Yesterday evening Mike and I went to see Hitchhikers at the Cineworld in Cambridge. And as I arrived early and pulled up at the nearest available bike stand to the door I happened to look at the bike parked on the next rack. It was mine. I mean I had to look several times to be sure but there's absolutely no mistaking it. Phillipson Special Build transfers, greeny-grey metallic paint, the sticker on the front saying Phillipsons, Garforth, Leeds. It even still has the same light fittings, the fitting for the bike computer, and the mad contraption for holding the bottle cage on given the bike has no lugs for on. Only change is it's looking a bi grubby and they've added a basket. *boggle*
It's about 6:35pm, I'm earlyish for our 6:50 film. So what do I do? I ring Richard, and he gives me the number for the police, and I ring them and ask for advice. The operator puts me through to the control room number and I stand around on hold with the phone just ringing and costing me money for 15 minutes. In this time Mike arrives and boggles. We lock both our bikes with his lock, and attach my lock to my old bike, in addition to the new "owner"'s lock. They don't answer. We give up and go watch out film.
9:10pm (after an excellent film) I try again. Operator puts me through to Crime Management Team instead, in case they can help me, but they go "oh" and put me back on the hold queue for the Control Room. Eventually someone answers and takes my details. I said I'd be around next door having dinner and they told me to keep an eye out for any police turning up and attract their attention. "What if they don't?", "Um, good question. Ring us up again and quote this incident number".
10:15pm, we finish dinner, and ring again. This time the Control room actually answer quite quickly. Say they hadn't had any people free at 9:30, but she'd check now. Oh, there are 17 other incidents. She made a note to ring back and give me an ETA if she could. We went into the bowling alley and played a couple of games of pool. Which bizarrely I won, despite Mike being infinitely better at pool than me. Admittedly in the first game he accidentally potted the black with a remarkable trick shot where he accidentally jumped the cue ball over the top of the ball he was trying to hit. But the second one was fair and square.
11:00pm, by this time we're getting tired, so we ring them again, make sure they know it's locked with both locks, and that they have my number, and they say a policeman will call me tomorrow. Go home and tell the amusing tale to the remains of post-pizza, before getting to bed rather later than intended.
7:10am. The phone rings. It's a policeman. "Well, they might have just bought it innocently" "We can't just take it away, that would be damaging their property (the lock)" "All we can suggest is you leave a note with your number, and then when they contact you ring us back with the incident number and we'll meet you both and try sort it out".
9:30am. Arrive at work and take new bike up in lift to cupboard in office. Well, I don't have a lock do I?
10:30am. Coffee time. Cycle over to Cineworld. Discover bike and both locks are still there. Attach note to bike. It reads "Sorry to lock your bike. Contact Eleanor on xxxxx xxxxxx. Or call Police on 0845 456 456 4 about incident number 576 on 16th May". So that's how it stands, and I guess now I just wait for the phone to ring. Wonder how long I should give them, and how frequently I should go back and see if it's still there.
I have a spare lock at home for tomorrow at least. And I know I have the original receipt for the bike (hoarded by my mum in their byzantine filing system and sent to me more as a memento), somewhere there should be a record of me reporting it stolen, and I have a couple of photos of me with it (photo 1, photo 2). I'm just still completely boggled by the idea of it turning up now though.
ETA (2:30pm): Aha, I have a very kind offer of a large chunky chain from armb, which I shall add to it tomorrow if it's not resolved by then. No call yet.
ETA2: I posted a link to my original cam.misc post and this journal entry to cam.transport today too. You can follow the resulting thread
6:25pm: Awww! A happy ending. Just got a call on my mobile. She said she was Cassie or something similar, I explained that the bike had been stolen from me. And she said she'd unlock it and I could just go pick it up! Someone gave it to her when her bike was stolen from outside her work a while back. She said she was really pleased we'd been reunited, and that it was a lovely bike :-) So I guess I'll be popping over there tomorrow lunchtime or something. Too tired to go tonight, and I have a meeting first thing tomorrow.