months still remaining of the year, it has gone altogether – although whether it was taken by thieves, or by municipal authorities or someone else, remains unclear.

9 user comments

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Recently saw a nice alu/carbon Orbea bike frame locked to a bike rack in York. It was completely stripped including crankset and headset. On a busy riverside footpath with lots of footfall too. A crying shame and I'm sure it would have been there considerably less than 100 days!


posted by arrieredupeleton [587 posts]
23rd January 2012 - 13:11


what a load of bull. We want a video of the theives not some silly stills!

posted by pmr [193 posts]
23rd January 2012 - 13:26


I saw a 'top end' Specialized bike with a lot of 'Gucci' stuff chained with an expensive lock to some plastic drainpipe. My car was a few metres away engine warm seats down....surely there should be a law against putting such temptation in front of poor old me! And just in case you are wondering NO I DID NOT!

posted by SideBurn [913 posts]
23rd January 2012 - 13:51


I too was dubious when I noticed what looks like a Kryptonite New York lock has just mysteriously vanished. When a thief cut the lock off my bike they left the lock on the ground and took the bike, not the other way round. Mine was a cheap cable lock and I've learned my lesson.

A less-well-known fact is proved here, that having a basket on the front makes your bike less attractive to thieves. If it catches on I expect to see Wiggo with one on the front of his Pinarello this season.

posted by Saint Mark [36 posts]
23rd January 2012 - 16:44


The Aussie police do that with cars in an attempt to catch thieves...leave a car at the roadside as though it's broken down and watch people strip it and then arrest them for theft...
Bit of an 'entrapment' scenario. But if a 'wreck' is at a roadside for long enough it's fair game...not that I'd purloin anything...but there are 'scavengers' out there that won't allow anything to go to waste...


The _Kaner's picture

posted by The _Kaner [644 posts]
23rd January 2012 - 18:20


I reckon that the real story is that a bike locked up properly is still in place and intact three months after being parked. OK, so the bike's a bit gnarly, so did not attract too much attention, but still.

posted by clayfit [61 posts]
24th January 2012 - 20:24


I was working at an office that had bike parking round the rear once. Got in to find someone (presumably on a C2W scheme giving how gleaming it was and the brand) had locked a nice white Jamis roadie up by just "securing" the front wheel....

There is also a nicely stripped Specialized attached to the railings near Charing Cross in London They nicked the fork, handlebars and complete seatpost/saddle Smile Frame and both wheels still there as the owner did a reasonable job of locking up....

posted by bassjunkieuk [32 posts]
25th January 2012 - 16:26


The bottle holder gradually worms its way into the picture, because its tired of a side portrait, and tries to get in a full frontal, before the bottle goes off in search of cleaner water between the days of 151 and 172.

Also, if I leave my old knightsbridge raleigh alone for a year, I can promise you that the air would have escaped from the tyres and they would be flatter then Keira Knightley before she had her boob job.

I go great with chips Tongue

posted by tommyketchup [89 posts]
25th January 2012 - 17:39


Yesterday I saw a Colnago with full titanium Campy Record chained up at my institution of higher learning. I was just dumbfounded.

posted by hellarob [20 posts]
25th January 2012 - 19:02