Saturday, October 01, 2005

Bike Reg

Here's a tip for anyone thinking of buying a second hand bike in Japan- make sure you get the name on the bike registration changed by the seller. Otherwise you're setting yourself up for a headache. Twice now I've been stopped by the police at night to check my bicycle registration. Every bike sold (I think) gets a yellow registration sticker on the frame with the part of the city it was purchased in and a unique ID.

The police checkpoints are fairly irregular and not difficult to avoid if you keep to the small streets and don't bike late at night. If you're trying to avoid them. My assumption is that they're trying to catch bike thieves, but I don't think they would have much success with canny thieves. I don't know what else these registration checks would accomplish.

I got stopped last night and struggled to recall the name of the Danish guy who sold me the bike. I couldn't come up with it right off, but while explaining to the police how I acquired the bike, it suddenly came to me. This was about 30 seconds before HQ responded with the name the bike is registered to. Thus they let me go with an apology for holding me up. Too bad I can't change the registration without the original owner on hand, as he has gone back to Denmark. At least I'll have his name ready on the tip of my tongue next time.


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