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Round-the-world cyclist arrives in UK... and has bike stolen outside a Reading Wetherspoons two days later

Josiah Skeats says he cycled through many countries on his travels and was "always welcomed with hospitality", which unfortunately wasn't the case during his time back in the UK...

A British adventure cyclist who says he spent 835 days cycling around the world "through countries people repeatedly warned were too dangerous to visit" has had his latest adventure brought to an abrupt end... outside a Reading branch of Wetherspoons, where his girlfriend's bike was stolen. 

Josiah Skeats says he has covered over 40,000km by bike on his Instagram page, and was on only his second day of bike touring in England when he arrived in Reading on Tuesday. 

Skeats was part way through cycling the new King Alfred’s Way route with his girlfriend, when the theft happened five metres away from where they were sitting outside the Hope Tap in Friar Street. 

The 29-year-old and his partner were inside the branch of Wetherspoons drinking coffee with their bikes outside propped against the window, when the thief pounced. Skeats said that he gave chase for half a mile before giving up. 

He told road.cc: "I was actually taking my girlfriend on her first bike tour around the UK ahead of a planned trip across South America this winter.

"I was excited because it was one of my first tours in the UK too. She had her bike stolen which has kind of dampened our confidence for that trip!"

On his Instagram account, Skeats added: "I spent 835 days cycling around the world through countries people repeatedly warned were too dangerous to visit - and I was always welcomed with hospitality.

"Today in Reading, on my second day bike touring in England, I had a bike grabbed and stolen less than 5 metres from me. The bike and everything attached to it, gone in a second.

"I’m sorry not to be sharing my usual positive, restore-your-faith-in-humanity message, but I guess bad things happen everywhere and not just in countries with a bad reputation. I’m absolutely devastated."

The stolen bike, a Scott Aspect in a size XS, is worth £1,000 and was taken with up to £250 worth of camping gear. Anyone with potential information about the theft is asked to contact Thames Valley Police by calling 101, or by making a report online quoting the reference number 43220213517.

It's certainly not the first time an adventure cyclist has been left with a bad impression of the UK compared to the hospitality they might have received in other countries. In 2017 another round-the-world cyclist Rob Lutter had his bike and all of his possessions stolen outside a Co-op in Kingston upon Thames, two years after he'd had his previous bike taken.

In 2019, Scottish mental health campaigner Josh Quigley's run of bad luck continued after being fined for cycling in Bedford when his bike was stolen in London, just as he was about to embark on a round-the-world adventure (Quigley's luck changed when he broke the 7 day cycling distance record in 2021). 

In 2012, Sam Swain returned back to the UK from a 10,000 mile trip when his Dawes Super Galaxy tourer was stolen in Bristol. 

At the time Swain said: "We were in places like Iran where people are really struggling and they were so much more united.

"I used that bike to go around the world and have had so many memories on it. You simply cannot get that back by buying another one."

Arriving at road.cc in 2017 via 220 Triathlon Magazine, Jack dipped his toe in most jobs on the site and over at eBikeTips before being named the new editor of road.cc in 2020, much to his surprise. His cycling life began during his students days, when he cobbled together a few hundred quid off the back of a hard winter selling hats (long story) and bought his first road bike - a Trek 1.1 that was quickly relegated to winter steed, before it was sadly pinched a few years later. Creatively replacing it with a Trek 1.2, Jack mostly rides this bike around local cycle paths nowadays, but when he wants to get the racer out and be competitive his preferred events are time trials, sportives, triathlons and pogo sticking - the latter being another long story.  

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45 comments

Avatar
lorr1e1 | 2 years ago
2 likes

Why didn't he lock the bike up he should know it's not safe to leave bikes unlocked the least he should have had was a frame lock installed that would have stopped him riding of with or left it where it was after realising. People in this country should know to take bike security seriously! Get 2 locks of differing types and brands to lock wheels independently to a post then another if you want to lock the fame separately. Register the bike with a scheme apply the visible stickers to the frame. Install a tracker. Don't lock them outside. Locks will slow them down or deter them due to how long it would take them to break into them!

Avatar
Woldsman | 2 years ago
0 likes
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janusz0 | 2 years ago
3 likes

I don't remember the names or dates, but this is far from the first round the world cyclist to have their bike stolen when they get back to Blighty.

Personally I've only had mne stolen (while locked in London) after a tour oin SE Asia without a lock.

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Miller replied to janusz0 | 2 years ago
0 likes

janusz0 wrote:

I don't remember the names or dates, but this is far from the first round the world cyclist to have their bike stolen when they get back to Blighty.

You might be thinking of Heinz Stucke. I think he got his bike back though and I remember seeing him in Reading. Thankfully it wasn't here that his bike was stolen. 

https://www.theguardian.com/uk/2006/may/09/ukcrime.germany 

Avatar
Fignon's ghost | 2 years ago
0 likes

Sounds like an insurance job!?!

I've done the Reading circular. Lovely people.

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Miller | 2 years ago
9 likes

The Hope Tap is the skanky end of Friar St, well, skanki-er end, but I wouldn't leave a bike unlocked anywhere in central Reading for one single second.

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Awavey replied to Miller | 2 years ago
2 likes

From Google maps it looks like there are literally bike racks across the road, it's not one of those nowhere to park it things either

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jh2727 replied to Miller | 2 years ago
3 likes

Miller wrote:

The Hope Tap is the skanky end of Friar St, well, skanki-er end, but I wouldn't leave a bike unlocked anywhere in central Reading for one single second.

I tend to make sure mine is locked, even when I'm riding it.

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ChrisB200SX | 2 years ago
6 likes

"on only his second day of bike touring in England when he arrived in the city of Reading on Tuesday. "

Reading is still not a city  2

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Tom_77 replied to ChrisB200SX | 2 years ago
5 likes

Reading snubbed as town fails to win Platinum Jubilee city status - https://www.getreading.co.uk/news/reading-berkshire-news/reading-snubbed...

Apparently they were looking for "places that make Britain great", and must have felt that Reading doesn't.

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Awavey replied to Tom_77 | 2 years ago
7 likes

They picked Milton Keynes ffs

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Gimpl replied to Awavey | 2 years ago
4 likes

Milton Keynes is much appreciated by those that live here and much maligned by the ignorant. 

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Awavey replied to Gimpl | 2 years ago
1 like

Submissions for the Jubilee City nominations were supposed to highlight their royal associations and cultural heritage, Milton Keynes didnt even exist in 1952 when the Queen's coronation took place that this platinum jubilee celebrates. Any of the other 30 "not cities" that engaged in this competition, should feel royally left out...that a town which is only 55 years old was selected ahead of them.

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Gimpl replied to Awavey | 2 years ago
1 like

You just made that up. It doesn't appear in the entry guidelines at all. 
Even if what you wrote was correct you fail to recognise what already existed in the area that is now the City of Milton Keynes. 
It's ok to not know something and be ignorant but doubling down is not a good look. 

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Rendel Harris replied to Gimpl | 2 years ago
4 likes

Gimpl wrote:

You just made that up. It doesn't appear in the entry guidelines at all. 

In the instructions on how to complete the application form for city status:

An introduction comprising no more than eight A4 pages of text, highlighting why the area deserves city status / Lord Mayor or Provost status, with particular reference to the area’s:

Distinct identity;

Civic pride;

Cultural infrastructure, interesting heritage, history and traditions

Vibrant and welcoming community;

Record of innovation;

Sound governance and administration;

Associations with Royalty; and

Other particularly distinctive features, age, residents or communities

who have made widely recognised significant contributions to society and cultural infrastructure.

(https://assets.publishing.service.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploa...)

Absolutely exactly what Awavey said and what you accused her of making up.

Gimpl wrote:

It's ok to not know something and be ignorant but doubling down is not a good look.

It's really not, is it?

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Gimpl replied to Rendel Harris | 2 years ago
0 likes

So the actual entry guidlines didn't state that. I'll try and find them again.

In the meantime - I also wrote 'Even if what you wrote was correct you fail to recognise what already existed in the area that is now the City of Milton Keynes.'

Tripling down?

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Rendel Harris replied to Gimpl | 2 years ago
2 likes

Gimpl wrote:

So the actual entry guidlines didn't state that. I'll try and find them again.

Literally the guidelines on the entry form but they aren't the entry guidelines. Right.

Gimpl wrote:

Tripling down?

You appear to be, yes.

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Gimpl replied to Rendel Harris | 2 years ago
0 likes

Even if you're correct how about my other point?

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Rendel Harris replied to Gimpl | 2 years ago
6 likes

Gimpl wrote:

Even if you're correct how about my other point?

In other words I am correct...I don't really care about your points, I just felt you should be corrected for your rudeness in accusing Awavey of making things up when she was stating the facts exactly. Having done so, I'm out.

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Gimpl replied to Rendel Harris | 2 years ago
0 likes

So no argument then just the usual cadre response. 

My original point stands in direct response to the rudeness that came from Awavey about MK. 

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Rendel Harris replied to Gimpl | 2 years ago
1 like

Gimpl wrote:

So no argument then just the usual cadre response. 

My original point stands in direct response to the rudeness that came from Awavey about MK. 

She said something that is perfectly true, you accused her of making it up, it has been proven, with links to the relevant Gov.uk documentation, that you were wrong to do so. That is all.

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Gimpl replied to Rendel Harris | 2 years ago
0 likes

I thought you were out!

Spectacularly missing the salient points though - well done.

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Rendel Harris replied to Gimpl | 2 years ago
1 like

Gimpl wrote:

I thought you were out!

Well, it's difficult to resist such sitting ducks as the lies you're putting out. I must have missed your apology to Awavey for accusing her of making things up when by your own subsequent admission she was completely accurate?

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Gimpl replied to Rendel Harris | 2 years ago
0 likes

But it's ok for her to make disparging remarks? Have you publicy asked her to apologise? Why not seeing as your now putting yourself forward as the site moderator? 

Still missing the salient points - please keep going, you're funny. Do you work in IT by chance? 

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Rendel Harris replied to Gimpl | 2 years ago
0 likes

Gimpl wrote:

But it's ok for her to make disparging remarks?

Making disparaging remarks about Milton Keynes' claims to city status: accusing someone of lying when the facts clearly prove it's actually you who's doing so.

Not really feeling an equivalence there I'm afraid.

No idea what "Do you work in IT" is supposed to mean, I presume it's one of those disparaging remarks you so object to from others? 

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Gimpl replied to Rendel Harris | 2 years ago
0 likes

Are you in, are you out?

Shake it all about?

Turn around?

That's what it's all about!

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Awavey replied to Gimpl | 2 years ago
6 likes

Then I apologise for any hurt, distress or upset feelings I might have caused Milton Keynes or its residents.

I dont think it should have been awarded city status,but that's my personal opinion on the matter and I hope you equally respect that we are free to hold differing opinions on things even if you might disagree with those opinions.

I dont intend discussing or debating it further.

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Gimpl replied to Awavey | 2 years ago
0 likes

Appologies - responded to the wrong post. 

 

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AlsoSomniloquism replied to Gimpl | 2 years ago
4 likes

So you get your demanded apology, and instead of reciprocating you double down in arsiness?

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Gimpl replied to AlsoSomniloquism | 2 years ago
0 likes

Didn't ask for an apology, certainly didn't demand it - simply pointing out the double standards.

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