Bike theft is probably the biggest scourge of cyclists everywhere. Around 500,000 bikes are stolen in the UK every year according to official estimates and in some North American cities as many as half of all active cyclists have had at least one bike nicked.
So inventing a bike that physically can't be stolen is pretty much the holy grail as far as cycling goes. But how would you go about it?
you turn the bike into its own lock, so if anyone cuts through it, the bike is useless
Well, this team of enterprising Chilean engineering students reckon they've got the answer - you turn the bike into its own lock, so if anyone cuts through it, the bike is useless.
The Yerka as they're calling it (seemingly pronounced "Jerka") is based round a simple but ingenious idea. The down tube comes in sections, which can be locked into place using the removable seat post.
If a thief cuts through any section of it, they'll be left with an incomplete bike frame, which will surely be near impossible to sell on.
Even if the thief cuts through the seat post or the fence the bike is locked to, the position of the down tube will stop the pedals turning.
The "lock" is designed to accommodate posts of up to eight inches in width (so easily wide enough for most lamp posts) and is made to the same specs as Kryptonite locks - so it's pretty tough.
Not only that, but the team have designed a special nut that normal wrenches can't handle so thieves won't be able to walk away with your wheels either. They're also working on a bluetooth locking system to add an extra level of security.
Having raised cash on the crowdfunding platform IndieGoGo, the Yerka team are now putting the bike into production. Whether or not it revolutionises cycle safety in the way they hope remains to be seen, but it's a pretty frickin' cool idea.
You can find out more about how to get hold of one of these bikes on the Yerka website.