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Bike Hunters

VanMoof Bike Hunt Report: November

It’s all action in this month’s Bike Hunt Report, as our teams search for high-profile missing bikes in San Francisco, Amsterdam, and Berlin. First up, Folkert faces in the fear in a spooky Halloween stakeout. Indigo and Brice track the first VanMoof X3 ever reported stolen. And Daniel and Aladdin explore dangerous territory as they search high and low for a missing Electrified.

It was just another night’s Bike Hunting in San Francisco... except half the city were in Halloween costumes and the police were stretched to breaking point with all the seasonal mischief. Folkert had already received a reliable tip-off about a missing Electrified X2, but he knew he couldn’t count on police backup on this particular night. In fact, the tip-off was so good, Folkert found the bike in a matter of minutes. But the bike was secured to a tree, and the lock was too sturdy to break without assistance.

And so began a bizarre game of cat and mouse, as Folkert swapped hunting thieves for hunting for police officers. The few that he came across were sympathetic but unable to assist, distracted by the fights and illegal parties that were breaking out all over the city. In true Bike Hunt style, Folkert was just about to call it a night when his phone rang – it was the operator he’d reported the missing bike to, and help was on the way! Police officers were soon on the scene, and the fire department was brought in to free the bike. All that was left to do was return the bike to its owner, and get some much deserved sleep.

Back in Amsterdam, Indigo and Brice didn’t require any such assistance. They were on the hunt for the first VanMoof X3 that had ever been reported stolen, and the strong tracking coordinates pointed them straight to the Sloterdijk district. Eyes peeled, the boys scanned the countless bike racks for VanMoof-shaped frames. It looked like the X3 had been left elsewhere, but Indigo still found an older Electrified S2 without the Kick Lock engaged. They scanned the frame number just to make sure, and the bike thankfully hadn’t been stolen – just a forgetful owner.

Luckily, their high-strength Bluetooth scanner was now pointing them in the right direction, and the Bike Hunters zeroed in on the parking racks underneath a nearby apartment building. Sure enough, the bike was there, in near-perfect condition. Our heroes quickly cut the thin chain and wheel it back to base, where the owner was happy to meet them.

But in Berlin, things weren’t so straightforward. Daniel and Aladdin were on the trail of an missing Electrified S2, and the bike’s signal had taken them to the outskirts of a notorious squat district near Berlin’s Ostkreuz station. They knew the residents might not take kindly to the intrusion, so bided their time before following the signal inside. As expected, they soon ran into trouble – a quick tour of the makeshift houses descended into chaos when the inhabitants objected to being filmed.

Daniel and Aladdin regrouped outside the camp and assessed their options. They knew the police would refuse to enter the district, and their chances of recovering the bike alone were slim-to-none. But they weren’t as alone as they thought. One of the residents had been watching the Bike Hunters from afar and, deciding they were harmless, offered to show them where the bike was hidden. Now they had an ally, their second journey into the camp was less nerve-wracking, and they soon found the missing e-bike.

With all eyes on the Hunters, it was definitely time to make a clean getaway… except the bike was still locked. Conscious of the value of their own bikes, as well as the recording equipment, Daniel hurriedly called HQ for remote unlocking assistance. As ever, it was a race against time – and the Kick Lock released just as the less-friendly onlookers were starting to approach. “Let’s get the f**k out of here,” said Daniel. We’re not going to disagree with that.

Does the thought of someone stealing the VanMoof S3 & X3 send you into a cold sweat? Peace of Mind: Theft to the rescue! It’s our ironclad guarantee that we’ll recover your bike in the event it gets stolen.

How does Peace of Mind: Theft work? Simple. When you report your bike stolen in the VanMoof app, we alert our Bike Hunter team to track it down. If we can’t recover it for you within two weeks, we'll replace it with a bike of the same (or better) age and condition.

Peter Gigg

About this author

Peter Gigg is VanMoof's resident Brit. He enjoys writing, running, and remaining in the EU.