It's a big, big bummer: returning to the spot where you parked your bike to find it gone with the wind. Poof. But now the City of Columbus can help you track down your ride with its Bug Your Bike program. By registering your bicycle with the City, you can increase the chance it will be returned to you if it is lost or stolen.
It's super easy to Bug Your Bike. Register online, by phone (614.645.8366) or in person by providing your contact information and the physical description/distinguishing characteristics of your bike. The City will issue you a free RFID chip to install on your bicycle following some very simple directions. If your bike is lost or stolen, it can be scanned by partner organizations including COTA, The Ohio State University and, of course, the City of Columbus.
The best way to keep tabs on your bicycle, however, is not to lose it in the first place. Be sure to lock your bike to a bike rack whenever possible; use a U-lock with a cable lock around both wheels; secure your bicycle in visible, well-lit areas; remove any valuable and/or detachable items such as helmets and lights; engrave or otherwise personalize your bicycle in a discrete location; and keep a picture of your bicycle and its serial number for your records.
And if all of your precautions fail to prevent theft, file a report with the Columbus Division of Police. Have relevant information ready to share, including the bicycle's make, model, color and serial number. You will be notified if your bike is found using the Bug Your Bike program.