I would like to say a big thank you to everyone on social media who assisted me in getting my Trike returned. I absolutely believe it was only with the pressure from the social media response that whoever stole it decided they needed to return it.
The Trike, called the Silver Bullet, is a new trike from Tomcat. They make specialist bikes for disabled children with various needs and wanted to enter the adult market. After attending a presentation at Naidex in March, we discussed the possibility for myself trialling the bike and the idea grew from there.
I was interested in the trike not just for my physical fitness but also my mental wellbeing. As someone with mild bipolar on top of cerebral palsy, I wanted a way to healthily release my excess emotional energy instead of raging on social media. And so just two weeks ago, I received my trike ready to do the HSBC City Ride in Coventry.
The city ride was an absolutely wonderful experience to remind myself that after being a full time wheelchair user outside my home for over a decade, something that does not bother me, I had the ability and fitness to peddle unassisted for a distance comparable to other people. I had purchased a British Cycling skinsuit and trousers off eBay some years ago for the day I may get to use them and here it was.
So after a perfect day as I was so pleased I found a physical activity I could enjoy and do without the fuss and hard work now associated with my lifetime passion of swimming, which now required getting changed into a lot of kit to keep me warm, safe and comfortable including swim hat, swim nappies and shorty wetsuit. With cycling, so long as I had a helmet, I could dress up or dress down as I felt that day. Living next door to Swanswell park and having which I assumed was a safe caged locked area to store it in, this was perfect, unfortunately too perfect!
Last Thursday at 6.30am, not sure why I was half awake in bed, I heard metal on metal and I instantly knew something was not right. By the time I had bolted out of bed and looked out of my bathroom window, it was gone and no sign of anyone! They had used bolt cutters to steal this so it was not exactly a crime of opportunity, I have done everything I thought at this time to keep the trike safe.
Now in crisis mode. I was now on autopilot as to what I was going to do. I had oddly discussed my action plan with my personal assistant a few days early in one of those what if conversations. I immediately run the police and then started hitting social media with the news.
I am not one for denying the obvious and I know if it had been a standard bike there was not a hope in hell that I would see it again but I would have just gone straight to my home insurance provider and made a claim. But it was a unique trike and a good story considering my situation and so it was appropriate for me to go to the local media.
I would have been very happy and impressed with a hundred shares on Facebook, and I have been absolutely overwhelmed that my original post has now been shared over 24000 times! That’s shared so we could be talking over a million views! I believe this is what they called going viral! For almost a week, my waking hours have been spent responded to social media requests. I was almost interviewed on BBC Midlands Today, which made sense. It was, however, the interest of Sky News that made my head swim and while the interview did not come off, I was mentioned very briefly on Sky News, although they called my trike a Mobility Scooter as they showed pictures of me on the trike!!!
The crowdfunding was amazing and shows the compassion of human beings despite the nastiness social media is portrayed as being. Now the bike is returned, I intend use this funding for repairs, security improvements, new kit including a custom skinsuit with my name on, and other pieces of equipment, then donating remaining funding to a relevant disabled cycling charity. In the spirit of transparency. I will be publishing a full list of the income and expenditure in due course.
The trike was returned on the following Tuesday evening by a man who was not willing to wait around and answer questions so I am sure I will never know the full story. The trike has now been returned to the manufacturer for repairs and to store while I sort out the new security arrangements. The Trike will return to me in early December.
At some point, maybe in January, I plan to organise a casual ride along at War Memorial Park in Coventry which everyone is invited to as an opportunity for people to meet me and for me to say thank you. I will keep everyone updated on my new cycling page I am setting up on my website. I will also be producing regular blogs on my cycling adventures.
So once again, thank you, everyone, for your support with helping me get my trike returned.