Birmingham Cyclist

Cycling in and around Birmingham England

Yesterday a cyclist was mugged and his bike stolen on the section of canal between the Small Heath Bridge and Golden Hillock Road. He was set upon by about 4 "Asian" youths who stopped him and then proceed to lay into him before running off with his bike.

The police attended the scene of the crime and they even brought in a dog handler to try and apprehend the criminals, but it looks like they got away. However, a passing cyclist thinks he may have captured them on his bike cam and was willing to hand over the film footage.

It's a shame that this is re-surfacing it's ugly head again in that part of the canal network and even more so as the stretch is now fairly well used by cyclists with numbers having gone up since the re-surfacing and good weather.

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That's awful. I rarely go home via River Cole / canal at Ackers these days for this very reason. It's fine in the mornings.

Do you know what time it happened and how old the cyclist was?

There were two police officers (or PCSOs) on bikes below Small Heath bridge this evening. They said two cyclists were mugged for their bikes last night. They hadn't cycled as far as the Ackers as it is beyond their patch.

Big rise in the number of youths along a limited stretch including that area in last week or two. Something to do with schools, weather? Makes me look forward to the completely deserted towpaths of winter.

If anyone has video of groups they passed on that stretch then some of these 4 are likely among them. They stand at narrow points - usually under bridges- and watch cyclists as they pass, waiting for a moment when there are no witnesses, something they fancy taking, etc.

I was subject to such an "inspection" going under Anderton Road bridge by two asian youths either today or yesterday - cannot remember which day. Unfortunately, I have no camera.

Same ethnicity, same number as the lads a year or so ago, who were 14 year old school kids. As well as theft, shouts of "Cycle Kafir!" along that stretch show there is a racist element.

Until matters are addressed - I suspect more promptly than last time if the police are reminded of their errors in delaying definitive steps  - I would suggest commuting when the towpath is most busy, and maybe waiting until another cyclist appears, explaining the situation and agreeing to cycle together. 

Apologies if I am wrong, but I think things get more straightforward when you have left Small Heath Bridge behind going west, and in the other direction, the people one passes east of the River Cole rarely appear a threat and usually reply to  "hello". The folks sleeping rough towards the city centre are again increasing in number, but have never acted in any threatening way to me. 

On the Birmingham Police Facebook page:

We are asking cyclists who use the canal towpath between Golden Hillock Road and Small Heath bridge to be vigilant.

We have had reports of three robberies in the area over the past few days.

The offences have occurred between 4pm and 6pm and the victims have been subjected to physical violence before having their pedal bikes stolen.

We suspect they are targeting cyclists who are commuting home from work.

Anyone with any information or footage is asked to contact police on 101, quoting 20BE/143399D/17, 20BE/141776U/17 or 20BE/141768W/17.

 

Think I'll stick to the A45 - despite my accident a few months back it seems much safer!

Just a partly informed opinion but :

I may be misunderstanding the numbers I have seen but statistically speaking there are many more bike accidents per year on each of the main A roads than these events - ratio seems way greater than 10 to 1 and currently I think many more bikes are going up and down the canal than the A45 so bias is in other direction.

At any time but especially rush hour it only takes 5 mins or less of slow (or very fast!) cycling to let someone else catch up and then to cycle together the short distance needed.

There is a great Australian advice webpage I came across by chance that seems pertinent  :

http://www.betterbybicycle.com/2014/07/how-cyclists-can-protect-the...

Perhaps others know of similar or better sources of advice

I cannot help but feel we let the bad guys win if we let a handful destroy this incredible resource for many, not to mention leaving other often more vulnerable towpath users in an even worse situation than now.

Probably true, but it's notoriously hard to get good statistics on this sort of thing.  Road collisions resulting in KSIs tend to get recorded.  Serious robberies and assaults probably likewise, but not necessarily in a way that can be analysed as a cycling hazard.  But you're never going to get accurate data about all the minor incidents: the close passes and shouty motorists, the slips on loose gravel, the falls into the canal, the spitting teenagers, the unsuccessful muggings.

Personally, I usually feel safer cycling on the road than on a canal path, because in my years of cycling - disregarding technical mountain biking and my own incompetence - I've had one very minor incident involving a motor vehicle and half a dozen cases minor injuries due to falling from my bike on crap 'cyclepath' surfaces.  I'm also not quite used to the invisibility of middle age and the accordingly reduced threat posed by groups of young males.

JRA said:

Just a partly informed opinion but :

I may be misunderstanding the numbers I have seen but statistically speaking there are many more bike accidents per year on each of the main A roads than these events - ratio seems way greater than 10 to 1 and currently I think many more bikes are going up and down the canal than the A45 so bias is in other direction.

Marathon tyres and wet canal brickwork are not a good combination when trying to brake on the front wheel - this has caused me about 3 crashes due to the front wheel wiping out when braking ( even at slow speeds )

Marathon tyres are generally just a bit crap.

They're hardwearing and good at avoiding punctures.  Grip (especially on non-tarmac surfaces) is very much secondary.

And for the benefit of those without mountain biking experience:  If you think the surface is slippery, use the rear brake.  Yes, it's more likely to skid, but it will do so in a controllable manner, rather than suddenly dropping you on the ground the way a front wheel skid will.  I've known accomplished road cyclists who've somehow managed not to be aware of this.

5 bikes have been stolen in Olton Park last Friday...

https://www.wmnow.co.uk/da/187222/Robbery%20of%20Bikes.html


CKS said:

On the Birmingham Police Facebook page:

We are asking cyclists who use the canal towpath between Golden Hillock Road and Small Heath bridge to be vigilant.

We have had reports of three robberies in the area over the past few days.

The offences have occurred between 4pm and 6pm and the victims have been subjected to physical violence before having their pedal bikes stolen.

We suspect they are targeting cyclists who are commuting home from work.

Anyone with any information or footage is asked to contact police on 101, quoting 20BE/143399D/17, 20BE/141776U/17 or 20BE/141768W/17.

 

There was a police car crawling through Small Heath Park at about 11:30 this morning, I'm glad I use the roads.

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