Tuesday, 02 June 2020

Rowing coaches’ bicycles stolen

TWO bicycles used by Henley Rowing Club coaches have been stolen.

They belonged to masters’ age group coach Nick Rowley and junior girls’ coach Chris Boothroyd, who would ride along the towpath while following crews training on the Henley reach.

Now the pair are having to borrow other people’s bicycles until they can replace theirs at their own expense as neither bike was insured on the club’s policy.

The thieves struck between Sunday, February 2 and the following Saturday morning, when the men found the bicycles missing.

The machines had been locked and shackled to an outside wall near the club’s boathouse off Wargrave Road. Several security devices including chain locks and solid D-shaped locks were cut to remove them.

The bikes were a Voodoo Marasa with orange and dark grey frame, worth £400, and a fluorescent lime green Tizango worth about £650.

Mr Rowley bought the latter about four months ago. It was a specialist model to accommodate his 18-stone frame.

He said: “We only use those bikes on the towpath on Saturdays and Sundays — they’re essential because you just can’t follow the crew on foot. Unfortunately, that makes it difficult to pin down exactly when they were taken.

“There’s no indication that the other bikes have been touched so I don’t know whether the thieves were disturbed in the act or perhaps they were going for these ones.

“We’ve got CCTV but unfortunately it doesn’t cover this area so other bike owners at the club are thinking carefully about their security and where they leave them. Unfortunately, it’s not practical to leave them inside because the boathouse needs to be kept clear.

“I initially had to borrow a tiny bicycle which was way too small for me and wasn’t very effective. I will have to replace it because there’s no other choice but I’m coaching six days a week so I’ve not had time to speak to shops.

“It’s very frustrating because we do this voluntarily and, while that’s something we gladly do, it’s a real kick in the teeth when something like this happens. We give up a lot of our time and this causes incredible inconvenience because you absolutely cannot let it disrupt your crew’s schedule.”

Mr Boothroyd said: “ It’s incredibly annoying to turn up to a training session and find your bike has gone missing — I had to very quickly arrange to borrow another one.”

Two years ago, thieves stole a £900 moped belonging to a junior girl rower which had been stored at the club. They ripped off body panels to bypass the electrics then dumped the machine in the River Thames, apparently after failing to load it on to a boat.

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