UBC Youth Helping Reduce Bike Theft on Campus

Taylor Scott – on Behalf of our Community 529 Registration Team

Is Bike to Work Week (BTWW) already over? If I had my way, it would be Bike to Work Month at the very least and everyone would celebrate all the wonderful things that we are gaining from making more sustainable an healthy transportation choices.  

But, it was Bike to Work Week and what a way to kick off the most weather-friendly bike season! The pinnacle of my BTWW was the Thursday BTWW Celebration hosted in Lee Square by UBC. It was a party for bike enthusiasts that included all sorts of deals, security tips and even free tune-ups (thank you AMS Bike Kitchen).  Five Community Youth Leaders and I volunteered our time to represent Project 529, a community-based bike registration, security and recovery service. Under our tent, we chatted with UBC bikers, took test rides, snapped pictures… oh, and helped over 65 people download, or register their bike with the 529 Garage app.


Registering bicycles with owners is easy. In short it involves taking unique photos of each cyclist’s prized possession and documenting the bike’s serial numbers. However, hosting a 529 registration station is much more.. 529 became a tool for us to add to the already vibrant cycle culture that thrives on UBC’s campus (nearly) year round. We conversed, shared stories, compared bike locks, discussed where bike parking was best (or sketchy-est), and got nostalgic about stolen bikes from our past. Our booth became a place where anyone with a love of cycling could share their experience and find others who could relate.

At the end of event, our 529 Registration Team reflected on our day. As a group we were pleasantly surprised by how much fun we had, and how receptive people were to the idea of the app. Many cyclist had great questions about the uses of the 529 Garage app and if the app has impacted any cyclist yet to date (in short the answer is “yes, many”). As a group, we enjoyed meeting groups of interesting people.

We as a team of anti-bike theft champions we have been excited to see the impact that this app can have on bike theft rates in our campus community. We all expressed  excitement about getting together again to registering more bikes in our community. I hope the app continues to connect cyclists with one another, enabling them to bike more, while dreading theft less.