Bike theft sucks.
A couple friends reported having their bikes stolen in the last 2 months, and it got me to thinking about how worthwhile it is to list your bikes on BikeIndex. If you're worrying about your bike being stolen, or if your bike has been stolen and you need help getting it back, BikeIndex can be a really helpful resource.
BikeIndex is the best place to report your stolen bike online
BikeIndex is a free, online, non-profit, database where people can list their bikes and report their stolen bikes. It's the biggest database that I know of, so if your bike is stolen, you have a better chance of searchers finding you. BikeIndex sends out alerts when bikes are marked stolen to broaden potential group people who can find your bike.
As of this writing, nearly 12,000 bikes have been recovered through BikeIndex, valued at more than $20 million.
BikeIndex is also great for listing your bike in general even if it's not stolen
Registration is quick, and it's recommended that you upload a picture and enter the serial number of your bike. It's a lot easier to do this if you are in possession of your bike. I think the easiest way to record your bike's serial number is to take a bunch of photos, including the area under the bottom bracket, where serial numbers are often stamped. I've registered bikes for friends, and it only takes a minute or two if you have the information handy. Some organizations offer bike registration, and they use BikeIndex as the central registry.
People use BikeIndex to check if bikes are stolen when purchasing
From personal experience, I always do a search on BikeIndex when evaluating purchasing a used bike. Many bike shops do this too.
You can also register a bike if you've found it and suspect that it's been stolen.
Here's how to list your bike on BikeIndex (stolen or unstolen)
First, create an account. It's quick, and not a ton of extra weird verification stuff is necessary.
Next, enter details: Serial Number, Manufacturer, Model Year, Frame Model, Primary Frame Color, Phone, Location, and Email.
Then you can upload a photo.
I highly recommend adding the Serial Number if you have it, the correct frame model, and the correct manufacturer and color. And a photo. Manufacturer, color, and frame model are the easiest ways to search for a bike. A photo helps with visual confirmation, and the serial number will let you know for sure if it's the same bike.
If someone thinks they've found your stolen bike, they can email you through the site
When someone thinks they've found a match, you will receive an email from BikeIndex with a short message from the person who's found it. If you've searched BikeIndex because you think you've found a match, contacting the owner is easy. Just write a short note about where you've found a bike and include a URL to where you've found it.
Here are other stolen bike and theft-prevention resources
- My hidden AirTag bike mount for holding an AirTag to track your bike using GPS and Apple's FindMy network
- How are bikes usually stolen? (Usually from peoples' garages)
- A compilation of bike theft and bike theft prevention resources
- Something to avoid when locking your bike
Thank you for reading!
I hope this has been helpful. Please register your bike with BikeIndex. I don't get anything out of promoting them, I just hate bike theft and want it to happen less frequently.