Hand-made penny-farthing among more than 20 bicycles stolen from Auckland charity

Rebecca Moore
Source: 1News

An Auckland charity that up-cycles bikes and gets people cycling has had a rough start to the year less than a month after opening its new hub after thieves got away with 20 bikes, as well as some unique and novelty products.

EcoMatters Environment Trust Community Bike Hubs manager Brent Bielby told 1 NEWS it had been "really disheartening", especially since the Glen Innes Bike Hub which was broken into had just opened before Christmas.

It's believed thieves broke into their new hub, which operates out of a shipping container between January 2 and 5. The locks had been cut, and Mr Bielby believes multiple people likely would have broken in after seeing it unlocked since so many were taken.

The estimated value of losses are between $3000 and $5000.

Among the bikes stolen was a rare, hand-made mini penny-farthing - made from recycled parts by a man in West Auckland and gifted to the trust, as well as a three wheel recumbent (known as the "drift" trike), and an orange county chopper bike.

Mr Bielby said the penny-farthing was the most sentimental, but the loss of the bikes were "just material things". He said the biggest blow was that they wouldn't be able to engage with the community - having to delay opening after the holiday break for a week until January 16.

"For the holiday period we want to be open, kids are on holiday and parents want to be out riding with them," he said. "It's a sad situation."

However, he added that the "silver lining in the storm" was the support received from the community, with people offering to help find the bikes and donating old bikes or parts to the trust.

Two bikes have since been recovered - one found in a stream and another trying to be resold at Cash Converters which was kindly given back.

Mr Bielby said there had also been sightings of other bikes, including the penny-farthing being ridden around the neighbourhood so they were hopeful more could be recovered.

Anyone who has information or knows the possible whereabouts of the stolen bikes is asked to email bikehub@ecomatters.org.nz.

People are also asked to donate any unused bikes they can spare to the charity.