Phoebe and Georgina were raising money for charity when the crime happened (Image: Northumbria Police)
Georgina Slater-Ferguson and friend Phoebe Harrison, both 15, were tackling the Hadrian’s Cycleway coast to coast route between Cumbria and Northumberland last week when the incident happened.
The girls were cycling in the Fell View area of Walker on Thursday, September 2 when a group of teenage boys approached.
One knocked Georgina off of her bike before riding away with it.
The girls, from East Staffordshire, had to rally together and finish the challenge on foot after the heart-breaking crime.
However, the story has a happy ending thanks to the efforts of Northumbria Police.
The force was alerted to the incident and was able to retrieve the bike within hours of the theft.
As a bonus, the bike was then taken to Start Fitness in the city centre for a full service and repair, before being returned to Georgina.
Detective Inspector Kevin Ashurst, of Northumbria Police, said: “We were all sad to hear about this incident, especially given the time, energy and passion that Georgina and Phoebe had put into the challenge and all the training beforehand.
“Thankfully, incidents of this nature are extremely rare and we were determined to make sure the fundraisers left knowing what the people in our region are really all about – and that’s being friendly and welcoming.
“Both girls have been amazing throughout, and quite quickly we were able to identify a suspect and follow a trail that led us to retrieving Georgina’s bike.
“We then took it to Start Fitness who worked their magic – free of charge – and made sure Georgina’s trip to the North East ended on a more positive note.
“I’d like to thank everyone who played their part in this, especially Georgina and Phoebe. They have shown maturity throughout and should be very proud of themselves.”
Georgina’s mum Wendy was among a group of supporters who were following the girls’ progress, meeting up with them at regular five-mile intervals along the route.
Wendy said: “They were obviously upset and tearful but it was a special moment making sure the girls completed the challenge.
“They have waited a year-and-a-half to do this, all in aid of Birmingham Children’s Hospital Charity, and I know a lot of people had sponsored them and waiting for updates.
“I’d like to thank the police for everything they have done since what happened. They have been superb – and to be able to get the bike back for Georgina, I think psychologically that’s a big plus.
“We’re all incredibly proud of the girls for completing the challenge, albeit in different circumstances to what they expected, and they’re now enjoying a much-deserved rest.”
Following the incident, a teenager was arrested on suspicion of robbery and then released on bail with an investigation ongoing.
Northumbria Police are asking for anyone who witnessed the incident to get in touch by calling 101 and quoting crime number 096437S/21.
You can donate to Georgina and Phoebe’s fundraiser here.