A 78-year-old woman from South Yorkshire has spoken of how she managed to see off two men who were trying to steal her bike.
One of the would-be thieves hit charity worker Eileen Harrington over the head with the tool he had used to cut her lock – but she said “I would’ve hit him with the chain” he had cut to grab her bike, had the pair not abandoned their attempt to steal it.
Ms Harrington, who founded the charity DonMentia, discovered the theft in progress when she returned to where she had locked her bike outside the Civic Offices in Doncaster’s Sir Nigel Gresley Square, reports the Yorkshire Post.
“I was with another of the trustees doing good deeds, he went down to his car and I went to get my bike,” she told the newspaper.
“There were two of them bending down at my bike, I knew it was mine because my hat, gloves and helmet fell out the basket.
“I confronted them and shouted at them to ask what they were doing with my bike and he just carried on cutting before pulling the bike free leaving me with the chain in my hand.”
It is unclear whether the man was using bolt-croppers or some similar tool to cut the lock, or whether he was using a portable angle grinder, which is being increasingly used by thieves to steal bikes.
Ms Harrington said: “I got hit over the head during it, I was swiped across my temple with his cutting tool.
“I think at that moment, I would’ve hit him with the chain, but for whatever reason he half attempted to ride away.
“He was nearly 6 feet tall and I’m 5 feet tall and an old lady and he just dropped it and moved onto the next bike.”
Reflecting on the incident, she said that she was not frightened and had learned over the years to stand up for herself.
“I wasn’t scared, I was angry, I was mad – I have been burgled and broken into so many times I’m nearly blasé about it all,” she explained.
“I’ve had to face up to people before, men in particular, who try to put me down and I won’t stand for it.
“It doesn’t make me worry about it happening again – I’m quite robust, I’m bold and brave.”
Founded by Ms Harrington in 2013, DonMentia states on its website that its main objective “is to raise funds to support those affected by dementia living in Doncaster,” and the charity also raises awareness of the disease and its impact on people suffering from it and their families.
Simon joined road.cc as news editor in 2009 and is now the site’s community editor, acting as a link between the team producing the content and our readers. A law and languages graduate, published translator and former retail analyst, he has reported on issues as diverse as cycling-related court cases, anti-doping investigations, the latest developments in the bike industry and the sport’s biggest races. Now back in London full-time after 15 years living in Oxford and Cambridge, he loves cycling along the Thames but misses having his former riding buddy, Elodie the miniature schnauzer, in the basket in front of him.