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Ben’s bike is back


TRUSTY STEED Ben O’Donnell thanks The Mayo News and Greenway Bike Hire, Newport, for helping him get his bike back

A happy ending for one young staycationer after his bicycle went missing on the Greenway

Áine Ryan

“GIVE Ben his bike back,” was his Mammy’s mantra and, undoubtedly after a few prayers, The Mayo News is thrilled to report, it has worked.
Ben’s bike turned up – no worse for wear – in the Greenway Bicycle Hire shop, Newport, last week, after its mysterious disappearance from outside Nevin’s of Tiernaur, on Bank Holiday Sunday, August 1.    
As last week’s Mayo News story revealed, it had gone missing whilst he and his family had stopped for a lunch break from their Greenway trek from Achill. This odyssey for Florence Dowling and Patrick O’Donnell along with their three little boys was supposed to be ‘the highlight of their staycation in Westport’ but it was ‘ruined’ by the inexplicable and unusual theft– by all accounts – on the country’s most popular greenway.  
From Ashford in Wicklow, Ben and Daddy, Patrick, are seriously keen cyclists.
Like all little boys (and girls), Ben’s bicycle – a bright green Ghost Kato 20-inch mountain bike –  has been his trusty steed since his doting parents gave it to him as a birthday present.
In a heartfelt appeal last week, his Mum said: “Ben is an avid mountain biker, just like his Dad. We live in a very mountainous area, so biking with Patrick and his little friends is his  life here. We were all so excited to start the Greenway adventure, and were up early on the Sunday of the Bank Holiday. We had a big brekkie and were ready for our big day, making the most of our staycation and ready to explore.”
But then their magical day went awry after they discovered that Ben’s bike, as well as his helmet, and his Dad’s, were missing.
“Needless to say we were absolutely devastated and our poor boy was and still is inconsolable. He is seven years old and his bike is the most important thing in his life. Who would steal a child’s bike on the greenway? Luckily I had a trailer on my bike so I was able to bring him and our younger son back to Newport but it completely destroyed our holiday. Mr Nevin was equally upset and the gardaí in Westport were very supportive,” Ms Dowling said last week. She added: “Our son is devastated.”
However, the sad story took a positive twist after The Mayo News received a message from Shauna Moran of the Greenway Bicycle Shop, Newport, last Thursday, confirming a bike and helmets fitting the description had been left in to the  shop.
Speaking to The Mayo News yesterday (Monday), Ms Moran said: “We were mental busy at the time because of the good weather and huge numbers on the greenway. One day this stranger came in and said he had found the bicycle and helmets along the greenway. We checked the pictures to ensure it was Ben’s bike and then contacted The Mayo News on Facebook.”
Speaking yesterday also, Florence Dowling said: “Ben was absolutely thrilled to be reunited with his bike, a massive thank you to the Greenway Bike Hire, Newport and to The Mayo News for sharing our story. We are beyond happy and it has restored our faith in people out there. We look forward to many more cycling holidays in the west.”