Hal Bruce wasn’t the fastest rider in Warilla. His bike wasn’t the shiniest or the most expensive.
But when it went missing – stolen from Warilla Library while elderly Mr Bruce used the internet inside – the tide of indignation was mighty.
The Mercury has fielded calls from at least 10 parties offering Mr Bruce a replacement bike since news of the theft appeared in the paper and online on Tuesday.
Some offers have been for disused older bikes; others for near new ones worth hundreds of dollars.
Mr Bruce on Wednesday accepted one of the offers – for a brand new bike, from a party that wished to remain anonymous.
‘‘Hopefully, I’ll be using it tomorrow,’’ said the well-spoken Mr Bruce, of Lake Windemere Caravan Park. ‘‘I was pretty shaken when the bike was stolen, but the response has just been marvellous.
‘‘I’ve been given the phone numbers of some people [who have offered bikes] and I’ve thanked them personally.
‘‘I’m just absolutely overwhelmed that people have taken any trouble about it at all, and I really didn’t expect it. It goes a long way towards restoring your faith.’’
Mr Bruce had parked his bike in the foyer of Warilla Library on Monday afternoon, after parts were stolen when he parked outside in the past.
The bike was an inexpensive, burnt orange-coloured Huffy with some rust in parts and a wonky rear wheel. Mr Bruce rode it every day for exercise and for errands.
Mercury readers condemned the theft, which occurred about midday. One response left by one reader on the Mercury’s Facebook page was typical.
‘‘The bike wasn’t worth much to anyone but him, a well known local gent and his bike. The thieves didn’t want the bike. What a weak act ... how mean.’’