When I glanced the flat-head screwdriver in his hand, time stopped. The shouting stopped. The shellack-coated handlebars gripped in my fingers stopped shaking and pulling away from me. For just one second, I focused so hard on that screwdriver that time froze.
And for that second, only one thought was on my mind: I am a very stupid person.
Let’s rewind. Early today, my good friend Danny popped into Zeitgeist Coffee in Pioneer Square. He had forgotten his keys, but he looked through the window and saw there was no line. Luck was in his favor, it seemed, so he leaned his bike against the bike rack and went inside to get a pre-work cup of coffee. He kept an eye on his bike as he ordered. He turned to the cashier to pay, made a bit of small talk, and when he turned around, it was gone.
He got outside in time to see someone else pedaling away on his ride. After he gave up chasing on foot, he called police to file a report and then called me. I tweeted this:
Good friend had this bike + @swiftindustries bag stolen in Pioneer Square this morning. Keep an eye out. #SEAbikes twitter.com/seabikeblog/st…
— Seattle Bike Blog (@seabikeblog) February 11, 2013
Then I followed that up with this:
Bike thieves suck.
— Seattle Bike Blog (@seabikeblog) February 11, 2013
Knowing how much time and care Danny put into every detail of this bike, I immediately set up an alert through ifttt.com so that I would receive a text message whenever anyone posted a Soma bike on Craigslist in Seattle, Portland or Vancouver BC. But I was actually surprised when, less than 12 hours after it was stolen, I got a text pointing to this ad:
I sent it to Danny and he made contact with the guy. Though it was listed in Olympia, he was actually in White Center.
Danny called the police. After trying to navigate the phone tree and finding no relevant option, he decided to do things the old fashioned way and went to the East Precinct to speak to someone in person and get advice on how to proceed.
But that’s where his hopes of a quick and painless return of his bike ended. Officers told him that they could not help him. Even though he has detailed knowledge about every single detail of the bike—from the name of every part, the shellack he used on the cloth handlebar tape, to the number of layers of beer can he used to shim the front derailer—and was in contact with the person who had it, he was turned away with the vague and unhelpful advice that once he sees the bike and the suspect, he could call 911.
After hearing Matt Goyer’s story, we knew that was not a very dependable option. Matt delayed the guy with his stolen bike for a very long, awkward period of time waiting for SPD to show up, but they never did. So what? We’re supposed to go meet with someone of unknown mental state and level of danger and then…do nothing?
Knowing this might be the last chance we would ever have to see the bike again, we went with a plan B.
We packed a crappy backpack full of junk—a moldy Dead Baby Downhill water bottle that has not been cleaned since that summer ride, a blank notebook with all but four pages torn from it and an over-sized pair of pants—and set off for White Center with a third member of our crew, Karl.
The plan was simple: Fearing he may recognize Danny from the morning, I would pose as Danny and meet the guy in an active strip of White Center in front of Proletariat Pizza and the King County Sheriff’s storefront. Danny and Karl hung around, but acted like they did not know me. When he showed up, they would call the police. In the meantime, I would take a test ride and never return. If he wanted collateral, I would leave my backpack full of “work stuff” and, if he persisted, my nearly empty wallet. After all, nobody is expected to buy a bike without trying it, right?
Seemed like a surefire plan. As I was walking to meet him, I recorded this video on Danny’s phone:
When I saw him, everything seemed to go fine at first. We shook hands—his was wet from the sweat of the open tallboy in his pocket—and I started ogling the bike like I was just some sucker. I also tried to read him. He was wearing a ragged hoodie with a black beanie and nervous eyes. He took cautious sips of his beer as we made small talk about how the pedals do, in fact, turn and the gears do, in fact, shift when you move the shifters. But when I asked to take it for a test ride, he said, “No.”
We hadn’t planned on that.
I offered my bag as collateral, but he refused because he was afraid I would ride away with it. I took my emptied wallet from my pocked and put that in the bag, but then he said he wanted to see the money.
Now, before you think that our idea was complete crap, let me just say that we had a lot of worse ideas. One of those bad ideas included a stack of stage money Karl had, but we decided against bringing it because we weren’t sure about how counterfeit currency laws work. We also figured that having a stack of fake cash wouldn’t make us look so great when the cops showed up. So needless to say, I did not have any money to show him.
Somehow, I convinced him that we could go somewhere like a parking lot where I could ride it but he could make sure I wouldn’t just ride off. We walked about for a bit until we found the world’s shadiest alley. When the guy saw it, he knew that was the place and wouldn’t have it any other way.
At this point, I have had my hands on my friend’s bike. I have felt his shellacked handlebars, and I have spun the cranks that I watched him purchase at the Bike Works warehouse sale just weeks earlier. There is no way I am going to get this close and then just let it go. So, noting Karl standing nearby watching and firing up his phone’s video camera, I go into the alley.
I know! I know! One of the worst ideas of my life. Just pitifully horrid. As a journalist, I have read so many police reports you would think I would have just let it go right there. I can’t fully explain why, but giving up did not even cross my mind.
Once in the alley, I hopped on the bike, felt the leather saddle under my body, shifted through the gears nervously and did a couple short loops around the alley to get the feel of the bike, then I went for it.
But getting up to speed on a bike does not happen in an instant. I rushed toward Roxbury Street where street lamps lit the pavement, but he caught me from behind and grabbed my sweater, my pedals slowed and got heavy as I pushed harder against them, certain they just needed a little more pressure to break free from his hold, but he brought me to a stop, screaming about his bike and how I was stealing it and wouldn’t get off and I just held on, silent for some reason that I can’t explain, but not willing to let go of those handlebars until I saw the screwdriver.
I’m very stupid.
How did I get here? Why am I still on this bike, holding these handlebars? What’s a little steel really worth to me? I would never fight someone for a bike, let alone pull a screwdriver on them. Why was I still holding on?
I let go. He hopped on the bike and said, “You’re fucking crazy, dude.” And he was right.
He grabbed his bag, tossed it over his shoulder, put his foot on the pedal, and started cruising down the alleyway. Seeing him get away, emotion-packed blood rushed back into me. It’s getting away. The thing I’ve worked all this time for is right in front of me. I touched it, I may have risked some disgusting screwdriver-induced injury over it. I had been stressing about it all day long. I ran after it. I got my voice back and yelled, “That’s a stolen bike!” as I ran and, just as he had moments earlier, caught up with him. But I didn’t grab his hoodie. I didn’t knock him off and wrestle him to the ground. In fact, I wasn’t even focused on him. I pulled my leg back and, as hard as I could, kicked the rear wheel of the bike for which I had risked so much. My foot entered the spokes and the force knocked the rear of the bike up into the air for just a moment before bouncing back to the ground, continuing on the its cruise down the alley.
I cursed, and shoved my phone back in pocket (when had I started taking video?) but seeing him get away was the first bit of relief I had felt since that text message popped up on my phone telling me that we had a chance to get it back.
I walked to the Walgreens parking lot where Seattle Police still had not shown up. I didn’t even want to stay and talk to police. Let’s just go. This was all a huge mistake. I just wanted to drink a beer and forget it.
But we waited, and a couple cigarettes later SPD finally pulled into the parking lot. We told officers what happened, gesturing to the alleyway across the street where I for some reason made a stand. But that alley is not in Seattle. Roxbury Street is the city limit, and we would need to call the King County Sheriff. Great.
When the sheriff showed, we began to tell the tale all over again. Only this time, I began to piece together all the stupid mistakes the guy had made: Listing on the same day it was stolen, meeting in the same city, going to the meet alone…he was desperate and was willing to take a lot of risks for relatively little cash.
That’s when it hit me. We had been talking and texting from Danny’s phone. I pulled my phone and texted him and asked him if he still had the bike. My phone lit up almost immediately: He was calling me.
I alerted the sheriff who told me to answer it and put it on speaker phone. I posed as a completely new buyer. “You don’t have a beard, do you?” the guy asked. “No, clean shaven,” I lied. “Good, cause there was this crazy guy with a beard who just tried to take my bike,” he said. I laughed, though quietly enough that he wouldn’t hear it over the constant rush of traffic nearby.
We set up a new meeting spot a few blocks away, and the King County officer hopped in his cruiser and told us to sit still and wait for his call. That was exactly what we wanted to hear all along. So he left and we went to Walgreens.
The elevator music inside seemed so foreign. Life moved at a shockingly normal pace. I grabbed a bottle of water from the fridge, fished my credit card from the loose wallet contents floating in my pocket, and charged one dollar to it.
Outside, I smoked another cigarette, a habit I kicked years ago, but not on nights like this one. The sweat from the bottle was cool, but it felt good even in the chilly air. I had been thirsty for hours, it felt, and I couldn’t get enough to drink. I could almost feel the water seeping through the skin of my fingers, hydrating the blood inside them.
My phone buzzed and I looked at the number: An unrecognized 206 number. I wasn’t sure if it was the guy or the police. And I’m not sure I really cared.
The officer on the line told us to show up at a booze shop on Delridge. They had him.
As we pulled into the parking lot, he was sitting on the curb. But when he saw me, he pulled his arms close to his body and shifted away, turning his head away, almost wincing. He was scared of me. I wasn’t expecting that because I was scared of him (I probably don’t need to remind you of the screwdriver). He’s clearly troubled, and I can’t begin to understand what his life is like. And the fact that he’s a afraid of me shows that he doesn’t understand me. I might be tenacious, but tonight was the closest I’ve ever been to fighting someone. And I didn’t care for it at all.
As we turned the corner to the parking strip on the other side of the building, there was Danny’s bike leaning against the wall. The chain was covered in gunk from many months of city riding. The cream frame was dirty and scratched. The saddle was scuffed. The front derailer was held in place with the help of strips of beer can. It was almost exactly how he had left it. Cool. We had Danny’s bike back. High five. We took photos, I sent a tweet, we talked to police, then we threw it in the back of the pickup truck and started for home.
Victory. Story in the morning. twitter.com/seabikeblog/st…
— Seattle Bike Blog (@seabikeblog) February 12, 2013
I’ve been drinking all evening as I write this story. My friends have been sending texts telling me that they love me and that I’m stupid. Endless what-ifs run through my head, and small details—specks of rust on the screwdriver, the disgusting way I laughed and called him “dumb as rocks” as soon as I hung up the phone call that set up that second meeting—flash in my mind. And then some are gone, but some get stuck and replay.
Things could have gone a lot worse. But is anybody really any better off now than they were this morning, when in just a flash, Danny’s bike was gone?
A great story with a happy ending. Well done Tom.
That is one amazing story! If it was my bike I would be so angry, but you did the smart thing of not whacking the heck out this guy. Is it me or is the bike to big for the thief? I am really glad nobody got hurt and the bike was recovered.
Glad you’re ok, and this story illustrates the problems that bike theft victims face every day. Watching that video, though, jeez, I wish your friend would’ve just clocked the guy in the face with something heavy instead of continuing to film.
Anyway, please be sure to link the guy’s mugshot when it hits the system. The guy’s phone number pops up in a couple of places on Craigslist, selling other bikes & bike parts. So F this guy.
Riveting story. I think that I’d try to be sneaky too and steal the bike back, but seeing as you got caught maybe a Plan B would have been good to fall back on. For example, instead of yelling from behind that it was a stolen bike, you could have stated that to him face-to-face before things got tense. Maybe if you had engaged him enough for him to realize that the bike he had in his possession was stolen and that the cops were just around the corner, he may have given it up voluntarily.
I’ve heard before that King County Sheriff’s Office is very helpful and that Seattle Police generally try to shift responsibility to someone else based on any number of reasons they can come up with. This is yet more proof of that.
Damn. Good work getting Danny’s bike back, but be a little bit more careful with yourself, ok?
Speechless. Take care of yourself, Tom!
kick ass story! Liked it from Colombia South America!
Good to Hear the bike was recovered, having multiple bikes stolen from me I know the feeling well. I have been somewhat lucky to have recovered a few of my bikes. But I am still mad some are missing. Seems like we should start a bike theft watch group to help all those with stolen bikes.
Congratulations on surviving the reposession! Robyn was texting me whilst it was happening and we were very worried about you guys. But a happy ending after all.
You know without a police officer willing to show up and run the sting it would be so tempting to bring a weapon along. But then of course you run into the same trouble that OJ Simpson ran into when he tried to take back his trophies in Las Vegas and threatened people… instead of them going to jail, you go.
And assuming you do try to make a break for it with the bike, and you unfortunately crash, it’s easy to spend $1K at the emergency ward getting stitched back up.
Glad it all worked out for you this time.
I didn’t want a fight. We live in a society and have a justice system for a reason: So people can deal with issues like this without being vigilantes.
Obviously, you should be a writer! I mean a suspenseful-crime-story fiction writer – that way you’re in control of the ending!
Very glad you’re ok and got the bike back. A better plan might have been for your friends to join you confronting the guy once you had ID’d the bike, or for one person to have been on a bike himself to follow the guy. I know saying this doesn’t change things now, but maybe it will help someone else in a similar situation in the future stay safe.
It’s too bad although normal the SPD is so useless. I wonder if they would be more responsive if the value of the bike made the crime felony larceny? A bike shop owner I know saw a customer’s very expensive tandem being stolen from his store. He was able to give the KC sheriffs the thief’s plate #. The cops went to the guy’s house, found the bike in the truck, and he went away on his 3rd felony strike.
The bike is definitely worth enough to be a felony.
I don’t have an answer for why SPD couldn’t help out. The King County Sheriffs were awesome. They helped set up the second sting and went right over there and took care of it. This is exactly what we were hoping SPD would do, but they refused.
With all the focus on reforming the SPD, maybe some of our elected leaders would like to be informed of this behavior. They might be relieved to hear of misconduct that involved ignoring people rather than beating people up.
Great writing…glad you got the bike back and you are safe. You had me on the edge of my seat.
a) Awesome story. Bike thieves suck.
b) Next time bring more friends along.
c) Did you know that REI and other outdoor stores sell bear repellant? I’ve carried it on bike tours, an keep some in my emergency car kit for bears and other nasties. It’s enough pepper spray in a convenient can to stop a grizzly bear and sprays 15-20′. Wear goggles or glasses. Just saying…
Legal in Washington, but be careful if you travel to other states, especially on the East Coast. Do your research, first. Some states consider pepper spray a concealed weapon, or have limits on how much you’re allowed to carry.
Note to SPD: Not responding to legitimate requests for help leads people to do it themselves. Bad things follow. Small property crime turns into felony assault and people get hurt or worse.
I’m glad this worked out in the end, Tom, but take care of yourself. We’ve not met, but you’re an asset to the community. More important, I’m sure you have people close to you that care more about you and your well-being than about a bike.
What Brian says is right. What Tom and his friends did is nearly vigilantism. They didn’t catch and punish the guy, so we are not quite at bike vigilantism yet. We have professional police nowadays because vigilantism did not work out so well in the 1800s. Ordinary citizens are not supposed to have to enforce the law and recover their own property. Yet this is what is necessary if you live in Seattle. I think this is the third story I have read in the last two years about someone in the northwest recovering their stolen bike on their own. This is not a good trend. When the SPD spurns a case handed to them practically gift-wrapped it tells the crooks they can get away with it and drives the victims to take dangerous risks.
so the guy got arrested? is danny pressing charges?
Tom, Danny and Kari – I am grateful for your smart (and not so smart) problem-solving, tech-savy follow through, and general supportive friendship. I admire you all!
Very disappointed in the Seattle Police Department. Still feel anxious thinking about what could have gone wrong, but I shouldn’t worry about the ‘what-ifs.’ I should be thankful that Danny got his bike back and everyone is okay including the thief, who I hope makes better choices in the future and decides against a life of crime.
WOW! That’s one heck of a story, well done, you silly billy! WTH were you thinking???? LOL Still, nice job, and IFTTT is an unsung but important hero here. Thank goodness for that, and great bit of sleuthing on your part!
This is a really well-written story. Gripping. One of the better things I’ve read on this blog.
I love bikes.
Bike thieves do indeed suck.
Having bikes stolen sucks. I’ve had bikes stolen from me. And it pissed me off too. It’s good your friend has his back.
But going after a thief like this is a bad, bad idea. You were one screwdriver thrust away from a hell of a bad ER visit and some life-changing injuries. And what if HE had friends surreptitiously hanging around to administer a White Center beatdown to a joker like you? Or waiting in a car with the motor going? Or packing heat?
Stupid, stupid, stupid. No bike — really, no possession that I can think of — is worth that risk. I understand the passion but for crying out loud, don’t be an idiot.
Your friend is a tool for having left his bike unlocked in Pioneer Square. I work right there. I’ve taken my chances and done it too, and if my bike got stolen that way, well, I’d say I deserved it for being a tool.
Keep this whole episode in mind when your friend sells his ride in 6 months and trades up for something else. Ask yourself then whether it was worth it.
Wow. Blame the victim much?
Nope. But in this case, yes. 30 seconds to lock the bike to the rack or another object outside Zeitgeist, 3o seconds to unlock it, and this whole thing never would’ve happened.
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I understand the adrenaline rush from chasing down a bike thief. I’ve done it, and as I got closer and noticed he was 6’3″ and 220, I’m glad all my yelling got him to drop my bike and run.
The real moral of this story is the horrendous bias that SPD has against people who ride bikes.
They enforce laws with bikes that they don’t with cars.
They write police reports in bike-car collisions that are biased against the bicyclist, against all evidence.
They fail to enforce laws, such as failure to yield, that has a devastating impact on bike and ped safety.
And now they have a bike thief basically handed to them on a silver platter, and they saw “naw, we’d rather you go get shanked.”
The lesson for all you bike thieves out there – stay north or Roxbury and south of 145th. You are safe and your business is sound.
I don’t know the solution, BTW. I think the behind-the-windshield perspective of patrols has to end somehow. Maybe a month out of every year, patrols have to walk a beat. The next year, they have to ride a beat. Give them some perspective of what it’s like to be a vulnerable user. Though they need to do more than toodle along the sidewalk in front of Pacific Place and stop in for an hour at Starbucks.
When I went to the East precinct about a year ago after seeing my stolen bike on craigslist the cops I talked to couldn’t wait to catch the guy. They used my phone to call him up and set a meeting a few blocks away. A few calls back and forth later and they had the thief in handcuffs and I got my stuff back right there (including my gps that wasn’t even in the add). It wasn’t what I was expecting at all but I was really happy with the result.
Sounds like maybe SPD has since changed their policy or you talked to the wrong guy. I’m glad the King County sheriff was able to help. Bike thieves do suck.
Interesting story. Don’t you just love doing the police’s job for them? They should have been there to meet the guy. But unfortunately sometimes we have to be citizen cops. Which involves a lot of risk, legal and personal safety. As a former “mall cop” security guard I’ve been involved in making citizen’s arrests. That’s all a store owner is doing when they stop a shoplifter, making a citizen’s arrest. You could have done the same. BUT is it worth it? I’ve known of loss prevention guys getting stabbed trying to detain a shoplifter. I’ve scrapped my knees up trying to detain a shoplifter. They only way I ever intervened as a mall cop was because I had safety in numbers. I knew I could have 6 other mall cops at my location in 30 seconds to back me up. Good idea to bring friends along, but I’d recommend bringing 4-5 friends along if anyone else is going to try this. And maybe even a Taser C-2 and/or pepper spray. All things that cops are trained to use and have a lot more legal leeway to use. On top of that, better make sure none of your friends are hotheads and beat the crap out of someone unless it’s clearly self defense. A lot of risk overall for $500 bike but still, sometimes I can understand wanting a little justice, not to mention your bike back. Glad it worked out, just wish the cops were more proactive rather than you having to set up a sting and hope it doesn’t go sideways and calling them after the fact.
what an adventure! great write-up and way to stick with it. I concur with previous comments regarding apathetic SPD regarding bikes. Initially, what a drag it must have been to be referred to the King Co Sheriff. Good on them for helping out. Happy for Danny that he’s got a boomerang bike!
I feel like this just reaffirms my belief that 90% of stolen bikes are unlocked or poorly locked with some rope and a wish.
I really need to stop wasting my sympathy unless I’ve seen proof of a destroyed U-lock or halfway decent chain. Rarely, if ever, is the existence of lock discussed in theft announcements.
Seriously cyclists, why are half of you so dopey? I am ashamed to call myself one sometimes.
Why is this any of my concern?
Well, I’m sick of wasting my time keeping a lookout for a bike that you didn’t take even the most simple precautions protecting. Why should I put myself in danger to rescue a bike for a lazy cyclist? Why should I be the one to get screwed out of a Craigslist purchase when it is discovered I bought stolen property.
It’s unfair to law enforcement, its unfair to other cyclists and it feeds the idea that bikes can easily be stolen and an underground market is allowed to exist.
Agreed. The only reason to leave a bike unlocked and unattended (in pioneer square no less) is because you don’t want to have to bother with posting it in the Craigslist free section.
One more thing I want to add.
It would be an interesting experiment to have a reoccurring “grade your lock job” post on your blog.
Maybe you could even have users submit some DOs and DON’Ts. It has been my experience that cyclists tend to be pretty horrible at locking their bikes and there is a severe lack of education on the subject unless you purposely seek it out.
My guess is that many readers of this blog are pretty good at locking up their bike because they are passionate enough about bikes to read blogs about bikes. For many, it is a simple transportation tool that doesn’t go beyond simple maintenance, its not a lifestyle characteristic.
Here is a great example (actually a video series) of how to spread information on how to lock a bike well and how to lock one poorly:
check out the other episodes.
My genius husband has a pretty good design idea for rigging your bike with a booby-trap so that if it ever gets stolen, one push of a button will knock the guy off your bike. I think that sounds safer than risking your own life trying to out wit a desperate thief/felon. Not to mention, more fun. Oh, yeah, and we would NEVER leave our bikes unlocked for even 2 minutes in pioneer square. Are you kidding? I have to agree, the victim was not very smart, there. Have you not noticed that Pioneer square and most of Belltown is filled with druggies and dealers?
We’ve probably all left a bike unlocked for a quick run like this, though it’s still a stupid move. If you have to leave the bike, at least shift it into an awful gear, flip the seat around, undo a QR, leave a tire flat, park it on a rack next to another locked bike to give the allusion that yours is locked too, or all of the above. Leaning a perfectly rideable bike against a wall is pure craigslist-trash bait.
Agreed. I really wish it were as easy to securely park my bike as it was to securely park my car. I’ve thought about replacing the QR axles with bolt-on axles so I could at least stop having to lock the wheels to the frame after locking the frame to something, but I’m not sure how available those are for modern bikes.
I owned a pair. any online bike store like Jenson or Pricepoint has them… it gets to where you just put the QR’s back in for convenience…
Good work! Greetings from Stockholm, Sweden!
As someone who’s collection of locks is worth more than my bike, I find this blame the victim crap really upsetting. I assume you wouldn’t chastise a rape victim for wearing a short skirt. Same rules apply.
You know the easier way to do this is just to lock the bike up with a u-lock, take his picture, and call the cops right in front of him.
Was it Brandy you were drinking, Lol? Wow, Great write up Tom. I felt your anxiety, fear, relief, etc, throughout this whole story. That’s a scary situation to be in. You handled things well, and yes it could have been worse. Glad your all ok. Kudos to you Tom!
Bike thieves suck, and while no system for theft prevention is perfect, this is a strong deterrent: http://identidots.com/. See bike video here: http://youtu.be/yd3dAfH7OH4
I’d have done something very stupid. very violent and very dangerous. and gotten it back the first time. I’d probably be injured. he’d probably be hospitalized. you were courageous. not stupid. I’d have been stupid.
Damn, Tom! That is the craziest account of a bike recovery attempt I’ve ever heard. I’m so psyched you guys recovered Danny’s bike, and that the KC Sheriff was willing to work with you to catch the thief and get your bike back. KC Sheriff deserves credit for doing great community based police work in White Center in recent years- that partnership has been instrumental in getting the area cleaned up. Too bad SPD can’t learn more from their example.
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You should have partnered up with Phoenix Jones for back up.
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You know– bikes even get stolen out of back yards, and not everyone has a place where they can store their bike indoors. A friend had a bike stolen this weekend out of her back yard, from the porch literally just outside her bedroom. She had it locked with a cable lock to a heavy pillar, but she doesn’t even have any place to hook a U-lock in her yard. No garage, no shed, and her home is just too small to keep a bike inside. Her U-lock was good for going out into public, but useless at home because of having no place small enough to wrap the lock. Even her trees are too thick for the lock to fit. So while she knows the best things to do to keep a bike safer… she also knows that it isn’t always possible to do those things. But at least she HAD SOME sort of a lock and it was parked at her home.
What is she supposed to do– have NO bike at all because she can’t hook a U-lock or bring it inside? She has deteriorating eyesight and her bike IS her transportation since she has given up driving. So you all go right ahead and blame her for the lack of an ideal place to properly secure her bike. After all, it isn’t the thief’s fault her bike was stolen– right?
There is always room inside. You may just have to be creative about the space. I’ve lived in tiny apartments and still had multiple bikes. I had the typical rack that is on the floor and lays against the wall – no holes or permanent installation needed. But I also don’t want my bikes stolen, and would never leave them outside (even locked) long term because I know someone will scope it out and cut locks.