Bicycle thieves have been thriving in this age of technological advancements, thanks to the aid of battery-powered tools that make quick work of traditional locks and chains.

However, those seeking to combat bike theft now have their own technological innovation to help level the playing field. A pilot project, running until December 1, is currently underway in Penticton, Canada. The project offers citizens free use of the Bikeep e-bike lock technology.

E-Kruise, a regional e-bike rental company, convinced Penticton’s local government to adopt the pilot project.

Although the Bikeep system resembles a typical bike rack, it offers more than meets the eye. Cyclists can unlock a metal arm using a smartphone app, which is then swung over the bike’s frame and tire and locked into place.

Cutting the arm triggers various notifications, including local security, police, and E-Kruise. Cutting the arm also activates a 120-decibel alarm. With two million uses worldwide, the system has only failed twice.

Ashton Olsen, the founder of E-Kruise, discovered the Bikeep system a few years ago at a trade show in San Francisco. Although the technology is already employed in 23 countries, it’s only beginning to be used in North America.

Until December 1, 2023, the use of Bikeep in Penticton is completely free.

After December 1, standard fees will apply. Bikeep users incur an $8 monthly subscription fee, along with a charge of $1 per three hours of usage. Olsen believes this is a small price to pay for insurance on high-end bikes, especially when a quality lock can cost close to $400 without any guarantees.

Following the conclusion of the pilot project, city officials will convene with E-Kruise to determine the future of the racks. They will also consider potential installations at other public facilities and spaces.

The cost of powering the racks, around $500, was evenly divided between taxpayers and E-Kruise.

The city sourced funds from the Blue Skies Transformation Fund (BSTF), which received climate-based contributions from governments and utility companies. BSTF is also being used to offer free conventional bike racks to businesses who request them.

City of Penticton spokesperson Shane Mills mentioned that the city plans to increase the number of bike lockers in a parking lot on Ellis Street next year. The city is also reviewing the findings of a public amenities survey conducted earlier in the year.

According to the Penticton Herald, there were 161 reports of bike thefts in Penticton in 2022. This is an increase from 126 in 2021.

The Bikeep system has the potential to be a game-changing technology. This is particularly true in light of some e-bike riders losing their insurance due to high rates of e-bike theft.

Image Source: HUB North Shore,