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 ;-)”
Acknowledged by the Telegraph as a leading cycling journalist, John Stevenson has been writing about bikes and cycling for over 30 years since discovering that people were mug enough to pay him for it rather than expecting him to do an honest day's work.
He was heavily involved in the mountain bike boom of the late 1980s as a racer, team manager and race promoter, and that led to writing for Mountain Biking UK magazine shortly after its inception. He got the gig by phoning up the editor and telling him the magazine was rubbish and he could do better. Rather than telling him to get lost, MBUK editor Tym Manley called John’s bluff and the rest is history.
Since then he has worked on MTB Pro magazine and was editor of Maximum Mountain Bike and Australian Mountain Bike magazines, before switching to the web in 2000 to work for CyclingNews.com. Along with road.cc editor Tony Farelly, John was on the launch team for BikeRadar.com and subsequently became editor in chief of Future Publishing’s group of cycling magazines and websites, including Cycling Plus, MBUK, What Mountain Bike and Procycling.
John has also written for Cyclist magazine, edited the BikeMagic website and was founding editor of TotalWomensCycling.com before handing over to someone far more representative of the site's main audience.
He joined road.cc in 2013 and these days he lives in Cambridge where the lack of hills is more than made up for by the headwinds.