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”
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.