I hate bike thieves. Hate is such a strong word so let me rephrase that: I REALLY hate bike thieves.
Why? Because riding bikes is in my soul. For me, riding bikes is a basic human need: like water, food, shelter, or love. I ride to escape the 9-to-5. To find flow. To feel good. To live well. I ride because the trail makes me do it. I ride to connect with the environment, with other people, but mainly, I ride to connect to a deeper place within myself. I ride because I must.
My very first mountain bike was stolen from me after having it just a few short weeks. It wasn’t anything special or expensive. In fact, it was a cheap, crappy hard tail that I used as a bike messenger in Manhattan during college. It was my means of supporting myself, as well as a means to radical joy after work and on weekends. It never even touched wheels to a trail, but that’s not the point.
The point is this: Whether we rock skinny jeans and skinny tires or baggy shorts and full suspension, the differences between us fade away when we ride. And when someone messes with our bike, our natural instinct is to mess with them in return. Because bike thieves don’t just steal your bike…they also take a piece of your soul.
So when I met the Project 529 folks at the Sea Otter Cycling Classic and they asked me to join the fight, how could I say no?
Project 529 is a group of cyclists. Like most cyclists, they’re lovers, not haters. They’re software people who love bikes. But they’re mad as hell that bike theft has gone unchecked for so long in this country. So they’re waging war with the weapon they know best—the Internet. They’ve developed a killer app to help you protect your bikes, and authored an important petition asking Craigslist and eBay to require serial numbers on all bike sales. It’s a one-two combination punch of high-tech and grassroots community participation, meant to knock out the $400 million stolen bike industry.
Now I’m inviting you to join the 529 community and be a part of the solution to stomping out bike theft. It’s easy and it’s free, and if you’ve ever lost a bike to theft, or known someone who has, it’s sort of a no-brainer.
Register your bikes using the 529 Garage app—or online at www.project529.com—then rest a little easier, knowing you are part of a growing and active anti-theft community. If your bike is stolen, just a quick push of the Panic Button from your phone alerts thousands of fellow riders, all itching to take a bike thief out of commission.
Also, go here, now and sign the Project 529 petition demanding Craigslist and eBay require serial numbers on all bike listings. It may not stop theft completely—or instantly—but if we present a united front I believe we can force bike thieves to start looking for new jobs.
At the end of the day, it doesn’t matter what we ride, or how, or how far. What matters is we ride…together.