x Abu Dhabi, UAESunday 23 July 2017

Abu Dhabi teacher in 20-year search for stolen bike

Economics teacher still hopeful he can be reunited with beloved cycle.

Michael Sayers shows off his distinctive and treasured Moulton AM7 bicycle at the spot on the Corniche where it was taken back in 1992. Silvia Razgova / The National
Michael Sayers shows off his distinctive and treasured Moulton AM7 bicycle at the spot on the Corniche where it was taken back in 1992. Silvia Razgova / The National

ABU DHABI // Michael Sayers wants his bike back.

The British economics teacher last saw it when he chained it up on Abu Dhabi's corniche - in 1992.

He searched all over the emirate for his pride and joy, a rare and distinctive model, but to no avail.

Now, after more than 20 years, he is trying again, offering a Dh3,000 reward for the cycle's safe return.

It was not just any old bike. An amateur competitor who wrote about cycling for his local newspaper, the Brighton Argus, Mr Sayers bought the best: a Moulton AM7.

The gunmetal grey, seven-speed cycle was hand-made in Britain by the Moulton Bicycle Company, one of only about 1,000 produced.

It has an extremely distinctive look, with small, 43-centimetre wheels and a spindly frame.

Mr Sayers bought it from a friend for more than £1,000 - more than Dh10,000 in today's money - a couple of years before moving to Abu Dhabi.

"It had tiny wheels but it rode just as well as a regular bike," recalls Mr Sayers. "You could easily travel long distances on it and not notice you're sitting on such a unusual, small frame. I didn't have a car at the time and could quite happily take this wherever I needed to go."

He was distraught at losing it after chaining it up opposite the Hilton hotel, heading immediately to Khalidiya police station, but officers turned up nothing. He checked every new and second-hand bike store in town to no avail.

"I immediately suspected it was an angry student from my school who would have taken it," he says. "I even held an assembly to ask if anyone knew anything about it. Nobody came forward."

Mr Sayers scoured the streets and even looked in shops outside of the city in the hope of spying his beloved AM7. Still, nothing.

He hopes he will be luckier this time and vows that no legal action will be taken against anyone who hands the bike over.

"It's a nagging thing, it's like an Agatha Christie mystery," he says. "The bike is so distinctive, there can't be more than one in the UAE and I'm sure it must be out there somewhere."

The bikes are still much in demand, claims Dan Farrell, in-house design engineer for Moulton.

"Even if his bike was a total wreck it would still be worth about £500 (Dh2,800)," he says. "If it was in top condition, it would fetch anywhere between £2,000 to £3,000.

"If he manages to get it back we would be able to fully restore it to its former glory. Just last week our workshop was doing some refurbishment to an AM7 from 1985."

But the trail seems to be cold. The police station at which he originally reported the theft has long since closed and officers have told him there has been no news.

Still, he remains hopeful. "I'd be overjoyed to get it back, it would be amazing," says Mr Sayers, now 67 and teaching at Al Nahda Girls School. "You wouldn't believe the rancour I've felt over the years.

"It was an expensive, lovely bike. It was very special to me and people still pay good money for them now."

ksinclair@thenational.ae

Have you seen Mr Sayers' lost bike? Email us at newsdesk@thenational.ae