We’ve got it pretty good here in Oregon. There is no shortage of breathtaking places to ride, the calendar is jam-packed with awesome events, our cities and towns are either bike friendly already, or warming up to the idea. Our friends, coworkers and neighbors ride. Bike shops abound. But unfortunately with all of that comes the bike thieves, who currently steal bikes at an alarming rate with relative ease.
Project 529 wants to put a stop to that.
This innovative Portland company is making it harder on thieves by putting up road blocks to theft. The company has fused a high tech phone app with good old-fashioned neighborhood watch community action. The first step: Register your bike in the virtual 529 Garage. When a bike from the garage is stolen, an alert goes out with details about your bike. The site’s hot sheet makes it easy for other users and bike shops to see at-a-glance what bikes to be on the look out for and, crucially, the local authorities are woven into the network of 529’s alert resources.
We ride bikes because we love them. Thieves aren’t motivated by a love of bikes – they simply want the quick cash. So if re-selling bikes becomes more complicated, if eBay and Craigslist start to require serial numbers for bike listings and if there’s an easy way for the community to be on the lookout for stolen bikes, bike thieves are going to move on to something that’s a faster buck. No longer will bikes be that crime of opportunity.
Is this going to completely wipe out bike theft? Probably not, but 529’s cleanly designed resources are going to make it much more likely you’ll get your bike back (the newly launched 529 Garage just recovered their first bike last week) and this process makes stealing bikes less appealing to thieves.
Bike Registration Party
To enhance the 529 Garage service, the company has developed the 529 Shield — a sticker that provides a serialized, tamper-proof identifier. The 529 Shield provides unique identification as well as a psychological deterrent, the way an home security sign might deter a burglar looking for an easy target.
On May 29 (5/29), Project 529 is hosting a bike registration day at participating Portland area bike shops. Shops will help you register all the details of your bike and will install 529 Shields – normally a $10 product – for free.
Head to any one of these shops to participate:
Bike N Hike (Portland, Beaverton, Hillsboro, Milwaukie locations)
Crank 2725 SE Ash Street
Cyclepath 2436 NE Martin Luther King Jr Blvd
Hi-5 Bikes, 3935 NE Martin Luther King Jr Blvd
The Lumberyard 2700 NE 82nd Ave
Revolver 6509 N Interstate Ave
Sunset Cycles 15320 NW Central Drive
The Bike Commuter 8301 SE 13th Avenue
West End Bikes 1111 SW Stark St, Portland
Keep Your Bike Secure
We think Project 529 is a fantastic idea, but it’s important to still be vigilant about bike security basics:
- Always lock your bike, even if you’re just running to grab a quick cup of coffee.
- You think the added weight of a lock on a training ride is a hassle, but maybe you’re just not carrying your lock well. Find a no-hassle way to carry your lock (not your jersey pocket or anywhere it will rattle) if there’s any chance of post-ride beers, coffee or errands.
- Your gated back yard and front porch are cozy places to hang out, but not for your bike. It’s extremely common for bikes to be stolen from these spots.
- Never lock your bike overnight on the streets of Portland or in other cities. Even if your frame is still there in the morning, lights, unlocked wheels and even headsets will probably be stripped off.
- Always bring your lock – you never know where you’ll wind up on a day of riding and you want the opportunity for a random beer stop, friend visit or store pop in.