Stolen bikes, hot pursuit and anti-theft advice

Scene of the theft. To the right of the Bishop’s palace gatehouse is a fence used by local cyclists.

Last night, John Plain (a close friend and fellow JIF member) had his bike stolen from outside the Bishop’s Palace in Llandaff. We were enjoying a pint and a chat in the Butchers Arms, left around 11.20pm and were stunned to find a gap amongst the locked up bikes on the fence. There were 5 bikes where there should have been 6. We all felt a collective sense of loss, frustration and anger. Wind the clock forward 9.5 hours and I’m relating this story to a colleague when my phone rings. It’s Craig, in hot pursuit of the bike through the streets of Cathays. I hopped on my bike, sprinted over (I was about a mile away), infringed the odd section of highway code (needs must) and joined him. Too late. He’d spotted Craig and used the rush hour traffic as a barrier. First things first, the details.

Sadly, I don’t have a picture (neither can I find a suitable one on the web), but the bike is very distinctive. Its a Red, Look, carbon racing bike, size 54 cm. The top tube is nearly worn white through use and its approximately 10 – 11 years old. It will be the only one of its kind in Cardiff. The Person seen with the bike this morning is , Male, Mid-30s, tattooed left arm, wearing the ubiquitous hoodie and baseball cap. Rucksack on back.

If the bike is spotted, please get in touch via Twitter and I’ll alert John first and the Police second.

Now that I’m back at my desk, suitably sweaty after leathering it through rush hour traffic, I feel doubly frustrated that my mate’s bike was pinched. The bike of course, can be replaced. But it’s not the point. When you own a bike for such a protracted period of time, you build a relationship with it. In John’s case, this is the bike that he’s swept down the Sa Colobra in Majorca (John is a demon descender), the bike that’s carried him through the Gran Fondo Pinarello in Treviso, the bike on which he’s  spent countless weekend’s giving up his time and cycle marshalling for the Welsh Castles relay, the bike that was his trusty Thursday night carriage home. The snake that stole this bike couldn’t care less about any of that.

John was undone by relying on a cable lock to do the job. All too often the vermin that predate on our bikes are often equipped to deal with the best of them. Earlier in the week, I was passing through the city centre when I spotted another cable lock cut and discarded (pictured above left). I dread to think what happened to the bike. The best strategy for dealing with this, is to use two locks when locking up your bike; a good ‘D’ lock and a cable lock. It’s rare that bike thieves come equipped to deal with both types of lock, plus you get the advantage of securing front/rear wheels and frame simultaneously.

On my way to work this morning (before the pursuit), I stopped to buy some mediterranean food at a market stall and locked my bike to a nearby Sheffield stand. The pictures below indicate my advice for securing your bike.

DO get yourself  – and use  – a good lock. Cycling is on the up and so is the crime associated with it. If anyone helps to retrieve John’s bike, we’ll donate a Squire Paramount ‘D’ lock and an Odoni anchor point as a thank you.