East Bay bicyclists speak out after recent armed robberies

Some cyclists in the East Bay say they’ve been the targets of armed robbers.

In addition to at least three thefts, there have been several attempts.

Bicycle theft is fairly common, but this is different.

Rather than stealing bikes parked at a rack, thieves are actually targeting cyclists while they’re riding.

The Hills of Oakland and Berkeley are a mecca for serious cyclists.

"This is a vibrant cycling area. People up here take it real serious. You know there are a lot of very heavy hitter bicycle riders up here," said cyclist Geoffrey Fowler.

Rather than solely focusing on the ride, cyclists here are now talking and thinking about a different kind of cycling safety, according to Mary Ann Jawili, president of Grizzly Peak Cyclists.

"It's not usually what we're thinking about when we're on the road, being robbed."

Jawili says their forum and others have been buzzing with chatter about several incidents.

One involved a cyclist who says his bike was stolen on March 23 after being rundown by two men in a car on Wildcat Canyon.

Another talked-about incident happened Monday evening around 6:30, on Grizzly Peak Boulevard.

"Those two guys have been robbed of their bikes at gunpoint the evening of the 29th," said Jawili.

"It sounds like the wild west," said cyclist Elliot Cravitz.

Some of the bikes rolling through the hills cost thousands of dollars.

"Bicycles can be really, expensive especially some of the people living around here. Their bikes might be $10,000 MSRP," said Jawili.

"A lot of people up here are riding bikes that cost way more than my car," said cyclist Geoffrey Fowler.

Grizzly Peak Cyclists now urge members to not ride alone, something that has been commonly done during the pandemic, but makes them more vulnerable, especially when slowly going uphill.

In addition to riding with at least another partner, cyclists are being told to keep personal items in pockets instead of bike bags, and take advantage of extended daylight hours.

"Yeah I think I am going to avoid evening rides for a while," said Cravitz.

Another tip that’s practical but not necessarily popular with cyclists who tend to have several bikes is to leave the expensive bike at home and take the commuter, or the less attractive set of wheels, at least for a while.

Several law enforcement agencies are responsible for responding to and investigating crimes in the area.

Berkely police say they are aware the crimes, but have no official reports.

Oakland police did not respond to emails or calls.