The story is too familiar. People are getting bikes ripped off left and right. It is an epidemic. It doesn’t seem to be stopping any time soon.
One of our customers had her bike stolen this morning: A Yeti 575. The fuckers who took it decided they wanted the bike so much that they cut it OFF OF HER RACK. We have to assume that they were planning on grabbing a bike and this one was the unfortunate winner. They were prepared to steal some bikes.
We had a customer whose car was broken into (by someone on a tremendous amount of drugs) that couldn’t figure out how to get the bike out of the back, so they tried to get it out of a window. This did not fair well for the bike. It got mangled beyond recognition. This was not pre-meditated. This was a severely impaired person with too much time alone with a car.
We have people who aren’t one hundred percent certain where they left their bike downtown, but it is gone now. Usually, this bike was locked up with a cable lock (which no one in Denver should use). Usually the bike was left for longer than 24 hours before the attempted retrieval.
You don’t have a picture, a serial number or a proof of purchase. You are hosed, my friend. The cops will take down your info, but you won’t get it back. You may see it sometime locked up on South Broadway, but you cannot *really* claim it is yours, even if is has a sweet Phish Rules sticker you put on the top tube.
You have enough proof to show you actually owned your bike, so now you want to submit to your home owner or renter insurance company. It can be easy, but most of the time it is NOT easy. The concept is either that they trust you and will send you a check for what you paid for it or what it would cost to buy a new setup. We have seen more denials than approvals for replacements. Often times the deductible that you have selected will stop you from moving forward.
The denials typically stem from the insurance company lack of understanding.
-Understanding that cycling enthusiasts often upgrade their bikes.
-Understanding that bikes “really can cost that much”.
-Understanding that custom bikes often do not have serial numbers.
-Understanding a recovered bike is more often than not a damaged bike.
If you are amongst the seemingly super human group that finds your stolen bike, please be aware of possible scenarios we have seen or have heard about:
-Your bike may be ruined: We have seen bikes that are stolen for a few hours get totaled in that little time. Your insurance company will more than likely not take care of this scenario, because of a lack of proof.
-You may have been better off not recovering it: we had one customer that we helped recover his bikes. Because he recovered only 40% of what had been stolen, we ended up losing well over $8,000 by recovering the bikes. In essence, they wouldn’t cover what happened because some of the stuff was recovered.
-You found it at a Pawn Shop: This hasn’t happened for one of our customers (that we know about). If it does, the law is not on your side without having several ways to prove it is yours.
-You win! Your bike is perfectly fine and you get to ride again.
Lock up with a u-lock.
Catalog your bikes.
Check your insurance policy.
Always bring your bike home and probably inside.
Cut your losses when you have to.