I had been enjoying the Vitus Mach 3 very much before it was stolen

I am not a violent person. I’ve never punched anyone in the face, or kicked them in the knackers. Even in my netballing days on the pitiless Lancastrian high school circuit I was not one for scratching a rival when the referee wasn’t looking. Yet I wish nothing but pain and prolonged misery for the subhuman scum who stole this lovely bicycle from outside Fred Aldous in Manchester’s Northern Quarter while I went to the dentist.

Perhaps it was a compliment to this neatly utilitarian machine from the cult French brand, whose pioneering aluminium frames changed the game in the Tour de France in the late 70s. Maybe the thief just couldn’t resist a go on Shimano’s new Metrea groupset, which has a single chainring on the front and just one shifter on the handlebars to change between the 11 gears. Probably, though, they were just a thoughtless goon with a pair of bolt cutters and a mate in a van around the corner. May they suffer eternal punctures and an unending headwind.

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