A children’s cycling club in Reading is counting the cost of a burglary last week that resulted in the theft of five road bikes, which had themselves been purchased to replace bikes stolen in a previous break-in. What’s more, there is a suspicion that the theft was carried out by someone familiar with the location where the bicycles were stored.
The bikes – three silver-blue Specialized Dolce Sport road bikes and two red and white Giant OCRs, worth £3,000 in total – were taken from a storage facility used by Palmer Park Velo at the Palmer Park Stadium in Wokingham Road, East Reading, some time between Monday 8th and Saturday 13th August, when the theft was discovered as children arrived for a training session.
Andy Pitt, the club’s head coach, said: “We support kids from all walks of life. Having our own bikes means that club members can ride a top quality machine even if they can’t afford their own bike.”
The theft was discovered by maintenance manager Chris Macleod, who told the Reading Post: “I saw what had happened as I opened up the shed to give the bikes to children who were waiting – I noticed the cables had been bolt-cropped and the bikes had gone.
“There were 30 or 40 children there and by the end of the morning we had 50 or 60 members come down – they were all very sad and very disappointed.
“The parents of children at the club have been very supportive. They’ve been suggesting ideas for fundraisers and things like that – the club is all self-funded.
“I think the incident has been felt quite strongly because the club is a very special club, it’s an amazing place with a unique atmosphere.
“The people who did it had to know the layout and where the bikes were kept – they were the club’s five best bikes,” he added.
“If this was an opportunist thing it would be easier to brush aside but this was more organised and calculated and horrible – we fear them coming back.”
Anyone with information about the bikes is asked to contact Thames Valley Police, quoting crime number or Chris Macleod via email.
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.