It is absolutely awful to think about your bike being stolen. It is always disheartening to have something taken from you. To add insult to injury, in the case of bikes, they aren’t inexpensive items either. While there isn’t much you can do to work on the hearts & minds of those who steal; you can take steps to protect yourself before it happens and know precisely what to do if you are the victim of bike theft. Let’s take a look at some of those steps.
Register your bike after you purchase it
This is one of the most important things you can do to protect yourself. Register your serial number on every biking website. Bike Index is one of the largest and most well-known sites for this service. This way, if someone steals your bike and attempts to resell it, they could run into a potential roadblock. If a potential buyer thinks to check websites to see they are purchasing stolen property, your bike’s serial number will show up as registered. This can help you recover your bike or slow a thief down.
Purchase insurance for your bike
Insurance is a smart thing to have on any large ticket item, especially an item that can cost as much as a gear bike. Your policy can cover theft of your bike, along with multiple other issues. Buying coverage for your bike is just a smart thing to do. The policy can be a separate item or part of a renters/homeowners policy. The cost to you is minimal, and the benefit it could provide you is tremendous.
Alert social media networks to the theft
Ask your friends to share your post far and wide. You never know who they know, and which of their friends will share your post either. With any luck, it can help you get your bike back. At the very least, it can help prevent someone from buying stolen goods. It is also possible someone could see a listing for your bike or see someone trying to sell your bike at a yard sale or flea market and alert you to its location.
List your bike as stolen
Remember when we said you should register your bike far and wide as soon as you buy it? This is where that comes into play. Some bike registration websites allow registrants to flag a bike as stolen. If a person is checking the records of a bike they are attempting to buy, the registration number will come back flagged for theft. This is most certainly helpful in preventing the sale of a stolen bike; it’s possible it can even help you recover it as well.
Report your stolen bike to the police
Even though you may think this is a long shot, you never know. Make sure you file a police report for your stolen gear bike. This report can be helpful in the instance if you think you have found the bike and need help recovering it. It is also useful if you, regrettably, don’t recover your bike. To claim theft protection and other items from the company you purchased your bike from, you must file a police report within 24 hours of the theft.
However, something to keep in mind is that police recover close to 50% of stolen bikes. Sadly, very few are reunited with their owners because the owner never filed the police report. If they recover your bike, there is no way for you to get it back without filing a report.
Start checking resale sites
While eBay is a less likely place for a bike to be resold, it can happen. However, it is more likely for your bike to show up on local sites like Facebook Marketplace or Craigslist. Anyone who has stolen property wants to unload it quickly and for cash only. Shipping it on eBay leaves a paper trail. Start checking every local online site as well as local bulletin boards. Have your friends keep their eye out for anyone trying to sell a bike that looks like yours. If you find your bike, alert the police and partner with them for the next steps.
Start checking flea markets, yard sales, and pawn shops
As has already been mentioned, a person with stolen goods wants to get rid of them fast in exchange for cash. Pawn shops are the most likely place that can do that for them. But if there are neighborhood yard sales or flea markets, those are also places your bike could be sold for quick cash. Start checking those to see what you find.
Contact local bike shops
Just because a person stole your item, it doesn’t always mean they know what to do with it once they have it. If they are unsure about what to do with their stolen item, they may visit local bike shops to see how they can sell your bike. If you alert your local bike shops to what has happened, they can let you know if something or someone suspicious comes by.
Utilize local bulletin boards to post flyers about your bike
While social media has a remarkable reach, not everyone is going to see your postings (or your friends). Using traditional flyers can help you get the word out about your missing gear bike. If you have the means to do so, offer a reward for the information or return of your bike. You never know who will see this. It could even alert the thief that you are on the lookout. Maybe they will opt not to sell and return it to you for a reward?
While having your gear bike stolen is an awful thing to go through, there are ways to get your bike back. There are things you can do before a theft to make it harder for a thief to sell it. If your bike is stolen, there are steps you can take to get it back…or once again, make it harder for a thief to sell it. No one wants to ever be in this situation, but these tips can help you if you are.