If you're reading this, bike thief, you will understand my pain
TO the thief who stole my bike some time overnight on Thursday, February 7:
I don't know if you've ever read this column or even the Derby Telegraph at all but I don't want to profile you: let's imagine that you have.
You will have read, at the end of last year, how I have, in my life, had seven bikes stolen. Well, now you have made that eight.
You will have read how I was never going to let this one go, how I would use all sorts of locks and bolts to stop you getting at it. Well, I did, and still you prevailed.
You will have read how I wasn't going to let the number of bike thefts I have been a victim of stop me trying to enjoy a hobby I love. Well, maybe I was wrong.
Because I need you to know this, thief: this hurts. I have never lost a child, or stepped on an IED or watched a family member be swallowed whole by cancer.
I have never even been to the funeral of someone I love. So maybe I am simply being overly dramatic but this hurts in a way I am struggling to express.
I feel this way for a few reasons.
First, the loss of the bike. It was a Voodoo Hoodoo, a magnificent machine, easily the most brilliantly built, finished and equipped bike I have ever owned.
It was reviewed ecstatically and with good reason. It was solid, smooth and responsive to a level I have never known before; it was a pleasure to ride.
And I rode it nearly every day, for the three months I had it, and it made me flush with pleasure every time I did so. Only three days before you took it from me, I tuned and tweaked and oiled it in my back garden, lost in the satisfaction of maintenance.
So I wonder if, when you picked the Yale lock on the garden gate and ripped apart a shed to take it, you noticed just how clean the gear shift was, just how soft the suspension. I hope you noticed that, thief.
But it is just a bike, just a thing, albeit, at £500, the most expensive thing in my life, after my car.
I don't have many valuable possessions. I am not that wealthy and I am scared of spending so much on something I become too attached to it; things will only ever be things, after all.
No, thief. What you took from me was more than this.
You took my sense of security, and not just mine, my beautiful girlfriend's, who had just moved in to the area, away from her family for the first time in her life.
You broke in, took the bike and rode away. Where did you go? I have no idea. Where is my bike now? With my lights still on the handlebars? With the mud I rode through still flecked up the frame? I have no ideas.
But that morning, as you lay in your bed and slept, having been up all night stealing my bike, I want you to know how my girlfriend called me in tears after discovering what you'd done.
I want you to know how I went straight round to hers, to the house I am moving into, and comforted her, how over her shoulder and through the window I saw the hole you had torn in the shed and the empty space within.
I want you to know how we stood there, so hurt and so scared as you lay in your bed with my bike in your garden, or house, or wherever it was.
I know I won't see my bike again, thief, and in this respect, this Machiavellian way, you have won.
But I want you to know how it feels to have lost.