Leave Thee a Stain on Thy Bike Thief

In nature, things that are sharp, or colorful, or hard, are a lot less likely to be eaten by bears. Bears will eat salmon instead of porcupines or cacti (supposing they have cacti available.) This is also true of bike thieves and bike locks. There are plenty of relatively excellent bike locks out there, but how many of them explode? The Smart Lock – It Explodes.

Michael Lambourn presents the Smart Lock: “‘17% of cyclists have suffered bike theft in the last 3 years; of these 24% no longer cycle at all, and 66% cycle less often’ (Department of the Environment, Transport and the Regions, 1997) Cycle theft is deterring people from using one of the most efficient forms of environmentally friendly transport. It is considered petty theft but can have huge emotional effect on the victim. Smart Lock is lightweight but offers additional protection. It’s quick and easy to use and allows the cyclist to lock both wheels and the frame. If breached, Smart Lock helps the authorities identify your bike, and links the perpetrator to the crime. It also stains the ground identifying areas vulnerable to theft. Smart Lock helps you keep your bike.”

In a nutshell: when cut, colored liquid inside the entire length of the Smart Lock explodes forth unto the thief! The thief then proceeds to appear to have wizzed his or her pants. The liquid also stains the surrounding area.

While I can think of more than a couple ways that one could avoid the spray of death, I imagine that this particular lock would defer thieves the way security system installed stickers on car windows work. The thief thinks “purple explosives? or the bike next to it?”

Designer: Michael Lambourn


  • susie says:

    that was goood

  • p says:

    awesome idea, sort of like those exploding tags that come on clothes. my only concern would be a nice bike that got sprayed with this stuff. provided the rider actually gets it back, would their bike be stained forever like the ground and pants of the thief? But in any case, i’d rather have a stained bike than no bike.

  • Matthew says:

    I think the more valuable benefit would be marking THE BIKE as stolen. That is a far better deterrent than marking the thief. It would make it much harder to sell or ride around freely.

    • says says:

      I agree with matthew. the only thing if the thief decided to not take the bike after it being marked, you’d be riding around looking like one of them :s

      • Matthew says:

        I had a bike stolen and I was thinking I should put a grenade under the seat when I lock it up.

  • Carl says:

    who pays for the street to be cleaned after it has been sprayed?

    what about the legalities of exploding gas? if it made the thief blind who would be responsible?

    Hiding a chip that tracks the bike by sat nav is better for prosecution and actual return of the bike. this concept solves nothing and actully creates problems..

  • Thanks to all those who have posted responses to this page, your insights have been interesting. I would like to give you a little bit of background about the product and where it is now.

    SmartLock started life as my final major project in the final year of my degree as a response to the issue of bike theft. I prioritised making the experience of bike theft as unpleasant as possible to put off the opportunist thief.

    During the course of its development I came up with many types of liquid that would deter thieves, ranging from the practical to the ridiculous; from foul smells to mace and worse.

    However the final design incorporates four chambers that each have their own propellant. The thief would be facing multiple “explosions” before they can take your bike. It could be adapted to take almost any liquid imaginable but I am recommending the use of dye (similar to that found in dye packs on new clothes) and Smartwater (see smartwater.com).

    The dye would stain clothes, skin, tools, the bike and the area but would fade within two or three months. Smartwater is a clear, odourless forensic liquid that can be detected by police. It has a unique coding that can link the thief to the stolen property and the scene of the crime.

    This product is now available for licence under the Design Against Crime Research Centre, contact me for details.

  • Stevil says:

    Fill the lock with pressurized bleach and cat urine, and Ill take 20.

  • nishita says:

    i love i need.

    5/5 for the thought behind it.
    5/5 for the execution
    5/5 for understanding the user need & addressing it.

    cost please… & put it on dragons’ den?

  • Joe says:

    Huh? How about wrapping each exploding node with a bag, then do the cutting?

  • Matt says:

    Put the bolt cutters over the cable. Tighten the cutters sufficient to get a firm grip on the cable. Wrap a towel or cloth around the cutters and cable. Then cut.

  • Jafafa Hots says:

    A better deterrent than dye would be mercaptan – aka skunk smell.

    You could have enough in that spray to make the guy smell like he was attacked by 1000 skunks.

    Then all bike thieves could be smelled coming for weeks.
    (The bike, being non-porous, would be easier to get the smell off.)

  • Jimmy C says:

    Haha, pretty good!

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    Brilliant short article, I liked the hhgregg electronics store

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