Australian bike theft victims: 'We're too stubborn to quit'

MOUNT VERNON, Wash. -- Two Australian cyclists made it thousands of miles across two countries before Skagit County thieves put the brakes on their year-long adventure.

Anna Suthers and Billy Barnetson, who are on a cross-continental bike trip from Alaska to South America, told police they stopped in Mt. Vernon for food and a beer tasting last week when someone stole their two bicycles and all of their camping gear, in addition to other valuables.

"It was a shock at the time, for sure," Suthers said, "but it's sort of - we'd prepared ourselves mentally to lose everything."

The couple, who live about an hour south of Sydney, had been cycling across Canada and the United States since June. They stopped at the Skagit River Brewery, 404 S. 3rd Street in Mt. Vernon, and locked their bicycles together out front.

They were inside for about half an hour sampling beer, they said, when they discovered the bikes had been stolen.

"We were upset. It comes and goes but you gotta just deal with it," Barnetson said. "You can't really focus on all the stuff that's gone. It doesn't really get it back to you."

Police have been unable to locate bicycles, described as a black Trek hybrid with blue trim and a black Apollo Trace 2.0 hybrid. Both bicycles have large bags on them which carried the couple's camping gear, along with Barnetson's passport, two Kindles, and other essentials.

The duo made their way to Seattle over the weekend to see friends and to recuperate after the loss. They said strangers had come to their aid after hearing about the ordeal.

"We had a stranger secretly pay for our emergency hotel," Barnetson continued. "We were at a bar waiting for a bus and the barmaid saw our credit card and recognized our name from the newspaper, and so she's like, 'no, you don't have to pay.' "

"Just one person or two people doesn't really change my opinion (about our journey)," he added. "People are super nice. Really generous."

The couple spent Monday looking at replacement bikes, shopping at thrift stores, and walking around Seattle - instead of biking. They've detailed the ordeal on their blog.

"We're definitely not stopping. You gotta keep going," Suthers added. "We're too stubborn to quit yet."