ON YOUR MARKS: Lord Mayor of Bradford, Cllr Joanne Dodds, sets off on the 5km route alongside Naz Ali
Thousands of cyclists of all ages and abilities lined up alongside an Olympic Gold medallist in Bradford last weekend as two wheels proved better than four throughout the city’s streets.
British cycling legend, Jason Queally, was on hand to lead this year’s Sky Ride Bradford event, which once again resulted in the city turning yellow as families and friends cycled through traffic-free routes in their signature high-visibility vests.
The five kilometre route passed through some of the city’s most iconic landmarks including Little Germany and Bradford Cathedral, whilst a host of free activities and entertainment was available for people to join in.
BUSY: Over 4,000 people took to the streets of Bradford last weekend for the annual Sky Ride event
Queally also took part in a Q&A session at The Hub in City Park after taking on a Halfords mechanic for the tyre pump challenge.
Tom Mutton, British Cycling Recreation Manager for Bradford said: “Once again, we’ve seen Bradford struck by the cycling bug.
“It’s been great to see so many people get together with their family and friends and take to the city’s streets on their bikes.
“The atmosphere has been electric and I hope that it will have inspired people to get out cycling more often.”
CHALLENGE: British Gold medallist, Jason Queally, competes in a tyre pump challenge
Elsewhere on the day, the ‘Tricks and Tunes’ area at the back of Bridge Street, proved extremely popular as youngsters got a taste of skills training and cycle racing with British Cycling’s Go-Ride programme.
Others meanwhile took their cycling to the extreme on the ever-popular air bag jump.
In total, 4,000 cyclists turned out to the annual event on Saturday 19th September, with the event set to return once again next year.
In the meantime, there are lots of Sky Ride Local and Breeze women-only guided rides planned for locals to take part in, as well as plenty of opportunities to ride together and discover more with Ride Social too – all of which is completely free.
The next and final Sky Ride big bike event is in Coventry on 27th September.
CYCLE: Families from across the local area headed down to the city centre to join in the Sky Ride event
What started off as a routine trip to an autocentre and bike shop, soon turned into a scam for one Bradford man.
50-year-old bus driver Abdul Hamid’s story is one which happened over the space of just two expensive days.
He found himself losing £3,000, and gaining possession of two mysterious stones and involved three unknown characters who he has not seen since the day of the trade.
STONES: The value of the stones is still unknown yet after Mr Hamid heard that they were potentially worth tens of thousands of pounds, he was quickly willing to part with £3,000 to have them in his possession
Now he is warning others not to make the same mistakes he did, in the hope of saving people thousands of pounds.
“Looking back I do feel embarrassed that it happened to me but now I want to let others know that this is happening in Bradford,” Mr Hamid said.
“I let greed get the better of me for that one moment and now I have lost my money and just have these two rocks which I don’t even know the real worth of.”
On Monday 14th April, Mr Hamid met the first man, who called himself ‘Mousa’, at Halfords in the city centre. The Bradford resident was approached by Mousa who enquired about the cost of his car as his ‘friend’ was in need of a new motor so the pair went to see him.
Upon arrival, the second man, who called himself ‘Mr Mumbai’, got in the car with ten stones which seemed to have gems inside them. After inspecting them, Mousa, driven by Mr Hamid, took them to be seen by his friend and jeweller, a man who called himself ‘Mr Williams’.
Mr Williams declared the rocks to have a value of approximately £385 per gram, which worked out as £48,000 when cleaned and so struck a deal with Mousa to buy two stones.
SCAMMED: The scam began when the Bradford resident was approached by a mysterious man, going by the name of ‘Mousa’, who offered to buy Mr Hamid’s Lexus
When Mousa and Mr Hamid returned to see Mr Mumbai to purchase the two stones, Mousa was told he would have to pay a deposit in ‘pound sterling’, as Mr Mumbai was from another country and had no English currency, if he was to have them for a final price of £29,000.
Following this conversation, the three men went their separate ways and Mr Hamid says he thought that was the end of his connection with the men.
“After he told Mousa he wants cash, I could tell that it wasn’t going to happen there and then,” Mr Hamid explained.
“Looking back, it is perhaps clear to see that they wanted me to hear the fake value of these so-called ‘gems’ so that I would be tempted to get involved with any sort of deal.
“But at that time I didn’t really think anything of it.”
The next day, Mousa phoned Mr Hamid and said the trade was likely to be called off as he had only managed to gather £1,100 in cash.
Mr Hamid, believing he could almost instantly double his investment, offered to pay the other £3,000 deposit as part of a deal which would benefit him financially.
“My wife kept telling me not to do it but I was so convinced that it was a simple deal that I could not resist,” he explained.
“I thought I was going to be seeing these men again as they wanted to buy my car so I went to my bank and withdrew the cash for the exchange.
“I remember asking Mousa why he didn’t sell the Rolex watch he was wearing to a pawn shop but he said he had tried and they needed a receipt which he didn’t have.”
Mr Hamid and Mousa met Mr Mumbai in Foster Square, Bradford, on Tuesday 15th April where the exchange of cash was done in return for the two stones.
After the deal, which again took place in Mr Hamid’s car, the targeted victim was then invited by Mr Mumbai to see where he was supposedly ‘staying’ whilst in Bradford.
Mr Hamid got out of his car to walk with Mr Mumbai to the hotel and when he turned back to go to his car, Mousa had gone and Mr Mumbai was nowhere to be seen.
“All I had left was the stones,” he said. “I tried calling both men but they did not answer their phones so I went to the police.
“They told me there was nothing they could do as I had wilfully handed over the money so now I am stuck with these supposed gems and lost £3,000.
“I just hope by telling others of my story that this won’t happen to anybody else.”
Mr Hamid is currently waiting to see if the CCTV cameras at Halfords picked up any images of the man who called himself ‘Mousa’ and plans on getting the stones valued as his own investigation continues.