20 December 2011

Spokespeak: York's bike registration scheme

Operation Spoke is York's bike registration scheme.

Local police have their eye on several dodgy lockup-garage dealers in the area - the sort of people who advertise lots of bikes of hazy provenance on Gumtree or eBay.

(One of the suspected fences, apparently, is a teacher. If you're offered a bike that seems too cheap to be true in York by a man with patches on his elbows and red pens in his top pocket, beware.)

But it's hard to prove a bike has been nicked - which is where this database comes in.

We stumbled across a Spoke Registration Event on Sunday (top right), ambling round a deserted York College.

No elaborate bike surgery involving transponders inserted into down tubes here. All that happens is a bloke writes a code number in various places on your bike with a special pen (right).

The writing only shows up under UV light, if you take your bike into a disco for instance, or a public toilet in Hull.

Well, he said it was a code number he was writing. It could have been Ha Ha Big Nose. Probably best to be nice to registration teams, just in case.

There's a national self-registration scheme at immobilise.com, but Spoke sessions are worth dropping in on, partly for peace of mind, but also because you get lots of free yellow things (right): keyrings, spoke reflectors, trouser bands.

There may be something predictable about our young cycling nephews' cracker fillings next weekend...


  1. What are those things in the middle of that photo? I was wondering if they could be spoke reflectors that stay on (disc ones don't, I've found) but I'm not sure.