It's like that in a lot of cities here, where the Stasi informants are everywhere and there are armies of jobsworths with nothing to do except make life hard on people. Typically, though, here around where I live, we have a lot of people that just go ahead with what they want to do, and it works out fine, no one gets hurt, and some good gets done despite government desires to the contrary ...
You sort of have to know "who's who", though, when you need something off the grid. In a small community, it's not so hard.
Old bike parts, though, you need to go farther afield!!