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Transportation

Paris Rides Out a Bike Theft Crime Wave

As bicycling boomed in the French capital during the Covid pandemic, so has the number of stolen bikes. But the city has vowed to fight back.

Bike thefts in Paris have jumped this year as more people opted for cycling over public transit.

Bike thefts in Paris have jumped this year as more people opted for cycling over public transit.

Photographer: Samuel Boivin/NurPhoto via Getty Images

At 11:57 a.m. on Oct. 29, Lucas Renaudin was working in his office in northeastern Paris. It was at that moment his metallic gray Aventon Córdoba fixed-gear bike was being stolen from the building’s bike storage facility, he learned after reviewing security camera footage.

“At first I didn't think it was a robbery but rather a bad joke,” says Renaudin, a 20-year-old work-study business student. “But then I was so angry.”

Earlier that month, Céline Libert, a 29-year-old business consultant who lives in the same area of the French capital, had thieves break into her courtyard, cutting the lock around her second-hand Decathlon bike and taking it just days after she had bought it. Journalist Pauline Chambost, 30, had her bike, a 10th birthday present, disappear in July, just a month after bringing it from her parents’ house in the south of France. Clélia Timsit, a 30-year-old management consultant, says she’s had three stolen since last year, most recently when thieves dismantled the scaffolding the bike had been attached to. “I had bought a special lock to make sure the bike wouldn't be stolen,” she says. “Bad luck.”