New flat and new bike

I’ve had a busy couple of weeks. I moved house the weekend before last. It took me three quarters of an hour to move everything, but I still haven’t sorted everything out. The bedroom, kitchen, and bathroom are all right, though, so it’s habitable; the living room awaits the purchase of a tall bookcase to put all the books currently covering the floor.

I have a phone line and ADSL, so I now feel that I’m living in the right century. I’ve even received my first gratuitously offensive letter from TV Licensing.

To move my things, I hired a man and van from taxi-vans.com, and I was very satisfied. The man turned up on time (nine o’clock on a Sunday morning) and was cheerful and helpful. I only moved about a mile, so there was more time spent loading and unloading than actually transporting the stuff, but overall it was a relatively painless procedure.

My new flat is a bit further from work, but I discovered a more direct route that negates the added distance. Unfortunately, living on the second floor, I don’t have anywhere secure to park my bicycle now, so I was parking it in front of the door, locked to the iron railings.

Was.

On Friday morning—my first Friday morning in the flat—I awoke to see no more bicycle. Perhaps I had tempted fate by parking it in a way that advertised its insecurity, as I did on that one evening. I had left the cycle on its stand and locked the frame to the railing. Materially, it was no less secure than attaching it close to the fence, but I think that it made the feebleness of the lock more apparent to an opportunist thief. I’m sure that the theft was opportunistic: the lock was broken by winding it around the seat post of another bike. Moreover, my bicycle was the humblest of all the cycles parked there; it was just the easiest to steal.

I bought a new bike. Same shop. Same price. The new one is actually better: it has bigger wheels and proper old-style sit-up-and-beg handlebars for a really comfortable upright riding position. The bigger wheels help on London’s roads, the condition of which would embarrass Tirana. (They don’t so much have potholes as islands of tarmac floating in a sea of exposed hardcore.) Alas, there’s no front basket, an omission that inconveniences me greatly. Furthermore, because of the bigger wheels, it’s proven rather difficult to purchase a rear rack. The ubiquitous mountain bike has 26″ wheels, and almost all racks are made to fit that size. Decathlon do make a suitable rack, but it’s out of stock. My carrying capacity is thus limited to one rucksack for now, which makes shopping much harder.

I bought two new locks, each of them sturdier than the previous one. Nothing is guaranteed, but perhaps the thieving bastards will pick someone else’s bike next time.

Being a victim of crime makes it hard to be liberal. I used to think that the solution to crime was education and economic empowerment of the socially excluded. Now, I’m clamouring for the return of the gibbets and public hangings of petty criminals. Alternatively, the thieving scum could be stoned to death and their bodies dumped in the Thames. In fact, I’m in half in favour of doing that to people who might be thieves/muggers/etc. as a kind of pre-emptive strike. Yeah, I’m still angry.

It was probably just as well that I went almost straight from having my bike stolen to a relaxing weekend in Brussels, as I wrote previously. It gave me something to do and think about that didn’t involve some kind of chav holocaust.

Incidentally, I owned by bicycle for nine weeks before it was stolen. My bike cost £100. Nine weeks of travel on the Underground would have cost me £180.

Comments

  1. Dr Nic

    Wrote at 2006-08-21 15:50 UTC using Firefox 1.5.0.6 on Windows XP:

    “I’ve even received my first gratuitously offensive letter from TV Licensing.”

    I thought this was the most interesting/intriguing thing you started with, but no continuation! I need more details of the letter! :)
  2. Paul

    Wrote at 2006-08-21 21:28 UTC using Firefox 1.5.0.6 on Mac OS X:

    It was just the normal kind of threatening letter from TV Licensing. Printed across the top of the letter in bold 18 point type, even before the opening salutation, is the unsubtle warning: Important: Please respond to this letter by 22nd August to avoid your details being passed on to our Enforcement Division for investigation. Understatement is not their strong suit.

    You have to see it to believe it, though, so I scanned it.