There’s a specific feeling that goes with being robbed that’s like a punch in the gut: it’s infuriating, nauseating, and saddening all at once. What’s worse is there’s little you can do about it. Sure, you can (and should) report it to the police (who frankly don’t care or have the resources to investigate), search online and at pawn shops, but more often than not once it’s gone, it’s gone. What’s a bicycle rider to do? Well, I’m here to tell ya’: BikeIndex.org to the rescue (sometimes literally)!
Bike theft is on the rise in Austin, Texas and I imagine elsewhere, too. Every few days and sometimes several times in one day I see tales of woe on Next Door where someone had their bike stolen. Usually they haven’t bothered to lock it, but in many cases they have, and organized bands of bike thieves case and target houses. In my case, many years ago, I had my first real bike that I bought, a KHS Urban Xpress, taken by a thief in the night. I had grown complacent and locked it on the porch with just a cable lock. It was on Christmas Eve, so someone had a nice holiday while all I got was the emotional equivalent of coal in my stocking. Had I known about Bike Index, maybe I would have gotten it back.
Bike Index increases your chances of getting your stolen bike back. While you can register your bike with your local police if they have such a database, as mentioned they often can’t or don’t do much about finding them. It’s not just a list.
To quote from their site:
Bike Index gets bike-theft sympathetic eyes onto your bike. If someone sees it or finds it, they can message you via your Bike Index listing. And our network of Bike Index ambassadors, bike shops, and law enforcement partners is growing every day. Bike theft is a hot issue, and people are plugging in to monitor online sales platforms, report chop shops, and return bikes to their rightful owners.
2. $15 MILLION dollars. That’s nearly the value of the 9,200 bicycles they’ve helped recover. It really works. In fact, if you’re buying a used bike, especially online, you can check the site first to see if it’s stolen. Brilliant!
3. The community is the key. They actually have volunteer ambassadors who work to help find your stolen bike and get it back to you. Or say you find a bike, you can search the site to see if the bike is there. Then you can contact the owner (anonymously), and alert them. Over1,200 affiliates like police departments, colleges, bike organization and shops that all use it. With a registered bike and social media, you stand a good chance of recovery — far better than not registering it.
4. It’s the biggest database, across the U.S., and in some other countries, too. Often bike thief rings are well organized and move stolen bikes to sell in other cities. With Bike Index, you aren’t stuck with just your local police database (if they even have one).
5. Detailed features. You can upload pictures, include components, gearing, and all kinds of details about your bike. This increases the chances of it being found if it’s stolen.
6. Did I mention it’s free? Well, it is!
Of course, an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure. So the best thing to do is to keep your bicycles indoors. If outside, always use a good U-lock with a cable, or even better, two U-locks. Even then, a determined theif with the right tools and enough time will get it.
Another pro-tip is have renter or homeowner’s insurance. You’ll pay a deductible, but you’ll get a new bike.
Finally, and this is not much consolation, but if you’re bike is stolen, it’s not the end of the world. It may feel like it, but it’s not. And your former conveyance is probably still getting ridden. To quote the inspiration for the name of this blog, just substitute the word “bicycle” for “Dude” and “he”:
The Dude abides. I don’t know about you but I take comfort in that. It’s good knowin’ he’s out there. The Dude.The Big Lebowski, Coen Brothers
So what are you waiting for? Get thee to BikeIndex.org right now!
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