Cyclists in the UK: Please Help Recover Man’s Stolen Bike by Tamia Nelson

A man and his bike have shared more than 300,000 miles of cycling together. But a Scrooge has brought all that to an end for the 88-year-old cyclist from Nothingham, UK. A thief stole the bike between 23 December and Christmas Eve. Can you help reunite the cyclist and his faithful Rotrax?

If you live in or are traveling to the Nottingham area of the UK, please be on the lookout for a stolen bike. Here’s a summary:

An 88-year-old cyclist from Nottingham suffered the loss of a “faithful friend” over the festive period after a bike which he’d ridden since 1949 was stolen from a garden shed between December 23 and 24.

The cyclist’s daughter, Elizabeth Lovatt, shared the story of her father’s stolen bike on Facebook, together with a photo of the Rotrax tourer, which has since been shared more than 1,600 times on the social media site.

And here’s a photo of the stolen bike, as shown on Elizabeth Lovatt’s Facebook page:

Stolen - Mr. Lovatt's Rotrax Bike Needs Help Getting Back Home

For links to Ms. Lovatt’s Facebook page and to learn more about the story, read “88-year-old Cyclist Loses ‘Faithful Friend’ After Bike He’d Ridden Since 1949 is Stolen at Christmas” by Henry Robertshaw in Cycling Weekly.

I can imagine what a blow this is to Ms. Lovatt’s father. My bike was stolen when I was 19 years old. Thinking about it back over all these years, I can still feel the sinking sensation in my gut and the overwhelming sense of loss.

It happened while I was working second shift in the small hospital serving my hometown. Theft just was not a concern back then — or so I’d thought. Everyone knew everyone else, and people still left their doors unlocked when they went away. So it was with disbelief that I looked at the empty place in the elegant entryway where I habitually parked while I was working. After a stunned few minutes as I ineffectually searched the immediate area indoors and out, I realized what a blow this was to me.

For several days after my bike was stolen, I hiked the two miles to and from work, returning home well after midnight each time. The hike deepened my sense of loss, and not only because I’d had my transportation stolen from me. The bike had long since gone from being an object to an extension of myself, so it was like having lost a limb. Though it was a nondescript ten-speed that would never have turned the heads of the tifosi, my steel steed had helped me build up my withered leg after five months in a full plaster cast, the result of a skiing accident. And my bike had become my partner as we traveled together to push the bounds of my known world.

But I was lucky. One of the town’s two part-time policemen found my bike. He’d driven me home from work on the dreadful day, and apparently my loss affected him deeply, because every day after that he searched for my bike, on duty and off. He was a big portly man, and it couldn’t have been easy for him to negotiate the steep embankment that separated the raised road bed from the marsh where the thief had thrown my bike. But he did it, and before returning my bike to me, he cleaned her off, lubed the chain and other moving parts, and even inflated the tires. I cried when he showed up at my home with the bike, and I’ve never forgotten his kindness.

Hopefully a similar fate will bring good fortune to an 88-year-old cyclist in Nottingham, UK. And if you can help reunite the two, please do.

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For half a century, Tamia Nelson has been ranging far and wide by bike, boat, and on foot. A geologist by training, an artist since she could hold a pencil, a photographer since her uncle gave her a twin-lens reflex camera when she was 10, she's made her living as a writer and novelist for two decades. Avocationally her interests span natural history, social history, cooking, art, and self-powered outdoor pursuits, and she has broad experience in mountaineering, canoeing, kayaking, cycling, snowshoeing and skiing.