Well I forgot an important detail, which is that at some point I'd put yet more stickers on it - my name, for some reason!
But this came in handy. In October last year two friends of mine who are cycle trainers saw a bike at a Doctor Bike/Police bike tagging session in the City. They knew it had been mine because it had my name on!
I'd mentioned the bike before to one of them, but he thought I'd sold it, and didn't know it had been stolen.
The other friend took a picture of it though - you can see my name on the down tube:
I could see from the picture that it was largely as it was, including the wheels and Race Face chainset, but the bars and stem had changed.
So I finally reported it as stolen to the Police that evening via their website, and was slightly surprised to get a phone call at 10am the next morning from a very helpful PC who, it happened, used to be on the Met's Cycle Task Force.
The fact it had been tagged was key, as this meant they would have the address of the current 'owner'. So I was asked to register the bike on Bike Register, then report it stolen. I was warned it could take up to a month for the current 'owners' details to appear on the database, but it should happen in time.
After about three weeks I had a tip off from a friend that his bike tagged on the same day was now on the database.
So I did a search on Bike Register with the frame number - which I had been able to establish without the bike as it was fitted with a Datatag, so I asked the Police to request the frame number from Datatag, which they did, then passed to me - and 'More than one record with this frame number' came back.
This was good, because it meant the details of the current 'owner' were also on the database.
I was warned that because I had reported it stolen so recently the current 'owner' could have a legal claim to it, but the details were passed to the local Safer Neighbourhood Team, who were instructed to visit the 'owner' to find out if he had a legal claim to it or not (I gather this depended on his answers to their questions).
Eventually they called me back and told me he did have a legal claim to it
He'd only bought it a year ago, he paid a hundred quid for it, which they felt was a fair market value, and hadn't bought it anywhere dodgy, as I understand it.
So, I asked them, where do we go from here? The policeman was fortunately another helpful one, and told me that he thought that if I offered him what he'd paid for it, he'd be happy to sell it to me. So I asked him to call the 'owner' and make that offer.
I then got a call which rather surprised me: It was at the local police station, he'd just handed it over the Police, no money was to change hands.
I arranged to pick it up later that week, but I'm afraid this is where the real ugly starts!
Current bikes: '94 Colnago Master Olympic with full DA7400, '97 Orange P7 (work in progress!), '71 Raleigh Sports, '88 Neil Orrell triple triangle track.