Portland-based Startup Project 529™ Announces the 529 Garage Bicycle Registration and Recovery Service
PRLog (Press Release) – Apr. 10, 2014 – MONTEREY, Calif. — Monterey, CA – April 10th, 2014 – Portland-based startup, Project 529, has partnered with the cycling industry to create an innovative, community-based service to attack the bicycle theft epidemic. With feedback from the bike industry, law enforcement, cycling clubs and riders, Project 529 has created the 529 Garage™, an online service and iPhone companion app focused on bicycle registration and recovery. The service and iPhone app are launching in preview this week in concert with the Sea Otter Classic, the largest bicycle festival in the world, attracting over 65,000 cycling enthusiasts and 10,000 competitors.
“We’ve worked closely with law enforcement agencies and the cycling industry to create an innovative solution to attack a problem affecting millions of cyclists annually,” said Project 529 Founder J Allard. “As a new company, we’ve been thrilled with the reception and engagement by leaders in the cycling industry, law enforcement and local bike shops to work collectively on this problem.”
Every 30 seconds a bicycle is stolen in the United States with fewer than 10% of recovered bikes returned to their owners, ultimately costing cyclists an estimated $350 million dollars each year. “The local bike shop has always been about fostering community and the 529 Garage is an excellent example of how technology can activate our community to affect change,” said Mark Ontiveros, owner of West End Bikes in Portland. “All our new bike sales will include the option to register your bike in the 529 Garage and any bike that comes through the service department will be pre-registered by our staff as a convenience to our customers.”
Developed in conjunction with several law enforcement agencies, the 529 Garage allows you to easily and securely register your bike in just minutes, complete with images and all the necessary details law enforcement requires to expedite the recovery process. Beyond this detailed registration, the 529 Garage includes the ability to broadcast a “Missing Bike Bulletin” to all members in the area should a member’s bike get stolen. The Missing Bike Bulletin will include images and details to help the community and law enforcement quickly identify and recover the stolen bike. Additionally, a detailed report is generated that can be passed onto a victim’s insurance company to help expedite a claim report.
If another 529 member thinks they’ve spotted a missing bike, they can respond with a location, photo and text that will be immediately, and privately be passed on to the victim and law enforcement. Once the bike is recovered, the victim has all the information they need to definitely prove ownership and recover their bike right from their phone. The 529 Garage also publishes a current Hot Sheet that shows all missing bikes within a give region.
To enhance the service, Project 529 has developed the 529 Shield – a sticker that provides a unique outdoor-safe, tamper-proof identifier. “Two things that thieves hate are serial numbers and anything that can slow them down. The 529 Shield provides both, serving as a deterrent at the bike rack, and also provides law enforcement with an additional unique identifier to aid in the return of stolen property,” said Sgt. Pratt-Wieburg, head of the Community Outreach Unit at the University of Washington Police Department in Seattle.
“We’ve been told by some that this is an impossible problem, but those are the kinds of problems we’re attracted to at Project 529,” said Allard. “The 529 Garage is just the first step in our vision to enhance the cycling experience with technology in concert with the bike industry and we’re looking forward to putting a dent into this $350 million dollar problem affecting cyclists.”
The free 529 Garage registration and recovery service is launching this week in preview mode alongside the first release of the iOS companion application. 529 Shields will be available for purchase at www.project529.com and at select bike shops starting this month at $10 each or $25 for a package of 4. Attendees at Sea Otter utilizing the Specialized Bike Valet will receive 529 Shields and registration at no charge. The 529 Garage is anticipated to officially launch on 5/29 with both iPhone and Android companion applications.