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How to lose an argument — baffled shop caretaker schooled by cyclists over bike parking

Entertaining scenes unfolded when a man took issue with cyclists locking their bikes to... a PlantLock bike parking unit

"The joy of cycling in Worcester," the sharer of this video from the West Midlands' city captioned the scene — a group of cyclists using a dedicated bike parking facility when a disgruntled shop caretaker stormed over to defend his neighbour's business, only to be left red-faced and apologetic for the misunderstanding...

The group, attracted to the PlantLock's signage showing a bicycle with two red chains around the frame and wheels, stopped to use it to keep their bikes safe while getting a bite to eat.

The problem, according to the man who came swearing at them about damaging property, was that the red locks (apparently) did not mean they were allowed to chain their bikes to the planter, but rather that they could not park bikes there — again, apparently. What followed has been shared hundreds of times on Twitter...

 "Do you realise that you might have damaged their property?" the upset man asked the group before clarifying he was there "looking after" the premises next door for its owner.

"We are not being condescending, but anywhere in cities around the world these are for bike parking to lock your bikes to," one of the riders explained. The other side of the story? "From our point of view that symbolism means 'do not park here'," the reply came.

After suggesting the sign showing a locked bike is replaced with something more obviously 'no cycling-related', one of the cyclists continued: "The reason we parked here is because you had these. That's exactly the reason we parked here."

Like a game of table tennis the baffling ball of response came flying back: "No, from our symbolism that is 'do not park'. Red has obviously got to be a warning symbol."

Time for the punchline? As the discussion continues, the third rider notices the PlantLock branding on the end of the bike-parking plant pot... "It's called a PlantLock...because it actually is to lock your bike."

> Cycling group slams "embarrassing" new Worcester cycle lane full of dangerous obstacles... including trees, lampposts and a speed camera

Explaining the concept, the first cyclist then explains: "It says PlantLock because these are designated to make cities look green and [be a] place where you can park your bike. It's what they're designed for. It's the primary design."

Game. Set. Match. The last word from the disgruntled protector of driveways? "Righty-ho, well I do apologise, I will take it up with the owner."

> Extension of cycling ban in Worcester city centre 'an embarrassment'

Bike Worcester, a group promoting cycling and active travel in the city, got involved to explain the units are council-funded and all businesses had to sign an agreement as part of the ParkThatBike initiative, which gives businesses free cycle stands.

Nick Sturdy, the cyclist who posted the footage, told road.cc that the man who approached him and his friends was "allegedly looking after" the vacant property next door to the burger restaurant they were sat at after locking their bikes, and wasn't associated with the restaurant in any way. 

Dan is the road.cc news editor and has spent the past four years writing stories and features, as well as (hopefully) keeping you entertained on the live blog. Having previously written about nearly every other sport under the sun for the Express, and the weird and wonderful world of non-league football for the Non-League Paper, Dan joined road.cc in 2020. Come the weekend you'll find him labouring up a hill, probably with a mouth full of jelly babies, or making a bonk-induced trip to a south of England petrol station... in search of more jelly babies.

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12 comments

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Happymanc | 1 year ago
10 likes

I think the man should be applauded, he was protecting his friends property but wasn't overly aggressive or nasty. Then saw that what they were saying was correct and adjusted his view, If only every altercation played out like this. First time I've seen a plant lock - love it !

Avatar
srchar replied to Happymanc | 1 year ago
5 likes

I was thinking the same thing. The man was arguing in good faith and changed his mind when presented with some facts. That's how grown-ups resolve disagreements. I didn't hear any manic swearing.

I didn't know what a Plant Lock was until I watched this either, and if I wasn't really paying attention to the depiction of a bike with two red locks, it would be quite easy to perceive a bike with a red line through it.

I do wonder if a Plant Lock is considered an "immovable object" by an insurance company when claiming for theft... maybe they are bolted to the ground?

Avatar
Rendel Harris replied to srchar | 1 year ago
2 likes
srchar wrote:

I do wonder if a Plant Lock is considered an "immovable object" by an insurance company when claiming for theft... maybe they are bolted to the ground?

Yes, they have holes in the bottom for bolting into concrete, so I would imagine properly fitted they do. They also (apparently) weigh 75 kg when filled with earth, so fairly immovable even without the bolts.

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wycombewheeler replied to Rendel Harris | 1 year ago
1 like
Rendel Harris wrote:
srchar wrote:

I do wonder if a Plant Lock is considered an "immovable object" by an insurance company when claiming for theft... maybe they are bolted to the ground?

Yes, they have holes in the bottom for bolting into concrete, so I would imagine properly fitted they do. They also (apparently) weigh 75 kg when filled with earth, so fairly immovable even without the bolts.

I mean I COULD move something that weighs 75kg, but not very far and not very fast. Even less so with a couple of bikes attached.

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chrisonabike replied to wycombewheeler | 1 year ago
1 like

Wait 'till the thieves get cargo bikes.

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Rendel Harris replied to Happymanc | 1 year ago
10 likes
Happymanc wrote:

I think the man should be applauded, he was protecting his friends property but wasn't overly aggressive or nasty. 

According to the people who posted the video, he was massively aggressive before they started filming, shouting and swearing, and tried to put his own lock on their bikes so they couldn't move them (an odd thing to do when you're trying to stop people leaving their bikes there, one would've thought). Whether this is true or not obviously we have no way of telling. I have found myself in altercations in the past that bringing out a phone and telling them you're filming does tend to implement a swift change in manners for the better!

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brooksby replied to Rendel Harris | 1 year ago
2 likes

If he had chained up their bikes, presumably they would have had to get the police involved?

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quiff replied to Happymanc | 1 year ago
2 likes

Agree. It may have been nastier before filming started, but what's shown in the video is a grown-up conversation. Thought the cyclists handled it well too; very measured.

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NPlus1Bikelights replied to Happymanc | 1 year ago
5 likes

Twitter already answered you:

"I think you missed the stream of F words and the attempt to chain the bikes together with a huge steel chain. Not aggressive or nasty in the slightest ..."

 

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wycombewheeler replied to Happymanc | 1 year ago
2 likes

I can see his confusion, obviously it is called a plant lock, but they were not locking up their mini digger, only bicycles.

Where will people lock their plant if bikes are in the way?

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morgoth985 | 1 year ago
7 likes

Some people really do have too much time on their hands.

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hawkinspeter | 1 year ago
1 like

s/premesis/premises/

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