First of all, if your bike has been stolen, I want you to know you’re not alone. Sadly. It happened to me back in 2014, just 2 weeks away from me taking part in The London Duathlon.
Thankfully, a friend lent me her road bike for the event and I did eventually get myself another bike (my first road bike, instead of a hybrid) and the rest is history!
These days, I typically don’t take my bike anywhere that I need to leave it locked up outdoors. There was even a point I kept my bike locked to my bed in my flat!
If you’re here because your bike has been stolen, then read on for what to do in the hopes of recovering it (it’s possible). If you’ve not been so unfortunate, then let’s try and keep it that way. Here are some posts about bike security and insurance:
- How To Choose The Best Bike Insurance Policy
- Bike Security, Saddle Bags & Maintenance
- New Hiplok Gold & The Art Of Bike Security
- The Realities Of Being A Uk Cyclist
My Stolen Bike Story
On Tuesday 2nd September 2014, I scolded myself for feeling lazy and wanting to take the bus into town to teach. I self talked myself into feeling positive about cycling that evening. After all, it was a nice evening for the 30 minute casual ride to the Nike Store in Covent Garden.
I started to lock my bike up on the orange railings outside the store but then decided to lift my bike over the railings for a little extra security. I was there for ages fumbling around to ensure I locked it up properly. This was at approx 18:05 – 18:10.
Out of nowhere, a guy came up from behind me and said “Hey, you okay?”. My response was of course “yeah I’m good thanks!” and that was that. I felt a little uncomfortable with the encounter and removed my rucksack to check if he had pick pocketed me, which he hadn’t. Anyway, I went into store, met the ladies for class, ran the class and came back to the store for a stretch.
Out of nowhere, I had a gut feeling that my bike was not going to be there. Mid stretch, I stepped around the corner and had my worse fears confirmed. All that was left was my D lock and the end of the wire lock which had clearly been cut with a bolt cutter.
He must’ve been in a hurry (obviously) and ended up knocking over another bike locked up next to mine in his (successful) attempt to steal my bike. I was kinda surprised that he got away with this and no one saw a thing in the middle of Covent Garden. I mean, he looked dodgy, he had a bolt cutter, he must’ve had to release the front wheel…
Report Your Stolen Bike
Log your bike as stolen on findthatbike.co.uk and on bikeregister.com. Mark as stolen and include the frame number if you know it. Tweet about your bike and share to Instagram with the @stolenride tag.
Ask friends to share your post too, to help spread the word. If your bike is distinctive in some way, it’ll be even easier for others to spot.
Set Up Alerts on Marketplaces
Set up alerts on findthatbike which covers Gumtree, eBay and Preloved, then set up separate alerts on shpock. You can also see bikes for sale in London area on bikeshd.co.uk. Keep a good eye out on Facebook Marketplace too.
Also share on:
- Nextdoor Neighbourhood
Inform The Police
If it’s not an emergency, then you can report your stolen bike to the police via 101 or the report crime form online. Let them know if you see it for sale, arrange to buy it then ask them to come with you to recover it. They don’t always have the resources, but sometimes they do this.
In my case, the police did come over to my place to dust the lock for prints but I guess that didn’t come up with anything. If you have insurance, you’ll most likely need the crime reference number in order to make a claim.
The recovery rate for stolen bicycles is just 4%. But someone has to be in that 4% right?! Sadly, it wasn’t me on that occasion back in 2014 although I did hold out hope for quite some time!
Here are some of the positive vibes and wise words that were shared with me
Whether its a £40 run around or a £2000 performance bike its still crushing
I still keep an eye out my stolen bike 15+ years on…. and still miss it
It’s both the loss and the guilt that gets to you. “If only I did / didn’t,had / hadn’t”. You’re (very) human.
It’s often seen as “oh its just a bike” but if it was their car that was stolen you can be sure it would be a huge deal
Got mine back at brick lane… go there and steal it back!
It was also unfortunate that my bike was uninsured. That’s a tough lesson but what’s done is done. Hopefully, you learn from my mistake and insure your bike now! Also, invest in THE best locks you can afford, register / mark / label your bike – do everything, and anything possible to prevent this happening to you!
And, GOOD LUCK!