A sad part of having a nice bicycle – or even a not so nice bicycle – is that there is a chance someone might steal it. While a good lock will help deter would-be thieves, it won’t actually help get a stolen bicycle back. Registration of your bicycle, engraving your name in the frame or creating other identifiable marks on the bike can help if the police or authorities recover the bicycle.
But the truth is: a stolen bicycle is often gone for good. That is, unless you’ve installed a GPS tracking device from Intergrated Trackers in the U.K. They have developed a GPS tracking device for motorocycles and bicycles, called the Spybike. The bicycle mounted model can actually be hidden within the steerer tube.
The unit is designed so as to look like a normal headset cap, but inside features a simple GPS tracking device that is activated by vibration. When a bike is moved it will send its coordinates to a free online service, and if the bike is taken indoors there is even a GSM wireless fallback that will provide a general location.
The tracker does require the use of a SIM card, which also means that the device can be used virtually anywhere in the world. “Any SIM card will work,” Harley Clack of Intergrated Trackers told BikeRadar. “We suggest a cheap pre-pay SIM. The tracker only uses a very small amount of data, a few SMS and no voice so best to avoid contracts where possible.”
The Spybike unit weighs just 67g
The key to the system is that it is designed to look inconspicuous, but so thieves can’t easy remove the tracker the Spybike comes with a special installation key. In addition to the steerer tube version there is also a seat post light version.
And while the GPS technology could be good for getting a bike back, it probably won’t see use as a training aid. “The current Spyibke stem tracker would not be so good for this,” said Clark. “The reason is that the battery is fairly small so I would worry that the battery would become depleted too fast. Spybike is more of a GPS Tracking alarm which is designed to lie dormant most of the time, just drawing microamps of power and then wakes up when your bicycle is stolen and starts tracking. It could work in theory but probably would require a larger battery. We have a seat post version which may be more suitable for this.”
But even if the Spybike can’t be used to help you train, it could help you get the bike back so you can still resume the training.