“I bought it this way, with this front wheel. I saw it on the internet. It was a guy who had a collection of old bikes. So this is a special bike and I love it. Now I lock it up with three locks. I have had seven bikes stolen already. With my brother and sister, eleven bikes stolen. Once I had two bikes, one broke down and I came with another – and both were stolen.”
Photographer’s notes: I had to stake out this bike, waiting for the owner. The mix of a strong yellow front wheel attached to this 1980’s Raleigh bike was the first sign of a mix of modern wheels with the older steel frames.
And then the three locks used to secure the bike made me smile. I had seen it as both essential and overkill. The yellow wheel being a prized possession, the bike secured. But his story of continual loss would make most people opt for excess, if it would mean the bike still being there on my return.
But staking out a bike does not always succeed. I turned my head, took my bike to ride to the top of the courtyard and back – and the wanted bike was gone.
An hour later, I saw the yellow rim zip past and, though it took me too long to start the pursuit, I opted to return to the location of the first sighting – and there it was, owner attached, being locked up again.