Anyone who has ever owned a bike in the city knows the fear of locking it up in a public place. No matter how great the technology, it seems like thieves always find a way to get what they want. In fact, that's part of the reason that the city-wide bike sharing programs have such unwieldy bikes, complete with custom components. Providers want to make them as theft-proof as possible. Part of the reason that bike thefts are so prominent, however, is because there's an easy, efficient and low-risk way to sell them: eBay and Craigslist. An alternate way is to sell them to a bike shop. Check out this video of a bike shop owner in Cleveland who was able to recover his friend's bike when thieves tried to sell it to him at the story.
However thieves choose to fence their stolen goods, there remains no easy way to track them, or for people whose bike has been stolen to prove that it's actually theirs. This unpleasant reality has prompted J Allard, the co-founder of Xbox to do something about it. He's started a company, Project 529, that aims to make it easier to track, find and rightfully repossess stolen bikes.
GeekWire's Taylor Soper reports:
“We register our cars, our motorcycles — the government keeps a database on that. But I’ve spent my whole life cycling and never thought to register my bike,” [said Allard]
This is exactly what Project 529 is all about — using individual serial numbers and photos that give each bicycle a form of identification, making it much more difficult for thieves to successfully sell their stolen goods online.
It's unfortunate that all of us bike owners need to deal with the threat of theft, but if there's one team we're betting on to find a solution, it's J Allard and the team at Project 529.