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Cardiff – the home of stolen bikes

Cardiff – the home of stolen bikes

You’ll never guess. My bike’s been stolen. From inside the communal garage. Again. This is the fifth bike to have disappeared from my hands since I first arrived in Cardiff 32 months ago.

This last bike I bought (second-hand) after my last bike also disappeared from the locked garage. I’d put a new saddle, new brakes, and paniers for it.

Tonight, I went down to check it out and some thieving Goldie Looking Chain fan had obviously seen fit to spend time stepping into the communal garage, and methodically take out the back wheel and saddle. They’d have stolen the whole thing, I imagine, but the front wheel was locked to a pole.

Why?! What on earth is some thieving chav going to do with a saddle and a back wheel? Mono-cycle to their next fences market?

Plus, I presume they got into the communal garage because my stupid Alzheimer-ridden elderly neighbours forgot to close the garage door behind them after driving their Porsches and Mercedes to the local benefit office to draw their bloody pension.

My fourth bike also disappeared from the garage, but I hadn’t locked it to anything under the erroneous assumption that a closed and lockd garage door is protection enough. My third bike disappeared on New Years Eve.

My second bike disappeared from the communal hallway while I was on holiday. But I’d stupidly assumed that people would close the door behind them. My first Cardiff bike – woah, there’s a story in itself. Involving cheeky thieves, lamposts, a hacksaw, and the local pub.

Why, cardiff? Why? Doesn’t Cardiff have enough bad press for crime and thieving as it is? I’d be safer in sodding Brixton or Toxteth.

New Year, no bike…

New Year, no bike…

So New Years’ Eve, I bike over to a friends’ house to see in the New Year. And then bike home in the small hours of 2004, chain my bike up to the drainpipe at 2am-ish and leave it there.

10am, Jan 1 2004: I get up, leave the house. And find no bike. The drainpipe has been pushed out of the way, and the locked bike has gone. Disappeared. Mind you, it could be worse – Iain got carjacked on New Years Day.

This is the second time my bloody bike has disappeared from my house – the first time around, it literally disappeared from the communal hallway. And prior to that, I came home one day to find someone trying to chisle away the lock on my bike that was chained to a lamppost. And being the Guardian washy liberal-left dude that I am, the best bit of anger I could muster up was “What the f**k do you think you’re doing to my bike?”.

Where on earth do I have to lock a bike in Cardiff to keep it secure? And it’s not as if it’s a gorgeous speedy bike – it’s just a cheap £50 one.

it’s just one of the things that annoy me about Cardiff – the petty crime situation. London may have been dirty, smelly, full of bored snobby commuters but at least there wasn’t any crime I experienced, I knew my way around and there was a sense of being alive, of being somewhere fantastic on the streets. Cardiff is clean (except on a Friday or Saturday night), the people are friendly and I have a fantastic (in comparison to London) social life. But it’s dull and people steal bikes for no reason whatsoever. Grrr.

There is of course the argument that your life is as dull as you make it. So whoops.

Surrounded by youthful racist bikers

Surrounded by youthful racist bikers

Was cycling home after another uneventful day at work (aside from bumping into Heledd in the shop, who apologised profusely for not getting back to me about the cinema and stuff, saying she was busy, and suggesting coffee at 11am today)… when I basically got accosted by a bunch of racist bikers. Who were about 14.

As I was cycling home along the river, a couple of kids cycled past and asked me “Are you Chinese?”, “What’s Chinese for hello?” and other crap like that. After a while, I answered just to get them off my back, and cycled ahead. Then they cycled past me – about 7 of them, started doing the usual Chinese slurs and insults, and then surrounded me and tried to *push* me off the bike.

For a while I could have just stuck my foot out and kicked them off their bikes, but then of course I could get criminally prosecuted for assault etc., and that would get me into way too much trouble.

Bloody Cardiff. Yet another reason why it’s probably just not my kinda town.

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