When you buy a new (whether it be new-new, or used-new) bike, RECORD THE SERIAL NUMBER! It is usually stamped on the bottom bracket of the bike. The easiest way to do this is, have a friend take a polaroid of you standing with the bike, and then write the serial number in ballpoint pen on the polaroid underneath. Now stick it somewhere safe. Then, EMAIL the serial number to yourself. That way, when your bike inevitably gets stolen, because you locked it up with a crappy cable lock outside the bar, at least you can retrieve the serial number immediately to report it to the police.
If you don't want your bike to get stolen in the first place, don't use a cable lock. They can be cut in half a second with a three-dollar pair of garden shears. Always use a solid u-lock. Never cable locks. Never, never, never!!
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