death to bike thieves

How To Protect Yourself From Bike Thieves + What To Do If Your Bicycle Is Stolen

Chances are if you’re an avid cyclist, you’ve had a bicycle stolen from you. Or you know someone who has been robbed. Bike thievery is a nefarious plague that spreads to all corners of the planet; no one is safe. Here’s what you can do to try and project yourself  from these insidious criminals, and what you can do in the event of a theft.

The Basics:

  • Take lots of photos of your bicycle and note what’s unique about it.
  • Write down the serial number or put your personal information in the seat tube. Some individuals engrave their driver’s license number on their frame so that police can readily identify it if it’s retrieved.
  • Get it insured.
  • You can also register your bikes with the National Bike Registry, a fee-based service.
  • Be vigilant at all times. Lock up your bike securely when parking in a public space. You can find examples here:

If It Gets Stolen:

  • Get a police report.
  • Start spreading the word on your social networks, email cycling groups, see if you can get the attention of the local media, do whatever it takes to get everyone on high alert.
  • Scan Craigslist and eBay to see if it pops up there. This online tool, IFTTT.com, is pretty handy to set custom alerts.
  • There’s also this new resource, Racklove.com, which allows you to scan listings.
  • Register it at stolenbikeregistry.com.
  • Go to your local flea markets right away and see if it’s being sold there. You can also join this Flickr group if you’re in the Bay Area to share and peruse images taken at Laney College, Ashby, Coliseum and other venues. 7th and Market and the area behind Best Buy at Division and Florida Streets are notorious spots in the city.

And be sure not to feel guilty about it being stolen. IT’S NOT YOUR FAULT. Yes, you may have forgotten to lock it up. Or you used a crappy lock. Or you left it alone for only a minute and when you got back, suddenly it was gone. Or you didn’t secure your wheels.  When someone chooses to take something that doesn’t belong to him/her, that individual is the one in the wrong – not you. So yes, feel sorry for yourself if need be, but then get good and angry at that scummy bike thief and get your bicycle back. And don’t stop looking. It becomes a part-time job, but if you want it back, you must keep up the effort as much as you can.


Most importantly, remember that we have each other’s backs. So get to know your fellow cyclists and support one another. We’re the main ones who care deeply about our own well-being — which, in the end, means we’re riding happily somewhere on our own two wheels.
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