Bike Theft Recovery

It’s difficult to recover stolen property if you can’t prove ownership. A few steps can make identifying your bicycle easier.

Establishing Ownership

  • Take a picture of you with the bike AND a picture of the bike’s serial number and keep it in your phone. That way you have immediate information to give police.
  • Create overt and covert markings on your bike.

Overt Markings

  • Write your initials with a silver sharpie on your tire. Yes, it detracts from your bike’s ambiance (barely), but no one sees it when you’re moving.  
  • If you don’t want to mark your tires, find some other method to obviously mark your bike that you can live with.  
  • Remember that stickers can be easily removed in most cases.
  • Overt markings help bike shops you’ve notified of the theft to spot your bike should it show up for repair or sale.

Covert Markings  

  • Place a dab of paint or nail polish high on the inside of your forks and seat stays. Use the same color as your frame so it will be almost invisible. The texture will be evidence of your marking.
  • Covert markings give you evidence should there be a dispute regarding ownership.

Post-theft Steps

  • Make a police report. Include the bike and serial number pictures and the overt and covert markings. The report helps bike shops when calling that they have a stolen bike.
  • Police generally make bike theft a low priority, so the easier to identify a stolen bike the better.