San Francisco's Mission Bicycle Co. develops GPS to ward off thieves

SAN FRANCISCO (KGO) -- There are bikes for the mountains and bikes for the open road, but one San Francisco shop specializes in bikes made for the city.

RELATED: I-Team uncovers where stolen bikes in San Francisco go

The two-wheelers from Mission Bicycles are about to get supercharged with street smarts.

Mission Bikes has a design wall. It's as a blank slate to start building the bike of your dreams for your daily commute.
Whether you want to spring for the Brooks leather seat or the bright yellow chain, there's one feature the Mission Bicycle Company hopes to make standard -- the same LED strips that light up your laptop screen built into the bike frame to light up the pavement.

It makes cyclists visible to drivers, with technology that's invisible until you turn it on.

"It's just there and it works," said Mission Bicycle Co.' Product Designer Ashton Smith.

The same battery that'll keep riders safe while they're on the bike is also central to Mission Bicycles' next project -- keeping the bike safe while you're not riding it.

Every customer gets bike lock training at Mission Bicycles, but we're all human, so they've used special security bolts to keep the wheels and the saddle from being pulled off and sold at chop shops.

Still, our I-Team saw how a whole bike can be stolen in seconds, but maybe not gone forever.

The tiny new board can be built into the frame with a backup battery that will last for days.

"To pull out a phone anytime, and see where the bike is located," said Mission Bicycle Co. General Manager Jefferson McCarley.

Once you find it, police are happy to swoop in.

"We would love to do that," said Grace Gatpandan of the San Francisco police. "And it's much safer for the police to facilitate that transaction instead of you."

RELATED: San Francisco police target bicycle chop shops

And though bike thefts have been on the rise, San Francisco police say GPS tracking reduced smartphone thefts and it could do the same for bikes, since chasing the thief is often impossible.

"The thing that you're stealing is actually the getaway vehicle," McCarley added.
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