Dorking bike shop to the rescue after vital bike stolen from girl with painful illness

12-year-old needs bike to get around

by John Stevenson   March 31, 2014  

Bikes Direct website.png

A bike shop in Dorking has come to the rescue after a vital bike was stolen from a schoolgirl with an illness that makes walking long distances painful.

Twelve-year-old Lottie-Mae Terry-Evans, from Ashstead, has Marfan syndrome, a rare genetic condition that affects the body’s connective tissue. In August last year her mum Hannah Akers gave her a bike so she could ride to school in Epsom.

But last Monday the Apollo bike was missing from its protective cover after being stolen sometime over the weekend.

Hannah Akers posted an appeal on a village Facebook page, hoping that the bike might have been spotted, but there were no leads.

She told Jennifer Hardwick of the Dorking and Leatherhead Advertiser: “I only let her start riding the bike a month ago because the weather has been so bad. It makes her life so much easier. She gets a lot of pains in her joints so it had been really helping. For it to be taken was gutting.”

Enter a knight in shining armour - or more likely a bike shop polo shirt - in the form of Max Whicher, also from Ashstead.

Max owns and runs Bikes Direct in Dorking, and wrote to Hannah to say he had a suitable bike in stock that Lottie-Mae could have.

Hannah said: “When Max first said it I thought ‘that’s so lovely but I can’t really accept it’.

“People say things but you can’t really expect them to do them. But after I spoke to the police again and realised it was very unlikely the bike was coming back, I thought ‘I literally can’t afford a buy her another bike”, so I did ask him. It’s amazing that he helped.”

Lottie-Mae was delighted. She said: “When I came home my mum said this man from the shop had said I could have a bike. I just started jumping up and down and screaming because I was so happy.”

When her bike was stolen, she’d been devastated. “I had to walk to school and I was crying all the way because I was so sad it had gone,” she said.

Hannah said the family would always be grateful to Max.

She said: “She loves her new bike, she was just so pleased.

“We got the train from Ashtead to Dorking on Friday and when we were walking there she was in a lot of pain. By the time we got there she was in agony, so when we left she got on the bike and it just took all the pressure off.”

9 user comments

Oldest firstNewest firstBest rated

Shame on whoever stole Lottie's bike and three cheers for Max on being such a all round nice guy - well done sir and I salute you.

posted by leqin [109 posts]
31st March 2014 - 13:27

19 Likes

As well as the owner, Max, being an all round good egg, it's the best bike shop in Surrey, if not the world. Three cheers for independently-run local bike shops!

meluvsunshine

posted by pedalismo [58 posts]
31st March 2014 - 22:44

12 Likes

pedalismo wrote:
As well as the owner, Max, being an all round good egg, it's the best bike shop in Surrey, if not the world. Three cheers for independently-run local bike shops!

Yep I like indy bike shops. This is indeed a good deed. I work in Dorking. But then you went and spoiled it all by saying something stupid like I love you. Or it's the best bike shop in Surrey. It isn't even the best bike shop in Dorking. Hyperbole is daft in this case.

Cycling is like a church - many attend, but few understand.

posted by oozaveared [653 posts]
31st March 2014 - 22:57

20 Likes

Fair point but fatuous comment, my friend. In my opinion, it is the best bike shop. And cycling is nothing like a church.

meluvsunshine

posted by pedalismo [58 posts]
31st March 2014 - 23:06

18 Likes

Well done Max. Good man.

And interesting to note, once again, that cycling needn't just be for the quick and the brave. Given the opportunities it can even work well for those who might otherwise have their independence and mobility limited by difficulties walking longer distances (as my then-pregnant wife discovered on a city break in Copenhagen).

posted by pmanc [123 posts]
1st April 2014 - 0:13

5 Likes

It's a shame they don't seem to do mail order on parts. I'd buy something out of principle. Can't afford another bike at the moment.

Faith in humanity restored for the second time today.

pakennedy's picture

posted by pakennedy [51 posts]
1st April 2014 - 9:25

12 Likes

pedalismo wrote:
Fair point but fatuous comment, my friend. In my opinion, it is the best bike shop. And cycling is nothing like a church.

Head for the Hills is by far the best Bike shop in Dorking by a country mile any day of the week and twice on a Sunday.

However Chapeau to Max for what he did. He deserves praise for that deed. There's no need for the nonsense.

and cycling is just like a church. Lots of people go for a short time on a Sunday . Some people think there's more to it than that.

Cycling is like a church - many attend, but few understand.

posted by oozaveared [653 posts]
1st April 2014 - 17:18

0 Likes

At the risk of detracting from the kind act that prompted this story, let me qualify my hyperbole/nonsense/opinion.

What Max did for Hannah is completely what I've come to expect from him. He's always on hand to fix my bikes at short notice. He's always helpful, smiling and happy to do you a favour. He'll collect and return your bike, if you want. All the repairs are swiftly done to the highest standard. You get great advice. The shop has bikes for everyone, to suit every budget. It's great for families, and for first-timers or seasoned cyclists. You can try the bikes before you buy. You get the idea. A true local bike shop that cares about its customers.

On the other hand, my experience with many bike shops, especially 'specialists' and including HFTH, is a bit shabby in comparison. We all have our favourites.

meluvsunshine

posted by pedalismo [58 posts]
1st April 2014 - 22:27

2 Likes

Well done that shop, sounds like a proper community asset.

Excellent.

All Campag

posted by Flying Scot [576 posts]
1st April 2014 - 23:10

6 Likes