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Cities & Cycling

#sorrythieves We're ending bike theft by 2020

#sorrythieves: We're Ending Bike Theft by 2020

We’ve been battling bike thieves as long as we’ve existed. That’s ten years of outsmarting, outrunning, and out-engineering the worst of the criminal underworld. We made it our mission to get the next billion on bikes, but it’s a bike thief’s mission to steal those bikes and flog them as quickly as possible.

Simply put, thieves are our sworn enemies. The Moriarty to our Sherlock… except they’re less clever. The Vader to our Obi-Wan…. except we don’t die at the end.

But, like all great rivalries, there can only be one victor. And this fight is ending sooner than you’d think.

We’re putting our money where our mouth is, and ending bike theft by 2020.

As we enter a new decade, we need to get around cities faster, smarter, and greener. Bikes are the answer – and having yours stolen should be the last thing on your mind. That’s why we’re pulling out all the stops to defeat bike thieves once and for all. So you can ride into the future without a care in the world.

Now, you might say we’re dreamers. But we’re not the only ones. We know there are three key components in any bike theft: 1. The bike itself (kinda obvious), 2. The bike thief, 3. The person who buys the stolen bike.

Normally, people only focus on one of these elements. And nine times out of ten it’s the bike itself. Conventional cycling wisdom states that you should use the biggest bike lock possible... and cross your fingers. But there’s always going to be a thief waiting for you to slip up. Not to mention a city full of buyers who’ll [turn a blind eye to a bike’s origin] as long as they’re getting a great deal.

That’s why we’re tackling theft from all three angles at once, putting thieves out of business for good.

By now, you probably know that our electric bikes have some pretty smart anti-theft tech hidden inside. The Stealth Lock completely secures the Electrified S2 & X2 with a single kick. Tamper detection means a VanMoof can tell when someone’s up to no good. And the three-phase alarms pierce the ears of anyone foolish enough to try stealing it, alerting everyone else nearby. Jump through all those hoops? Then the Bike Hunters will use the integrated location tracking to follow you to the other side of the world – if you get that far.

That leaves thieves rapidly reconsidering their options. See, most bike thieves are opportunists. And opportunities for bike theft are everywhere. Look at any bike rack and you’ll likely see dozens of bikes secured with a simple chain. Get yourself a decent set of bolt-cutters, and stealing any of them is trivially easy. If you’re a terrible person, it’s basically a no-brainer.

But what if the bike was a complete hassle to steal? What if the wheels locked up and all motor functions shut down? What if a siren blared out every time you tried to move it? What if you couldn’t even remove the wheels to sell them separately? Suddenly, all that opportunity has disappeared.

The same goes for the buyers, the people who support bike theft by buying suspicious bikes. Ordinarily, it’s easy to ignore a second-hand bike’s history, especially if you’re buying it for a price that’s too good to be true. The fact that you’re supporting organized crime takes a backseat to the hundreds of euros you can save by letting your moral standards slip a little. But when that bike doesn’t recognize you and fails to power-up, it’s a different story. Even worse, the rightful owner might be closer than you think – and know where you are.

And that’s just the start. Over the coming months, we’re taking the fight to bike thieves with never-before-seen initiatives, campaigns, and special events. We’ll be working with our riders to outsmart thieves all over the world. And we won’t stop until bike theft has been completely eradicated.

So, #SorryThieves. It’s nothing personal.

Well, maybe it is. A little bit.

Peter Gigg

About this author

Peter Gigg is VanMoof's resident Brit. His interests include drinking tea and being miserable.