Two-by-four lore

What should you do if you see someone with a two-by-four at a bike locked to a ring and post bike stand?

As we know from recent city cycling news, there is at least one person who might advise a swift punch in the neck.

But the City of Toronto is asking that you call 416-392-9253 (416-39CYCLE) or email to let them know the time of day and location of any broken ring-and-posts.

The City investigated the potential for the R&Ps to be busted with a two-by-four following many recent news reports.

David Tomlinson of the City’s Transportation Services Division says that, yes, they were able to break the cast aluminum ring using a two-by-four and “a lot of pressure”.

But, Tomlinson assures cyclists that they are working fast to take measures to reinforce the ring.

He says he only knows of three or four cases where it looks like a two-by-four was used, but that the City is taking this issue seriously and working closely with police to curb any further thefts like this.

I, personally, find it very hard to believe that there is a crucial flaw in the design of our beloved ring and post bike stand. It has been an emblem of durability and utility in cycling infrastructure for over 20 years. The design is used all over the world and it has not been altered since its inception (unless you count the work done by the City Beautification Ensemble — artists who paint the posts bright colours, giving citizens a dose of “colour therapy”.)

The ring is attached to a galvanized steel post with a tamper-proof nut.

David Dennis, one of the original designers of the ring and post, has been asked to help. In the Toronto Star today he says, “I guess the best thing would be to make it out of a stronger material … that’s less susceptible to breakage.”

I hope they will not change the design too much, as the ring and post is iconic to Toronto.

Cyclists should be sure to lock their bikes through the frame and wheel to the ring or post – or use a second lock to lock the wheel and frame together – so that the thief cannot simply ride off, if the R&P is broken.
The police say that over 7,000 bikes are stolen in Toronto each year.

Photo by Sam Javanrouh


  1. 7000 bikes stolen – and that’s just those reported to police. I wonder what proportion of people bother reporting it to the police?

    I’d be curious to know people’s experiences with bikes being stolen – how were they locked, how they were stolen (if you can tell), if people reported to the police.

  2. Sam – I hope your friend tells the City about this.

  3. wow..
    i’m going to go move my bike now
    and throw my spare u-lock on it

  4. I’ve had two bicycles and a motorcycle stolen in Toronto.

    After reporting my motocycle to the police, I learned by lesson to not bother wasting my time with any reports.

    So I bet the number is much much higher than 7000 (thats probably just people who lost their bike for first time!)

    damn.. as the bike community, I wish there was something we could do..


  5. if you take a close look at the text on the ring it reads “lock bicycle to post”. if the bike is locked to the post, thieves would have to break both sides of the ring. i suspect the 2×4 thieves look for bikes locked to just the ring….

  6. You should try to lock frame to wheel to ring/post/whatever, bcs if the thief breaks the ring, he can still slide the bike off the top of the post and easily ride away.

    If only one side of the ring breaks, I would think it would be pretty easy to get the other half off…esp considering the thief has tools or whatever in hand…

    Has anyone ever heard of a sort of GPS tracking for bikes???

  7. They obviously work in pairs (or more). Otherwise some dude would be riding off with a 2X4. Or they just leave the 2X4 there with the broken ring – why not, a 2X4 is like a $6 tool, or probably free to these biotches.

    Keep your eye out for people carrying 2X4s!

  8. As I left my office on Mon 2 Oct 2006, at 6:30pm, I saw a broken ring&post in front of the building. Next to it was the broken half-ring, and a 4×4 partially covered in a black garbage bag. It looked conspicuous, so I took a digital picture of it and emailed it to – just so they know its happening all over the place.

    I’ve had a bike stolen at U of T (HartHouse). And last year had both of my Kryptonite U-locks (tubular keys) replaced. Still, I hate locking my bike up outside – I bring it into my office (it sits behind me), and I lock it up in the garage of my apartment.

    The cops told me that most people don’t register their bikes with the police. The Police know where the bike snatchers are (like the on Queen St. W, across from Trinity Bellwoods park) where they have garages full of bikes. But if you don’t register your bike with the police, they have no way of proving the bike is yours or that it was stolen in the first place.

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