My bike got tanned.
I got home, as usual, and walked up the stairs to the flat. It wasn’t until I got to the landing just below home, and found my way blocked by one of the massive full length plants we usually have in the corner, that I realised anything was amiss.
For a second or two I couldn’t figure it out. Why the hell would anyone leave this huge plant right in the middle of the stairs? and hadn’t it actually been one flight lower when I left for work earlier in the day, parked right next to my bike? Which madman would even countenance lifting it up a flight of stairs?
The bike. I looked the few steps over the stairwell to the landing below and it was gone. My bike had been tanned.
Not only that but whoever had nicked it had either sawed through or simply yanked out four cast iron stair banisters to get to it.
It would be a downright lie to say that I had some kind os special relationship with my trusty stead. I probably got one mile for every pound I paid for it (about £500), which, if you think of it, isn’t really a great return.
But I did have some really good times on it, I loved cycling coast to coast and It came with me across the country and even over to Ireland (if you really want you can read about some of the times here or here.
And the photoset Shaun created of our bike ride round Harris during our Summer trip to the Isles last summer still conjures up special memories.
So to come home, after another long day, and realise that someone had broken into my close, torn the banisters out of the floor (thus damaging a lovely Victorian staircase in the process) to steal my bike…well it peeved me.
It peeved me for a few reasons.
First of all – it was mine, and it was stolen from my home.
People get their bikes nicked all the time, but mine was securely locked to the banister inside a locked tenement which has a security entry code. I foolishly thought it would be safe.
And so my investigation began. I re-traced my steps back down to the front door. It was locked, just as it had been when I got to it just a few moments before. Nothing was broken and nobody had forced their way in.
After knocking all the doors It appeared that my neighbours had all arrived home, and had seen the bike and indeed the banisters in place, less than an hour previously.
Nobody else saw anything, and all swore blind they had not anybody slip in.
So, somebody had managed to gain entry to a locked property and steal my bike in a very short time window.
I know my neighbours pretty well, and I trust them, but in my tenement there is also an office where people come and go, and I don’t know any of them.
Listen, it could be many people, lots of people have access to the close and could have used the code to get in, alternatively someone was careless in allowing a clever thief in as they were coming in and out themselves. Either way, my bike got tanned.
As well as the simple fact I was peeved at the theft, and the inevitable and probably unjustified rush to suspicion of my neighbours it gave me, I was also peeved because I knew it involved an evening of police, insurance, and being put on hold to then be asked for same details again and again….for something I suspected would be ultimately futile.
And so it was. The police, to be fair to them, have other things to be dealing with, and when I suggested to the data entry clerk (not an officer, don’t be silly) that the massive plant pot might be a good place to start for fingerprints he gave a dry, throaty chuckle.
The idea of police actually coming anywhere near my property to check for themselves the theft was so far out there, far less taking fingerprints, that it was clearly humorous. I wasn’t laughing.
And then the insurance. Long story short – I was goosed; not a chance of claiming for it on contents insurance.
Ironically, had I stored it in a garage (which, you might think, would be a riper plum for a thief than a locked tenement) I would have been covered.
All of which took me about three hours to hear.
So now I have a whole in my banister and no bike.
What better time to sign up for the Pedal for Scotland Glasgow to Edinburgh bike ride?
All I need now…a bike.