Had one of my two bikes ride off without me a few months ago. A very frustrating experience for those of you who have gone thru the rigga moro of dealing w/ the police then spending hours on CL/eBay hoping to spot it, etc. Decided to take some action, (my day job involves geoscience software dev). Had 2 weeks off during the holidays, created BikeRegistry.com. Launched it a little over a month ago.
This thing is built on a pretty solid foundation; the idea is to be able to handle/sort LOTS of bikes. etc
We put in drop-down menus for everthing we could think of, all manufacturers, bike particulars, sort by postal code, even drop downw with every state of every country in the world.
Registry is at no charge, there are some Decal Kits available (kind of key to the whole scheme) that we offer at cost. Actually Goodwill Industries puts them together for us.
If any constructive thoughts on things that could be done better/differently I would be most appreciative.
Having a bike registry does no good unless people know about it and use it.
Notably police, and bike resellers, and buyers.
You'll need to spread awareness of your service.
There is also the question of motivation for people to use it.
The person who stole a bike and is looking to sell it obviously won't be looking up the registry, he may even peel off the decal. The burden of looking up the bike will have to be on the potential buyer. But is this person really motivated to do so? He's about to get a nice bike at cutthroat price, does he really care to look up registration and suddenly find that it was stolen? Feeling guilt aside, there's no real consequence to the buyer for accepting the stolen bike if law enforcement does not recognize the authority of your registry.
I'd say that as nice as your website is, the point is moot unless those issues can be addressed first.
P.S. sucks that you lost a bike. I personally do not expect any form of registration to work for me and instead rely on my locking strategy. Consider carrying 2 independant locks, a U-Lock and a CableLock and using them both. U-Lock controls the frame and rear wheel, cable controls the front wheel, frame, and rear wheel.
Hey Xenologer & IbikezLA, Thanks for the taking the time to provide some input. To address several points real quickly: 1) I agree on being THE go-to site is important for a public registry to be effective. As a workaround we have implemented the Decal Kit scheme and a VERY detailed manner in which the bike's technical specs are cataloged and inventoried. The Decal strategy involves 3-4 decals per bike. Decals are meant to "blend" into the other decals/bike paint job; rather than stand out like a university registry decal. Also ours are manufactured to be VERY difficult to take off (in testing I tried to take one off, never completed the task). Also there are some more ID tricks detailed on private URL's listed on the back of the Decal Kit (don't want the bad guys to know if everything). Essentially the Decal scheme involves the crack head thief not having the where-with-all to find/remove all the decals and then relying on the honesty of the cycling public. (If you have ridden w/ RAGBRAI you will know what I mean, but then again the inner-city cycling clique man have a different view on things). As a back-up, if the bike is totally repainted, the technical specs are cataloged such that identification still may be possible. Anyway, that is our twisted logic... Agree a good locking scheme is important, to do it right 2 locks are mandatory. 2) Price on the Decal Kit is $1.49, registration is free.
Heading out early in the morning to complete the rain shortened Houston MS150. All the best!