When I moved to Lithuania last summer, I was even more lucky than usual. The friendly couple whose apartment I stay at offered me to keep and use their bicycle for the duration of my stay. But they admonished me to keep it indoors and always lock it when I park it somewhere in the city. As I live on the third floor and the bike is rather heavy, this makes it a bit of an exercise each time I want to use the bike. Therefore I unfortunately don’t use it as often as I’d like to.
I am usually quite lax with property (although in this case it’s not mine, so that’s not an option), but bike theft seems to be a serious problem in Vilnius or maybe all over Lithuania indeed. I didn’t see any bikes remaining outside in the area where I live. Two of my friends had their bikes stolen while they were at the theatre. An attempt by the municipality to establish a system of public bikes had to be cancelled after too many got stolen.
Last week I went to Kaunas and saw how serious the problem is there: cyclists put their bicycles up into trees and lock them there, for fear of theft. And this was in the middle of the day, in the centre of the Old Town, right in front of City Hall.
This bike theft epidemic is very sad, because Lithuania is flat and green, making it an otherwise perfect country to cycle. But if your ride gets stolen every 50 km, that takes the fun out of the trip.