Often whenever possible, I will to my best not to use my car when travelling into central London. Even when I do I will park in Regents Park immediately outside of the congestion charging zone. I find numerous advantages over cycling around central London versus by car. I don’t have to worry about parking or congestion and invariably quicker to get from a to b.
Not for one moment on the fateful day did I think my bike was going to be stolen yet it was. I had arrived outside of Grays Antiques Market shortly before closing at 5pm right in the heart of rush hour. Because the cycle racks were full I looked logically for the most secure place to lock it to and I found an ideal lampost for my bicycle immediately outside. I had already had many years ago a situation when I had parked my bicycle, chained to a street sign, one of my neighbours had disturbed the bike thief who was attempting to lift it nine feet off the ground. After that experience I would only trust a more solid and higher object like my choice.
I was in Grays no more than half an hour. You know what happens when you are looking for something on your person and you can’t find it? On this occasion I remembered where I had chained it and began believing I had parked it with the other bikes. For the next 15 minutes I just stood there in disbelief so I reported the theft to the police. I hoped CCTV had picked up the thief in action.
A couple of days later a victim report came through the my instant message to say there was nothing else the police could do, there was no visible signs of the theft on CCTV. A week later a letter arrives from the Police that pretty much duplicated the text message. More importantly it told a story; not to give up hope.
The trouble was I had, thinking there is no way the bike was going to be found. That was yesterday. Today while attending a sale of Japanese works of art sale at Bonhams, I receive a call from the closest police station to the incident.
‘We believe we have found your , can you describe it to us so we know it is yours’? I described it to a tee.
Since I was without my bicycle, I used Santander’s city bikes to cycle the ten minute ride and low and behold my bike had surely been found. There was one problem though I had used Santander’s bikes because my car was parked in Regents Park. Normally I would have used my own. No problem I would drive to my Mother’s and then empy my car of the stuff that was in it and go to pick up my bike.
The officer who had phoned gave me an alternative number to call since the Police Station closed at eight. Another example of poor financing where not enough money to go around. It wasn’t that the reception wasn’t manned 24 hours, because it was, just the reception area was closing, I arriving just before 8pm when the door shut. Meanwhile a Taxi Driver was trying to report a Road Rage incident. He had accidentally reversed in the back bumper of a car, as far as he was concerned no visible damage. But the other driver demanded £70 and thats when the opportunist stole his glasses right off his nose.
Unfortunately the police officer said to him, “I am sorry we are closed now you will have to go to Charing Cross.
I just wonder in the years to come whether the next government are going to get it right. The public will be getting their ideal support because there will be no insufficient funding as an excuse. At least that day I was going home with a smile on my face. I never expected to see my bike again. However my next bike lock will be far more secure than my last.
You might ask how was it possible for the Police to pick up my bicycle. Apprarently, the bike thief had intended to use my bike as a getaway vehicle while shoplifting in Regent’s Street. Fortunately for me a security guard caught him in action and although he got away he knew trying to ride my bike away risked him being caught. I am grateful to #GAP for taking the bike in then calling the police. The irony of my story is where my bike was parked was outside of millions of pounds worth of stock yet CCTV hadn’t seen anything and the Police are anxious to catch the culprit.
The only thing I had to do now was get my Santander hire bike back to outside of Bonhams little did I know it would break on route and that I would have to walk it most of the way back. My only fear is that I might still be charged the penalty.