Their usefulness as getaway vehicles and easy resale has helped make bicyles an unfortunate target in the riots blighting England’s major cities over the past few days. Reports of ringleaders orchestrating hooligans on (perhaps stolen) cycles and using them to evade police have been all over the news and Twitter.
High street chain Evans Cycles have been badly affected, with branches targeted on Monday evening and early on Tuesday. Their shop in Chalk Farm, London was particularly badly hit and remains closed.
“It took us all of yesterday to assess the impact of the break-in as the area was cordoned off by police for a good proportion of the day," managing director Mike Rice told BikeRadar. "Seventy or so bikes were taken from the store as well as accessories and clothing.
“Yesterday our staff, assisted by colleagues from head office and other stores, undertook a massive effort to clean up the damage, but we’re still in clean-up mode. There's a lot of work to do to get the store up and running again but we hope to be open for business again early next week”.
A spokesman said the windows of the Evans store in Deansgate, Manchester were smashed in on Tuesday night. Remarkably, no bikes were stolen and they opened for business as usual on Wednesday. Outlets in other English cities affected by the riots were undamaged, but Evans' workshop facility in Bermondsey, South London (where they carry out overflow work from their stores) was raided by looters.
Their Croydon store suffered a similar fate to their Manchester branch and remains closed because of a heavy police presence. “We're conscious that this will be having an impact on our customers who have orders to collect at the store and have dropped their bikes in for repair in our workshop,” said Rice. “We thank our customers for being patient while we assess the situation and will contact all affected customers as soon as we can.”
The chain have set up a blog on their website to keep customers up to date with the latest developments. Other bike shops have been targeted too, including branches of Halfords and Islington's Micycle. If you know of other stores affected by the riots, let us know in the comments section below.