June 8, 2014

Bike Registry Sunday—Petition Edition

Project 529 had me at 'hello.' Or, more accurately/literally, as soon as I read KATU News's explanation of the Portland startup's name. Say the digits of the number individually and you have the phonetic equivalent of "five to nine," or what Project 529 co-founder Jason Scott calls "the opposite of your nine to five."

The company's name, then, reflects an effort to shift focus from traditional work hours to, well, the rest of the time, the time you could be spending (at least in part) riding bikes. YES, I thought. Tell me more.

So...Project 529 is a software company aiming to build products that "enhance the cycling experience." Their first offering is a web and mobile registration and recovery service called 529 Garage. It functions like an Amber Alert for stolen bikes. Register your ride—the process takes mere minutes—and then, should it get stolen, use the 529 Garage app to alert all users within 10 miles. The service was jointly developed with law enforcement, it logs your bike accessories, there are theft deterrent bike stickers in the mix...good stuff.

My favorite part of Project 529's anti-theft efforts, though, even better than the registry or the "bike thieves suck" shirts, is the petition they've written asking Craigslist and eBay to require serial numbers on all bike sales.

"Every 30 seconds, a cyclist has their bike stolen in the United States," it begins.
"Nearly half of college students with bicycles will lose them during their education. Bicycle theft is rampant in the United States, and it's due in part to the ease of fencing stolen bikes through online sites. 
There's a simple solution that would help dramatically cut down on these statistics: requiring a serial number when selling bikes online."
Read the rest of the petition (and sign it, too, if you're so inclined). (And register your bike(s), people. Please.)

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