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Daring stunt highlights demand for stolen bikes

VanMoof’s new campaign focuses on the human cost of bike theft

Amsterdam, 16 August 2019 - A film released by VanMoof this morning highlights the demand for stolen bikes. The hidden camera film is part of a wider campaign that launched earlier this month in which the global bike brand pledges to end bike theft by 2020. By raising awareness of the demand fuelling the problem, VanMoof is taking steps to make it impossible to re-sell a stolen bike.

“We’re tackling the problem from all sides – we’ve already kick-started the revolution with built-in tracking technology, remote bike immobilization, and our international network of Bike Hunters. Now it’s time to start the conversation about buying and reselling stolen bikes. We’re creating an theft-proof ecosystem for every VanMoof rider.” 

Ties Carlier, co-founder VanMoof.

An experimental approach

1 in 3 city cyclists has experienced bike theft, making it a major barrier to more people choosing a two-wheeled commute. In this new stunt, VanMoof calls attention to the demand for stolen bikes. The high-concept video is part of VanMoof’s ongoing strategy, using creative tactics to raise awareness of an age-old problem.


The people in the film were commissioned by VanMoof to share their experiences of buying second-hand bikes via online sales platforms. The video demonstrates how a buyer's attitude can change once they consider the real story behind a stolen bike. VanMoof hopes to make people think twice when buying a second-hand bike, encouraging them not to turn a blind eye and to really make sure it's not stolen.

VanMoof’s Bike Hunters have seen a major upsurge in professional bike theft in recent years. The company estimates that 30% of all bike thefts are carried out by organized criminals.

“Bikes only get stolen because there is a market for it. We made this video to raise awareness of the other side of bike theft – and show that buyers can be just as responsible as the thieves. Yes, you can get a suspiciously cheap VanMoof second-hand. But our rider recognition technology renders it useless. A stolen VanMoof is a waste of time for thieves and a waste of money for buyers.” 

Taco Carlier, co-founder VanMoof.

Cracking down on the problem at its source

VanMoof has been integrating anti-theft technology in their bikes since 2016. Their global network of Bike Hunters boast a stolen bike recovery rate of almost 80% – compared to city police forces who average 4%. VanMoof’s Peace Of Mind promise guarantees riders that if their bike gets stolen, VanMoof’s Bike Hunters will find and retrieve it within 14 days, or replace it.

"It's absurd how many people suffer as a result of bike theft. It's the one of the most common urban crimes and has the lowest solve rate of all. 30% ofVanMoof thefts are linked to organized crime. Thieves mainly sell the bikes via online marketplaces, so it’s very easy to track them. We decided it’s time to do something about it." 

Ties Carlier, co-founder VanMoof.

New study reveals relaxed attitudes towards buying stolen bikes

To understand why people continue to buy stolen bikes, VanMoof conducted a study of city cyclists worldwide. The survey, conducted in partnership with Ipsos, found that, in Britain, people of all ages rate buying a stolen second-hand bike as less illegal than drunk driving, urinating in a public place, or using public transport without a ticket. But more illegal than illegaly downloading a film or jaywalking.

  • Young people (16-24yrs) care less about buying a possibly stolen bike then older demographics
  • Concern about theft stops almost half (46%) of UK cyclists from riding into the city
  • 40% of people would not buy a high-quality bike due to fear of theft

Theft checker

VanMoof is about to make it much harder for thieves to steal and sell stolen bikes. Today, the company launches its custom Theft Checker tool, where potential buyers can easily check if a VanMoof bike has been reported stolen. By entering a bike’s serial number online, buyers can see if any sale they encounter is legitimate – outsmarting thieves before they can make a sale.

Use VanMoof's Theft Checker

VanMoof’s pledge to end bike theft can be found at sorrythieves.com 

For more information about VanMoof’s Peace of Mind service, go here.

Media kit found here.