|28th September 2010||#1|
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What to do if your bike is stolen
This thread is meant to become a one-stop resource like roxy's 'What to do in case of an accident' thread. I don't have all the answers, but I'll add things that people post to the OP. Thanks to dicki for the idea.
So, what to do:
Before a potential theft:
* Consider insuring your bike.
* Take photos and note the frame numbers. Having these to hand is absolutely key for you to have any chance of getting your bike back. If the police do recover a stolen bike (and it hasn't been resprayed etc.) then a photo of you with the bike will help you prove it's yours. The same goes for frame numbers. You could even take a photo of your frame number next to your face by standing the bike up on one wheel. Have I mentioned yet that you should make a special note of the frame number and keep it in a safe place? ;) Frame numbers are often on the bottom bracket shell (between your cranks on the underside of your bike, so you may have to turn it upside down to see it, and are sometimes obscured by gear cable routers (bits stuck on the BB shell)), but on some bikes they are elsewhere, especially on some older bikes. Don't give up searching for it too easily! Every bike should have a number (if it hasn't been filed off by previous thieves).
* Individualise your bike, and hide your contact details on it, as much as you can. Whether you put a note with your contact details in the handlebars, stamp your saddle (there's a particular theft problem with unmarked Brooks saddles, of which the police recover piles and piles which they can't restore to the owners), hide a note in the frame, or in a tool bag attached to the bike, it all helps. The police will find these and will contact you if they recover the bike, and you never know, an honest but unwitting buyer of stolen goods might do the same. Skully stamps saddles, for instance. Have a look here: http://www.lfgss.com/thread12271.html
* Ask your employer to install secure bike parking, where you can leave your bike without worrying.
* There's a lot of advice on here about getting heavy locks. The Kryptonite Fahgettabout is particularly recommended. However, be aware that any locking mechanism can be overridden, and the more locking develops into an arms race, the more thieves will likewise tool up. The upshot is that those with worse locks will be more at risk from thieves coming equipped to break much heavier locks.
* At any rate, never use a cheap cable lock on any bike--they can be easily snipped. Full locking advice is here.
* Also be aware that a lot of thieves steal components, such as saddles and seatposts, or wheels. It is not recommended to use quick-release levers anywhere on your bike in London. They were developed for quick wheel changes in races. You don't need them on your commute. Get normal wheel nuts and carry a spanner with you. There are also special locking mechanisms with which you can further secure components, such as pitlocks or a saddle chain/wire loop.
* With a bit of experience in London, you'll develop an instinct where it's fairly safe to leave your bike and where it isn't.
* Bikes that evidently look very 'used', e.g. dirty or scratched, are of little interest to thieves. However, if it's a fashionable kind of dirty bike that doesn't look very 'owned', they may think that they can sell it on, anyway.
* Thieves' activity is often very recognisable to people living near them, e.g. bikes going in and out of the house all the time. Do report this if you can.
* Many people and even some police officers don't know about the Cycle Task Force yet. Make sure you spread the word.
* The police offer security marking of bikes. There will hopefully soon be a nationally unified system of bike marking. In the meantime, look out for events at which your local police do security marking for free.
* You can also register your bike on the Bike Register or Immobilise property databases. This could help the police in case they find your bike and need to return it to you. It is often impossible to return such bikes without this information being available to them.
Note that the Metropolitan Police no longer support Immobilise for stolen bikes and have switched to Bike Register. Their advice is that you should re-register your bike on Bike Register if you have previously registered it on Immobilise, as the two companies do not appear to share data.
The police run regular bike marking sessions around London and it is there that you can have your bikes registered.
In the event of a theft:
* Report the theft. The Met Police are becoming much more aware of bike theft, and the special Cycle Task Force are a good unit to whom to report your loss. Their contact details:
The Cycle Task Force is under the Met's Safer Transport Command, which offers a few services here:
Here's a page with recovered bikes:
Please let me know if you spot that any of these links are dead. I check them periodically, but may miss something.
* There are various DIY techniques that people have used to get their bikes back. It is not advisable to put yourself or others at risk, but it is of course understandable why people resort to DIY action, e.g. because the police couldn't help. Hopefully, with increased police action on theft, DIY bike recovery will become increasingly rare.
* Bikeshd helps with trying to find your bike on-line by scraping together pictures from around the web, e.g. from sites like Gumtree, where stolen bikes are often advertised for sale very soon after the theft. A Gumtree ad may also help the police. Stolen bikes also sometimes turn up on eBay.
* You can ask the forum to look out for your bike. Post on the Stolen Bikes thread. It sometimes works--someone may spot it and can PM you or post on the thread. A few bikes have been reclaimed after being spotted by people from the forum. Unfortunately, the nicer bikes tend not to be recovered. But it does happen.
* However, be cautious about posting on-line when you've found your stolen bike on Gumtree or other web-sites. The thieves may notice that the ad is being watched. Report such ads to the police, especially the Cycle Task Force, in the first instance. They have experience in taking action on them. If you post about it openly, you may jeopardise your own chances of getting your bike(s) back. Good luck.
* Advice from gaz1979: If you spot your stolen bike for sale on-line, one option that has been known to work is to arrange to meet the seller by text message in a busy public place, during the week, and in daylight hours. (e.g. a Tube station). You should then contact the police station nearest to where you have arranged to meet the seller, and explain the situation. The police don't have the authority to pose as buyers; they need special authorisation to solicit the appearance of a suspect by lying to them. In arranging the meeting yourself, you allow the police to act on information about where and when a suspect is likely to appear in possession of stolen goods. This bypasses a lot of red tape and allows the police to act far faster than they would otherwise be able to. DO NOT go to meet the seller yourself; it is more than likely not worth the risk. The police will take care of everything once they know the meeting place/time. They go in, pose as buyers and make the arrest, while you stick around to give statements/get your bike back. So: ARRANGE THE MEETING YOURSELF VIA TEXT MESSAGES.
THEN CALL THE LOCAL POLICE AND LET THEM DEAL WITH IT.
And here is some advice from a bike thief.
This is by no means complete. Please post things to be added!
Last edited by Oliver Schick; 10th March 2014 at 18:12.
|28th September 2010||#2|
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Also, ask the forum to look out for your bike, it sometimes works... there's been a few reclaimed after being spotted by people from the forum. Unfortunately, the nicer bikes tend not to be recovered. But it does happen.
Also, painting your frame with tartan paint will help get it back. Srsly.
|28th September 2010||#6|
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Nah, dutch and english saftey bikes get pinched all the bloody time, maybe hip student kids want to buy them (again)? I really don't think you can generalise at all about that.
I once saw this american hipster girl shouting at a japanese hipster girl about this crappy shopper bike, right in the throng of Sunday Brick Lane.
AHG (actually trying to grab the bike from it's current guardian): Hey, that's my bike! It was stolen! I bought from here, for seventy pounds!
JHG: No, it's mine, I bought here, for seventy pounds.
AHG: It's mine! You stole it! It was Stolen!
JHG: No! It's mine!
then the penny drops ... they BOTH bought a stolen bike. I laughed in their faces.
|28th September 2010||#9|
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|28th September 2010||#15|
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|28th September 2010||#20|
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Last edited by Oliver Schick; 29th September 2010 at 11:20.
|28th September 2010||#23|
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The bike police (by that I mean police on bikes) were in Condor on Friday, handing out leaflets giving advice on techniques for locking your bike, and bike registration advice. I've not got them on me now and maybe their contents have been covered here already, but I'll check their recommendations later and put up anything not yet mentioned.
|28th September 2010||#27|
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|28th September 2010||#29|
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Last edited by Oliver Schick; 29th September 2010 at 11:22.
|28th September 2010||#30|
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Not bike related, but JC's report (Shown 26-09-10) on the theft of farm machinery has some great anti theft advice. Microdots and synthetic DNA glue which can be painted on to all parts etc.
Would be nice to see some of these used on bikes.
|28th September 2010||#31|
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You can call either the City or the Mets if your bike is stolen in London and they'll transfer the report to the relevant force. The report won't go astray if you call the wrong force - it'll just be delayed a bit.
Reporting the theft and registering your bike (even after the theft) is a really good idea. Recovered bikes often go unclaimed and their owners can't be traced. I think Immobilise is the one the police go to first.
Re locks - this may be the wrong thread - I always use two different types (eg cable and d-lock) as villains generally only have the equipment to attack one type.
The Fagh looks like one of the best but does it have a sold secure rating? If not insurers may not cover bikes locked using it.
|29th September 2010||#33|
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If you buy a new bike keep the receipt safe - Should have the make/model/frame number and any anti-theft tagging (alphdot etc) numbers on, which will be useful proof of ownership if you need to reclaim it. If you've lost it, the bike shop may still have you on the system and can print you a copy.
Also, Keep up to date photos of your bike. Will make it easier for people to spot it if it's stolen than a photo of it with different saddles/bar tape/forks etc.
|29th September 2010||#34|
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|4th October 2010||#38|
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Just a bit of advice from experience guys: The CCTV on my street actually saw the guys who took my bike. The CCTV clearly saw the two guys take it, I spoke to the CCTV operator myself who confirmed as much but the camera being panned out it couldnt make a clear ID of the culprit's faces. Hence, unless the CCTV local to your bike being stolen has an operator on hand, notices your bike being stolen, zooms in on his face (assuming he's NOT to be wearing a hat or hoodie) it's going to help you get your bike back sweet FA as it did me.
|15th October 2010||#39|
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Heres a list of the next Met cycle marking events :
Want to make your bike more safe and secure? Come along to any of the Cycle marking events below:
8-10 October All day Cycle Show Earls Court, Earls Court Exhibition Centre, Warwick Road, London, SW5 9TA
11 Oct - 4pm to 7pm - Blackfriars Bridge SE1
14 Oct - 10am to 4pm - Walthamstow Town Square E17
19 Oct - 8am to 10am - Penton Street NW1
20 Oct - 1pm to 6pm Paddington Railway Station W2
21 Oct - 4pm to 7pm Duke of York Steps, The Mall SW1
27 Oct - 10am to 4pm Peckham Pulse, Melon Road, SE15 5QN
|16th October 2010||#42|
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City Police Cycle Surgery, Condor Cycles 12.15-12.45 weekdays
City Police are catching up with the Met a bit. Cycle squad officers will be in Condor every weekday between 12.15-12.45 for (according to the poster) cycle safety and security advice. No indication if they will be doing marking.
Condor also have a marked up police tt bicycle in the window so would-be RLJers should look out for Old Bill in skin suits...
|4th November 2010||#46|
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But the idea posted above is a good one but a better one is to take a picture of you with it as mentioned, photocopy that picture, write a parts list on it, roll it up and stick it inside your seat post. So if you do catch them at it and there's the po po around to intervene you can prove it quick and easy with an allen key. But you'd be lucky to be in that situation...
|4th November 2010||#47|
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Another idea which is debatable if you often get your saddle nicked is to use an actual bike chain (not a lock chain but a drive train chain) to attach one or two of the rails of it to the seat stay. If your fussed about scratching the paint, use a bit of gaffer tape or a sticker on the stay and connect the chain tightly so it doesn't rub.
Personally I'm not sold on it as they may just decide to batter your wheels or something instead but you never know.
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