The End Of The Bicycle Thieves?

Theft is on my mind. I have just ordered a rather expensive bicycle and Josh Quigley, a man who wants to cycle around the world, had his bicycle stolen in London this week before he’d had the chance to even leave the country. Once my new Koga is delivered, I intend buying insurance (probably via Bikmo but if anyone has other suggestions, please let me know) but we all know that prevention is better than cure so earlier this week I posted the following tweet:

The tweet didn’t set the Internet alight but @NickyJim73 did point me in the direction of a company called Van Moof. Van Moof, based in Amsterdam, build trackers into their bicycles. Now that boat has sailed I’m afraid – I’m not about to cancel my order for a Koga – but this is an interesting story worth persisting with. Van Moof not only build bikes with trackers, they offer a finding service should your bicycle become the victim of a theft.

“After our debut theft-protected SmartBike received rave reviews in 2016, we turned a trial Bike Hunter service into a full-blown opt-in service for (almost) all VanMoof bikes. Our growing team of 13 Bike Hunters operates worldwide, with more than 100 bike hunts under their belt. They manage to find back 70% of stolen VanMoof bikes within two weeks. Which isn’t too bad compared to the European average — only 4% of stolen bikes are recovered by authorities.”

Van Moof website

And the videos that Van Moof post to YouTube are both entertaining and very satisfying to watch. Here’s the one from March:

So is this the future? Well clearly it is and with 5G promising to connect everything with everything, it might not be too much to hope that one day bike theft could be a thing of the past.

What do you think? Have you ever used a bike tracker? Do they offer peace of mind? Or are they just a pain to maintain and keep charged?

Categories: Cycling, Travel

5 replies »

  1. Like already mentioned, Be careful where you leave it,if possible always within eyesight and get the best lock you can afford ,I use a Hiplok Gold when out and about and its locked up at home too,When i,m touring i get my bike in the room overnight, and still lock it,If your using your bike around town for shopping etc, get a cheap battered up one that,s not worth nicking,!!!!! The key is use your common sense were you leave it and make it as hard as possible to take,and get in the habit of locking it.Mixed views on Insure Companies ,talking to my friends their views are the same ,Happy to take your money but not to happy to pay out in some case,s and it,s about the cost and the small print….!!!!

  2. I had my best bike of the time nicked in London in 2005. I reported it to the police and they were about as concerned as if I’d had a packet of crisps stolen in a pub. It was registered and police-marked but of course I heard nothing, and scoured Gumtree and similar but never saw it again. At least since then I’ve been super cautious (really high rated D locks etc) and always try to find a better bike to lock up next to, hoping they’ll take that one instead! That ruse might be difficult with your lovely new touring bike though, Andrew…!

    • Mmm… Perhaps. I had a similar encounter with the police when living in France. My bike was stolen and I reported it to the local police. I asked if they thought I’d get it back. The officer turned to me and said “On n’est pas Colombo…”. I never saw the bike again…

  3. Bike insurance is costly. One contributing factor is people who make dishonest claims. When I found an abandoned bike I took it to the police who told me I could have the bike if nobody claimed it after 28 days.
    When I went to pick it up the police officer asked me if I would be able to identify the bike. A strange question I thought until he took me into a building which was stacked high with bikes.
    When I asked where they came from he shrugged and said people dump them and claim on the insurance!

    I’m not sure how these people get on with the insurance companies though. My experience has never been good as there is often and excess or they challenge the value of the item claimed for.

    Unfortunately even a strong lock doesn’t deter every thief. I’ve heard of mobile cycle racks being put down in cities (it was Cambridge) by official looking characters with hi-vis jackets who then wait for cyclists to lock their bikes to them. When they are full the guys simply lift the rack and all the bikes onto their van and cart them off.

    Make sure you lock the bike to something which can’t be moved.

  4. It all comes down to how much does it cost compared to the bike, and what happens if they donโ€™t find it (do they pay out). You then need to compare this to the level of risk you perceive. The only time I have bothered to insure my bike was when flying to cover the lost luggage/ damaged in transit. From memory annual insurance was about 20% of the value of the bike, which in my view is too high.

    A decent lock and being careful where you leave it are the best defence.

What do you think?