Poster of for stolen bike with drawing of a missing bike in black marking pen.

Heartbroken Over a Stolen Bike

Poster of for stolen bike

I know the feeling all too well: that awful, sinking emotion when you realize your bike has been stolen. It's never easy to have your personal belongings stolen, not least when it's your main mode of transportation. It is frustrating. It is a violation. And it is wrong.

There are many things that people that own bikes can do to prevent being a victim of bike theft. Bikes are an easy target for thieves. So it's up to you, the rider, to take extra care of your bike to ensure it is safe and out of reach from these sticky fingers.

Ten tips for bike security:

1. Do this right now: take photo and serial number.

Take a picture of your bike and the serial number. Keep this info on your phone or somewhere safe but make sure you have this info. You can enter this information on the website of the National Bike Registry (529 Garage) as well. You will need the serial number to report a stolen bike. The serial number really is the only way for police to find a bike's owner.

2. Ride your bike often.

The more you ride it, the less time they have to steal it.

3. Always keep your third eye on your bike.

Park where you can see it. Just because bike racks are around the corner does not mean you have to use them. Instead find a pole that is right out front where people can see it.

4. Use a good lock.

A cable lock is easy to cut and one should never rely on a cable lock to prevent a local thief. A u-lock (example: Abus Granite X) or folding lock (example: Abus Bordo) is recommended. Investing in a proper lock is a wise investment.

5. Add plenty of bells and whistles to your bike.

Deck out your bike and give it moxie. Extras on a bike create a paper trail for thieves. Thieves prefer an easy, clean bike and don’t want to deal with all the extras. Give your bike character and the perception that you are right around the corner.

6. Don’t leave your bike unattended for long periods of time.

Store your bike safely at your house. An unlocked bike on the side of a house is an easy target for bike thieves so take your bikes inside. If you are confined to a small space, consider your bike your best piece of wall art and hang it proudly over the couch. If you ride to work, encourage your employer to provide a secure place for bikes.

7. If your bike is stolen, report it to your local police.

This is so important and valuable. Creating a report is simple and can be done online in San Diego. If there is no report, then technically there was no bike stolen. Please make a report if your bike is stolen, otherwise no-one will know, enforcement will be limited, and bikes will continue to be stolen from our community. You will have a better opportunity to get your bike recovered if you can provide serial number. A police report will also be required if you decide to file an insurance claim as many homeowners and renters insurance policies will help cover the cost of stolen bikes.

8. Keep an eye out for your stolen bike.

Often your stolen bike never leaves your community. I have recovered a bike six months after it had been stolen and still check every black beach cruiser as if it could be my lost childhood treasure that went missing a few years ago. Be optimistic and look out for it. It may just come back to you when you least expect it.

9. Use social media to bring awareness.

Neighbors are your best allies. Post on Nextdoor, check Craigslist, and send to your social network. Creating signs stating "Reward for Stolen" work great.  It did help me recover a stolen bicycle in Ocean Beach.

10. Bike share.

If you are still discouraged with bike ownership due to fear of it being stolen, or just haven't got around to replacing a stolen bike, I recommend bike share (such as Jump bikes). With the recent roll out of dockless bikes, there are more opportunities to enjoy our city by bike. With bike sharing, there's no need to worry about having a bike stolen, maintenance, or a lack of space to store a bike. It can be a wonderful transportation option for residents and a way to embrace all the benefits of a bike.

For the unfortunate ones that have been victim of their bike being stolen, I am sorry for your loss and understand the agony. Time will make it easier and realize that there are far worse things that can happen in the world. Hopefully you had some memorable rides on your bike. And that you're able to find it or replace your lost set of wheels to get you back on the road soon.

Keep your bike secure, enjoy the ride, and ride often.

Your Bike Friend,

Nicole BurgessNicole
BikeSD Board Member


Xtracycle Cargo Bike - Yours to Enjoy - BikeSD Member Bonus

A great BikeSD supporter recently donated an XtraCycle Free Radical bicycle extension / conversion kit to BikeSD and thanks to some additional donations of a bicycle, labor, and parts from MJ's Cyclery we now have an awesome cargo bike for members to use!  Big thanks to the donor and MJ's for making this happen!


To explain a bit more, the XtraCycle Free Radical is an attachment that takes an ordinary bicycle and extends the frame, adding capacity for carrying more people, groceries, tools, beach toys, etc.  Please see below photos to get an idea of what the bicycle looks like and what you might use it for.  The bicycle frame used is a GT Outpost Trail mountain bike with 27 gear options (3 in front, 7 in back) and is a really nice choice if you are putting a lot of weight on the back since mountain bikes have nice low gears to help getting up steep inclines.

We're still trying to figure out what we'll be using the bike for but first and foremost we want to offer it for use free of charge to any BikeSD members.  If you're thinking about buying an XtraCycle or a cargo bicycle and would like to test one out first, please borrow ours and give it a spin for the weekend.  Want to try out taking your kids to school by bicycle?  You can borrow the bike and take them out for espresso then drop them at the school gates in style.  Grandma coming to visit and you don't have a spare bike? Borrow this one and you can ride together all over town.

If you'd like to borrow this great bicycle and give it a spin please drop us as email at talk@bikesd.org with the date(s) and time you'd like to use it and the location that's best for you.  We'll do our best to accommodate and look forward to seeing this great bike around town.

Notes: when using this bicycle please make sure to lock it up at all times (lock provided with bicycle) and use lights when operating.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.