Put your hand up if you have kept a record of your bicycle frame number? I don’t hold out much hope for your hand being thrust into the air. Not only because that would be daft (we are not in a classroom) but more likely because statistically it is extremely unlikely that you will know your bike’s serial number, let alone have written it down and kept it somewhere safe.
However, this is in direct contrast to all the advice coming out police forces in the UK and cycling campaign groups such as the LCC. Their advice is that that checking your bike’s serial number and noting it down is one of the first things you should do when you buy a bike.
Why Frame Numbers?
Why is this? Well, quite simply keeping a record of your bicycle frame number could be the difference between your bike being repatriated to you by the police and you never seeing your favourite bicycle again.
Every week police forces across the UK recover hundreds of stolen bikes but have no way of identifying the bicycles’s owner. The police are skilled at spotting bike thieves and stolen bikes but they are then faced with the problem of what to do with the recovered bicycles.
Police forces increasingly cross check recovered bikes’ details on bicycle registries (read our article “the importance of registering your bike” for further information on bike registers). If a recovered bicycle is registered the Police will contact the owner. Beyond that the police will only repatriate a bike to the owner of a stolen bike if they can prove it is their bicycle.
This is where bicycle frame numbers come in. The police recognise the frame number as reasonable evidence that an individual is the legitimate owner of a bike and are able to return the bike to them. If you can’t provide these details then it is unlikely the police will give you your bike back!
Is Your Bike Unique?
If you did not raise your hand in answer to my question at the start of this article have a think about whether your bicycle is unique enough for you to identify without the frame number. Can you remember all the accessories on the bike, distinctive scratchings or markings, bar tape colour, saddle colour? If not, you might want to make a quick note of the frame number.
Incidently, it is because of the importance of cycle frame numbers and the traceability factor they provide that Going Going Bike encourages all sellers to insert their bicycle frame number into their listing. This allows all interested buyers to check whether that frame has been reported as stolen. Learn more about our Prove It system here.