At a pandemic crisis with an aerosol airborne virus as enemy, frontliners like us nurses, doctors, and other healthcare workers need our bicycles to commute to work when we do not have cars or motorbikes and modes of public transport are rare. This is true all over the world, and Cambridge, where I live is the cycle city of England. We just need that breathe of fresh air away from crowded places and possible contact with COVID-19 on the seats of buses and taxis.
Cambridgeshire has the highest rate of bicycle thefts in the country in 2016 according to cambridge-news.co.uk and the number of thefts has increased by 40% over four years. (bbc.co.uk, 2019).
Every day I walk through our city centre, I see a bike on a rail missing its wheel or two, a lock abandoned on a rail without the bike, or worse, a bike rail ripped off. Cycling is the major transport of people in Cambridge and if you are a victim of this, it is a bit shocking and devastating especially if you had an expensive bike that you really love.
I am a nurse of the NHS and my mode of transportation to work is cycling, because 1) it is convenient and 2) it is less expensive given the fact that a week of bus ticket is £14 which works about £672 annually. I never thought of buying an expensive bike in Cambridge for I knew the consequences it could bring because of the above mentioned reasons. However, I bought an e-bike through Cyclescheme as I was in the process of buying a house in Waterbeach with my ex before we broke up earlier this year; and the only mode of transportation for me if ever, was cycle-train-cycle.
Before the lockdown, I went to shop for food and essentials in the city centre and I parked my bike at the bike cave of Grand Arcade mall. One would think that this is the best place to park your bike because people are here all the time as there is a cycle shop just in front of it, and there are CCTVs everywhere.
I parked my bike there at 3:30 pm, went to buy my vegetables at the market area, bought some bath essentials at Boots, frying pans at TKmaxx and was a bit excited to go back home and rearrange all my veggies and new things in the kitchen. Before I went home, I ate at my favourite Japanese fast food chain, Wasabi, and for some reason, I had a gut wrenching feeling that something bad was going to happen and it just wouldn’t go away. I reached for my little bag and was searching for my card when I found the Pedalsure card that was sent to me with the VOLT metro-ls bike I bought. I had been thinking of insuring my bike, but just had been lazy to do so.
Since I wasn’t feeling right and did not want to go home yet, I took some time to browse my phone and register my bike right there and then. Thinking of my bike the entire time, I thought, it should be fine at the bike cave, I had three locks on it, a Kryptonite D lock, a rear wheel lock and the electric lock, plus it was a public area with CCTV just in front of my bike, what could go wrong right? But it was 8pm and I realised that the streets are becoming dead, so I walked to the bike cave and for some reason, I couldn’t remember where I parked it. Then it struck me – my bike was missing!!! I saw this…
Whoever stole my bike ripped off the bike rail just to steal it! I was so shocked I didn’t know what to do. My first thought was to call the police but I heard a lot of times that they will never do anything about it anyway. I talked to a man who just came to get his bicycle and tried to help me by telling me to report it to the police online or to call 101 and go home and not meddle around the area as it was dangerous. He asked me if I had the bike insured and THANK GOD I just had it insured today, but would they believe me or would they think that it was dodgy that I got an insurance just right before it got stolen?
I was in such despair when I rode the bus home. Goodness! My heart was completely broken because I loved that bike! I wasn’t in the mood to report it over the phone, so I reported it online and got a reference number. When I went home, I went to my roommates to rant. One of them told me to post it online. I found this Facebook page called “STOLEN BIKES in Cambridge”. I was able to talk to Omar, the admin of the page, and he tried to help me in the best way he can. I was so thankful to him because he called Grand Arcade for me and followed it up with the police as well. There are people with good heart in this world and I already started to feel like this event was a blessing to see the positive in life.
Not only that, I got an offer for a free rent of electric bike from Jamie, the owner of the shop called ElectricBikeSales.co.uk. They were really kind and it made me feel that despite the negativities that happened, I belong in a good community. I have people surrounding me with support. Apart from that, people were sharing my posts warning other people about the type of bike rails in Grand Arcade. I feel that my experience was useful to a lot of people!
I got to their shop and everyone was just so helpful. They even gave me a discounted price of one of their Secure Gold bike locks! I recommend their shop if you want to buy or rent electric bikes.
Because of people showing good deeds, I felt positivity and care and everything felt better. In the midst of this crisis, there will be low kinds people who will take advantage of it for their own selfish reasons, but there will also be people willing to help others in need, not asking for anything in return.
As for me, I still miss my bike, but the good news is: I GOT MY MONEY BACK! My insurance from Pedalsure was just approved and it only took 2 days for them to do so! I AM SO RELIEVED and grateful and thankful because despite this crisis, fate is still on my side just making me realise something: the world is still full of good people. 🙂
THANK YOU EVERYONE WHO ARE TRYING TO HELP THE NHS WORKERS LIKE ME! YOU ARE OUR HEROES TOO! TOGETHER WE FIGHT! 😀