Three tips I learned from getting my stolen bike back


Abe Baali

Bikes rest on a rack outside of the Campus Recreation Bike Center on April 2. Always register your bike online in case it gets stolen.

By Amrita Bhattacharyya, Interim Editor-in-Chief

This summer, my bike was stolen from campus. Left outside of my apartment in the bike rack, someone had cut my cable lock and taken the bike. 

I was devastated, to say the least. Countless “if only” scenarios entered my mind, all ending with me concluding that I should have never left my bike outside in the first place.

Two weeks later, as the acceptance stage of the grief process was setting in, I decided to begin the hunt for buying a used bike. That’s when I saw it. 

There on Facebook Marketplace, someone was trying to sell my bike under a fake profile.

After calling the Champaign Police Department, they were able to help me get my bike back. Most students aren’t so lucky with finding their stolen bikes, so it’s important to take the best preventative measures possible in the first place. 

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The University has a bikeable campus, but it doesn’t amount to much if you don’t even have a bike to experience it. If you plan on bringing a bike to campus this fall, here are three tips to keep in mind. 

Register your bike. 

Registering your bike is one of the most important things you can do to help find your bike in the event it gets stolen. The University uses Project 529 as their bike registration platform. It is especially crucial to document your bike’s serial number. After registering, you can pick up a tamper-resistant 529 Shield sticker to put on your bike. 

Ultimately, I was able to get my bike back with the help of the Champaign Police Department by having my serial number readily available. If it weren’t for the serial number, the police wouldn’t have had enough proof to get my bike back. 

Spring for a cheap, used bike. 

Stay away from anything flashy or expensive, as that sticks out like a sore thumb when parked at bike racks. Sites like Facebook Marketplace and Craigslist have new bike postings almost daily. The YMCA also does an annual “dump and run” in which people donate used items which are up for grabs. 

Keep your bike inside your apartment.

Hindsight is 20/20, but the best option is to keep your bike inside whenever possible. It’s a surefire way of keeping your bike safe, and it also helps preserve your bike better long term.

Ultimately, basic security measures can go a long way in ensuring that you and your bike have a smooth ride throughout your time on campus. 

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