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What to do if your bike is stolen

By Bruce Lin

Published

What to do if your bike is stolen

It's a bike owner's nightmare, expecting to throw your leg over your bicycle, only to find that it has been stolen. Below, we have outlined steps to take if your bike disappears. Hopefully you've already taken the necessary steps to prepare yourself for this unfortunate situation.

1. File a police report

Local police departments host a database of stolen bicycle serial numbers and secondhand dealers must cross reference their incoming inventory with this database.  The sooner you file a police report, the better.

2. Mark your bike as “stolen”

If your bike was already registered on Bike Index and/or Project 529 (which it should be), you can mark your bike as “Stolen” and alert other users.What to do if my bike is stolen

3. Spread the word on social media

Post photos of your stolen bike on local bike-centric Facebook groups, bike shops, and secondhand dealer pages. Your photos should include a drive side photo of your bike and any distinguishing features.  Post photos everywhere you find relevant, the more awareness you create, the better chance you have to recover your bike.

4. Spread the word locally

Take the above philosophy to the streets. Physically walk into secondhand dealer stores and bike shops with a “Stolen Bike” flyer.  Post the flyer on local cork boards often found at grocery stores and community areas. Be sure to include your phone number, email address, a photo, and any distinguishing characteristics.

5. Keep an eye out

Visit and bookmark websites where used bikes are sold, like Craigslist.com, MTBR.com, and Pinkbike.com. Google and eBay allow you to easily set up alerts based on selected keywords. Create a Google Alert and eBay Followed search for your bike. These alerts will send you emails whenever a listing matches your stolen bike.

If you find your bike...

Do not set up your own sting operation. While you may want revenge on the one who stole your beloved bike, local police officers are prepared to retrieve stolen property. Immediately, reach out to the police department where you filed your report and provide them with all of your relevant information.


1 comment


  • I had an adult-sized bike that was stolen recently from the bike room of my apartment as well as the bikes belonging to the other residents. It was a mix of blue, gray, and black. It had a gearshift on a handle and its wheels were designed for going on a road and off a road. Each handle had a brake. I don’t remember the brand name, color, or serial number but it’s manufacturer could have been Bell, Event, or Giant. I have a helmet whose name is Bell and whose serial number is C0353707. Maybe that was the bike’s serial number but I’m not totally sure. Whoever stole my bike and everyone else’s cut the combination locks before stealing them. I don’t know when exactly they were stolen but probably somewhere in November and I don’t know what those thieves looked like but I hope the stolen bikes can turn up somewhere.

    Brydon Baker on


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