Bike back in nick of time

Upper Hutt Leader - - FRONT PAGE - MATTHEWTSO

Kim Hurst is thank­ing her lucky stars for so­cial me­dia and the good sorts in the Up­per Hutt com­mu­nity.

The na­tional cy­clocross cham­pion’s rac­ing bike was stolen off her car on August 30, just over a week be­fore she was due to fly to the United States for a series of races, in­clud­ing two world cup events.

Thanks to the power of so­cial me­dia site, Neigh­bourly, and some de­tec­tive work by her lo­cal com­mu­nity, Hurst’s bike is back with its right­ful owner.

When she dis­cov­ered her bike had been stolen from the locked roofrack on her car out­side her work in Sil­ver­stream, panic be­gan to set in at the thought of not hav­ing it back in time to race.

‘‘It was just bad tim­ing. It’s the only bike of its kind in New Zealand. It was go­ing to be im­pos­si­ble to re­place 11 days be­fore the race.’’

After re­port­ing the theft to the po­lice and a fran­tic search through nearby streets, Hurst took to so­cial me­dia to ap­peal for in­for­ma­tion.

The break­through came after one of her posts was shared on Neigh­bourly by an­other cyclist, John Keene.

‘‘[The posts] were all over Face­book and I thought we needed some­thing more tar­geted, more lo­cal, so I thought of Neigh­bourly,’’ he said.

The post was seen by many Up­per Hutt res­i­dents, one of whom spot­ted a per­son rid­ing the bike through Sil­ver­stream and quickly posted a pic­ture of it on Neigh­bourly.

‘‘As soon as I saw the photo on Neigh­bourly, I thought we had a chance at get­ting [the bike] back,’’ said Hurst.

Jen Ma­honey saw the dis­tinc- tive green bike be­ing rid­den in Tren­tham and con­fronted the young rider.

After con­tact­ing the po­lice, Ma­honey tailed the rider in her car with her son in the back, but lost them. The bike was re­cov­ered by the po­lice that af­ter­noon.

‘‘I’d hope any­one would have done the same,’’ said Ma­honey.

Hurst was ‘‘over the moon’’ with the re­turn of her bike.

‘‘It’s fan­tas­tic, we couldn’t have done it with­out the com­mu­nity. It took so­cial me­dia, the po­lice and some peo­ple in the right place at the right time to get it back.

‘‘I’m re­ally grate­ful for the good deeds of oth­ers.’’

Un­for­tu­nately the bike did not make it through the or­deal un­scathed, with the thief putting a crack in the car­bon-fi­bre frame while wrench­ing the bike out of the locked rack.

Hurst’s spon­sor, Niner, will re­place the frame once she gets to the United States.

Hurst will be com­pet­ing at the Rochester Cy­clocross Fes­ti­val, Jin­gle Cross and Water­loo races in the US. She is hop­ing for a top 30 in ei­ther of the last two races, which would give her en­try into the World Cham­pi­onships in the Nether­lands next year.

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