Dos and Don’ts of a Missing Bike Post


Almost everyone has had a bike stolen.  And if you haven’t, then you will.  Perhaps the only way not to have a bike stolen in a lifetime is simply not to own a bike – but that’s just ridiculous. 


If you did need your bike to transport yourself and/or others on time for work and school – this a major loss.  Being less mobile isn’t the greatest, in certain cases it can decrease your safety or accessibility.  Bikes get stolen.  It sucks.  It can be worse for some and less so for others, but arguably, it can be a pretty detrimental thing to happen.  You have every right to be angry.   You also have absolutely every right to get your bike back.  Especially when you have [had 😦  ] a not-so-expensive bike and it was your car and now you gotta bus and BART it more.


If you loved your bike but you have other means of transportation easily available to you, understanding that you’re pissed, please take a moment to allow for some empathy. 

You might not agree with someone else’s life style but attempt to have compassion for them. If this wasn’t the worst thing that could have happened, don’t pretend that it is.  Does it still suck? Yes.  Is it the end of the world? No.


There is no bike-thief type.  All types of folk take bikes.  You might have even witnessed a theft and not realized it.  In a short experiment with a hidden camera;  ABC recorded public interactions with different persons removing a bike without the key.  As some people walked past, ignored or assisted certain thieves and interrupted, interrogated and called authorities on other thieves, doing the exactly same thing.  You might not even know that you were watching someone’s bike be stolen and roll away. 


But, stories of people being reunited with their bikes are the best!


  • Post a good picture of your bike, in color if possible.
  • Describe all the info you know about your bike. If you know it’s a ‘late 1970s original Bianchi with custom paint job and one of only 40 remaining made’, that’s great.  If you only know it’s a ‘Green, Mountain bike with knobby wheels’ that’s okay.  Any info is better than none.
  • Clearly feature any unique signifiers for your bike. Use pictures and descriptions: 29er Neon Pink Rims, Giraffe Painted Penny farthing, “Oakland” painted on Front Rim in Bright Green and Yellow.  
  • Post the serial number if you know it.
  • Describe the time and date and location of the last place you saw it. Note what it was locked to, if anything, and how it was locked.  This lets people know what to expect: a lock still attached, possible frame damage or missing parts left on seen.
  • If you saw someone taking your bike, or there was a witness, describe as best you can the person using only actual facts, not assumptions or questionable memories: Grey hoody and blue jeans, 5’9 – 5’11, used a cordless grinder, got into a Grey Honda Hatchback
  • Leave good contact info and which way to contact you: txt only, please email, call me day or night Idc!
  • Post on Social Media and neighborhood websites like Nextdoor. Chances are the bike is on it’s way to another city but posting where other bike riders in other cities might see increases the chances of it being found.



  • Simply complain that your bike was taken with no description, picture or relevant information. Just a statement about your feelings of the act.
  • Use a picture of your bike in the foreground or blurry or surrounded by 20 people. It should be easy to see and easy to recognized.  Not a red and black blur.
  • Post any hateful, racist, or prejudice descriptions or statements. Yes it sucks your bike is gone.  This person is a bike thief, an a****ole, potentially a cleaver underworld mastermind – but that’s about it.  They did not steal your bike based on any physical or ethnic or cultural reasons.  If there is a cult that sacrifices stolen bikes as a form of worship, we may all have bigger problems.
  • Post any threats of violence (no matter how seemingly warranted), it’s just tacky. I love a good “Death 2 Bike Thieves” sticker or meme, but that won’t help get your bike back.
  • Make assumptions about who took your bike. Unless you actually know by first person or eye witness, who did it, don’t guess.
  • Do nothing. You never know, you might get it back!



  • They may be cameras near the site your bike was taken. It may be hard to get access to them bit it’s worth a shot to ask a local store or neighbor to check if they have any info about your bike. 
  • Flea Markets tend to get stolen bikes. There are also certain locations where many stolen bikes are found.   If you have proof, you can always reclaim your stolen bike.  Even if someone else has purchased it.  Unfortunate for them – and now they too know loss.
  • Bikes are often taken out of town, so check in other cities especially farther out if the bike was more expensive or specialized (custom, cargo bike, eBike, trike). They are often sold in a different metro area.  Check Craigslist or other online bike sale platforms.
  • Check local police, parks and recreation departments, BART police, public works. I’ve never heard of anyone having too much luck with retrieving their bike from any of these organizations but it might bring some resolution, if not a tad more aggravation that you still don’t have it. 
  • Most metropolis areas have stolen bike hotspots. Where they most often end up.  Make sure to check places like that when looking. 
  • If you get it back and are willing, post an update stating that the bike was recovered and how you went about it. It can help others know what to do should they suffer the same fate. 
  • If this does anything helpful – hopefully you will take a picture of your bike if you don’t have one already (and why wouldn’t you, it’s like a child).



All that being said, Check out these comical “Dear Bike Thief” posts:  

21 Letters To Bike a Thief from Total Women’s Cycling

and one woman who want’s her shitty bike back.


For more information check out:

Theft Prevention and Stolen Bicycle RecoveryBike East Bay

Bike Index and Stolen Bike RegistryBike Index



by Hard Knox Bikes, 2017

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

Create a website or blog at

Up ↑

%d bloggers like this: