So Just Where Do Stolen Bikes End Up?

Compared to cellphones, drugs, and other electronics, which you can quickly cash in, you’d think bikes weren’t worth the criminal effort. And yet, according to the CBC, Vancouver alone had 2,115 reports of stolen bikes. (And those are only the recorded cases.) This means that for every 100,000 people, 334 bikes are stolen.  

Although the numbers are higher in cities like Calgary (3,284) and Toronto (3,838), the per capita rate of theft in Vancouver is still the highest. This must mean pretty good income for thieves, right? This post further explores why bike theft is so prevalent, where stolen bikes end up – and simple measures you can take to prevent and discourage this vicious epidemic. 

Why is bike theft so common?

Bicycle theft is so prevalent because bandits recognize the reward is far greater than the risk. Stealing a bike is relatively easy. The chances of getting caught are close to zero, and if someone does get caught, the penalty is basically nothing. 

Aside from the nearly risk-free incentive, supply chain issues brought on by the pandemic have caused the prices of used bikes and their parts to shoot up. 

If you’ve spent enough time biking around a major city, the chances of getting your bike stolen are impressively high. You’ll want to invest in a reliable bike lock, even if you’re the type to just dip into the store for 30 seconds. We recommend the high-quality U-lock to avoid bike theft. Never rely on a cable lock. They are flimsy and very easy to break.



What happens to stolen bikes?

There are only two kinds of thieves wandering the streets for your precious bike. These would be: 

  1. Amateur Bike Thieves

These are usually desperate neophytes trying their luck on unsecured bikes to bag some quick cash. They usually sell their stolen goods on the streets or flea markets. Since they usually act on impulse and their plans aren’t thought out, they end up selling stolen bikes for practically nothing. (Whether it’s a $2,000 road bike or a $60 budget option.) 

  1. Professional Thieves

These are the cold-blooded experts who have their tools, targets, and skills set on the pricier bike models. They have equipment that can cut through U-locks and the knowledge to resell stolen bikes near their market value. 

These crooks steal bikes off the street and sell them online to maximize profit. 

 According to CBC News:  

 “‘In Vancouver, most stolen bicycles end up on online marketplaces like Craigslist and Facebook,’ says Const. Rob Brunt, Canada’s only bike detective. Online forums have long complained of alleged chop shops in the city where bikes are reassembled into untraceable frankenbikes ready to be sold.”


 “During the summer, Brunt says most bikes are stolen from the street, but as the weather turns, thieves steal from bike lockers and garages.”

Improving Bike Security In Your Community  

Needless to say, getting your bike stolen is a total pain (Trust us, we know), but you can still play a role in enhancing security and discouraging theft in your area. By registering your bike on the Project 529 Garage smartphone app, you get to enlist your bike in North America’s largest searchable database. 

In the event of a bike theft, inform the 529 Garage community and report it to your local police force. Recovering a bike won’t get any easier than that.

If you’ve just bought a bike, whether it’s new or secondhand – don’t forget to have it insured. Speak to Bicycle Broker today to find out which policy is the right fit for you. We have flexible packages to choose from that can be customized to fit your #cyclinglife. 

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