Nasty’s got his bike back.
He bought it back.
See? This is why you shouldn’t listen to me.
When I told you Nasty’s bike was stolen last week, I also told you not to buy stolen bikes.
A few days after it was stolen, lo and behold, it was listed on gumtree.
The person says he was selling his bike because he’s just bought a car and so doesn’t need the bike anymore.
But if you look around, that same person and that same phone number also published a number of other ads, each selling a different bike, each giving the same reason, using the same template of exactly the same words.
Nasty set up a meeting with him and brought his mate along. I insisted that I went along so I can call the police if something happens, but Nasty made me stay put in the car.
They were going to meet at a tube station, but were directed down a dark side street. So any chance of confronting him was lost. A group of kids walked up the street, could be coincidence, or could be back-up.
It was Nasty’s bike. The different saddle and the special peddles. And Nasty wanted it back. And he didn’t want anyone to get hurt.
So he paid him.
He later realised that the back wheel is buckled. From all the kicking to break the lock no doubt.
I said little.
I was angry. I was angry that we’ve just paid off a bike thief. I was hoping that somehow they’ll confront him and we’ll get the bike back without giving him one single penny.
But he paid him.
We all felt mixed feelings on the drive home.
Nasty was happy to get his bike back. He had considered going to the shops to buy another one, but they don’t sell it anymore. He really really likes his bike and I know the feeling, and he’s just relieved to have it back.
But no one’s proud of what we’ve done.
I am angry, but I couldn’t judge.
A £650 bike being sold for £150. If it’s too good to be true, it is.
This was clearly an organised gang. Each of them no more than 18 or so. They probably grab a bike a night or something, and they know what they’re looking for.
Nasty’s filed a police report each time it’s happened. Told them about the gumtree ads and the phone numbers, but nothing’s ever done.
The thieves never get caught.
The industry do little because more stolen bikes means more people buying bikes from shops and more people buying more expensive locks and more people buying bike insurance.
But should that justify buying your own bike back?
I hate the fact that we paid the bike thief off.
I hate the fact that we have just perpetuated the cycle that’s caused us so much grief.
I hate the fact that we had to pay to get our own bike back.
I still don’t know what to say. And I still wish I could plummet him with my hockey stick.
But Gandhi says we shouldn’t be violent.