Garage offers safe lock-up to combat bike theft in Edinburgh

New Motobike garage service offers to help combat bike thefts.''Owner Callum McPherson'' Picture; Neil Hanna
New Motobike garage service offers to help combat bike thefts.''Owner Callum McPherson'' Picture; Neil Hanna
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A MOTORBIKE enthusiast has come up with a solution for bikers with a new community garage that aims to tackle the city’s notorious bike theft and damage problem.

In a UK first, Moto Stable gives bikers a safe space to park within the city centre, offering 24-hour access.

Each member is issued a unique pin code when they join.

Fed up with hearing of the damage and theft of bikes in the city, young entrepreneur Callum McPherson, 26, drove the venture after first hearing about similar ideas in the US and Australia.

He said: “Bike crime has 
always been a problem in Edinburgh but the problem has got worse.”

He compares owning a bike to an expensive watch. “Bikes can be picked up by a couple of guys. Worth anything from £5,000 to £15,000 the cost is similar to a good watch – which you wouldn’t leave on the street outside.

“My cheap learner bike was outside my flat and I would often come down and find it vandalised and once the ignition cable had been cut. Speaking to other bikers, I haven’t had a conversation with someone who hasn’t experienced sincere damage or theft of their vehicle.”

Last year, 4,530 crimes were recorded in the category of “theft of a motor vehicle”, with 30,535 reported incidents of vandalism related to motor vehicles in Edinburgh.

Members at Moto Stable join up to receive a secure indoor parking space where they can keep their bike permanently, as well as access to a workshop and community space.

“Most people that live in Edinburgh do not have their own garage, and private lockups tend to be expensive, hard to come by and insecure,” Callum said. “As I became increasingly aware of the problem affecting urban bikers I started to look for suitable venues to create a community garage for bikers.”

Callum spent over a year looking for a fitting location and thinks the garage at Abbeyhill is the perfect premises.

“It was challenging finding space in Edinburgh that fit all of the criteria but we have struck gold,” he said. “We’ve got an amazing premises about a mile from the middle of town which has three different units – bikers are therefore only sharing each unit with a handful of other people.”

The damp-lined and damp-proof lock-ups also have power and water and crucially, Callum said, he can track and monitor the access data and pinpoint who accesses the site and when.

“We have CCTV cameras as security is vital to reassure members their bikes will be safe. Every time someone types in their pin code it is recorded so if there is a problem I can look up the data and also immediately cancel access.

“Now with our first space filling up, we are already looking for our second premises in a different part of town so we can reach even more people.”

Moto Stable’s longer-term goal is more than just garaging and he wants to create a central hub where bikers can use the small workshop and come together for communal events.

Callum hopes that by creating a community space members will treat the garage as their own, contributing to the safety of the bikes and the site.