Bikes are at risk from a new kind of thief. Zoe Holman, an Australian PhD student living in London, lost two bikes in April, to two very different professionals.
“My first bicycle went to heaven in the scrap metal yard,” Ms Holman laments.
“I locked it to a pedestrian crossing in Stoke Newington, where I locked it every day, and when I came back in the evening there was no trace of my bike. It had completely disappeared.”
There was no warning against locking bikes to the railing, and Ms Holman was surprised that someone would go to the trouble of breaking a Kryptonite d-lock to get to a second-hand mountain bike.
On further inspection, she noticed a sign saying work was being done on the pedestrian crossing, with a number to call.
“I phoned up the Council, who spoke to the contractors. They remember removing a railing with a bicycle attached to it. It was in their storage yard, but then the scrap metal man came to remove the railings, and he also removed my bicycle.”
Moving on: bike two
“The contractor was really nice and said ‘name your price,’ which paid for my new and exciting bike, which met a sad fate also,” Ms Holman says.
“A friend has a really nice Peugeot frame and wheels, and I took it to a bike shop and they made it into this really nice single-speed bike.”
Staff at the bike shop suggested buying a lock worth 10% of the bike, and recommended a Kryptonite cable lock.
But just days later, Ms Holman locked it at Old Street roundabout for a few hours, and came back to find no trace of her new bike.
A bike massacre!
“When I locked mine up I couldn’t remember seeing any dead locks or wheels there, otherwise I wouldn’t have locked it there,” says Ms Holman, explaining how events unfolded one Saturday afternoon in April.
Returning to the bike rack, she found three empty locks, a wheel, and a bike which looked like it had been bashed: “It was like a massacre! It was as if they’d just come through with a van, so I phoned the police straight away.”
Ms Holman spent Sunday morning searching the streets of Brick Lane market, before heading to London Fields, but found no trace of the red racer.
She also looked on Bikeshd, Gumtree and went to second hand bike shops in the area. Determined not to be swept off the saddle by recent events, Ms Holman has borrowed a bike for now, and will think about getting a third one soon: “Mourn for the loss, move on, and get back on the horse!”