Stories -

Stories - How I used cycling to save the Jews


People often ask why the Polocini vehicles aren't covered in red spots and liveried up. There are two reasons for this. The first is straightforward because in cycling there is what we refer to as the 'Team Car Wanker' and we don't want to be like them.

The TCW is a special breed as they never actually have a team. They do however have a car absolutely plastered in stickers. The TCW also likes to refer to themselves as a founder. Founder of a scientific group to cure cancer? Founder of a charity to abolish world hunger and poverty? No, they just want to sell you stuff. 

However, the second reason can't be laughed at in the same way, although I'm sure the TCW's will do now. This is because ever since I started a cycling business I have been targeted heavily by bike thieves.

In the days before we grew big enough to have our own office, the Polocini website was registered to my then home address. It was pretty easy to look at our website and see exactly where we would be. We came home once from organising an event to find windows smashed and bikes stolen. I even had a bag of smelly kit stolen off the back seat of a car. We upped the security and moved all bike-related items from the house to a secure lock-up. There was no way we would have a liveried vehicle outside.

Things were quiet for a while but after an amazing ride of the Grosse Scheidegg in Switzerland when my phone picked up reception up it was full of messages from a neighbour to say that yet again we had been broken into. It ruined another great day, one of my all time favourite places now associated with a bad memory. Nothing cycling-related was stolen as there was nothing left to steal. But a motorbike was and when it couldn't be started was simply thrown into the local pond.

My bike in a pond

When I got back to the UK I decided that we needed an even bigger fence to go with all the other security devices we had everywhere. The fence was soon finished and rumour has it that it inspired Donald Trump's 'build a wall' campaign. For a few days after completion many locals stopped to point or would knock on the door and ask how they could get one built.

We then received a visit from one of our orthodox Jewish neighbours. He started to ask about the Great Wall before I cut him off to explain that it was my construction and I couldn't recommend a builder. It was then he asked me to come and look at the two metal poles at the top of the street next to our house. I'd always thought they were some sort of failed CCTV project, it was then I was informed they were the Eruv. Unbeknown to me not only is the Eruv the symbolic border around Manchester that enables the Jewish community to carry out activities on the Sabbath but I had broken it.

During the construction of the Berlin wall Mk2, I moved a panel that had inadvertently made a void between the Eruv post and our property. I was going to create a black sabbath. An entire community was going to have to change the way they lived because of me. However, if I could bridge the gap between the wall of Polocini and the post then disaster would be averted. As luck had it for once I had a bike with me. I put it across the Eruv and held it there for nearly an hour until the repair guys could get out.

As a reward for my efforts, I was visited by Rabbi Grossberger who thanked me for my understanding and then tried to sell me a Honda scooter that he had bought to check the Eruv but now lives in his front room.

This is how it came to pass that I used cycling to save the Jews.