I gots me bike back!!
I went to the police station this afternoon, and was hoping to speak with someone who knew the details of how my bike was recovered, so I could find out a bit more, and maybe see if I could get my thanks to the guy who pursued the thieves. Unfortunately, I only got a rather rushed-off-her-feet desk lady who didn’t know the details, so I had to make do with merely getting my bike back. Can’t complain, really. 🙂
The policeman who phoned me last night gave a few details about what happened over the phone. Apparently, someone saw the thieves using a bolt cutter on my lock, and chased after them. The thieves ditched the bike, which was then taken home by the same member of the public, who phoned the police to have them collect it. The policeman warned me that the rear tyre was deflated.
Without knowing any more than that, the only additional information is in the damage caused to my bike, but I’m not entirely sure if all the damage was caused by the thieves…
The punctured rear tyre
I’ve heard stories of thieves deliberately disabling a bike by slashing the tyres, in order to buy time to allow them to get tools and come back. I can’t see any holes in the tyre, but I can see at least two holes in the inner tube. One is a 5mm rough hole, and the other is a clean slash, about 2cm long. The slash is on the rim side of the tube, and the small hole is a bit further down the tube, more on the side. I guess they could’ve punctured it with a small knife or something, and the slash was caused by either the end of the knife, or the rim as they tried to wheel it away. Or maybe the puncture fairy was watching over my bike for me. 🙂
If it had a flat when they stole it, it’s no wonder they ditched the bike to make a faster getaway!
Damage to the RH side of the bike
There’s quite a lot of damage to the right-hand side of the bike.. The pedal has a massive gouge taken out of it, the crank has a couple of big scratches on it, the front mech is in contact with the chain, and the rear mech is all scratched up along the bottom. I would assume this was all caused by them ditching the bike, and it clattering over onto the right-hand side. I hope they didn’t bend anything!
The adjusted saddle
The saddle was adjusted to as low as it’ll go with the rear light clamp still attached, which wasn’t all that much lower than usual. It was adjusted correctly, so that when I’m cycling, my leg is straight when the pedal is at it’s lowest point. That means that you can’t just jump onto the bike – you have to get onto the pedal first, give a push, and then hoist your leg over. Doing it any other way usually ends up in entangulated legs, and the bike falling over. I like to think that one of the thieves tried to get onto the bike while running, which would’ve been quite painful, and may have been the cause for it being ditched. It’s kind’ve a shame that I’d replaced the pedals, coz my old ones would’ve taken his leg off! 🙂
The dirt on the handlebars
There was dirt embedded in the handlebar grips, and in the brake levers. More on the right than the left, but it was on both. It may have been caused by the ditching, or maybe the Samaritan stored my bike on its ‘back’, in an earthy area. There’s no actual damage to the handlebars that I can see.
The over-inflated front tyre, and the upside-down front light
When I first bought my tyres, I pumped them up to their max PSI, for max speed, but the bike was horrible to ride. The roads of Manchester are so badly maintained that they’re actually rougher than most trails, so I run the tyres at a comfortable 35 PSI in order to stop my teeth falling out.
My front light is a bit of a Frankenstein’s monster, held onto the stem by two different light clamps slotted into each other. Due to the angle of the stem, the light points up in the air if it’s on top, so it’s underslung. I haven’t ridden it in the dark since I attached it, so I’m not sure if it works very well.
After recovering my bike, my front tyre is so full of air that I can’t get the tyre to compress with my hand, and my light is now pointing to the heavens! I guess either the police or the good Samaritan were trying to fix perceived damage. It does pose the possibility that the rear puncture was actually caused after the theft, when someone tried to over-inflate the tyre.
So, all in all, I don’t really know much more, other than that it fell on its right-hand side when they let go of it, and someone tried to fix the bike afterwards. The tyre issue is weird, and I’ll never really know what happened there.
It’s a shame that i might never get to thank the person who chased off the thieves, but I hope he gets good karma from it, or something. I can’t imagine ever giving chase to two people who’re obviously armed with at least one chunky length of heavy steel, and I’m not sure I’d want anyone to do it for me, either. It’s nice that I got my bike back, but this could easily have ended with the guy being sent to hospital, or worse.
What’s to be learned?
The most important thing I’ve learned is that my old lock was shit. I was convinced that a cable lock was better than a d-lock, because most people use d-locks, and the crims can’t carry tools for everything, so they probably only carry tools for breaking d-locks, right?. That may or may not be true (probably untrue – they’d carry the easiest to conceal tool, and then look out for compatible bike locks), but I’d failed to spot an obvious flaw in the lock that I was using – it was a thick Kryptonite cable, taken from my d-lock, but it was held together with a padlock. The padlock was a decent brand, but it wasn’t designed to be bolt cutter proof. In retrospect, it was rather ridiculous.
I’ve now brought the old d-lock out of retirement. By god it’s heavy, and it doesn’t fit anywhere on my frame, but I’d rather carry that around than risk losing my bike again.
Another thing I’ve learned is that I’ve made my bike stand out maybe a little bit too much, as I don’t think anyone would’ve given it a second glance when it was all standard and knackered-looking. I’m not sure if that’s good or bad.. like I said in the previous post; I’m glad it’s not just a run-of-the-mill standard bike, so I’m not downgrading my bike just to deter a few thieves!
I’ve learned that I need to make a note of the frame number, and possibly get the bike post coded, if they still do that. Now that I have a home of my own, there’s no good reason not to.
Finally, I’ve learned that it’s always worth reporting thefts to the Police. I already knew it was worth doing, but it’s nice to have a bit more validation. Once, I even reported lost car keys, which it turned out had already been handed in to them by the person that found them. Those are the only things I’ve ever had recovered, though.. I’m still down by two bikes and a digital camera. 😛