Bike shops targeted by looters in wave of violence spreading across London (+ videos)

Evans Cycles in Camden and Clapham and South Croydon's Geoffrey Butler among those to suffer

by Simon_MacMichael   August 9, 2011  

Metropolitan Police.jpg

Bike shops have become prime targets for looters in the wave of rioting that has spread across London and other cities in England since Saturday evening. Stores looted last night included some belonging to major chains but also small independents, for whom the theft of stock and disruption to trading while they put things right will come as a devastating blow.

Due to their value, bikes clearly make an attractive target for thieves looking to profit from the violence, and it’s a lot easier and less suspicious to ride away on one compared to walking down the road with a flatscreen TV.

Meanwhile, many rioters have been using bicycles – whether their own or stolen is impossible to tell – to get around, with looters in Clapham even reported to be using stolen Boris Bikes to make their getaway.

Evans Cycles store in Chalk Farm was among those targeted in last night’s rioting in London, as well as a workshop in Bremondsey that was broken into.

Talking about the Chalk Farm store, managing director Mike Rice said: “We are currently trying to assess the impact of the break in which is proving to be quite tricky as the area has been cordoned off by police and access into the store is limited. What we can say is none of our staff were caught up in the incident and are all safe and sound.

“It appears a number of bikes and accessories have been taken from the store, all bikes on the shop floor are locked up and we know this hampered thieves efforts”.

“We are conscious that this will be having an impact on our customers who have orders to collect at the store and have dropped their bikes in for repair in our workshop," Mr Rice continued. "We thank our customers for being patient while we assess the situation and will contact all affected customers as soon as we can.”

Evans Cycles confirmed that its Chalk Farm store would be closed at least for today and that its branch in Croydon was also closed today due to the clear-up operation in that borough as well as the difficulty of access due to police presence on the streets.

“In light of the situation we’re taking extra precautions today to protect our stores, our stock and safeguard our staff,” added Mr Rice.

Halfords stores are also among those that broken into during the disturbances.

One Twitter user, @mattdives, wrote: “I wish I was filming the 12 year old kid breaking into the tv shop .. And the 50 people jumping into South Croydon bike shop.”

He didn’t specify which shop that was, although when we contacted Geoffrey Butler Cycles on South End Road, a member of staff confirmed that it had been targeted and employees were busy assessing and clearing up the damage.

One cyclist who filmed his ride through what appears to be an unusually quiet Croydon shortly before the violence erupted passed the shop, and the window display gives a hint of why it would prove a tempting target to the thieves.

In Islington in North London, another independent bike shop to be targeted was MiCycle on Barnsbury Street, reports the London Cyclist blog, with a local resident using his phone to film the looters, several of whom were themselves on bicycles.

Another bike shop to suffer during last night’s violence was a few miles east in Leyton, Twitter user @imkah tweeting: ““Bike Shack in Leyton got completely cleaned out last night. Little Independent, lovely staff, always really friendly.”

With another night of disturbances in prospect, people who use bicycles to get around should also be vigilant about not exposing themselves to danger. As yet, we’re not aware of any hijacking incidents involving cyclists, one woman told BBC London how her husband was forced off his motorbike in Peckham.

"My husband is a 45–year–old rugby player,” she explained. “He is a big, burly man. He was driving along Rye Lane and a gang of about a dozen dragged him off his bike and beat him up.

"They took his bike. He is in a real state. I was here 30 years ago in the last riots and they were nothing like this. This is just criminality plain and simple. They haven't got a cause."

The advice to anyone cycling tonight in areas likely to be flashpoints of violence would be to keep a good eye out for groups of youths and, if possible, change your route to take you away from likely trouble spots.

Meanwhile, if you know of any other bike shops that were targeted during last night's violence or know of any other cycling-related incidents during the disturbances, please let us know in the comments below.

21 user comments

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Friend of mine was riding through Lewisham last night, took a wrong turn and a couple of thugs tried to steal his bike. Fortunately he was helped out by a bystander and police, he (and bike) got home OK.

posted by StuAff [114 posts]
9th August 2011 - 11:19


The bike shop that was target is well known for selling top of the range bikes. The stock on the floor and in the windows is just not even worth stating. All the bikes are carbon but a few track bikes.

posted by gaz545 [12 posts]
9th August 2011 - 11:41


I'm thinking its about time Scotland did a Rob Roy/William Wallace and came down and sorted them out, ship them back to where they came from

Not being racist, just from what i've seen on the news and the looters interviews, there seems to be a lot of none nationals who dont even know why the riots started in the first place Angry Angry Angry Angry

Gkam84's picture

posted by Gkam84 [9362 posts]
9th August 2011 - 11:52


Gkam84 wrote:
ship them back to where they came from. Not being racist, just from what i've seen on the news and the looters interviews, there seems to be a lot of none nationals who dont even know why the riots started in the first place

Always good to see that "not being racist" is a handy indicator of stupid racist views. Sad

Meanwhile, might I suggest that any cyclist in London whose LBS has been hit, uses that LBS for a while instead of ordering everything off the Internet? Wink

posted by PsiMonk [25 posts]
9th August 2011 - 12:48


It might have sounded slightly racist, but it wasn't like that, i would have the same view if it was white foreigners running around looting

There just seems to be a percentage of those who do not seem to be British and therefore should be sent home no matter what refugee status they have

Where are the British people should all be thrown in jail for a long time, no warnings or anything and treat it as an act of terrorism or treason Big Grin

The thing i dont get is, why is it spreading to places like Birmingham??

Gkam84's picture

posted by Gkam84 [9362 posts]
9th August 2011 - 13:54


I spoke to Andrew in Bike Shack in Leyton,, they are ok, no tools stolen and the bikes are insured, still a mess to clear up and cash flow hassles too. If you are in the the Leyton area I'm sure they'd appreciate you business,

Cannondale CAAD10, Condor Terra-X and an orange Brompton.
Ride for East London Velo

zzgavin's picture

posted by zzgavin [208 posts]
9th August 2011 - 14:03


@Gkam - Here's a bit more racism for ya.

I'm brown and a recent immigrant in this country.

I live off the Clapham Jn high street and was caught in the riots yesterday on returning from evening ride, with hooded looters outside my own door, and me on the new bike outside.

From my short but multiple encounters with them last night - none of them was a 1st generation immigrant (mainly because their English was inner city London accent rather than the halting heavily accented immigrant English). 2nd, 3rd or Nth generation, maybe. But by then they are no more immigrants but British.

They were from no single race - whites, browns and blacks, all in good strength.

The rioters amongst them - ones who had taken on and driven the police away - were few. The looters were plenty and equally split between both genders, ranging from probably early teenage to late twenties in age.

If you've been in London much, you might realise that the above groups (White, Black & Brown - 13yo to 29yo - 2nd gen immigrants to natives) comprise about 100% of this city's youth population. Wanna empty the city and start over again?


rbx's picture

posted by rbx [243 posts]
9th August 2011 - 14:35


Gkam84: "The thing i dont get is, why is it spreading to places like Birmingham??"

Because kids see footage on the news of rioters elsewhere walking out of shops with TVs, PlayStations, laptops etc under their arms and think, "I'll have some of that."

News said 800 rioters in centre of Birmingham last night, 400 police. The latter can't be everywhere at once.

Sadly I'd expect more places to see action tonight.

As rbx said, there is a big ethnic mix among young people in London nowadays. Just because someone isn't white or seems to have a strange accent doesn't mean they have no right to be here.

Simon_MacMichael's picture

posted by Simon_MacMichael [9507 posts]
9th August 2011 - 14:59


I'm sorry folks, i'm just responding from what i've seen on the news here in Scotland, but i haven't seen an interview with anyone who even sounded like they'd lived in London long enough to gain any hint of an accent, so this may be down to the news agency's trying to show it that way Thinking

Gkam84's picture

posted by Gkam84 [9362 posts]
9th August 2011 - 15:00


Yeah i can see it spreading aswell, but sadly i can see it going that way because of the state of the country rather than any other reason

So many unemployed people who now see this as an easy way to either get things for free or make money off it aswell, just the way i see it

800 rioters vs 400 police is hardly a fair fight, about time the government stepped in and put some military out there, 800 rioters vs 400 police and a few hundred squadies, i see that being more of a deterrent, if it doesn't get stamped on quickly, its only going to spread and get bigger and then it'll be mob rule, if enough people get involved it will be all out anarchy. we'll see what the government does though

Gkam84's picture

posted by Gkam84 [9362 posts]
9th August 2011 - 15:11


Wouldn't say no to bike looting Haha! Argos' flat pack family bikes deserve instore burning

2 wheels please!

posted by mancsi [119 posts]
9th August 2011 - 15:49


Gkam84 is spot on with his observations regarding the tv coverage, it's reporting like this that causes more problems with people outside of the area believing it's non-whites who are causing the problem when its not the case.

In the end it's more fuel to the fire of EDL and BNP who are no better than the rioters in the first place.

There are no stupid questions, just stupid people.

posted by stumps [3237 posts]
9th August 2011 - 16:31


2 observations, probably repeating, from yesterday's rioting and looting around my house and high street:

1. Rioters are all 'colours', bar none. Looters were mostly younger kids, largely teenagers or in early tweens. Also, most of the looters seemed to be from the 'area' or neighbourhoods - didn't seem like a london organised gang.

2. The police yesterday was hopelessly outnumbered. I went to escort my partner from the station and saw about 6 police officers with 150 or more rioters on both sides. It was to be another 2-3 hours before police had any significant presence in the area.

But these are my observations from Clapham Jn. No idea about who's doing what in other areas.


rbx's picture

posted by rbx [243 posts]
9th August 2011 - 17:20


Cycle King is further down the road to Butlers in Croydon, shop area was gutted apart from a handfull of kids bikes.

If you see a chav on a modern penny farthing call the police...

posted by fizban [37 posts]
10th August 2011 - 7:56


Rebels without a clue ...

posted by John G [53 posts]
10th August 2011 - 13:37

1 Like

Watch what you buy on e-bay for the next wee while. £4k De Rosa yours for a monkey innit. A saving of £3.5k but will not the frame numbers be recorded by the police? Nerd


Felix's picture

posted by Felix [112 posts]
10th August 2011 - 18:47


Geoffery Butler bikes has been in Croydon for decades but the businesses which really took the brunt of the riots (other than Reeves) were businesses run by immigrants for 10, 20, 30 years serving the community they live in. It wasn't the "foreigners" rioting and looting it was probably local community members who may be of ethnic origin but are probably British...and who knows where the white people who were also rioting and looting come from. Here? France? Poland? Who knows. I love Croydon, I'm white British and I don't care what colour people's skin is so long as they treat other people with respect. I had no idea Cycle King had been a target. What about Bike Plus, the Geoffery Butler "normal" cyclists shop? As far as I'm aware Evans in West Croydon wasn't attacked. I did cycle in West Croydon very early Tuesday morning and it seemed to be OK but that area was cordoned off so couldn't be sure. cycling home tonight it still looks like a war zone and I noticed one guy who's shop had probably been looted had set up outside with a few fruit and veg items.

posted by whufan [12 posts]
10th August 2011 - 20:12


Sentancing of the " Miscreants has begun BUT they are being sent to the " holiday camps " that the P.C. correct call " Jails "!

Had they been sent to a deserted island with cyclone fencing and prefab huts i requested in my blogs then there would be a stronger message to these " feral Rats " as they have been described !

Humanity is not in their vocabulary so they are "not entitled " TO BEING TREATED IN A HUMANE MANNER !

THURSDAY I HOPE THE "GUTLESS " THAT INHABIT WESTMINSTER for ONCE pass effective Legislation that brings these " Vermin " to heel !

Normal "Protest " is OK but the " Renta Crowd " element has no place in British Society !

Skippy(advocate for "Disabled / Para Sport")@skippydetour. blogging as skippi-cyclist.blogspot & Parrabuddy.blogspot currently on the road with ProTour Grand Tour Events .

skippy's picture

posted by skippy [409 posts]
10th August 2011 - 21:12


It is hard to have a society based on greed and materialism, and at the same time be the dead last of the industrialized nations in social mobility. Add to this the "reforms" which balance the budget on the backs of the poor, and you have a recipe for social unrest.

velocodger's picture

posted by velocodger [10 posts]
11th August 2011 - 12:16


Velocodger - there isn't serious social unrest this is simply the worst of human nature being manifested (and don't even get me started on how much a supposed secular state contributes to that).

When only 1 in 20 crimes get prosecuted (an utterly appalling figure) it's no wonder they think they can get away with it.

My view (and this is not the view of LOCOG, *yet*) is that this weekend's planned Olympic Cycling Trial should not go ahead. I cannot see that the police have the resources to manage it and I suspect that it will get disrupted.

If cycling is indeed a sport of self-abuse why aren't more cyclists sectioned under the mental health act?

posted by hairyairey [295 posts]
11th August 2011 - 13:05


Look closely at around 3min 30 on the first video. As the cyclist approaches Geoffrey Butler Cycles a man wheeling two racing bicycles can be seen on the footpath.

posted by Sprinter11 [2 posts]
11th August 2011 - 13:37