Thieves who stole four bicycles from a Wanganui property soon decided they preferred another mode of transport and abandoned them by the road.
Vincent and Sue McBride are keen cyclists who have done extensive two-wheel touring. Mrs McBride was alarmed when she went to their garage on Friday morning and discovered the bolted door of a tiny adjoining shed was open.
"Bloody hell, I thought - I bet our bikes have gone."
As she feared, the expensive fold-up bikes custom-built for herself and her husband were gone. She didn't know it then, but two other bicycles from the garage were also missing,
Her husband wasn't home, having spent a night in hospital after an operation to repair the tendons in his hand. It was injured in a bicycle accident where he had the right of way at the notorious Victoria Ave/London St intersection but was hit by a car.
Mrs McBride picked her husband up, and he rang Wanganui Police about 11am that day. Within an hour they had three bicycles back, and were told the fourth had been abandoned in Great North Rd opposite Virginia Lake.
The others had been left behind a few streets away, where a utility parked with keys in it was missing.
"Lucky for us, and unlucky for the owner of the utility."
They're guessing that an unknown number of thieves found the bicycles more difficult to ride than they expected. The gears of the United States imports may have been trying, and there were signs an attempt had been made to fold them up, but it had proved too hard.
There was also a trail of bicycle debris between their Great North Rd house and the place where the utility was stolen - several helmets and a a pannier.
The McBrides are happy to have their bicycles and accessories back, with no more damage than a cracked rear-view mirror. The machines have accompanied them across the world and are not replaceable.