Road Cycling “It is by riding a bicycle that you learn the contours of a country best, since you have to sweat up the hills and coast down them. Thus you remember them as they actually are, while in a motor car only a high hill impresses you, and you have no such accurate remembrance of country you have driven through as you gain by riding a bicycle.” -- Ernest Hemingway

Just curious but...

Old 03-15-17, 02:36 PM
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practical
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Just curious but...

... does anybody put a computer chip in their bike in case it's gets lost? I hear of people doing it with their pets so I figure, why not? But I've never heard of anyone doing that with their bikes. I did read about someone concerned about a chip on their carbon frame, but they weren't talking computer chip. Anyone have any information about computer chips?
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Old 03-15-17, 03:16 PM
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The chips in pets "work" because people (like vets) have scanners for them.

Keep in mind that the chips can only be read at very close distances (it's not a remote location device).

Bicycles have serial numbers. They would work as well as a chip and don't require a scanner. (Of course, the serial number can be filed off but one could also put the serial number somewhere else).
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Old 03-15-17, 03:23 PM
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There was a recent bike security device that had GPS built in in the event of a theft (in addition to an accelerometer to notify loved ones if you get smacked by a car). See if that fits the bill.
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Old 03-15-17, 03:30 PM
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Originally Posted by njkayaker View Post
The chips in pets "work" because people (like vets) have scanners for them.

Keep in mind that the chips can only be read at very close distances (it's not a remote location device).

Bicycles have serial numbers. They would work as well as a chip and don't require a scanner. (Of course, the serial number can be filed off but one could also put the serial number somewhere else).
Exactly. People find a lost dog, take it to a vet. Vet scans chip and locates owner.
When is the last time you heard about someone "finding" a lost bike?

The OP is describing a LoJack. They need battery power, but theoretically someone could rig something up for a bicycle. I know LoJack makes products for motorcycles, so they've probably got something fairly compact.
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Old 03-15-17, 03:34 PM
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Originally Posted by msu2001la View Post
The OP is describing a LoJack. They need battery power, but theoretically someone could rig something up for a bicycle. I know LoJack makes products for motorcycles, so they've probably got something fairly compact.
I just did a quick search - there are a number of products shipping or in development, some more discreet than others. One is intended to be hidden in the bar end, another in the steerer. Could be interesting.
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Old 03-15-17, 04:45 PM
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Basically, the tracking devices are cellphones. They receive GPS signals and transmit them back to the "mothership" using the cell network. (It's another thing with a battery to keep charged.)

You can sometimes get a $10/month plan to service the tracking device.
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Old 03-15-17, 04:55 PM
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The Tile should work, but it is a little too large I think.
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Old 03-15-17, 04:55 PM
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After the same bike got stolen 2x

My favorite/my love was stolen from in front of my house. The police office never even asked the color of my bike. I took it upon myself to find my bike, and began that same night 2 a.m. Every "cholo" gang member, street person, young thug kid I saw I questioned. Soon, the word was out and people were looking for my bike. It showed up one city over, 2 days later. I'm the type of person once I love something that's it, has to be the same. So, I paid $40 to some thug for my bike back. I would have paid easily $300 bucks for the same exact bike anyways. So, my point is just buy the stickers saying it's being monitored by gps. Along with a good good bike lock. It was painful to have to buy, mainly because the lock cost more than I have ever paid on a bike
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Old 03-15-17, 06:20 PM
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Chips in dogs work because the owner wants to find the dog, and the person who finds the dog wants to find the owner. That's not the case with bike theft.
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Old 03-18-17, 10:30 PM
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It is an interesting thought, like a Lo-Jack for bikes, but not sure the tech is there yet. Agree with the Tile being a bit too big still
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Old 03-18-17, 10:38 PM
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I put chips on my kids, not the bikes. Had our 1st claim in 40 years for a stolen out of our garage bike this year. Insurance pays more for a stolen bike (from home) than it is worth.
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Old 03-19-17, 06:40 AM
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Originally Posted by Autobot View Post
It is an interesting thought, like a Lo-Jack for bikes, but not sure the tech is there yet. Agree with the Tile being a bit too big still
Things like "Tile" work at very short distances (no more than 100 feet is optimistic). The Tile is as big as it is to hold a battery.

How lojack works is interesting. (It relies heavily on not ever running out of power.)

https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/LoJack

Last edited by njkayaker; 03-19-17 at 06:45 AM.
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Old 03-19-17, 06:53 AM
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I was wondering if you could have a GPS device powered by the hub or crank or magnets while riding. Maybe now would be able to locate the bike quick enough before the battery died.... Or once someone started riding it again.
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Old 03-19-17, 06:56 AM
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"Dear Thief,

Please plug my bike in to charge the battery in the GPS transceiver and park it in a spot with decent cell coverage.

Thanks!

P.S. Don't use up the prepaid sim card calling your meth supplier."
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Old 03-19-17, 08:16 AM
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I'll repeat my own idea, although most people think it won't work or isn't worthwhile. Which sometimes means that someone more enterprising and energetic than me will develop it and make bundle with it. I'm hoping that's the case.

The short version: a combination of active RFID, a central database, and a simple phone app with encrypted communications. Everyone running the app would be sending RFID reads to the database, which matches the ID to reported stolen bikes and alerts the owner with the location. Notifying the police also, with the detailed stored description. The kicker is that if you haven't been running the app a certain percentage since you signed up, the database won't check for your bike, so everyone with the protection system has to also be part of the detection net. With wide enough adoption, the active tags could conceivably be also used as beacons for autonomous vehicles and collision avoidance features.

Active RFID has the range to make this practical. The drawback is that no active tags on the market communicate with cell phone frequencies, so it would have to be developed or else another device implemented to alert the cell phone apps. One could also scatter readers about urban and suburban areas, which could contact "detector" phone apps with perhaps wifi or BT as they come within range.
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Old 03-19-17, 08:41 AM
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Urban areas? Shoot, I can barely get my phone to work at all in big cities like Chicago or LA let alone run some fancy app! Would probably suck the life out of the battery too.
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Old 03-19-17, 08:48 AM
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Originally Posted by practical View Post
...in case it's gets lost?
In case it gets lost? That sounds funny to me. Like for those occassions when the bike wonders off on its own? Or the owner gets too inebriated to remember where he left it? None of my bikes have ever gotten lost. I don't know anyone who has had a bike get lost. Stolen yes. But not lost.

Dan
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Old 03-19-17, 09:31 AM
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Originally Posted by Silvercivic27 View Post
Urban areas? Shoot, I can barely get my phone to work at all in big cities like Chicago or LA let alone run some fancy app! Would probably suck the life out of the battery too.
Since your phone doesn't work anyway, battery life would not be a big concern

Granted, this concept only works for people having working smartphones and who run apps on them.
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Old 03-19-17, 09:58 AM
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I have a GPS tracking device made by NUTT, which has an associated app you can use to track lost or stolen items. It is small and weighs next to nothing, and I keep it attached to my car key. I usually carry the key with GPS tracker in my seat bag on rides, so I could track the bike down if stolen since I always carry my iPhone in my pockets. I originally got the NUTT for finding lost keys, but later realized it would provide a simple way to locate a stolen bike. Tracking device only cost me about $10-15.
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Old 03-19-17, 10:08 AM
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Actually the phone not working makes battery life worse, because it chews up power looking for a cell or wifi signal. The iPhone actually gets hot in my pocket!
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Old 03-19-17, 11:42 AM
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One of the local clubs where I ride and work has started a Bike Theft Abatement program -

DBC's Bike Theft Abatement Program ? Davis Bike Club

Leveraging the Tile device. I don't know how effective it has been (or will be) but they definitely appear to be all in with Tile. My experience with Tile is that it's only effective as the people around you. If no one is running the App, having the unit alarm is pointless.
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Old 03-19-17, 11:42 AM
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Originally Posted by Silvercivic27 View Post
Actually the phone not working makes battery life worse, because it chews up power looking for a cell or wifi signal. The iPhone actually gets hot in my pocket!
I was being snarky, as in if your phone doesn't work anyway who cares if the battery is dead. Sorry.

Anyway, the concept can be realized in urban settings. I don't believe that a significant portion of people carry around smartphones that cannot communicate with either wi-fi or cell data. Since the signalling doesn't necessarilly have to be instant I expect that type of issue is more of a minor issue than a game-changer.
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Old 03-19-17, 12:36 PM
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Originally Posted by Silvercivic27 View Post
Chips in dogs work because the owner wants to find the dog, and the person who finds the dog wants to find the owner. That's not the case with bike theft.
There are the occasional bikes that show up in odd places that are too good to be there.

I "Found" a nice bike a week ago. And the owner found me before I had a chance to start my search. If she hadn't, then I would have diligently started the hunt for the owner, and gotten to see whether there are actually resources to match lost bikes with lost owners.

One issue is that serial numbers are often lost. And, while they are the gold standard for reuniting a lost bike with the owner, it doesn't help if nobody has current photos or the actual SN.

I do a SN search of any frame I buy. But it only goes so far.
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Old 03-19-17, 12:42 PM
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This needs either one way GPS with a cell signal or two way GPS. Either way it's going to be expensive and a crapshoot because it won't work well indoors. And as far as you going to knock on the door of a dozen apartments, because of weak GPS signal indoors... Also, hoping a thief is going to say "yeah ok I'm the one who stole your bike buddy, just wait here while I go get it for you". Because the police don't care.

Probably more cost effective / actually effective just to get bike insurance.
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Old 03-19-17, 02:04 PM
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Originally Posted by njkayaker View Post
Things like "Tile" work at very short distances (no more than 100 feet is optimistic). The Tile is as big as it is to hold a battery.

How lojack works is interesting. (It relies heavily on not ever running out of power.)

https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/LoJack
The Tile works over any distance by communicating with the internet via cell service. You can put it in yoir luggage and trace it no matter where it shows up.
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