Most of us take for granted that our bike will be right where we leave it, ready for our return and the next ride. However, this is not always the case. 

To Catch a Thief & To Prevent a Theft

We enjoy riding our bicycles for myriad reasons: for pleasure rides, for exercise, to take part in a competition, and sometimes simply to get from Point A to Point B. Most of us take for granted that our bike will be right where we leave it, ready for our return and the next ride.

However, this is not always the case. Bikes are a lucrative target for thieves. And as it turns out, bike theft is more common than most realize. It is an issue that needs to be taken very seriously by the entire bicycle community. 

A person riding a bike in the woods

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How serious of an issue is bike theft?

A conservative estimate is more than 2 million bikes are stolen each year in North America, which equates to a theft occurring every 30 seconds. But these numbers are actually much higher. Bicycle thefts have only risen during the pandemic, and many thefts are never reported. 

Another startling statistic is a mere 5% or so of stolen bikes are ever returned to owners. Why such a low percentage? Many bike owners don’t know their serial number, never take the time to register their bike, and don’t report a theft to police once it occurs. 

Bicycle theft is big business; I’d even go as far as to say on par with organized crime. I’ve spent time researching the nuts and bolts of bike theft operations. It often involves two to three individuals. In many cases, it is an amateur thief (or two), along with an accomplice holding a smartphone who posts the bicycle online for a quick flip.

Here’s another fact that might surprise you: most thieves are never caught. But if they are – even if caught red-handed with the property they stole – there are almost NO FELONY CONVICTIONS. Since criminals know many bike thefts are not reported and there is a low probability of them going to prison if they are, there is very little to deter thieves from conducting their crimes. 

A child riding a bike on a dirt path

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My introduction to cycling the problems within the industry

My love of cycling started when I was about ten years old and received my first bike – a Trek 820 mountain bike – that I rode through the glacial valleys of Grant County, Wisconsin. As a young adult, I took a break from cycling for many years but was reintroduced to the sport by a friend who opened my eyes to singletrack. From then on, I was back at the sport.

I bought an affordable 90s-era Scott racing mountain bike and I spent every available moment exploring new tracks in all four seasons. My passion for the sport grew, as did my desire to find my “ideal” bike. It turned out to be a difficult task. 

At the same time, I needed to find a bike that my young son could ride one-handed, and I started to learn about adaptability components for disabled riders. There was much frustration in this process as well, as the “trial and error” approach did not always bring a good solution.

It was because of my son’s needs and my own desire to locate my next bike that I dove deeper into the world of cycling and I started selling bikes myself. As part of my business practices, I am always truthful and offer full disclosure. I offer a trade-in program and a warranty for the buyer’s protection, and I always “make it right” for people who buy a used bike from me.

What I have discovered is that not everyone has these same virtues. Many sellers are not truthful about the history of a bike, and when a bicycle is sold online, there is no transfer of paperwork or one’s knowledge/history of the bicycle – frankly, because it doesn’t exist.

As I became increasingly aware of these issues in the bike industry (including the growing problem of theft), I decided to take action. 

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The gap I look to fill

I took time to learn about bike registries, which on paper seem like a solid tool to safeguard bicycles. But a major flaw with the registry system is the lack of a centralized database, meaning there is no all-encompassing collection of bicycle information (similar to what we see within a Department of Motor Vehicles). Plus, bike sellers do not require a new owner to register the bicycle at the time of purchase. 

I discovered a strong and clear need for a new technology and solution to fill the gaping hole found in the cycling industry to track the ownership and history of a bicycle. Thus, I founded idRIDER. 

At the heart of idRIDER is a user-friendly app, a powerful tool to help bike owners quickly and easily register bicycles. This provides proof of bike ownership, and is a way to track and record the history of a bike.

I am excited to introduce idRIDER to the cycling community and offer a way that every bike owner can affordably and effectively take control of bike ownership, and be reassured that all possible preventative measures have been taken to safeguard a bike.I invite you to learn more about idRIDER and discover more about our mission, our promise, and our journey to date. I hope you will join us for the ride.