After a rash of burglaries in our neighborhood a little over a year ago, the Fort Collins police held a meeting in which they explained what was going on, what we should be on the lookout for, and what we could do in advance, just in case we were robbed. One of the things they emphasized over and over again was to keep a list of serial numbers for your property. If your flat screen TV is stolen, and they find a guy with a flat screen TV matching your description, that’s not enough to arrest the guy nor to get your TV back to you. Without a serial number, there’s no way to say that’s not just his TV.
For this exact same reason, it’s important to register your bike. You can keep the serial number listed somewhere with all your other serial numbers, but the police have a handy online tool you can use to register the bike with the department. That way if your bike is stolen, even if you haven’t noticed or reported it yet, they’ll be able to look up the number and know immediately who owns the bike if it’s been found.
So today I thought I’d give a quick tutorial on where to go, and what to do, to register your bike online.
It all starts at https://secure.fcgov.com/bicycling — not to be confused with http://www.fcgov.com/bicycling which is where you can find information about the City’s bike program, FC Bikes.
The first, and probably most important, piece of information that you’ll need to register your bicycle is the serial number. Most store bought bikes include a number somewhere on the underside of the bike. So flip your bike upside down and look around until you find numbers punched into the frame somewhere. The serial number of the bike I was registering was located under the crank.
Serial numbers can also be found on the seat tube (the metal bar that leads up to the saddle), the head tube (the metal bar with the handle bars at top and forks at bottom), or on the rear wheel mount.
Next you’ll be asked for the Make and Model of your bicycle. If you’re like me, you might know your bike’s Make (Trek, Cannondale, Huffy, Schwinn, etc.) but not the Model. (It had never dawned on me before that there are names for the various types of bikes that each company produces. It was definitely a Doh! moment for me.) You can usually find the Make and Model information written on the frame of your bike.
The form includes space for a description. Adding details such as whether your bike has stickers, a basket, special painting, a distinctive seat or handlebars, etc. can all be helpful. Sure, bike thieves might change things out. But then again, they might not. Might as well include as much detail as possible.
This information will be kept with the City of Fort Collins police department. If you move, or something significant changes on your bicycle, you’ll want to contact them to update your info.
It took me all of 5 minutes to get my serial number off my bike and fill out the form online. If you haven’t registered your bike yet, I’d encourage you to do so today.