If you think your bike’s safe at a sportive because it and you are surrounded by like-minded cyclists, think again. A customer of Burton on Trent bike shop Cadence Sport had his Pinarello Dogma swiped from the bike parking area at a ride yesterday. This isnt' the first time we've reported on such a theft, last September we reported on the case of two bikes stolen by Lycra-clad thieves at the Tour of Britiain ride at Trentham Gardens in Stoke on Trent.
This time hanks to the quick-thinking of a friend and the local police, it looks like the rightful owner will get his bike back.
Nuno Freitas was all set to ride the Rawlinson Bracket Sportive on Sunday, in the Warwickshire village of Gaydon, when his bike was stolen from the designated bike park at the Heritage Motor Museum.
“I had signed in and attached my ride number to the bike, just waiting around for the start, chatting with mates etc,” Nuno said in an email to shop owner, Tour de France veteran Adrian Timmis. “I was never more than a few meters away and still don’t know how I missed it going.
“When I realised it had gone my mate rode off to the main gate and got photos of the guy driving off with the bike hanging out his car. Boot open! Security called the police and we gave them the car reg number. They picked up the car on the motorway cameras and stopped him on the M1 towards Leicestershire. Unfortunately the bike wasn’t in the car.”
However, yesterday evening Nuno got some better news. While the driver continued to deny stealing the bike, claiming a friend of his had taken it and he was just the driver, police had persuaded him to show them where he had abandoned the bike.
Nuno said: “Somewhat of a result that I will get my bike back. I’m not sure what condition it will be in though.”
Police told Nuno they had found cycling clothing in the car that matched the clothing worn by the driver in the photos taken by Nuno’s friend. “The guy was dressed in full cycling gear to blend in, even cycling shoes but without cleats,” said Nuno.
He added: “You never think that this will happen at these kind of events as you assume all involved are like minded enthusiasts, however it looks like he was there with the sole intention of stealing a bike.”
Incidents like this are a nightmare for event organisers, as it’s all-but-impossible to exclude non-participants from the typical sportive start area, and a determined thief could just pay for an entry anyway.
Rawlinson Bracket organiser Steve Jeffries told road.cc that the theft occurred just after the event HQ had opened and it appeared that the thief targeted the most expensive bike.
Steve said: “After yesterday’s event we did discuss the feasibility of a ticketing system for the bike park for next year but this would result in rider frustration. We will be posting details of this incident on our social networking sites as a warning to others, whether at next year’s event and at other events around the country given the relatively sophisticated and pre-meditated nature of this crime.
“While we can’t offer truly secure bike parking we will be enforcing a ‘no car zone’ around the bike parking area to hinder any attempts at a ‘drive-by style’ bike theft, and confirming that CCTV coverage is comprehensive.
“We are grateful to our host at the Heritage Motor Centre for their quick response and hope that the quick resolution of this incident will act to deter any thieves in future.”
Our official grumpy Northerner, John has been riding bikes for over 30 years since discovering as an uncoordinated teen that a sport could be fun if it didn't require you to catch a ball or get in the way of a hulking prop forward.
Road touring was followed by mountain biking and a career racing in the mud that was as brief as it was unsuccessful.
Somewhere along the line came the discovery that he could string a few words together, followed by the even more remarkable discovery that people were mug enough to pay for this rather than expecting him to do an honest day's work. He's pretty certain he's worked for even more bike publications than Mat Brett.
The inevitable 30-something MAMIL transition saw him shift to skinny tyres and these days he lives in Cambridge where the lack of hills is more than made up for by the headwinds.