Victim impact statements
Behind any crime statistics are raw individual stories of loss. The impact statements from victims below show the human side of cycle theft in London. These excerpts display some of the short and long-lasting financial, emotional and psychological affects such a loss can have.
This is a space to air these crimes, to aid healing, but also to show the authorities and bike thieves the true cost of the crime. If your bike has been stolen in London, send a private message to any of the @StolenRide accounts to add your statement.
I was mugged for my electric bike commuting to work.
The robbery was frightening, I was threatened with stabbing which left me shaken.
To my regret the bike was not insured, I will be paying for it for months. I’ve borrowed another bike and still commute.
The robbery has left me nervous and I now cycle wearing a personal attack alarm.
I was using my bike for work as a delivery rider whilst I was on furlough from my job. The theft of my bike has taken away my freedom and aid to mental stability through a physical workout. I was just about to start my evening of deliveries when I found it was stolen, I returned to my flat and did nothing other than scour the internet for it for the next few days. The bike was gifted to me by my partner who busted his gut to pay for it. For some reason I feel guilty, even though it’s completely out of my control.
I live in a flat in a gated mews. Having my bicycle stolen from the bike racks inside felt like a violation of my basic human need to feel safe. A bike is so much more than a lump of metal – mine even had a name! It was a symbol of freedom (especially during the pandemic), of independence. It’s theft was more upsetting than I could have anticipated. So much so that my friends set up a fundraising project to help me replace it as being unemployed meant I couldn’t afford public transport or to replace it.
Initial feelings of devastation and anger followed by the humiliating journey home without my bike led to endless hours looking for my bike online and on the streets, even to this day. The thought of my bike of 7 years in someone’s possession is heart-breaking and makes me feel hopeless.
I have yet to find a replacement due to financial and emotional reasons as a result.
There are two types of bike theft, one you’ve forgotten by your 3rd pint that weekend. The other haunts you every time you wander your Borough, eyes chasing every frame and fork for a glimpse of what was once your ride.
My loss is huge, financially, mentally and physically.
Having my new bike stolen has made me feel unsafe in my neighbourhood. My bike was my mode of transportation, especially during lockdown, so the theft limited my ability to exercise outdoors and to go buy essentials. Fortunately, I have a replacement now but it’s not the same. I feel that this can also be easily taken away so I now carry my bike three flights of stairs to ensure it’s safer.
I had my bike stolen via a break in to my property, it’s devastating. My bike is a massive component of my life, I use it to get to work, see friends and to train for an Ironman. So having it stolen goes way beyond the monetary loss. You feel helpless. It’s gut wrenching, the realisation dawns on you that it’s not coming back. That bike isn’t any bike, it’s yours, it’s customised and has accessories that make it yours and knowing you have to start that process all over again is awful.
I wasn’t left feeling unsafe, like a burglary, just angry. Angry knowing that the chances of ever catching the person are minimal. And the chance of police ever trying to help are even less. Having something taken that you use every single day and have built up a lot of sentimental value with taken without any sort of repercussions is so frustrating. If people want your bike they can just take it. Which leaves me in constant anxiety about what’s happening to my bike and not on what I’m doing.
It is a financial strain, especially at a time when my work is disrupted. I haven’t bought a new bike yet because of the cost. It’s sad as cycling is a joy, and it reminded me how risky it is to own a bike.
I felt powerless to do much about it.
My first ‘nice’ bike was stolen and I simply couldn’t afford to replace it. Cycling was an important outlet for me and I became rather depressed and obsessed with finding it. I searched the local area and for months scoured the internet each day. It was just really, really sad.
Two bikes stolen from garden shed, Haringey North London on Boxing Day. Someone local must have watched our movements. A scary thought. Angry and upset that little importance is attached to this type of crime.
I had my bike stolen after leaving it locked up outside a pub for half an hour. Seeing where your bike was locked and no bike is a heartbreaking feeling. The theft felt like a very personal violation. I rode my bike every day while being furloughed and while it is just an inanimate object, my bike is what got me through the anxieties of lockdown and I loved it. I have a new bike but I am anxious locking it up anywhere in London. The theft meant I was out of pocket by £700. I had to further pay for commuting.
The theft of my two bikes has made me feel vulnerable (they were stolen from inside the building where I live in the City of London), emotionally upset (both were gifts, hand-made for me by my partner), shocked and angry!!
Having my bike stolen was a real kick in the teeth at a time where cycling was my freedom and daily exercise. It’s a scary idea that someone broke into our building to steal it and its definitely made me think twice about checking both door and bike locks. It’s frustrating having to dig into savings just to be able to get back out and about and the overall experience has made me more annoyed than anything.
Thanks to my bicycle: I commute, depend less, am reliable, run errands, discover … it’s a freedom-provider that also facilitates a healthier lifestyle.
Having it stolen (in Hackney) affected me at so many levels and it took me three (pandemic) months of public transport until I could afford another one.
I used my bike every day to commute – it got me to work safely and helped me keep sane. My mental health has quickly deteriorated since it was stolen and the fear of it happening again is keeping me from buying a new one, even though I can’t bear the thought of not being able to cycle.
When my bike was stolen I was gutted. I loved that bike and used it every day for five years. I relied on it to cycle to work and without it my commute became longer and more expensive. I now need to pay for public transport which I previously hadn’t budgeted for. I also can’t afford to replace my bike. Whoever took it has not only invaded someone else’s personal property, but forced someone else to make changes to their life and spend money and time on their selfishness.
Losing my bike last month came as a real shock.
Getting a new bike during the pandemic has proved very tricky with many bikes sold out and now I feel quite stuck as it was my main mode of transport as well as exercise.
As a student without insurance the financial impact was really hard and I went over a month without a bike (my main mode of transport) until I could afford a new one. The incident left me feeling uneasy in my own area and was a devastating thing to happen just before returning to uni.
Had my bike for 3 months. My very first bike. My only joy in a dark period. The first 2 weeks after the theft I couldn’t watch other cyclists because I would have burst in tears. Even now I miss it and think about it, but I know it’s long gone. I couldn’t buy another one until now, but I’m about to. Yay!
After all this episode I don’t trust the bike to be safe anywhere else but my room.
I’ll be more cautious than before.
My bike got stolen during our Diwali festival. It was like a family member. I had built a strong bond with my bike as it was the best option for exercise since gyms are closed. I heard a noise of lock cutting but my refrigerator often makes similar noise and ignored that noise. But, that was the moment my bike was taken from outside.
My thoughts on cycling remains unchanged.
The theft has left me heartbroken as it was my only means of freedom during the pandemic & I can’t afford another due to having such limited work at present & I can’t store it inside due to house sharing. Plus this is the third bike I’ve personally had stolen & the 8th on my road alone so I can’t afford to take the risk.
My freedom, finances & faith have been greatly effected.
I used my bicycle as a reliable means of getting to my workplace as well as other essential trips. With low income and precarious work available, I currently have no way of replacing it. Having the bike stolen outside my house in the borough of Lambeth has left me very anxious.
As a woman in London my bike gave me safety. I’ve now had 3 bicycles stolen in 4 months and can no longer afford to replace them. Now the only way I can get to work is by rush-hour transport in a pandemic and at night have a long walk home in the dark.
I just finished my shift on ICU to find my both my D-locks on my bike had been cut through and my bike stolen. I was devastated. I think the worst part is knowing that there wasn’t anything else I could have done to make it more safe.
Having to explain to my kids that daddy’s bikes have been stolen was very upsetting and left them feeling anxious. I use my bike to commute to work so I had to quickly purchase a new one which was a real stretch financially. It has left a lasting impact I am very cautious about where i leave my bike and the places I ride it.
Our bikes were very special for us, they gave us the freedom to move around the city quick and safely with our girl, especially during the lockdown.
We bought some new bikes (plus a new baby seat) but feeling very anxious now to lock it anywhere, and still constantly looking around….they must be somewhere…
I really feel it has taken away some of my freedom. Every weekend it was an escape from the perils of the pandemic. It really cleared the head. Now every time I think of it it’s depressing as I can’t do this anymore. Even now when I look to consider buying another one, which I can’t really afford in a pandemic, I am questioning whether I should because the bike was taken from our garden where they were locked up. Safety is a real concern for me now.
Being a student and having my bike stolen from my house left me firstly in financial difficulty, as well as making my commute to uni/work even more difficult, it made me feel unsafe even in my own house, not knowing if there was going to be another break in. I found out it was stolen on Christmas Eve, meaning that it was hard to focus on the holidays, whilst worrying if anything else was stolen. This was also my second bike theft in less than two years.
My bike was stolen from outside a hospital while I was working as a nurse which was so upsetting. It had been gifted to me so I was devastated as it had so much sentimental value. I had been using it to cycle to work during the pandemic to reduce the chance of me spreading germs on the tube. It put me off cycling so meant I had to go back to paying for the tube everyday and also pay for a new bike.
My new bike was stolen from secure lock up, Camberwell, after 4 months ownership. Sick, heartbroken and furious. A targeted theft, the knowledge I was spotted and followed is a horrible reality. Unsure if I will replace, if I can recoup the cost, as nowhere feels safe enough.
I had you for 13 years, my beloved bike. We went everywhere together: to work, visiting friends and family, to the shops, even on the Dunwich Dynamo (your proudest moment). I had adapted you to my every need to accommodate my sore joints when I flared from my rheumatoid arthritis. When walking was difficult I still had my bike to get around. But none of that was seen when you were forcibly taken from me. A new bike won’t ever replace the loss. It’s really never just a bike.
My beloved bike got stolen in Bethnal Green, around Cambridge Heath station. The worst thing about my bike being stolen is the emotional value. You see, I always wanted that bike, and when my friends manufactured a new set of frames, they presented me with a first one of the batch. Since it was stolen, every time I see a red bike I’m secretly hoping there is a chance I will get it back.
Having my bike stolen whilst I stayed behind afterwork to operate on a broken elbow was quite a blow. Since then my commute time has doubled each day and I’ve been unable to source a replacement. Disgust at thieves hanging out stealing bikes at hospital is the main feeling.
My bike was stolen from outside the house while I was recovering from Covid. The theft added to my sense of disorientation. I was particularly attached to my mint green Dawes Duchess and miss riding it!
I was crestfallen to find that my bike had been stolen, my daily cycle is one of the few things I look forward to during lockdown. It kept me fit and improved my mental wellbeing, and I won’t be able to afford a replacement because of financial hardship during the pandemic.
Having my brand new bike stolen has really shaken me, not in a feeling unsafe way but a way that people will try and do anything to steal prize possessions of things you love. As a consequence I will never leave my bike locked up in a public place. This has really restricted how I can ride, for example I would now never ride to the shops or the gym for fear of having my bike stolen. I had to replace my bike with a second hand bike as I couldn’t afford to buy another brand new bike.
I love cycling. I’ve been at it since I was five. It keeps me sane and it helps me lose weight when I can’t run.
Having my bike stolen deprived me of my stress relief and affected my health.
My bike I have owned and cared for for 39 years was stolen from a lamppost in Fitzrovia.
The thief probably saw it as a quick way to get home whereas I have lost a dear old friend that I have known most of my life. Irreplaceable.
It was devastating to get off from work and find my bike gone. This 2nd bike was a replacement bike for one stolen earlier and it hurts in many places. A big chunk of my salary went to it and now I can’t afford a new bike yet again. Very sad it discourages me from cycling again in London.
I use a bike everyday and for everything. I don’t have a car. Having it stolen felt like I had lost a bit of me some how.
As a woman in London my bike made me feel less vulnerable than when walking. I was left without a bike after it got stolen. As a student I couldn’t really afford to replace it.
I spend most of my time looking for my bike on all the market sites and I am still looking for it everyday. The thief hasn’t just stolen my bike, he also managed to take away from me the joy and love I had for riding too.
My bike was my saviour through lockdown, getting me between working full time plus studying a part time MBA on top. One day, I came out of Uni to find my bike had gone.
It seems stupid to say you love something like a bike, but it gave me freedom, joy, and someone to take that from me, left me blue.
Thieves stole my bike from inside my apartment building. The theft has not only violated my home but stolen my form of exercise and my commute to work.
I’ll need a loan to buy a new bike and to continue exercising with friends. After a tough year, losing my bike of almost a decade is another bitter pill to swallow.
I am still grieving, although it’s been 10 days. As if a member of the family has been taken by some gruesome crime. Yes, it was ‘only’ a bike, but for me a lifeline during the three dreadful lockdowns in London, and the one that I sorely miss. It was my ticket to freedom when freedom was constrained by the pandemic.
I can’t stop thinking if the thieves, or whoever ends up with it, would take as good care of it as I did.
I was left saddened and shocked that my bike was stolen in broad daylight outside a major supermarket. My bike is pretty much my only means of transport in London and losing it really limits my ability to see friends in the city, not to mention the financial implications of having to replace it.
I recently bought a bike because walking and running have become painful for me due to a hip injury. I was really happy to find a great second-hand bike through a friend. I had it exactly for two days when someone broke into our backyard and stole it! Besides the impact this has on my mobility, my partner and our neighbours who share the backyard with us are massively distressed by someone breaking in like that in the middle of the afternoon!
I am one of many victims of bike theft, it was double locked outside my front door, which is set back on a private road so not noticeable.
The most frustrating thing was I’d only just got it fixed 2 days before, after what’s been a tough year, it was a lifeline, a form of transport and exercise and I’m not in the position to replace it. I’m powerless to do anything about it.
I was mugged for my Brompton bike in December 2020 on my way to do Christmas shopping in Angel. They ambushed me and one of them pointed an angle grinder into my face and said “Your bike”.
This incident left me heart-broken as the bike was a part of my day to day life for almost 5 years. I left Hackney where I used to live and don’t want to buy a Brompton bike again as I would not feel safe cycling. I’m even considering not buying any new bike at all.
Last weekend I was a victim to bike theft in Barnes SW13. The experience has been seriously demoralising & this last week has been very tough. I spent a lot of hard earned money on this bike & I feel ripped apart!
My bike went from helping me with a simple commute to university, to being my lifeline during the pandemic by giving me the freedom to be outdoors. It also spent many indoor rides on cold winter evenings helping me train for the London Duathlon. Thieves take away a lot more than just ‘a mode of transport’ when they steal bikes, and I just hope my Bianchi turns up again one day.
This was the third time a bike of mine was stolen and it hurts every time. I find it becomes an extension of yourself when you ride it, you develop a relationship to it, mine had a name. It was a means to escape the daily trot of things and having someone take that from you feels like a major violation. When I saw that empty spot by the racks I instantly started crying, I’ll be feeling unsafe, angry and sad for a while to come.
I purchased a brand new bike, rode it home from the shop and two days later it was stolen from inside my building. I feel unsafe in my home, and robbed not just of money (a substantial amount) but of the time spent researching and choosing a bike to fit my increasing passion for cycling.
I use my bike for work, so I cycle every day, so it’s really going to make things more difficult.
This is my 2nd bike stolen in 3 years, so I guess I’m getting used to it now.
New to London with a new born baby. My bikes were my commute, my exercise and my mental health support. They have saved me many times and I miss them and what they did for me. Not a possessions person but loved my bikes.
Hope I can repair how I feel about London.
It had a big impact on my daily routine as I use my bike every day to go to work and exercise since I don’t have that much free time, bikes are a great way to relieve stress and to avoid big crowds specially now while we are still dealing with the virus.