Take it from a guy who had his very first road bike stolen out of his living room — it can be a terribly frustrating and painful experience. But while it can be difficult to recover your precious steed, it isn’t impossible.
Use these tips to get your stolen bike back or, at the very least, get compensated so you can buy a new one.
CALL THE COPS
Just as you would if your car was stolen, calling the police should be your first step once you’ve discovered your ride has gone missing. When the officer files a report, give him or her as much information as possible, such as your bike’s serial number, the make and model and any recent pictures. If there was breaking and entering, they may also be able to take fingerprints, question neighbors or obtain other evidence that can help locate the thief.
REGISTER YOUR BIKE AS STOLEN
Since you might not get that warm fuzzy feeling that the cops are patrolling the streets day and night to get your bike back, it’s good to remember you can play detective, too. Start by registering your bike with BikeIndex.org, which is the largest stolen bike listing system in the country. The National Bike Registry is another option you should use to get your bike back. As you would with the police, provide serial numbers, pictures and other information that may help to find a match.
GET ON THE INTERNET
Besides posting information on your social media channels to make others aware of what’s happened, ask your circle of friends to post information, too. The wider net you cast, the more likely it is someone will be able to help. The more eyes looking for your bike, the better.
In addition to social media, be diligent about getting on websites that sell used bikes. Craigslist, eBay and Bike Exchange are a few to check regularly for listings of your bike. If a thief has your expensive bike, chances are he or she isn’t a cyclist and just wants money for your ride. You can also set up alerts on these sites that notify you when a bike matching your desired search is posted.
If and when you do see your bike listed, don’t contact the seller. Instead, notify the police and have them investigate and attempt to retrieve your stolen property.
FILE A CLAIM
Whether you get your bike back a month from now or you never recover your property, there are still a few ways you can get compensated for your loss. If your bike was taken while it was secured with a bike lock, many lock manufacturer’s have warranties that could help you get some of your money back. Kryptonite and OnGuard are two companies that allow you to make a claim if you can prove their lock was broken. Keep in mind the lock needs to be registered beforehand, and any pieces of the lock left behind by the thief may need to be sent in to the individual company.
Alternatively, if your bike was taken from your home or garage, you may be able to file a claim with your homeowner’s or renter’s insurance. While you might not get the full value of your bike back, something is better than nothing. There are also bike insurance companies that are good options if you’re looking to protect your future investments.
If nothing else has worked for you, checking your local swap meets and flea markets is your next best bet. You can also try posting flyers at local bike shops and let the people who work there know about what’s happened. This can be a good strategy for bike shops that sell the same model as the bike you own.
Many bike manufacturer’s may also offer a discount on your next bike purchase if you’ve purchased a bike from them previously. Your local bike shop can fill you in on the details.