Spotlight Series: Bike Shops Making the Difference

Summer’s just around the corner which means bike thefts are on the rise.

Between the daily reports of stolen bikes coming in and tracking down international bike theft rings, the stories of bicycle recoveries and their grateful owners provide a welcome reprieve.

Our community is full of good samaritans helping strangers find their beloved bicycles. Everyday bikes are being recovered by cyclists just looking out for fellow cyclists…and sometimes going above and beyond to aid in the recoveries themselves.

Like this TikTok story of a stranger who identified a stolen bike from Bike Index at a flea market, retrieved the bike from the seller and got it back to the owner on the same day.

Or this Twitter thread of a would-be buyer realizing the bike he was about to buy was stolen and operating his first “sting operation” to get it back to its owner.

But another great part of our community are the bike shops who stop thieves in their tracks and proactively fight bike theft by activating their communities to get registered.

Shops are on the frontlines of curbing theft and limiting the options thieves have to fence their stolen goods.

This vigilant work is coming from bike shops of every size.

At Bayou Bicycles in New Orleans, a bicycle mechanic thought something was odd when a customer came in requesting to have a flat changed on his Bianchi and do some other work that seemed misplaced.

He looked up the serial number on Bike Index to find that it had been stolen five years ago and started tracking down the owner through a Bike Index community partner, Stolen Bikes Nola.

That’s when the owner started getting phone calls about their bicycle being found: an 18 year old bike that was originally purchased from the very same shop years earlier and was still dearly missed.

Bayou Bicycles offered to do a little work before picking it up with a new hub and seat and before long, the Bianchi was back in the right hands.

“It is just so nice to have this bike back - yes I still had my Janus Hybrid and a couple of years I broke down and bought a retro street bike. But Bianchi is the one.”

From local operations to major retailers, bike shops are making a real impact in curbing bike theft in their communities.

Just last week in Boulder, Colorado, The Pro’s Closet aided in a bike recovery when a thief tried to sell a stolen bike to them. By checking the serial number on Bike Index, and with the assistance of the local police, the stolen bike was recovered and returned to the owner.

In addition to these vigilant recovery efforts, bike shops are in the unique position of being able to register a bike from its initial purchase and help protect that bicycle throughout its lifespan. As of May, Bike Index has over 800,000 bicycles in its registry, and over $18 million of stolen bikes recovered.

The Pro’s Closet is one of 1,370 community partners who use Bike Index for registering inventory and referencing the stolen bike database to fight theft proactively.

Bike shops can register for a free Bike Index shop account and integrate their POS to automatically register bikes at purchase to help curb bike theft in their local communities. You can learn more about Bike Index for Bike Shops, here.