Bike locks aren't a foolproof way to protect a bicycle—a fact that's obvious to anyone who walks by a bike rack and sees a pile of twisted, empty U-locks lying on the ground. A London bike hacker designed another level of protection: If a bike is moved, the "Bike Mine" explodes, sounding like a gunshot. In theory, it will scare would-be thieves away.
After his own bike was stolen in the middle of the night, designer Yannick Read wanted to create an alarm that could also wake up owners in time to come outside before a thief finished hacking through a lock. "I don't know that it will help with cycle theft generally, but with the specific problem of bikes being stolen from your own property at night, then I think it can help a great deal," he says.
The Bike Mine kit includes titanium wire that attaches to part of your bike (or other property stored outside, such as a motorcycle), a spring-loaded trap, and a small detonator held on with Velcro. When the wire is tripped, the detonator fires a 150-decibel blast of sound.
It's startling and different enough that Read thinks people will actually respond to it, unlike the annoying car alarms everyone ignores.
Of course, one of the potential pitfalls of attaching a mine to your bike is that you might accidentally set it off yourself. "If you forget it's armed, then yes, it will go off, but unless you're lying on the floor at the time it won't go off in your face," Read says. "If you do it more than once, you'll annoy your neighbors."
Bike Mine is currently crowdfunding on Kickstarter.