Link Pathway co-ordinator Rick Edmonds is hoping the public can help him locate his son’s red Rockhopper bike.
A community group leader whose son’s bike appears to have been stolen during flood damage checks says he feels he has been kicked while he’s down.
Link Pathway co-ordinator Rick Edmonds had taken his son’s mountainbike down the trail he helped build in the Marlborough Sounds, so he could check for flood damage after the severe rain event in mid-August.
The 42-kilometre pathway connecting Picton and Havelock had been a 15-year labour of love for Edmonds and his helpers, relying on volunteers, grants and donations to complete the trail, and again to repair storm damage in July 2021.
The red Rockhopper Specialized mountainbike had been a handy way to navigate around slips on the pathway on the afternoon of August 28.
* Northspur: Kiwi action-drama a fitting showcase and swansong for Marshall Napier
* ‘No-brainer’ decision to investigate Picton truck parking woes
* Marlborough Sounds resorts reopen in wake of deluge
* Prime Minister visits flood-ravaged Marlborough
When he reached a section he could not bike through, Edmonds hid the bike out of sight from both the pathway and the parallel road Queen Charlotte Drive, and continued on foot.
When he returned, at about 2pm, the bike had disappeared, Edmonds said.
“It was like kicking a man while he’s down. Here I was, trying to assess the damage and someone has pinched my bike … they must have been really looking around because they would have walked off the road to find it.”
Queen Charlotte Drive had been closed due to damage from the heavy rain, and the road was impassable near Ngakuta Bay, so there were mostly only roadworks vehicles on the road that week, Edmonds said.
However, residents near that stretch of the pathway said they saw a “suspicious” vehicle come through around that time; a dark grey twin-cab Hilux with a dog box on the back.
Edmonds said he reported the theft to police the next day, and put the word out on social media hoping for information. “I’ve had lots of people offering use of their bike, which is just wonderful.”
When people say to Rick Edmonds “what is an artist doing building a pathway?”, he replies, “who better to build a pathway?”
Unfortunately, it was not the first time thieves had targeted the pathway and its workers, Edmonds said. Over the years they had lost equipment and that had been “a kick in the teeth” too, he said.
“Because we’re doing this for the community, for the public to use. So to be taking advantage of that is just wrong.
“It just made a bad situation for me a lot worse.”
Fortunately he did not have to walk the entire way home to Moenui as he had driven as far as he could with his bike on the back, he said.
“But the sad thing is it’s my son’s bike … I hadn’t told him I’d borrowed it because he doesn’t live at home, and when I put the post up … of course he saw it and recognised the bike.
“He said there were so many happy memories of that bike going around the Sounds as a teenager, and he was so sad it’s been taken. So if I wasn’t feeling bad before, I was feeling bad after that.”
While the damage to the track was bad, worse than the July 2021 storm, Edmonds said he was mindful that “people had lost their homes and livelihoods” in the August event and the damage to the track paled in comparison to that.
However, he hoped if anyone had information about the bike or the ute, they would pass it on to him or the police.