Beyond Tracking: Redefining Stolen E-Bike Recovery

E-bikes are increasingly being produced with GPS tracking, heralded as a deterrent against theft and a tool for recovery. But is simply knowing your bike’s location enough to reclaim it?

One UK-based startup aims to change this perception. While individual owners sometimes might feel powerless, startup founders believe that with the help of GPS tracking technology and the right approach – recovering stolen e-bikes is an achievable goal.

e-bike GPS tracking

James Dunn, one of the co founders of BackPedal, an e bike recovery venture shared with TechCrunch that merely tracking a stolen e bike does not guarantee its return. Many consumers have doubts that neither they nor the police will take measures to recover it with GPS tracing.

BackPedal offers e bike retrieval and insurance services through a subscription fee in collaboration with Sundays Insurance—a cycle insurer in the UK. Their impressive track record speaks for itself boasting a 90% success rate in recovering stolen e bikes. The insurance serves as a safety net for cases when bikes cannot be returned.

Subscription rates start from £8.99, per month. Increase based on the value of the e bike. As e bike popularity continues to soar so does their susceptibility to theft.

A recent report, from Cycling Industry News has highlighted that Cycleplan (a specialist in cycling insurance) has seen a surge of 292% in e bike insurance policies from 2019 to 2022. However early research conducted by BackPedal suggests that most people prioritize the recovery of their bikes over making insurance claims and receiving replacements.

According to Dunn although GPS technology is widely available the real challenge lies in carrying out bike recovery operations. Currently BackPedal mainly operates in cities like London and Cambridge as other southern regions of the UK. However they have their sights set on expanding. Are considering a potential deployment in Amsterdam.

BackPedals approach is distinctive as it involves collaborating with both the police and a group of recovery agents. These agents typically have backgrounds in law enforcement or security. Possess knowledge of local landscapes and police procedures. In some cases it is Dunn himself along with his partner Richard White who actively search for stolen bikes.

The company operates a center where they handle customer requests track stolen bikes manage recovery agents activities and maintain communication with law enforcement agencies. Depending on the circumstances surrounding each case these agents may directly confront thieves or discreetly recover stolen bikes.

Contrary to belief that the police might overlook cases involving stolen bikes Dunn emphasizes that BackPedals professional approach and persistent efforts have resulted in successful collaborations with law enforcement agencies.

One crucial factor contributing to BackPedals success is their integration of technology, into their operations.

In addition, to establishing a network of agents and collaborating with law enforcement agencies it is crucial to determine the suitable hardware for efficient recovery. Nowadays modern e bikes often come equipped with IoT, GPS and Bluetooth trackers. BackPedal recommends brands like BikeTrax, IoT Ventures and BikeFinder for their features.

For e bikes that do not have GPS capabilities BackPedal provides installation options. However relying on GPS is not the solution. The company utilizes beacon technology to bikes even indoors. This innovative approach allows them to “see” beyond walls by sending Bluetooth signals—an approach recognized by White.

As the company continues to grow it foresees the need for adaptation due to thieves. Ongoing hardware upgrades and innovative solutions will be crucial, in order to stay ahead of them.