monitors, analyzes and corrects media reporting errors and bias concerning messengers and couriers.

Messenger Institute
 for Media Accuracy

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The real story is that this story is 12 years old, not as new as Krytonite spokeswoman Donna Tocci would have you believe.

"In 1992, journalist John Stuart Clark - the cartoonist with Bicycle Business magazine, the print version of BikeBiz.com - teamed up with a Nottingham bike thief to show how easy it was to break in to the majority of bicycle locks then on the market. One of the methods he revealed was the Bic pen method."

"His article in New Cyclist magazine led to follow-ups in bigger circulation bicycle magazines such as MBUK, and a BBC consumer rights programme also carried a feature on the Bic method."
This usenet posting from Torsten Lif on November 24, 1992 also points to the same article:

"British "New Cyclist" recently had an informative article on what they called the "lock scandal" or something similar. Get it if you can (I can dig out which issue it was).

They took a number of bike locks to a specialist who broke or picked them all easily. Among the easiest were ALL Kryptonite models because (hold on to your seats) ANY lock with a cylindrical key of that style can be picked in seconds with the plastic cap from a cheap ballpoint pen..."


Kryptonite and other lock manufacturers must gives us answers.
What did they know?
How long have they known it?
Why didn't they fix the problem?
Are there any other vulnerabilities that the public should be aware of?
Why should we continue to trust them?

Kryptonite's men of steal

New York Daily News, September 17,2004
By William Sherman

It looks as though thieves have come up with kryptonite for the fearsome Kryptonite bike locks: a Bic ballpoint pen.

The back of a plastic pen twisted into the hole for cylindrical keys pops open the famous U-shaped locks in seconds, according to Internet postings and word on the street.

Hugo Guzman, the manager of Chelsea Bicycles in Manhattan, said bike messengers told him the pen-pick method was first conceived several months ago by a hustler on the upper West Side, who passed it on to other thieves.

The buzz about the Massachusetts-based company's products hit a crescendo yesterday after Brooklyn graphic designer Benjamin Running posted a video on the Web of himself picking his own lock.

"I took an ordinary Bic pen, jammed it into the lock and twisted it round. It opened first time," Running said. "I was shocked. My jaw literally dropped open. These locks are supposed to be the best around."

Kryptonite spokeswoman Donna Tocci conceded the locks' newly found vulnerability. "It's anything with a tubular cylinder, not just our locks," she said.

Bike advocates said other cylindrical locks are vulnerable, including some models of the OnGuard lock.

Kryptonite announced yesterday that it will begin selling "upgrades" for both the KryptoLok and Evolution product lines.

Meanwhile, at various bicycle stores, managers and customers were confused about which locks are easy pickings.

"I contacted Kryptonite for information, but I haven't heard back and I don't know if it's just the U-shaped lock or other models," said Dominick Muraco, owner of A Bicycle Shop, at 345 W. 14th St. Kryptonite makes 19 different bike locks, and the company's news release was not specific about which models need to be upgraded with "pen proof" disk cylinders or whether there would be refunds or replacements for the vulnerable models.

At Metro Bicycles, Sixth Ave. and 15th St., manager Daniel Stubino said, "We ran out and we didn't order more when we first heard about it [Wednesday]."

George Capsis, a customer at the store, said, "I lose a bike a year to thieves; it doesn't matter what lock you use."

His latest bike, a $500 Trek, was swiped last weekend. No matter, he bought a new Raleigh yesterday. "Two hundred fifty dollars," he said. "I don't want to spend any more than that. It's just going to get stolen anyway."

With Adam Nichols


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