Saturday, 2 August 2008

Bike Thefts

The BFP reported on their website, on 31st July, that 67 Bicycles have been stolen in the past 3 months totaling £12,000 in value, and the mojority of the bikes have not been recovered.

I have been the victim of bike thefts in the past, and I accept I was a bit careless about how the bikes were left.

The first one happened when I was only about 8 years old. I had been given a bright red Raleigh Tomahawk by my parents, for either a birthday or Christmas present. I hadn't had it long and one evening I had left it leaning against the side of our house, in the front garden, and forgotten to put it away in the garage overnight night.
The next morning it was gone, and there was no sign of it around our small village housing estate. My Dad was kind enough to replace my bike but only with an old fashioned one, that had rod brakes, that he had got from Bury market, and had had to put it back together and painted it blue with white mudguards.
The wheel rims were a bit rusty, but it got me back out cycling around with my friends again. At this time some friends were getting racing bikes and Raleigh Grifters, so I did regret losing that Tomahawk, because my blue replacement was just not "cool".

Years later (1999) and I have a mountain bike, which I'd bought about five years previous from Halfords in Bury St.Edmunds, when it used to be where Superdrug is in town now, for £230.
It was about October time and the evenings were dark, and I had left by bike outside the Moreton Hall pub in the afternoon, with a lock just going around the frame and back wheel.
I go to go home just after 6pm, and its gone. I went back in the pub and asked if anyone knew where it was, if it was a prank, but the barmaid told me she'd seen two men putting a bike in the back of their car, as she arrived for her shift at the pub.
She was able to give me a description of the car (not a common one) and the two guys had been wearing jackets with the name of the company they worked for on them.
I reported my loss to the Police (a Policeman came to my house) with all these details, but I thought I would never see the bike again. Anyway I had taken out specific household insurance on the bike, and put in a claim.
About 3 weeks later I get a call from the Police saying that they have recovered the bike, and when I got home with it that night, there is a Cheque from the Insurance company, waiting for me. Dilemma !
I send the Cheque back !

A couple of weeks before Christmas, that same year, I've ridden my bike (that I've just got back) on a Saturday evening down to the Fox in Eastgate Street, when it used to be a proper Pub, to meet a mate.
Now with a new longer thicker lock, I locked the bike to the tressel fence at the back of the pub, that obscures the toilet block, and gone in the pub for a couple of pints.
My mate and I then decided to go on into the town centre, and I left the bike where it was, thinking it was safe enough. We end up going into one of the nightclubs and at 2am I make my way back to the Fox to retrieve my bike, and as you can probably guess, its gone.
There is now a small chunk cut out of the tressel fence where a saw was used to remove the lock from the fence, you can still see it missing today, but its obscured slightly by a honeysuckle plant now.

I had learned my lesson by securing the bike to something, but my bro' winds me up by saying I should have used something better than a Daffodil ! (Ha bloody Ha).
He had borrowed my bike one afternoon, and taken it down Ickworth Park with some other people. They had been doing some jumps and my bro' "got some big air" and came off my bike breaking his collar bone, and spent three months off work.
I'd cycled home from Horringer late one Sunday night on it, from the Six Bells, and I'd gone over the handlebars, outside what is now the Hairdressers in Lawson Place, then the bike went over me. The next day I had a black eye, from where my face hit the ground, luckily it was on the grass !

I reported my loss to the Police again, who don't seem so interested this time, and put in another claim to the Insurance company, glad that I had returned the first cheque I'd received.
The Insurance company had deducted from the value of the bike/claim, what 5 years wear and tear the bike would have received, for the first Claim I made. The second time I claimed they sent the full value (£230).
I'm not sure if they think I'd lost a second, new bike, but my conscience was clear from returning the first Cheque, so I was pleased with the second one, and bought another bike.


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