13 Feb 2012, 2:08am
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On Bike Seats and Ball Bearings

I left my bike in a bad part of town yesterday. I forgot about it after meeting up with my significant other, and abandoned it out on the street all night. When I woke up this morning and went to go retrieve it, the seat was stolen. To my pleasant surprise, the rest of the bike was still there. As the French like to say, c’est la vie.

What’s funny about this, is that in all likelihood, I was having a conversation with my roommate about stolen bike seats during the time frame this was happening. He told me about an interesting theft prevention method for all those things on your bike bolted down with socket head screws. Your handlebars, your seat post, your brakes, etc.

The trick requires some ball bearings, and some super glue. You’ll want 1/8″ and 3/16″ chrome alloy ball bearings. You can find these at your local hardware store. You’ll also need some cyanoacrylate, aka superglue. Also available at your local hardware store. The way this works, is you super glue the appropriate sized ball bearing into the socket head, and put some superglue in to secure it. Then, when some entrepreneuring crack-head decides that your seat post is the most economical manner in which they can acquire crack; they spend a few moments being confused that their allen wrench doesn’t fit, and you keep your bike seat.

Of course, someday you may want to adjust your seat-post, or replace your handle bars. Personally, the only time I find myself doing this is when I’m replacing my old stolen seat with a new one. On the rare occasion you do need to upgrade or adjust things, you’ll have to soak the superglued ball bearing in acetone, and then use a large magnet to retrieve it from the socket.

Of course, that’s a pain in the ass. Which is precisely the point.