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Bicycle thieves

  Wed 12th July 2017

My friend asked me to do the bingo calling at one of those mini blocks of flats for the over-55s. I was under the impression I'd be paid in a few pints but when we went to the pub afterwards, a drink for the caller there was none.

I'd thought of some ways to add a bit of zest to the ways you call the numbers -- "are you a Tory, number forty" -- but they didn't go down well. "Can we just have it...straight?" was an early heckle.


I've managed to get a few shifts at a pub in a village a few miles out of Lancaster. It's a friendly, locals pub. I like the late afternoon, where men who do jobs involving roofs and pipes come in with thick, dirty hands and order agribusiness lager.

I recognised straight away that the young girl who is the de facto bar manager is someone who's got to be managed. Insecure, attention-seeking, and anxious about her status, she drops little criticisms of me at any opportunity. I ask her advice, and I go to her of choice when I don't know how to do something. I want to help her feel superior.

An old school pal came in. "I'll have three pints of that," he said. "Two in a proper glass and one in a girl's glass for the handbrake." "You've always been on the cutting edge of feminism, haven't you Bill?"


After my shift on Sunday I locked my bike up outside New Favourite Pub (darts, swearing, and the snogging a seventy-two-year-old incident -- who, I found out the other day, is a retired prossie). Had a couple, then left to find that my bike was gone.

Walking through town this morning, I was astonished to see my bike, chained up with a new lock in the middle of Market Square.

With the benefit of hindsight, it might have been a better idea at this point to ring the police rather than take the matter into my own hands. Instead, I ran to a tool hire shop and told them that I'd had my bike stolen last night and that I'd just found it, and asked them if they had any bolt croppers. The nearest thing they had was a large hacksaw.

I ran back to my bike and started sawing through the difficult chain. The saw shouted out a metallic, rasping racket. The passing worker ants slowed down from their high-heeled and necktied haste at half past eight in the morning to give me their non-contact disapproval.

I was three quarters of the way though the lock when the police arrived. I explained what I was doing, detailing my movements through Lancaster last night. They told me to return the saw while they checked the CCTV from the pub. I said that I was not leaving the bike, but I did briefly, to buy a D-lock, so that when the robber or his dastardly accomplice returned, he wouldn't be able to make off with my bike.

I sat next to what had earlier looked like my bike, for two hours, during which my doubts grew about whether in fact this bike was mine. The thief, also known as the rightful owner, came back to unlock it, I decided to front it out with the story I had created. He started swearing and shouting. "I'm going to call the police." "I already have. They're on their way." He dialled the emergency number rather than the non-emergency one, swore his way through a frustrated rant, not knowing what street he was on, before telling them that they were useless.

The police turned up, took his side of the story, then decided that they would impound the bike until their investigations had been concluded. He went away swearing and shouting, while I walked away, faking calm, but rippling inwardly with the fear that he would lamp me.

Yesterday the police rang to say that whilst they will log my bike as stolen, the one I was attempting to liberate wasn't mine.

9 comments

Comment from: isabelle [Visitor]

I’m sorry about your actual bike being nicked, but that’s hilarious. Sometimes you’re a right daft apeth ! x x

Wed 12th July 2017 @ 17:19
Comment from: looby [Visitor]

I did feel a bit of a Charlie actually. And I feel a bit sorry for the lad whose bike I was hoping to liberate, who I left with a knackered lock with half the broken wires hanging out.

Wed 12th July 2017 @ 17:27

I always get nervous when you don’t post for a while. I know these are dangerous times and I start to imagine all sorts of horrible things happening to you. I almost sent you another check-in email. I don’t mean to intrude.

Feel a bit of a Charlie. …he would lamp me.

I come here for the exotic language.

Thu 13th July 2017 @ 11:47

A terrible feeling. Perhaps the golden rule is to look anywhere but within a couple of miles of where the bastards struck, but I’ve looked and looked and never got one back.

Thu 13th July 2017 @ 11:55
Comment from: Homer [Visitor]

EOPS’s first paragraph goes for me too.

Thu 13th July 2017 @ 15:31
Comment from: kono [Visitor]

I often wonder if bicycle thieves realize that what they just nicked might be someones only means of transportation, had mine stolen years ago right out of my hallway when i ran upstairs to pull a quick tube with my friend, they got his too and his was some expensive college kid bike, bicycle thieves are right bastards…

Well played with the boss girl… and sorta realizing it wasn’t your bike? fucking priceless!! snogging an ex prossie? even more priceless!!

Sat 15th July 2017 @ 03:08
Comment from: looby [Visitor]

Thanks everyone! And sorry for the late reply but I haven’t got internet at my house yet.

I’ve now got a new bike – locked up using the D-lock that I used to secure the bike I wrongly thought I owned. I rang the police to ask if I could at least get the bloke a new lock but they can’t give out any details of third parties.

What would be really nice now would be for everything in my life to calm down for a while.

Sat 15th July 2017 @ 08:52
Comment from: RockyBarabbas [Visitor]

As renowned bike thief Terry Eagleton would say, every person rides a bike that cannot be owned because nothing was done to acquire it, and nothing can be done to be rid of it.

Thu 20th July 2017 @ 00:58
Comment from: [Member]

Well he was wrong then. Communal ownership my pedal.

Fri 28th July 2017 @ 18:25


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