Five of the best backup security products for cyclists
As much as we’d like to tell you that proper locking techniques and sturdy steel shackles are foolproof solutions to bike security, now and then the thieves come armed to the teeth.
So, what discreet security options exist to identify and recover a bike once taken? Stolen Ride explores some innovative solutions…
It’s a surprisingly common occurrence that the police do eventually recover a stolen bike, but without means to link the cycle to an owner they are almost always eventually sold at auction due to the cost attached to storing the volume of stolen cycles.
Having proven success in both the motorcycle and cycle world Datatag is one of the more commonly used registration databases that enables the law to function efficiently and actually reunite owners to their steeds. The firm’s UV Stealth product perhaps isn’t as discreet as the name suggests – in fact it is a permanent mark on the cycle’s frame and fork. You would however have to be looking closely to spot it, so it won’t detract from your bike’s presumably good looks. The UV etching is designed to be almost invisible, yet the kit is supplied with is a series of tamper evident labels that act as a warning, displaying the bicycle’s unique identification number and QR code.
Thieves with an ounce of experience know the warning signs well and will generally steer clear should they see Datatag’s marking. Datatag themselves boast a lowered theft rate of just 0.5% when bikes marked with their tags are involved, which it is keen to point out is well below the 10 to 20% historic averages reported by police and press investigating the matter.
With nearly 35 million registered items on its books, Immobilise isn’t solely for cycle security, in fact their ImmobiTags are designed to assist the police in identifying almost any stolen property; what’s more, the certificates of ownership will make insurance claims and police reports a simpler task.
While it’s free to register possessions at immobilise.com, individuals and businesses might want to take a look at the range of tagging kits on offer as these vastly increase the chances of reuniting stolen goods. For bicycles there is a specific kit, sold on the brand’s website. The electronic bike tagging system is compatible with all bikes sporting an uninterrupted seat tube of a 25.4mm to 32mm diameter. As you might have guessed, that’s where the firm recommends hiding its electronic tag and unique ID. Items registered with these kits instantly appear on the National Mobile Property Register (NMPR) and are readable quickly by police scanners.
Registration with BikeRegister is free, which makes it a no brainer for added peace of mind. There is of course a purchasable product too and one that adds a time-proven layer of protection. This once again comes in the form of a discreet marking and optional warning label.
Three options exist to secure your cycle; a UV Covert kit, Permanent Marking kit and Membership Plus Kit.
Starting with the former, the covert approach involves tagging your bike with hundreds of microscopic UV visible dots. In a single kit there is enough to apply 20 individual marks, so feasibly you could do a small fleet of bikes or accessories with one box. Such chemical marking enables the police to quickly view your unique marking and cross check with your details. A tamper-resistant security label bears the unique BikeRegister code assigned to you as the owner.
The Permanent marking kit meanwhile is trusted by over 840,000 people. This do it yourself kit again chemically etches a unique code to your bike frame, though this kit will only do the one bicycle. This system works for any painted or lacquered finish.
Finally, for those with exposed carbon or a reluctance to chemically alter their surfaces, the Membership Plus Kit is better suited. Including two durable QR barcode labels, this sticker system is quickly scannable by law enforcement to tally up with your online registration.
Synched to a database of cycles via an app, Veloeye is one of the simple fit and forget solutions available off the shelf. Much like the mechanics of crowdfunding, Veloeye uses similar community principles to achieve a common goal.
The tamper resistant barcode attached to the bicycle is scannable by anyone with a smart phone. If stolen, the bike owner will notify Veloeye that their bike is missing online. The relevant community will then become aware of the theft and be able to scan the bike if spotted. Should the bike match up and flag red on the app the location of the cycle will be sent to the owner who can then inform the police and hopefully recover the bike.
A little different to the rest here, MissingX is a searchable database that logs lost and found property. As used by many of Europe’s transport hubs, the cloud software organises the safe return of lost or stolen items when found.
Algorithms within the system collate data in order to pair items with owners who may be searching. If, for example, your bicycle was taken on August 23rd at Stevenage train station, this criteria could be searched. With a little bit of luck, if found, the database will have the item’s status listed and advise what to do next. A search criteria can be saved and revisited frequently.
Pictures can be uploaded in order to boost chances of a match.
Police occasionally host their own cycle marking events and will very often apply their own approved markings if requested, so it never hurts to pop into your local station to see if localised schemes are in operation. Or look at police Twitter accounts.