An 89-year-old cyclist from Berkhamsted in Hertfordshire has been overwhelmed with replacement bike offers after suffering her first theft in 85 years of cycling. Mary Hampton now has a ‘huge padlock’ for the one she has been given having never locked up her bike before.
Hampton said that when she was five, her grandparents were against her having a bike because they thought it was dangerous, so she borrowed one from the boys next door, fell off twice, “and from then on, I’ve been riding ever since.”
The BBC reports that her Raleigh Shopper was taken while she was shopping at Waitrose last Thursday.
"It was an old-looking bike,” she said. “I didn't think anybody would be going to steal it."
Hampton typically makes the three mile trip to the supermarket once or twice a week, but fortunately found herself inundated with offers of replacement bikes from friends, family and strangers.
She eventually accepted a fold-up bike from Berkhamsted Cycling Club and people also clubbed together to give her enough money for a lock and a basket.
"I've bought a huge padlock. I've never seen such a big padlock," she said. "One bad action happened, but think of the wonderful kindness and caring that's come from it."
Mary’s daughter is children’s author, Sue Hampton. Writing on her website, Sue makes it clear that while Berkhamsted cycling club might have considered the bike a donation, her mother saw it merely as a loan. “She was happy to think that one day someone else would enjoy it.”