Winter has stolen my joy of cycling. If only it had taken my bike too. That would save me passing it in the hallway every time I exit the house, leaving it behind, a sad puppy betrayed by its owner. When I shut the front door, I’m sure I hear the steel cry, a haunting low whine that grows into a howl by the time I reach the bottom of my street.
There is no losing this machine. Ridden off bridges at midnight, the bike flies into the mighty River Thames only to find its way back to the river bank before sniffing its way home. Left behind on trains, in photo booths, I’ve even tried stuffing it down the back of other people’s sofas. All to no avail. Each day anew, there it sits, squatting in the hallway waiting to admonish me, pleading with me to take it for a spin.
Yet I can’t. My spaghetti legs wobble and my head drops, for I know I am comitting a sin against my former lover. Counselling awaits.
Bike locks are pointless
Setting aside my lack of cycling motivation, let’s talk bike security. Oi, stop yawning at the back! More bicycles are stolen per minute than there are seconds in a minute. Or some such scary, made-up statistic. You may lock your bike better than the one pictured at the top of this article, yet there’s not a bike lock in the world that will keep your precious safe. It’s just a question how long you delay the determined bike thief.
For this reason I rarely bother with locks. My rule is thus: if you can’t see your bike then expect it to be gone when you return. This particularly applies to bikes with more bling than Mr T and bike owners with less brains than, well, Mr T. You crazy fools.
My bike lock is made of toughened liquorice
On the rare occasions my bike is left alone beyond my eyes (usually on train journeys), I’ll take a lock with me. I say ‘lock’, but it’s more like a piece of toughened liquorice. You would laugh. Its use is to deter the opportunist. Bigger, stronger locks are simply too heavy to carry around if you are going on a big cycle tour when 99.9 percent of the time you will be riding the bike.
GPS bike tracking devices pique my curiosity. Yet given your stolen bike may end up being exported to a far off neverland, tracking is rather redundant unless you brush up on your language skills and head to the airport. Even if you find your stolen bike for sale on ebay or gumtree, you can’t rely on police assistance. Which means you need to find yourself a big piece of wood. Let’s face it, your average cyclist is not exactly an imposing hulk. Thick thighs and frail upper bodies frighten nobody but doctors.
The insurance business is somewhat akin to a mobster racket and protection money. Only mobsters don’t make you sign a contract with more dodgy clauses than a Christmas grotto reunion party. Pay me money for doing nothing. Sure, the unlucky / lucky few get new for old replacements and all that crap but this is the minority. Whilst bicycle insurance is cheap at around £10 a month, I’d rather spend my hard-earned pennies on cake than gift money to insurance mobsters.
Fear and crap bicycles
Another option is to buy a bike so crap no thief will want to steal it. The big drawback to this strategy being you actually have to ride the piece of crap. This probably explains why some folk vandalise their £2,000 carbon bike with some horrible stickers in an attempt to disguise its value, a pointless endeavor since most organised bike thieves know more about road bikes and their components than your average cyclist.
Do not let fear ruin a ride. Ride the bike of your choice, find safe storage if you can, and if you can’t, take up running.
More uninspiring bike memes can be found at #CyclingTruths