Monday, September 10, 2018

The vanishing of a dream machine

The bicycles thieves go free, it seems, and enrich themselves from the sale of my bike, and doubtlessly plenty of others. It’s a depressing picture for the cyclist as a look around just about any busy shopping area proves: there is no protection for the bike owner and loads of opportunity for thieves.
When I went back in half-disbelief many times to where my Boardman road racer had been snatched
on a sunny, crowded afternoon, I couldn't find anything that would have made stealing a bike anything but a doddle.
There’s not a cautionary sign about the prevalence of thieves, nothing to remind people not to leave their bikes without special locks, not for even a second.
No signs, no officials, no police, not even a meter maid to make thieves wary. And, I say again, nothing to let you know that thieves might be about, and that they almost definitely are.

Above the law

What aggravates particularly is that lack of a warning notice, and afterwards not any encouragement that the bike might be recovered.
It seems that to be a cycle thief is to be above the law. Jon Legge, a council Sustainable Transport Planner, pointed to the good advice here which does appear to offer excellent advice. However, it not signposted in the thieves’ area. I've never seen it before, nor have ever heard a whisper about it and yet I have been cycling in the Kingston area for ten years.
‘I note from the photo of your bike that it appears to have been locked using a cable lock, which unfortunately can be cut through very quickly by thieves,’ Jon Legge wrote.
I wondered about that. You can’t exactly wander about a busy centre with a pair of bolt cutters in your hand. However, I am wrong. You can, the cycle crooks can and do.

Bolt cutters in a sack

A cycling friend explained, ‘The police say that the thieves have bolt cutters in a sack, with a hole in the bottom. Apparently, they can cut through a cable easily and no-one nearby would begin to suspect it.’
John Legge said that Kingston Council is looking at providing cycle hubs in the borough.
‘Cycle hubs provide increased levels of security for bikes, for example by only allowing access by means of a fob or key card.
‘In many cases they will also include CCTV.’
It sounds encouraging for the future, even if it’s much too late for me. And it hurts because reality suggests this passionate cyclist will never know such an advanced cycle again.

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