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.
Simon has been news editor at road.cc since 2009, reporting on 10 editions and counting of pro cycling’s biggest races such as the Tour de France, stories on issues including infrastructure and campaigning, and interviewing some of the biggest names in cycling. A law and languages graduate, published translator and former retail analyst, his background has proved invaluable in reporting on issues as diverse as cycling-related court cases, anti-doping investigations, and the bike industry. He splits his time between London and Cambridge, and loves taking his miniature schnauzer Elodie on adventures in the basket of her Elephant Bike.