Beatrice is a native Melbournian who moved to the Netherlands in 2009. With a background in independ...
Yerka: the 'unstealable' bike30 August 2014, by Beatrice Clarke
A new bike, developed by a student start-up, has claimed "unstealable" status thanks to a clever anti-theft mechanism whereby the lock is made out of the frame.
The defining aspect of the Yerka project is its adjustable bike frame that folds out into a lockable loop. Securing the bike takes less than 20 seconds, according to the makers.
How Yerka works
The lower crossbar, or down tube, is hinged at both ends and can be split in the middle. When locking the bike, both halves of the tube fold out and extend beyond the tree, pole or whatever fixed object the bike is leaning against.
The removable seat post is then released and inserted through holes in the down tube, creating a secure "loop" and preventing the bike being removed from whatever it is attached to.
If would-be thieves attempt to break the lock then they also break the bike, defeating the purpose of stealing it in the first place.
Three Chilean engineering students are behind the Yerka project. Having themselves been the victims of bike theft, the three young men applied their engineering skills to find a solution.
Safety, design and comfort were three key aspects which guided the creators when developing their idea. Evidently making the bike "unstealable" was the main aim of the safety aspect.
From a design perspective it was important that the bike still look good. Unlike clumsy foldable or rental bikes, the Yerka still maintains its streamlined road bike form. The concept can also be applied to other bike frame shapes.
In terms of comfort, this clever design solution eliminates the need to carry around heavy chains and locks.
Perfect for Holland
Such a bike would be a blessing for Dutch cycling culture, where cities are plagued by bike-theft. In Amsterdam alone 7.880 bikes were declared stolen in 2012. An estimated 500.000 to 750.000 bikes are stolen annually in the Netherlands, according to the consumentenbond.