“The local church bought us round a cake, and the people upstairs made us some cookies.” No, this is not a village fete, but one of the ways Londoners chose to support their local bike shops recovering from riots.
Two weeks after Going Going Bike first reported on damange done to Mosquito Bikes, Evans Cycles Chalk Farm, and Micycle, all three shops have swept the broken glass from their tyre tracks and are up and running again.
Sugar and sweeping
Worst-hit of the three was Evans: around 50 bikes stolen and damage upwards of £65,000. The shop made it onto the Guardian live blog and Sky News, and by 7am on Tuesday 9 August the staff had arrived to assess the damage.
“They got into the store room, and there were some customer repairs taken,” supervisor Rob Spencer explains. In addition, cracked carbon frames were left scattered across the shop floor: “They were that mindless and stupid that rather than trying to steal one or two they were dragging twelve bikes [locked together] into the street.”
But in the face of such destruction, Evans staff, customers, and locals got together to get the wheels turning again. “A lot of lads weren’t due to work a shift but we all turned up,” says Spencer. “It was really nice to see the workforce pulling together.”
“We had members of the public coming to sweep up and brought trays of cakes,” he adds. Once the shop re-opened three days later, customers came in to buy things just to show their support, as has happened at Micycle in Islington.
Around ten bikes were stolen from Micycle, which is still suffering from a broken door. “We have had a lot of really positive people coming in, and generally the business is going really well,” says assistant manager Matt Brown.
Mosquito on the Essex Road was thankfully free of bike theft, but “a mass of kids” rushed the shop and smashed windows. Dobbin, manager at Mosquito and Church cake recipient, says a lot of people came around with offers of help: “Really nice people just wanted to get involved,” he remembers.
Praise for the police
The police made it to Mosquito at Mark Cavendish speed, arriving within two minutes. Over the past week council members have also visited to offer their help.
Brown says two Micycle bikes have been recovered so far: “The police got a tip-off and made a raid in Islington. The police have been really helpful, all of them. I would say they’re all trying their hardest.”
Up at Chalk Farm, Spencer and the team have had regular visits from the Metropolitan Police. “Forensics were here first thing in the morning, liaising with us about where we could go. They were really quick,” he says.
“The police have been really good with how they’ve handled it, keeping us up-to-date with what’s going on. They’ve been back a couple of times with van loads of bikes, and they’ve told us there have been some arrests and convictions.”
All three shops are covered by insurance which will ensure the businesses can continue to serve the thriving cycling community in London, which will rally together at the next red light. “There’s a bit of a trend for calling our society Broken Britain, but I don’t think that’s true,” says Spencer; “The spirit of London and people coming together for us is fantastic.”