We have banged this drum ad nauseam but as mountain bikers it is now very much on our doorstep – which in most cases is some remote, sublimely secluded beautiful part of the mountain or countryside. We are soft targets with expensive toys. Cyclists are being stabbed, hit with bricks and poles and no longer content with reappropriating our phones or coffee cash these criminals are attacking cyclists in order to get there hands on our most prized possession! I have had a number of irate readers ask me what can be done and how should one retaliate. I believe it’s just a matter of time before we have a serious incident (although the stabbing of a rider on the revamped Blackhill trail in Cape Town certainly qualifies!) either of a cyclist or retaliation by a rider. Neither is something one wants to contemplate. I would suggest you join local bike forums, clubs or group’s social media or news platforms these are usually pretty good at pointing out crime hotspots. Don’t ride alone if you can possibly help it. Let someone know your route. Look into GPS based tracking apps or gadgets. Take your individual or collective grievances and complaints to your local police as well as to the local or city/town governing bodies – in particular your local ward councillor – they need to know about the issues and look into it, bug them! We need to create awareness, but not after the fact, solutions needs to proactive and preventive in order to make mountain biking, hiking and trail running safe for all and on all routes. We need to make more noise!
So where are all the bikes going? As concerned and aware cyclists we are quick to point out suspicious looking items being sold at unscrupulous outlets or on the net but this doesn’t in any way account for all the stolen bikes. I have heard anecdotally that the bikes are being broken down and taken across our borders to be sold further North, I have also heard that the bikes get repainted and “blinged” up so that they won’t be recognised. I have no idea where they go but there is a demand and so there must be a market, surely this trail needs to be followed and a stop put to it? SAPS this has to fall into your domain? We already have to use private security companies for our protection just about everywhere we go, it’s ludicrous! SAPS its time you started looking into the cycling market as a whole! We want to ride – SAFELY and SECURELY!
See you on the trails!