The only thing that would stop me from owning or enjoying my motorcycle is it being stolen from me. Sadly though, the likelihood of this happening in the UK is high and after the ignition cable was cut on my 125 as a learner, I vowed to find a secure lockup before getting my first big bike. At great expense, and with quite a bit of commitment to a lease, I found and rented a lockup a couple miles from my house in advance of getting my hands on this bike; a Triumph Bonneville which I have taken immense pleasure in customising and riding in the three years I have owned it. I’ve ridden that bike the length of the UK from the highlands to Wales and on to Cornwall, returning it to my lockup in Edinburgh at the end of each trip where it sits and waits patiently until the next adventure or Sunday ride. Still though I worry about it and knowing that the lockup, despite its high monthly cost and being much safer than street parking, was protected only by a standard lock which could be easily broken.
There are more than a million bikes in the UK, surely if we are all concerned about security then there must be a practical long-term solution out there? With 10,000 of those bikes being stolen each year in London alone, it seemed a problem worth addressing and the timing is certainly right. I decided that instead of paying rent on my small lockup, I could pay rent on a big lockup, a warehouse even, and share it with a few dozen other motorcyclists. I took to online motorcycle forums initially to ask their user base where they kept their bikes and it amazed me the lengths that people will go to for lack of a garage of their own. From multiple bikes being kept in the living room to the back garden under half a dozen locks, one individual said he kept his behind a local church presumably thinking this to be the safest place around. My next port of call was a freedom of information request to Police Scotland where I learned that in the previous three years in Edinburgh there had been 4,530 crimes recorded in the category of ‘theft of a motor vehicle’ (sadly they can’t break it down further to motorcycles specifically). There had even been 30,535 incidents vandalism related to motor vehicles and as we see in the news all the time, stolen bikes are often used to commit further crimes. At this point I knew I was on to something and decided to progress.
Besides the shared value of storage, the increased security and the lower cost, I was certain I’d meet and ride with some likeminded individuals too as an added benefit. From these thoughts came the idea for Moto Stable which has been developed over the past year and a half to a point where it was finally ready to launch in Edinburgh at the beggining of 2018.
Moto Stable launched at the end of January 2017 and offers its members a designated space accessible to them 24 hours a day, 365 days a year, in a building covered by CCTV inside and out. Each member will have a unique access code allowing us to track who goes in and who leaves at any given time and they will receive a locker to keep their gear to hand, allowing them to just show up and ride. Already, I have met many likeminded bikers for coffees and beers to discuss the future of Moto Stable and where it might go but it will ultimately be the members that steer the ship and tell us what they want, what they like about the service and what they dislike. We will build out our offering based on how it is used and whilst providing our primary offering of garaging, we intend to build something that people truly enjoy, not just something they need.
This problem extends beyond Edinburgh and we may find that there is a chance to expand Moto Stable throughout the United Kingdom, providing a haven for motorcycles and the growing a community of riders.