A rampant evil at large - Commuter Cyclists beware

General cycling advice ( NOT technical ! )
Posts: 36
Joined: 1 Sep 2019, 3:07pm

A rampant evil at large - Commuter Cyclists beware

Postby briansnail » 22 Sep 2019, 3:37pm

Perplexed CUK members might query what exactly is this rampant evil at large that so imperils the world of cycling of commuter cycling. Easy cycle theft.
Does anyone know of someone who had a bike stolen? Please post if you have ever had a bike stolen with details and advise if you use the Police or other post code schemes to mark your bike or just write of the theft.
Data has just been released on rail station cycle thefts. It is a very good and thorough survey and well worth a read. St Albans leads as one of the most desirable places to live. Its rail station however is a leading den of cycle theft iniquity and we will hurriedly skip their figures. Hatfield station records 27,18 and 34 cycle thefts in the three year sample period. Welwyn Garden City virtuous as always can feel smug with an astonishingly low 0,0 and just one theft for the same three year period. Yet Hatfield Station has a 24% lower passenger footfall. It's worth drilling down into the actual spreadsheet figures. These are readily available on line.
The spreadsheet line for Welwyn Garden city in isolation raises no eyebrows. Scan the figures immediately above and below Welwyn Garden City .Home in on the thefts for the three years. Approximately 138 stations exhibit a neat repeated pattern of 0,0 and 1respective annual thefts. This is improbable and suggests something has gone awry with at least some of the data.
Gumtree and eBay are popular. They can also be a notorious launch pad for stolen Hertfordshire cycles. Always get a receipt. A policeman I know has a very nice cycle.This is reserved for weekend use only. Sensibly he uses a old hack to cycle and keep at the station and thieves at bay.
I remember my old bike together with a very expensive service and repair estimate. Full of guilt I abandoned it unlocked at the train station one late dark night. Two days later I was pedalling with it to a Harpenden charity cycle recycle centre. You just can't get your hands on a good cycle thief when you need one.

Posts: 12018
Joined: 30 Nov 2013, 11:26am

Re: A rampant evil at large - Commuter Cyclists beware

Postby brynpoeth » 22 Sep 2019, 3:41pm

The statistics do not mean much, many thefts are not recorded

My front wheel was stolen, now I always lock both wheels + frame to a stand :?
Entertainer, kidult, curmudgeon
Cycling-of course, but it is far better on a Gillott
We love safety cameras, we love life "597"

User avatar
Posts: 2275
Joined: 1 Jun 2007, 9:12pm
Location: Nottingham

Re: A rampant evil at large - Commuter Cyclists beware

Postby TrevA » 22 Sep 2019, 3:56pm

I’ve had 2 bikes stolen, both from Nottingham City Centre. One was from outside work, it was locked but only with a cheap, flimsy combo lock. Sadly, I didn’t learn the lesson and about a year later had a bike stolen from Nottingham Trent University, where I was doing a day-release course. Again, locked with a cheap, flimsy lock.

Just remembered, my son borrowed my old MTB and was daft enough to leave it overnight in Nottingham centre, just outside the Victoria Centre and it was stolen. It was a bit of a junker, only had one working brake and the cranks were different lengths.

I’m a lot more careful where I leave my bike now and use better quality locks.
A cart horse trapped in the body of a man.

User avatar
Posts: 11219
Joined: 24 Oct 2012, 10:43pm
Location: English Riviera

Re: A rampant evil at large - Commuter Cyclists beware

Postby NATURAL ANKLING » 22 Sep 2019, 8:15pm

One cycle stolen, it was never locked, no one ever did, it was left against the house wall day and night in full view from the road.

But it was not stolen there, I went to the doctors one day and left it outside on the pavement, came out and it was gone :(
Went back next day just in case.

The last time I left any cycle not in the shed and locked out of sight.
You live and learn, that was 45 years ago.
NA Thinks Just End 2 End Return + Bivvy
You'll Still Find Me At The Top Of A Hill
Please forgive the poor Grammar I blame it on my mobile and phat thinkers.

Tangled Metal
Posts: 6360
Joined: 13 Feb 2015, 8:32pm

Re: A rampant evil at large - Commuter Cyclists beware

Postby Tangled Metal » 22 Sep 2019, 9:04pm

I had a bike stolen from a security fenced yard with plenty of eyes on. In fact two guys saw the thief walk out with two bikes, one was mine. I wasn't happy with the bike as it was my first flat bar and I'd come to realise I couldn't get on with them.

As to police security stencilling goes they're a complete waste of time! I reported my bike details complete with exact details of extras I'd added. I also told the lady from the police that it had a security stencil and had been registered under a police scheme. She had never heard of it. Rather dismissively she said it must have been a local police thing and she'd have to check with the local policing unit about it. Pathetic really.

I saw a team in the same place doing bike marking and registration so I had it done on my new bike. While they were doing it I told them how poor it was that their own people didn't know about this scheme. The support officer called the real police officer over and in told him about my last bike being stolen. He was concerned and said he'd look into whether it gets publicity within the constabulary.

Meanwhile a fair few cyclists hearing my case left without registering their bikes. Mixed feelings about that but it's their choice. I was really just trying to find out if this was just lip service or a proper scheme attempting to recover bikes. I did once hear that police auctions often sell bikes that have been registered with police schemes. If it works they'd surely be reunited with their owners not sold in police auctions.

Posts: 1060
Joined: 22 May 2011, 7:14pm

Re: A rampant evil at large - Commuter Cyclists beware

Postby gregoryoftours » 22 Sep 2019, 9:20pm

The only bike I had stolen was from outside the cathedral in Sheffield city centre in the middle of the day. I left it there cabled to a signpost for about 20 minutes. CCTV footage was too low-res and far away to be of any help. It was just clear enough to show that the method used to break the combi cable lock was a small pair of croppers used inside a plastic carrier bag. Took only a few seconds. I think I spoke to the spotter afterwards - a guy sitting on a bench facing a few metres away who left pretty sharpish after I asked him if he'd seen anything. I hadn't registered the frame number anywhere which may or may not have helped in the event of police recovery. Now I'd only use a cable lock on a quick bob into a shop somewhere 'safe' - anything else I use a small but decent brand d-lock, or a big abus d-lock if leaving for more than half an hour.

Posts: 12447
Joined: 24 Jul 2007, 2:37pm

Re: A rampant evil at large - Commuter Cyclists beware

Postby pete75 » 22 Sep 2019, 9:27pm

briansnail wrote: . . . . this rampant evil at large that so imperils the world of cycling of commuter cycling. Easy cycle theft. . . .. <SNIP>

If you think someone stealing a bike is evil you don't know what the word means.
Last edited by Graham on 1 Oct 2019, 7:35am, edited 1 time in total.
Reason: wasted space

User avatar
Posts: 2963
Joined: 13 Nov 2017, 11:14am

Re: A rampant evil at large - Commuter Cyclists beware

Postby Cugel » 22 Sep 2019, 9:48pm

I've never locked my bike up when out on a ride - at the cafe or when having a wee - and never had it stolen. Mind, I keep out of them dodgy places like cities, towns and so forth. In some places crime is near non-existent. Well, apart from driving crime, which is apparently not really criminal despite the death & maiming toll.

On the other hand, my bikes are protected at home by many layers of security (defense in depth) - although there's never been any sign of attempted theft. Perhaps any would-be thiefses are put off by having to work through the various barriers, especially if there's a bike shed down the way with nothing but a cheese lock on it.

I do have a recurring dream, from time to time, about my bikes being stolen. I have a similar one about the woodworking tools being nicked. Does that count?


User avatar
Mick F
Posts: 47831
Joined: 7 Jan 2007, 11:24am
Location: Tamar Valley, Cornwall

Re: A rampant evil at large - Commuter Cyclists beware

Postby Mick F » 22 Sep 2019, 9:51pm

My dad has his bike stolen when he was in the RAF during the war. It went missing from outside the NAAFI.
He was always going on about it decades later. :lol:
Mick F. Cornwall

Posts: 1677
Joined: 4 May 2010, 10:20pm
Location: Cornwall

Re: A rampant evil at large - Commuter Cyclists beware

Postby peetee » 22 Sep 2019, 10:19pm

I have commented before about the disjointed approach to cataloguing cycle theft. In short, where I used to live in Hampshire I learned that each police force holds its own records and adjacent forces are unable to access them and also that, in Hampshire at least, abandoned/recovered cycles are logged and stored by the council and the police are not provided with any info as to what is held.
So if you live close to a county boundary and your bike is stolen by a drunken nit who wants an easy way home you will need to make at least 4 phone calls to stand a chance of getting it back.
One wonders why the authorities bother at all?
Current status report:
Back on two wheels in deepest Pastyland and loving every minute. Mission: to enjoy big, bad hills again.


Re: A rampant evil at large - Commuter Cyclists beware

Postby chomango » 30 Sep 2019, 11:54pm

Had a bike stolen recently from secure storage at a government/council/transport bicycle hub next to a train station -

This was one where you need a card to open the doors being signed upto the scheme etc..

The hub has CCTV Cameras in and around the hub.

I did leave the bicycle overnight due to having a health emergency.

The staff on the phone the next day could not be any more unhelpful or obstructive if they tried -

I said to them that that the theft would have been caught on all of there CCTV cameras as there was a chain around the frame to one of their bike loops and another strenghened lock on the quick release wheel at the front and through the loop.

They said that they couldn't and wouldn't under any circumstances be able to access the CCTV footage and I needed to go to the police :roll:

I cut my losses - was more pissed off about the locks and chains being damaged more than anything else - it was a cheap bicycle but it put the nail in the coffin for council/government run bicycle hubs for me.

Also I had just bought a new phone mount, light mounts etc so I was out of pocket a fair few quid with just the peripherals on the bike alone including empty waterproof pannier holders.

A previous bicycle I owned was stolen from the same train station 10 years ago just outside on the loops, I thought I would give this bike hub a try.
Partly my own fault for leaving it overnight but that was totally unplanned and unprepared for.

I now park my bicycle in the town centre where there is a lot of footfall or at my gym where I have 2 massive chains and a lot of friends who are Cage Fighters that would pummel any bicycle theif into oblivion with 1 finger.

We live in a dog eat dog world it seems. (God help me if I ever catch a person in the act of stealing a bicycle!)


Re: A rampant evil at large - Commuter Cyclists beware

Postby chomango » 1 Oct 2019, 1:10am

Just wanted to add a few more incidents I can remember from over the years.

One of the worst for me was loosing my scooter, it was the dogs [rude word removed] a beautiful little silver scooter that looked like something out of Star Trek - I was working and living away from home, I stayed with friends in a houseshare and got a job in an adjacent city - I commuted to work for 2 years with no problem - my commute time was about 40-50 minutes if I took the scenic routes and didn't ride too quickly.

Anyway one day theives broke into the back garden and stole my scooter that was immobilised and chained to the heaviest drainpape with the highest security chain.

I was absolutely gutted, the police came and went and took statements - the bike was later found burned out and totally written off on a field somewhere -

After the excess on the insurance I was left with nearly a grands debt as I had only paid off half the bike at that point.

So that was devastating, had to commute with busses, trains etc.. each day after that taking upto 2 hours+ each way.


Other incidents buying a brand new bike from a retail park near a place I lived, stopping off at a post office for a stamp for a letter with the bike propped up on the window and it being gone in a second when my back was turned. All of the nearby businesses said that there CCTV didn't work, one suggested I go looking around the houses in back gardens as it was probably kids.

Had plenty of bikes stolen over the years with locks or not -

Most recent incident was that I was parking at a local Tesco Extra, big [rude word removed] of a store with a big fence at front - I parked on the fence next to the cash machines and CCTV - In that time my bike was vandalised about 10 times at least, handlebars upside down, seat slashed, seat slashed again with the ballsack resting bit completely cut away, lights stolen, light fixtures stolen, wheel bolts loosened to the point where the wheel just fell off when I sat on the bicycle to cycle off, you name it. Tesco were sympathetic but there was nothing they could do.

On a more sinister occasion, I was working in a care home for disabled children - This was one of the many unmarked residential properties the organisation owned in the area - I would often carry my bicycle through the front door and out into the back garden when arriving for a shift out of brevity - or if time allowed would find the duty manager and get the keys to unlock the gate to the back garden; Since handover hadn't started it was often easier to just carry it through the front door of the property. Either way it was very secure once in the back garden.

One evening I was in one of the rooms facing the back garden and there was a shadowy figure - I went to one of the doors and asked the intruder if they were lost - they said they were just passing through - I knew there was no way through on any side so I yelled out, have a seat on the bench I've called the police they'll be here in a minute. The intruder tried leaving through the front gate and then gave up and squeezed through the hedgerow presumably from whence he had came. They upgraded the CCTV around the property after that apparantly as the infared had just picked up a big blob. - Anyway that was about the time I started to chain my bicycle to large drainpipes or any other immovable objects - don't let people dissuade you from further securing you're bicycle.

So anyway I now ride, as I have done for several years a selection of cheap bicycles rather than one good one, it's a shame and whenever I go on a bicycle holiday and rent a top of the range bike my heart skips a beat; but I would never have an expensive bicycle again living in a city - With a A-B bike and 1-2 crappy mountain bikes as backup I would still be able to commute tommorrow if somebody stole my bicycle today.

I'm thinking of setting up some kind of volunteer monitoring/sting operation type thing to catch the theives at it - there are a few youtube videos of something similar.

My advice lock everything down, saddle, quick release wheels and frame, the ammount of bikes I see chained to a bollard or something where they could just be lifted, bike theft isn't going to lessen until it's made a priority, until then we have to do a lot of the leg work ourselves it would seem to catch these abhorrant people that would steal our means of commuting. I'm currently looking into covert bicycle cams that like stream to the cloud, got some alarms and multiple locks on my bikes at the moment but will that be enough.

Posts: 4682
Joined: 5 Jan 2007, 10:01pm
Location: North Hertfordshire

Re: A rampant evil at large - Commuter Cyclists beware

Postby drossall » 1 Oct 2019, 9:02am

I've always kept a basic fixed-wheel bike for commuting and errands, to avoid leaving good bikes around. More recently, working in London, I've joined the Brompton ranks, so the bike lives by my desk. Even then, Brompton riders worry about someone walking off the train with their machines, at an intermediate stop.

Posts: 356
Joined: 5 Jan 2007, 4:50pm

Re: A rampant evil at large - Commuter Cyclists beware

Postby atoz » 1 Oct 2019, 10:31am

I don't go to town on my "good" bikes ie those most likely to be stolen. My ancient CB Majestic with 3 speed Sturmey Archer is the bike of choice, with a small Abus D lock. Even then this is for short shopping trips only. I would never leave it for aniy length of time.

On those occasions I ride to work, the bike is in a secure bike parking area that has limited access. It is secured by a kryptonite lock. Anything less for this purpose and you can kiss the bike goodbye. Locks on secure bike parking doors can be forced. Because my working hours have now changed, I don't ride to work now- too dodgy at peak period, sadly.