There are web sites allow you to record details of your bike so that:
- If your bike is found, Police can find out who owns it, and return it to you
- You can show potential buyers of your bike your registration as some proof that it has not been stolen
- If you want to sell your bike, a registration more than a few months old provides some evidence you are the rightful owner
- You prevent a thief registering your bike to claim ownership
- A free registration service that allows you to record details about your bike so that the Police can check its status and, if necessary, get in touch. The sites would obviously prefer you to pay for a service, so you will need to be persistent to get to the free service.
- A sticker that can't easily be removed that advertises your registration to thieves and potential buyers.
- 'Smart water' encoding that covers your bike and components in tiny dots that link your bike to its registration on the web site.
It makes sense to register with both sites. If you decide to use one of the paid-for services, however, it's not worth buying the same service from both sites.
While on the subject of the internet, you need to take care not to provide a thief with clues of where to find an expensive bike. In particular, if you participate in a cycling social networking site like strava.com, make sure you do not record routes that accurately describe your home location.
More security information is available on the Cycle Hayling web site.