Advice on beating the bike thieves
* Store it inside, if possible. And lock it up even inside, especially if you store it in a common hallway, basement or vestibule of a dorm or multiunit building.
* Lock it securely. Experts recommend using two locks: Stick a U-lock through the frame and rear wheel (with keyway facing down) to lock your bike to a rack or other fixed object, and use a cable or chain lock to secure the front wheel. Using two locks requires different tools to defeat.
* Location, location, location. Lock your bike in a well-lit area where there are other bikes. Don't lock it in the same place all the time.
* Make sure to record the serial number, which is typically on the bottom of the frame. Photograph your bike from all sides, and be sure to get a snapshot of yourself on it.
* Register your bike. Philly police created a citywide bike registry in 2000; police brass, aiming to revive the little-used service, recently sent out reminders to all districts about it, spokesman Lt. John Stanford said. To register with police, visit or call the community-relations officer in your district. Online stolen-bike registries abound, but many charge fees. Here's a free one: stolen bicycleregistry.com.
And check out the Facebook page Philadelphia Stolen Bikes.
* Scour Craigslist, eBay and other websites where some thieves try to sell their spoils quickly. Want to avoid buying a stolen bike? Ask the seller a lot of questions. Veteran bikers say a seller's silence or ignorance is suspect, as are bargain-basement prices for valuable bikes and a seller who hides his or her name.
- Dana DiFilippo