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Owner tracked down by fellow cyclist who had bought bike at car boot sale for £180

A man from Merseyside has got a £7,000 Colnago bike stolen from him three years ago back – after a fellow cyclist bought it at a car boot sale for £180.

Robert Rix’s custom-built Colnago was taken from his garage in Southport along with another bike in August 2011, one of 250 bikes stolen in the town since April that year, many of the thefts targeting members of Southport Cycling Club.

He resigned himself to never getting the Colnago back, but says last week’s turn of events has “restored his faith in human nature,” reports the Liverpool Echo.

The 66-year-old barber said: “I first got a call on Tuesday morning from the president of Southport Cycling Club.  He said ‘there’s a man on the Wirral trying to get in touch with you, give him a ring’.

“I did and he said ‘I think I’ve got your bike’. I thought this is too good to be true. When the bike went I posted it all over the internet.

“Of course this guy bought this bike at a car boot sale in Warrington for £180 and immediately got suspicious and thought his luck was too good to be true.”

The man who had bought the bike searched on the internet and found it belonged to Mr Rix, and reunited him with it.

“It’s an absolutely phenomenal stroke of luck,” said Mr Rix. “This has really restored my faith in human nature.

“The downside is my wife now knows how much I spend on bikes," he added.

Born in Scotland, Simon moved to London aged seven and now lives in the Oxfordshire Cotswolds with his miniature schnauzer, Elodie. He fell in love with cycling one Saturday morning in 1994 while living in Italy when Milan-San Remo went past his front door. A daily cycle commuter in London back before riding to work started to boom, he's been news editor at road.cc since 2009. Handily for work, he speaks French and Italian. He doesn't get to ride his Colnago as often as he'd like, and freely admits he's much more adept at cooking than fettling with bikes.

21 comments

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McDuff73 [79 posts] 3 years ago
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“The downside is my wife now knows how much I spend on bikes,"

haha quality

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Nick T [1099 posts] 3 years ago
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Top bloke for reuniting it with the owner.

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cub [86 posts] 3 years ago
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I think this says more about what visitors to car boot sales know about bikes. How many must have walked past and said:

"Pfft 180 quid for a bike mate, you must be joking. You can get one for 50 at Halfords full suspension and all"

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Paul_C [523 posts] 3 years ago
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I wonder if the thieves are using Strava's heat map to track bicycles to their storage locations?

Anyway, a decent ground anchor is called for even when your bike is locked in the garage or shed. My insurance insists on securing devices (including the ground anchors) being Sold Secure Silver approved for covering each of my bikes.

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Leviathan [2868 posts] 3 years ago
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Shame they didn't get the reg of the boot it came out of. "Do you regularly keep 10 road bikes at home, sir?" "Yes they are my n+1!"

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A V Lowe [619 posts] 3 years ago
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A long shot but maybe someone has my 27" Pennine with a 1980 build number - and distinctive Pennine engraved on the seat stay (top) end caps.

Was yellow when stolen and maxi car hubs 124" top gear etc

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paulrbarnard [182 posts] 3 years ago
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“The downside is my wife now knows how much I spend on bikes," he added.

Oh how true. My fear is that when I die my wife will sell all my stuff for what I said i paid for it...

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aslongasicycle [389 posts] 3 years ago
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£180.

So, maybe Google the pretty words on the side of the bike you have? Oh look, it's quite expensive. I should spend a couple of hours researching this and make more money from it.

But no. Not just thick. Lazy thick.

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snifter83 [16 posts] 3 years ago
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A happy story for a change! Glad the dude got his bike back and that the car boot sale shopper was a good egg.

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NeilG83 [309 posts] 3 years ago
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We probably shouldn't assume that the person selling the bike at the car boot sale was the thief. Why would it have taken them 3 years to get around to selling the bike?

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Leviathan [2868 posts] 3 years ago
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NeilG83 wrote:

We probably shouldn't assume that the person selling the bike at the car boot sale was the thief. Why would it have taken them 3 years to get around to selling the bike?

True, but they didn't know what it was worth. Wouldn't harm politely asking where they got it?

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dunnoh [214 posts] 3 years ago
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A chap I employed got offered a laptop at a station in Manchester. Being a thoroughly decent chap he bought it off the scumbag realising it was stolen. He took it to the Police station to reunite it with its owner and promptly got a caution for receiving stolen property. He was completely honest and said he bought it believing it to be stolen. If anyone else sees something that looks suss make sure you tell the police you just bought it in good faith.

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Dunks517 [44 posts] 3 years ago
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Every cloud has a silver lining.

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KiwiMike [1324 posts] 3 years ago
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Good on him.

I purchased a decent-spec Colnago for £10 from the Andover Recycling Depot (council tip) last year - was in their pile of scrap metal, sans front wheel and saddle.

Did all the searches online, called the police, nothing registered as nicked. Ended up selling the cleaned-up bits for about £350. Well-used, but perfectly functional. Good crit fodder.

Sometimes people bin stuff they simply have no idea of the value of.

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Paul J [946 posts] 3 years ago
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dunnoh,

Your friend shouldn't have accepted the caution, based on that account. He's now effectively got a criminal record, for something which - if there was clear evidence he took the laptop pretty much straight from the thief to the station off his own bat - would be unlikely to have led to a conviction if taken before a magistrate.

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netclectic [136 posts] 3 years ago
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I hope there was a reward involved, seeing as the original owner had likely long since been reimbursed with a nice new bike from his insurance.

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BigglesMeister [65 posts] 3 years ago
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Paul J wrote:

dunnoh,

Your friend shouldn't have accepted the caution, based on that account. He's now effectively got a criminal record, for something which - if there was clear evidence he took the laptop pretty much straight from the thief to the station off his own bat - would be unlikely to have led to a conviction if taken before a magistrate.

I doubt very much that the CPS would have pursued it so another reason not to accept a caution. Just because Dibble accuses you of something, it doesn't mean you've done it. e.g. It's not an offence to break the speed limit on a bike, it's not an offence to ride a bike with 80mgs of alcohol in 100mls of your blood and yet there are plenty of tales relating to people being "done" for such offences. The only mistake they made was assuming Dibble was right to charge them and pleaded guilty!!

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timtak [60 posts] 3 years ago
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Apparently thieves were using Strava, so Strava added a hidden zone function so that one can add one or more circles to ones public maps to prevent other's tracking your bike. There is no need to centre the hidden circle on ones house.

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alg [177 posts] 3 years ago
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Well having just lost my Orbea Orca (orange/black) and my Tommasini (red/black/white) from my very discrete and locked shed I am very pleased about this story - it gives me some hope
Both I fear however will no doubt be flogged off by those thieving monkeys for peanuts and will never again be appreciated by someone deserving
Should they ever reappear the vendor will of course be guilty in possession of stolen property and it can be proved because they are data-tagged
With the above Strada warning in mind I have closed my account with Map-My-Ride and wont be buying a GPS - sad isn't it

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Shamblesuk [167 posts] 3 years ago
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I had a Raleigh nicked in about 1985. It was blue with some gears, maybe 5. It had mirrors on it I think. Maybe I'll be lucky too...

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PhilRuss [395 posts] 3 years ago
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[[[[[ So many velo's nicked from sheds....might there be a message there? Keep 'em indoors, innit.
P.R.
[[[ 6 might be a problem, of course...