During our Saturday morning long training sessions, Team in Training provides a "bag watch." This way, we can leave all of our backpacks and biking paraphernalia while we run and our running stuff while we bike. The bags (and accessories) are watched by a different volunteer each week. It's awesome! During any given run, the bag watch area looks like this:
Actually, this is only about 1/4 of the bikes that were left at bag watch during the run this morning. I'm not very spatially oriented, but I'd say that the total area was comparable in size to a baseball field (infield + outfield). Not a major league field, but not a little league field either. Maybe a recreational field. Or a high school field. You get the point. Unless you're equally spatially challenged in which case, suffice it to say, there's a $hit load of bikes spread out in a large area.
Now I'm no crook, and I'm not going to pretend to think like a criminal, but if I saw all these bikes being guarded by one person, I'd assume they were free for the taking. I mean, what's that one person going to do if I tried to steal a bike? Run after me and leave the rest unattended so that all my buddies can come and grab the remaining bikes? I assumed that Team in Training thought of this and prepared the bag watchers, so I asked one of the volunteers what she was supposed to do if someone grabbed a bike and ran. She gave me a blank look. "I guess I never really thought about it."
Moral of the story: leave your stuff in the middle of the watch area surrounded by *really* pretty bikes and bags. And cross your fingers that the criminals in the park are scared off by a 5' 1" bag watcher wearing pink pants and reading Harry Potter.