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Dude, where’s my bike?

August 2, 2011

Powering down the last road towards work, having spent an age waiting at a set of traffic lights in Holborn, I’d finally managed to cycle door to door in under 30 minutes. Halving the time it takes to get into work, kick-starting my metabolism in the morning and saving money – what wasn’t there to like about cycling in London?

I had a meeting in the afternoon with the Financial Times – ooh, get me – to show them some binder formats. From Holborn to Southwick Bridge I could catch the tube and walk from Bank, which would give me a journey of about half an hour. Or I could cycle, in about the same amount of time.

Midway through the journey I realised that wearing a jacket to cycle through the city in the middle of summer was probably overkill. I found a place to lock up, walked over Southwick Bridge and felt a swell of pride at being called an eco warrior for my bike-based exploits.

A leisurely cycle back to Holborn and I had a couple of hours in the office left before jog club. Time passed and I cycled down Oxford Street (very slowly, constantly ringing my bell at oblivious shoppers), hanging a right to the Seymour Centre. I found a space on the bike racks, locked up (as ever, putting the lock through the bike frame, unclipping the front wheel, passing the lock through both wheels and wrapping around the frame of the rack) and went off to join the Serpies for a 7-mile run round the Royal Parks.

A satisfying run at between 6:30 and 6:50 minute miles later, I jogged back from Speaker’s Corner back towards the Seymour Centre. I saw something on the floor, coiled up, near to my bike rack…

How I found my bike lock, sans bike

The useless coil that was all that remained of my bike

And that was that… Left for an hour next to a load of considerably flasher (and clearly better secured) triathlon bikes on a busyish road and my bike was gone. Farewell old friend. I hope you find a good new owner when you’re inevitably flogged in Brick Lane. (And if you buy a green Venture hybrid bike, that chain will slip, the rim on the front wheel rubs a little against the brakes, the brakes need replacing, the bell needs tightening and if you want a comfortable ride you’d best replace that saddle.)

So, after that sorry tale, I need to get another bike for the end of the month when I’m cycling from Morcambe to Whitby. Otherwise that’s a very long run. And (to misquote The Matrix) I need locks. Lots of locks.

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