When British team track sprinter Lewis Oliva had his road bike stolen from outside a cafe he did what everyone would do: reported it to the police and used social media to ask people to look out for it. He was surprised and overjoyed when that came up trumps and he eventually got it back.
Oliva was on the way back from a training ride with other British team riders including Laura Trott, Jason Kenny and Philip Hindes when a thief swiped his black Pinarello from outside the Coffee Fix cafe.
But when the bike turned up for sale on Facebook, Oliva had a friend contact the thief and demand its return or his details would be passed to the police.
The thief dropped the bike off in an agreed location and Oliva later picked it up.
He told the Daily Mirror: “I’m over the moon I’ve got it back.
“I was absolutely gutted when I saw it had gone so it’s a massive relief, although it’s disappointing I had to basically become a private eye for a day.
“At the end of the day, they have only returned it because they had to.
“If we hadn’t tracked them down I’m sure he would have had no hesitation in trying to sell it and pass it on to someone else.”
On Twitter, Oliva credited his friends with helping recover the bike. “After a day of being a private eye, bike has been returned unscathed! Special thanks @martin_cahoona @coffee_fix @Aliceelliott95 #heros” he tweeted.
Oliva thought he’d left the bike where he could see it, outside the cafe, but it was gone when he stepped out.
He said: “The cafe is a regular watering hole for us. When I first saw it had gone I thought it might be some of my team-mates messing about and having a joke.
“But when I realised it had been stolen I was absolutely fuming. I just don’t know why someone would do it.
“So when it’s just ripped away from you like this it’s really upsetting.”
Cafe staff later tweeted: “@Lewis_Oliva @TeamGB #cyclists #bike riders of #gatley we now have a community bike lock for you to use ;-)”
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.