Driving home from work last evening I received a call from my girlfriend. She was going out for a training cycle ahead of Sunday’s Tesco Bank Tour of the Borders. One of her two bike security chains had been hacked off but she was relieved that the bike had not been stolen. As she took the bike out to check it I listened as she began to cry. Her bike was damaged to the point it could no longer be ridden.
For L her bike is a hobby, a passionate one at that, which has lead her to do three charity cycle races. Her Trossach Ton medal hangs proudly inside our flat. She has accomplished the 75 mile and 100 mile Trossach Ton races respectively and will, on Sunday, make her first attempt at the 75 mile Tour of the Borders race. Well, that is if we can fix the bike in time.
In a newly built housing complex in Edinburgh’s city centre was it our naivety that thought we could trust our property to be stored in the facilities provided? The development is in its final stage and the bike shelters have been opened to use for a fortnight now. Situated inside the complex surrounded by walls and roughly a hundred yards from our flat I couldn’t foresee any reason why anyone would take the risk of committing an act of theft.
Four bikes were stationed in the shelter – my girlfriend’s was the only one which had been damaged. The bike gears had been snapped making it impossible to change gear. The gain twisted. The handle bars had been torn. The body scratched. One of her locks cut off and her protective sheeting ripped up. As I drove (hands free) I listened to my girlfriend’s almost incomprehensible speech as she sobbed. The bike had made her fitter and stronger. It gave her enjoyment (and pain in equal measure from the hill climbs). It had brought her closer to her Dad (they cycled together). And now her bike which she used for charity cycle races, training and commuting was unfit for use.
Imagine my surprise when I stood at a window facing out to the car park at a little after 11PM that evening only to spot five 15-17year old boys swaggering up towards the bike shelters. I didn’t know whether to go down or stay and watch. They disappeared out of sight where the bike shelter is located. I darted for my trainers and a hoody and rushed out the flat.
What would I do? L’s bike was already damaged. It had already been taken back to her Mum and Dad’s. What could I achieve by confronting youth vandals?
I ran back up the flat and waited. A short time later they all walked back out slowly to the main road. This time I left the flat and followed them out on to the main road to ensure no more would come of it. From here we left it up to the police.
We reported the incident to the police and called 101 when the youths arrived. The police can be commended for advising us and taking an interest in our story. I don’t expect anything to be done or achieved by this however we won’t stand back while our property is vandalised. Neither should anyone.