Feeling the love


Pride comes before a fall and here’s me looking particularly proud of myself on the Fuji single speed bike I owned for about a month. This photo was a bit of a joke between myself and my old cycling buddy JP who was the previous owner of the Saracen hybrid that the Fuji was to replace. JP accused me of becoming a cycling ‘Hipster’ and having some kind of midlife crisis so I played up a bit to the camera.

So last night the Fuji was stolen from a pub about a mile from my house. In my eagerness to meet up with a former neighbour that I hadn’t seen for 30 years I rode there with the intention of walking/staggering home (maybe with a kebab for extra ballast). It was great catching up with John and his wife as well as Phil and Claire in The Ostrich next to Heaton Park- a fabulous pub which I wish was a bit closer to me.  I’ve cycled there before notably to go drinking with the Bishop of Bolton and to listen to the Stone Roses soundcheck from the beer garden. I always secure my bike to the drainpipe on the front of the pub which is on Bury Old Road, one of the main routes into Manchester.


We didn’t leave the pub until after midnight and on doing so we found that the drainpipe had been pulled away from the wall, a section of pipe removed and my bike together with the thick cable lock had been stolen. Everyone else was more upset and angry than I was about the situation. It had happened to me before (twice previously in the last 9 years), nobody was hurt and it’s only a bike (albeit a rather pretty one). I had got attached to it quite quickly and although I wasn’t going to name it, a friend suggested ‘Mambo’ because it was my bike number 5. I was growing stronger on the uphill rides home and we had claimed our first Strava King of the Mountains together for an urban stretch in Lower Broughton called the ‘obstacle course’.  I had spent an hour of the afternoon fitting new mudguards to her and had just about got over the new bike squeaks and niggles.


I quickly created a poster with a picture and a £50 reward fine which seems to have almost gone viral around Prestwich. In losing her a maelstrom of generosity and love has been whipped up around me today including the following:

  • Claire giving me a hug as soon as I realised what had happened
  • John and Alex taking me in, getting me a brew, letting me report the theft to the police (whilst quite drunk) and lending me a coat for a miserable walk home in the pouring rain.
  • Phil in particular but many other friends liking and sharing my lost bike message on Facebook. The banter has helped me too.
  • Jonathan, Emma and Adam and all former Twitter friends (I quit last summer) grabbing the image and sharing it and in particular Ed who forwarded it to my MP Ivan Lewis who also re-tweeted it. The Prestwich Twitterati would have been mostly seeing orange on their feeds this morning!
  • The Prestwich Spotted Facebook community page for posting the picture (don’t know who runs it)
  • Erin taking copies of the poster to circulate to her Church and friends this morning.
  • Harry the Spider having a word with a Salford based policeman who cycles out from Prestwich on his regular Monday MTB meet.
  • Rick finding a nearly new orange single speed for sale in Radcliffe though it had sneakily been classified as new. Not mine though.
  • Jackie who offered me the use of her husband’s bike before I pointed out that I had 4 others (I’ll be driving tomorrow anyway)
  • Pete who spotted a bit of broken mudguard whilst on a training run this evening for next weekend’s London Marathon. The bike appears to be taken away towards Manchester.
  • Our new Vicar Chris who happened to be delivering a sermon on Sadness so used me as an case study and therefore announced details of the crime to the busiest family service I can remember for quite a while.

Chris was telling us not to be sad in his sermon and I think I’ve kept the correct perspective upon a non-violent loss of property crime with the value of goods being less than £500. The only time I have been in tears today is when I’ve noticed some wonderful comments between people on Facebook and Twitter. So many people have taken time out to try to help me. I’m quite overwhelmed by it all.

I’ve definitely been feeling the love today, especially locally and even if the bike isn’t ever found I will have gained a lot in return. Image



About holmesinho

Happily married father of 2 living in Prestwich 5 miles north of Manchester, England. I cycle most days though mostly commuting and also enjoy running and triathlon.
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2 Responses to Feeling the love

  1. Paul Hewerdine says:

    Hi Nigel, just stumbled across your blog. Love it. Hope all is well with you, despite those cunning bike thieves. Sending you more good vibes from a damp North London. Hope it turns up. All the best, Paul (second cousin twice removed or something)

    • holmesinho says:

      Wow great to hear from you! You Hewerdines are good at spotting us Holmeses. I remember your sister spotting me running the London Marathon in 2000 when she shouted my name out on Tower Bridge. That freaked me out a bit! Think you were running it too? Love to you and yours and we’ll have to catch up properly at some point. cheers Nigel

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