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State Bicycle Co. offers a Stolen Bike Policy that helps victims of bike theft get back on the road sooner.
State Bicycle Co. launched in 2009 selling only one model of bicycle. The company has come a long way since then, now offering almost a dozen different lines of bicycles, sponsoring a cycling team and making a custom parts and product lines. All this and they still find time to give back to the cycling community. One particular way they do this is through their Stolen Bike Policy, in which any person who has a bike stolen can receive $100 USD off the purchase of a State bike simply by presenting a police report.
Mehdi Farsi, one of the co-founders of State Bicycle Co., spoke with us about the history of the company and how they came up with the innovative policy.
State Bicycle Co. was founded by three Arizona State University grads: two brothers, Mehdi and Reza Farsi, and their longtime friend, Eric Ferguson. Bikes were a huge part of the two brothers’ childhoods. Mehdi said their father is “a pretty avid cyclist, not highly competitive – but something he did to stay in shape. But also a huge fan, so we grew up watching all the grand tours on TV.” Their father also took them to see some races in person, including the Tour de France when they were kids.
Once they got State Bicycle Co. off the ground, they decided to pay it forward to the community that had given them so much and initiated the Stolen Bike Policy. Mehdi recalled the moment that spurred their decision to create the policy; “it was one of the very first several customers that we had, had a bike stolen, and they were in a panic because it was their only way to get to work, and they got it stolen right after they bought it.”
Regrettably, this sort of thing happens too often, and the guys at State realized that they had the ability to help people in this sort of situation. “They have limited funds because a lot of our customers are students and they rely on the bike for transportation and so forth.” Unfortunately, according to FBI Offense Analysis statistics, while bike theft between 2012-2013 declined, as a whole the number of offences of bike theft per year has increased since 2010 in the United States.
The Stolen Bike Policy is State Bicycle Co.’s way of saying, “We care, we support you.” It’s a simple system: when you have your bike stolen, contact the police and file a police report. Submit that police report to State Bikes within ninety days and they will give you $100 towards a new bike. Just like that. “One nice thing [about the Stolen Bike Policy] is that it doesn’t have to be a State bicycle that has been stolen, it can be any bike,” Mehdi noted. “So if you have your bike stolen, even if it’s bike you’ve had for ten years, we’re still going to offer that discount to you.” Also important: Anyone, anywhere is entitled to this discount.
Mehdi remarked while discussing the policy that in Tempe, AZ, where State Bicycle Co. operates, “the police are doing a good job of taking it [bicycle theft] seriously. Still a lot of the burden of truth, a lot of the leg work, has to be done by the victim.” However, at the top of the list of anti-bike-theft tips (besides locking your bike, of course) is recording your serial number. “Everyone has a smartphone these days,” Mehdi said. “The best thing you can do, when you get your bike, turn it over and snap a picture of the serial number and then you have access to it always.” Having your serial number recorded is important to prove a bike is yours if the police do recover it, and in the grand scheme of things, taking two minutes to record that number will save you a lot of stress. From there you can register your serial number with your local police department or The National Bike Registry.
Mehdi noted two cautionary tales. In the first, a rider of theirs had his mountain bike stolen. As a serious rider, he had some very specific parts that enabled him to easily identify the bike. A couple of weeks following the theft he spotted a man riding his bike. “So he confronts him, takes the bike, takes it back to his house, and calls the police on the guy.” When the police showed up the rider couldn’t prove it was his bike because he didn’t have the serial number and so the bike was taken away from its rightful owner in the end.
A similar story occurred to a State Bicycle Co. employee. Again, it was a very recognizable customized bike. “He had his bike stolen…Thursday evening, and Friday morning sees someone riding around on his bike,” Mehdi related. The owner followed the thief to a convenience store, confronted him, and called the police but he didn’t have the serial number, so the bike was taken to impound. Luckily, State has surveillance cameras and they were able to produce a picture of the owner riding into the shop prior to the theft and he got his bike back. Regardless, if he’d had that serial number, “he would have been able to get the bike then and there.”
Stolen Bike Policy is only one of the ways State Bikes gives back to community. They also have a few different partnerships, sponsoring close to 200 hundred events per year, and they themselves host multiple events each year that encourage ridership. “The last thing we want to see is people buying our bikes then have them sit in the garage. We want people out there using them.”